We’re all screwed!
And we’re going to stay fat forever.
At least, that’s what a recent study conducted by researchers at King’s College, London, suggested: “The chance of returning to a normal weight after becoming obese is only one in 210 for men and one in 124 for women over a year.” If the person is severely obese, the chances are even less.
It had me thinking that maybe we’re already doomed. After all, we’re doing all of this hard work, trying our best and making changes…and yet years later we end up back where we started. Crap.
And then I dug into the study.
And it gave me hope for Nerd Fitness and the Rebellion.
What The Study Revealed
“Of 278,982 men and women, the study found that only 1% of people who were obese at the start of the study were successful in losing weight AND maintaining the weight loss.”
The pointed out that the prescribed “count calories, eat less calories than normal, and exercise dutifully” failed 99% of people after 10 years.
There are two ways to look at this study:
1) Once we are overweight it’s nearly impossible to create lasting results. It’s like we are trying to hold back the tide, or fight an army of White Walkers with both hands behind our back. This self-limiting belief can crush us and convince us to give up.
2) Conventional medicine’s current strategies to tackle obesity are failing to help the majority of obese patients shed weight. A prescribed “eat less and move more” regimen fails to factor in dozens of other elements that create lasting change! Something needs to change.
But, as the home page of Nerd Fitness says: You don’t have to take advice from the Dark Side. There’s a better way to get healthy, a way that creates actual change in our lives and long term results.
After all, we have a MASSIVE community of people here in the Nerd Fitness Rebellion who HAVE drastically changed their lives, so what’s going on here? We are the Watchers on the Wall, and we are fighting off the white walkers – how are we getting results while most of the mainstream are stuck on this up-down roller coaster?
As we have seen through countless studies, YES: consuming less calories than you burn – and continuing eating that caloric deficit for an extended period of time – will result in weight loss for a strong majority of people.
This is where most of the mainstream advice that those 278,982 people were following stops. Implementing strategies such as diets does result in people having short term success. We’ve even seen a turning of the tide here in America, where we’re finally starting to consume fewer calories as a whole.
It’s not so much that this advice doesn’t work (it does!), it’s that this is only one part of a much bigger picture). In turn, they’ve failed in ACTUALLY getting people to follow their advice over the long term. And that’s the only thing that matters.
As Morpheus tells Neo, “There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.”
Frankly, the results in the study don’t surprise me! I get emails daily from people saying “Steve, I know what I need to do, I just can’t get myself to do it.”
Here at Nerd Fitness we understand what it takes to implement something for the long haul:
- an understanding of how habits (and thus behavioral psychology) work,
- a proper mindset,
- an environment designed for success,
- an understanding of how addictive sugar can be,
- a supportive community
- and so much more.
Instead, modern medicine is telling people to move more and eat less without the rest of it. It’s obvious this is a recipe for failure: when your environment is working against you at home, when society is designed to make eating healthy so difficult, and when your social circles are working against you, of course only 1% of people are going to succeed.
That would be like trying to:
- Beat a Mario 64 level without pressing the A button
- Completing Dark Souls with a Guitar Hero controller
- Defeating Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! Blindfolded.
Sure, it’s possible. But less than 1% of us can actually do it! If we look at our success through that lens, it’s clear we’re failures… but we can adjust the constraints to work FOR us rather than against us.
Or, in gamer terms: why not just press the damn A button?!
Let’s learn how.
Use all your tools
I’m proud that the Nerd Fitness Rebellion is a group of average Joes and Jills who think differently. When I started Nerd Fitness seven years ago, I knew that mainstream diet and fitness advice sucked, and it wasn’t getting people lasting, long term results.
That was the whole point: rebelling against this insanity!
So, let’s take a look at how to use more than the joystick, and ensure that ALL of us get healthy. Like Batman with a fully equipped utility belt, we need to use all of the tools at our disposal in order to succeed long term:
Set yourself up for long term success with habits that last PERMANENTLY: This is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Once you understand how your brains work and how to build new habits, you can start attacking them with small, deliberate, permanent changes. If you struggle with willpower, you’re not alone. You have to understand how willpower works first!
So we start with tiny changes we can live with, and then we slowly expand them as we build momentum. We prove to ourselves we CAN change. “I just need to try harder” never works – you need to understand HOW to try, and then try smarter.
Diets don’t work. No, I don’t mean “the Paleo Diet” (which is a lifestyle change or nutrition adjustment, not a temporary diet). What I mean by “diet” is a temporary change to one’s life for a short period of time. You can also add things like juice cleanses and detoxes to this list, also known as destroying yourself 90 days at a time unsustainably. I cover all of these popular weight loss tactics that perfectly fall under the reasons 99% of people struggle to keep weight off a decade later.
We don’t do short term changes; our goal is long term, permanent solutions. We need to be deliberate in our efforts to change our lives: this is not a short term fix. It’s a fundamental adjustment to how we make decisions daily that sets us up to succeed.
Build an environment that supports you: We are products of our environment, and we are affected by everything around us subconsciously all day long. For that reason, like Bruce Wayne and his Batcave, we too need an environment that creates effortless success for us rather than tempting us back to the darkness.
We know that really focusing on hacking the source code of our lives can have a drastic effect on every decision we make, and can set us up to succeed long term:
- We adjust our environment so we have to rely less on willpower to say no to certain foods: not keeping junk food in our house, not driving past our favorite fast food place, only going to healthy restaurants so we’re not tempted.
- We set ourselves up to succeed by lowering the barriers between us and healthy choices. Sleeping in our running clothes, blocking time-wasting websites, preparing healthy meals for the whole week. We need to make our new default effortlessly “healthy.”
A great support system: Fighting this battle alone is like going up the toughest dragon in World of Warcraft solo – why not build a great team to fight alongside you? As the saying goes, “you are the average of the five people you associate most with,” so surround yourself with a killer Justice League.
We need people who support and inspire us to get healthier rather than drag us back down. If a great support system can cure drug addicts, it can certainly help with living a healthier life. It starts by surrounding yourself with people that care and want you to succeed, not sabotage your efforts.
We know that types of food we consume factor in greatly: consuming 600 calories of Twinkies is not a great long term solution compared to 600 calories of chicken, fish, avocado, and leafy vegetables.
In fact, most of the processed junk we eat today is designed to target certain parts of our brain that make us say “MORE MORE MORE” – if you’ve ever eaten one of something and then can’t get yourself to do anything else until you’ve eaten the whole bag, you know what I’m talking about. It’s tough to restrict calories when your brain has been hijacked!
If you want our nerdy take on this, read: “Star Wars Explains Why We’re Fat.”
We CAN win.
I know we have a lot of people reading Nerd Fitness who are just getting started on their weight loss journey, many of whom who probably have gone up and down in weight for years (wondering if it’s hopeless).
This study is going to divide people into two camps:
- I knew it. This is why I can’t lose weight – I’m doomed! Why bother! I’m off to McDonald’s.
- Okay, clearly something’s not working. I need to try something different. I need to try smarter, not harder.
I have a hunch most of society probably fits into Group A, and most of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion fits into Group B.
I’d love to hear from you:
Have you successfully defeated the evil forces of long term weight gain?
Did you fail one way before succeeding in another?
If you’ve struggled, what keeps you trying? And how are you trying differently?