MYST 171 Consistent

Success is all about one step at a time and never quitting. And the only way that happens is if you consistently focus on just one thing:

The next step.

Maybe your focus is the next pound. Or the next mile you are going to run. Maybe you just need to focus on the next meal.

Weight loss is simple, but not easy. But if you learn to consistently focus on just the next step–and that step may be as small as walking past the box of donuts at the office–you will develop good habits that will carry you to success.

What is the boy and dad focused on? Going to college? Playing football? No. Just the next step.

Picture via Pixabay, by FGARDUNO

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Common Zero.

MYST 157: Weight Loss is Wrong

First things first:

Calories In/ Calories Out (CI/CO) works and it works for everyone. It’s just that there are two problems with assuming that CI/CO is the be-all and end-all of weight loss.

  1. Measuring metabolic rate is much more complex than any calculator on the internet.
  2. There are other factors that affect weight loss and fat burning (which are very different and will be talked about later.)

What some people just don’t get is that it is all CI/CO. I don’t care if you believe that you are that special someone who has a metabolism that is half of the rest of the world. Your weight is still ruled by CI/CO (you just need much less CI, because you have such a low CO.) Or it might be that you use steroids or other enhancers in your quest for muscle-building. CI/CO is still the rule (except, in this case, your CO is so high that you need more CI.)

In both situations, CI/CO is what rules your weight loss potential. But the average online metabolism calculator will likely give you a calorie budget that is wildly inaccurate, which means you will not lose weight as you think you will. It’s the equation that is faulty, not CI/CO.

Photo via Pixabay.com by DCortexPhotography

And it is not the type of calories that you consume.

I don’t know how many calories you burn on a daily average, but let’s assume you burn 3250 calories a day. If you ate 5000 calories of meat (just meat, you pick the animal) you will gain weight. The excess 1750 calories of meat will cause a ½ pound (approximate) gain of fat.

If you ate 5000 calories of veggies and fruit, you’d gain approximately the same ½ pound of fat.

If you ate 5000 calories of table sugar (6.5 cups), you’d still gain approximately the same ½ pound of fat.

Photo via Pixabay.com by SkyAngel

I’ve never seen any proof that suggests otherwise. Yes, my religion is science. Show me the data—peer-reviewed, double-blinded, control groups, and a large population tested—and I’ll believe it. Tell me your gym coach told you so, and I’ll smile politely.

But there is another factor that clouds the issue. People here talk about CI/CO and weight gain/loss when it would be much more accurate to equate CI/CO with FAT gain/loss.

Weight changes can be fat, but more commonly—and especially with large and rapid changes—that weight is mostly water. Water retention and expulsion is different from CI/CO. When you consider water weight, that brings in many other factors—and everyone out there who thinks that they are completely uncontrolled by CI/CO might be completely controlled by those factors.

  1. Natural hormones fluctuations in bothmen and women. Hormone changes greatly influence water retention.
  2. Stress levels (which also alter the hormone levels)
  3. High (or low) sodium diets
  4. Alcohol (This affects the liver, which pulls in water to dilute and break down the alcohol.)
  5. Medications
  6. Health conditions, especially any that involve the heart, kidneys or liver
  7. Allergies, especially sensitivity to carbohydrates.

All of those factors change a person’s hydration status, which is another way of saying it changes their weight. More water within the tissues means more weight. But none of those change a person’s fat stores, which is what people really want to reduce.

Let’s talk briefly about carbs. It is not that carbs necessarily make you gain more fat stores, but they can make you gain weight. This is why some people say that when they stop eating carbs they are able to lose weight faster. Carb metabolism requires extra water in the biochemical process.

When you consume carbohydrates, your body converts them to glycogen, which is then stored in the muscles for energy. For every gram of glycogen stored, you gain approximately 2.7 grams of water (that is about ½ teaspoon). This water retention occurs because your kidneys hold on to sodium in response to carbohydrate consumption. Your body reacts to the higher sodium levels by storing more water to keep the sodium-blood concentration at a healthy level. Eat fewer carbs and your body excretes the extra water. But that is a WEIGHT loss, not a FAT loss, and that is where people are confused.

It’s relatively easy to drop a lot of weight fast. Eat mostly protein and fat which require less water to break down. This explains why those members of what I call the keto-cult experience rapid weight loss. Their body is dumping extra water that is no longer needed. That makes the scale move, but it is not necessarily fat loss. There are other methods to reduce the body’s water level. Both wrestlers and boxers will take specific actions to dump weight a couple days before the meet. They will drop 10-15 pounds in less than 2 days so that when they weigh in, they are in a lower weight class (and yet have all the muscle of the larger weight class.) Then after they weigh in, they try to rehydrate.

DO NOT DO THAT. THIS IS VERY UNSAFE. I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU ANY IDEAS ON HOW TO DO THAT.

Let’s look at marathon runners. They are the exact opposite. What do marathoners do the night before the race? They gorge on pasta the night before the race. Pasta = carbs = more water retention for metabolism (and the sauce will be sodium-heavy, too), which will increase their running endurance. During the race, their body will use up all the stored water as the muscles work hard, and their skin sweats to keep them as cool as possible.

If people could change their mindset from “I’m going to lose weight” to “I’m going to lose fat” then maybe—slowly—the idea of CI/CO would be more accepted as the reality. But even if people have that way of thinking, most do not have the proper method of measuring fat content. Those scales that measure fat are grossly inaccurate, as they are dependent upon the correct hydration status. If a person is even a little dehydrated (as they are in the morning, when their body weight is the lowest) the sensors notice poor electrical conduction and determine the person has a high body fat percentage (fat is a poor electrical conductor.) If they get on the scale at night, when they are fully hydrated from eating and drinking all day, the scale will sense good electrical conduction, and therefore a lower body fat percentage. But the scale will also show a huge increase in weight (overall weight, not increased fat stores) and no one wants to see a number like that. If you really want to determine body fat, you can purchase calipers to measure fat stores (but that takes training and practice.)

 

Body Fat Caliper

Note: Image Above is found on Amazon here. The image belongs to PURENJOY, and I do not receive any compensation for sharing this link (it is not an affiliate link.)

 

So, what is the bottom line?

Stop worrying about weight. Focus on fat reduction through the proper consumption of food. I don’t care what you eat—carbs, protein or fats—but I do care about how much you eat. Experiment with your calorie budget. Pick a budget that you think will work for you, and eat it for a month. If you lost the weight you predicted, you are set. If you lost too much, or not enough, now you have evidence that your budget needs to go up or down. But that evidence only applies to you, and it is still a demonstration and CI/CO.

It is all CI/CO.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 151: The Secret to All Success (Scott Wilson, part 2)

In the second part of Scott Wilson’s interview, he talks about an action that, if you are unwilling to perform honestly, you have greatly reduced your chances of success. Then he tells you the secret attitude needed to overcome any obstacle, and finally, explains why golfing and hockey are a great metaphor for weight loss success.

Keep shooting, even if you miss!
Was Tiger Woods born to be a great golfer?

Photo via Pixabay.com by Skeeze (Hockey) and 12019 (Tiger Woods)

Here is a link to Scott’s first interview in MYST 20.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voice-over

work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. Follow his Facebook page to learn how to better use social media. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!

All images are Creative Commons Zero.

MYST 80 Trevitorial: Reap What You Sow!

Baseball    Photo by Tyler Thomas, via Unsplash.com

“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”  Yogi Berra (Major League Baseball catcher, manager and coach)

All of life, not just baseball, fits that quote. Successes and failures are mostly the result of our thoughts; our actions are the remainder of the cause. If you go into the classroom thinking “I hope I get at least a 60% on this test”, your mind is shooting for 60% as a goal, and you should not be surprised if you don’t get much more than that. Our mind controls our abilities.

Let’s consider a few ways that our mind controls our body. If you play darts, and you need a bull’s eye to win, do you think “I hope I don’t miss the board!” or do you think “I am going to hit a bull’s eye”? When you play a round of golf, you approach the tee with your driver in hand, and address the ball. Do you think “Oh, please, I hope I don’t look up and hook it” or do you think “Straight and true, 300 yards, no problem”? When you shoot a rifle, you look down the sights, but you don’t focus on the sights. You focus on the target. With both eyes open. And you focus on as small of a target as possible. “Aim small, hit small.”

Have you ever needed to write a speech? And you find that you have nothing. No ideas. You look into the creative well of your mind, and when you drop a pebble, all you hear is it hit a rock bottom? What is your first thought? If you think, “Wow, I don’t know what to say, I got nothing!” you will probably stay that way. For a long time.

Writer’s block stems from the idea, no the unconscious belief, that you have no ideas. Your mind, as powerful as it is, will make sure your belief is realized.

But instead, if you sit down with a note pad or laptop and just start jotting down thoughts, ideas, simple random neuron impulses, pretty soon you have a page full of things. Useful? Maybe. Maybe not. But you no longer have “nothing.” And maybe a word pops up and makes you think of another word.

Our mind controls our body. Do you know why you hit your thumb when driving a nail with a hammer? (And if you have ever driven a nail, you have hit your thumb!) You hit your thumb because as you swing the hammer, you briefly look at your thumb to make sure “you don’t hit it.” And what happens? You hit it, because in that instant you looked at your thumb, your brain said “New target acquired and locked in!” (This thought is frequently immediately followed by “Direct hit—dammit!”)

I used to be a bartender, and one of the most important lessons I learned was when you carry a drink that is full to the rim, never look at it while walking. You will spill it. But if you look at your customer as you walk, your focus will not be “don’t spill” but rather “deliver to customer, receive good tip.”

When you want to reach a goal, you need to focus on your goal. Make “achieving your goal” the focus.  How many of your watch (or play) football? Living here in Green Bay, Wisconsin, we are required to occasionally reference football. Often I will watch a game and one team will be dominating the other and by the last 5 minutes they might have a 14 point lead. To win, all they need to do is prevent the other team from scoring two touchdowns and a final 2-point conversion. The leading team goes into the…dreaded “Prevent Defense.” Yes. Their focus changes from scoring and beating the other team to “not losing their lead.” In the “Prevent Defense”, the team is willing to allow short to moderate gains but spreads their defenders out to contain against the long passes.

And what happens almost invariably? The other team quickly scores a touchdown, and starts a come-from-behind victory. Why? The leading team was more worried about not losing than they were about winning. Meanwhile the underdog team was even more focused on scoring because they had such limited time left in which to win. The leading team changed to a negative focus, a focus based on fear of failure, at the same time their opponent increased their drive and intensity for victory.

To bring that idea back to our weight management goal, I am telling you to focus on reaching your goals, not on what you will do if you fail to succeed. If you are always thinking, “I just don’t want to gain any weight this week” you probably will gain. Your mind is focusing on the verb in that thought (gain) and will tell your body what it needs to do to fulfill that verb’s meaning. Instead, if you continually think “I will continue to lose weight” your mind will key in on the verb (lose).

This isn’t magical thinking. You still need to eat the correct amount of food and move more. But it sets a subtle message to all parts of your body, keeping everyone on the same path because you won’t be sending mixed messages.

What are some other ways your mind can strengthen your resolve? When you lose enough weight that you can no longer wear your current wardrobe, buy new clothes (ideally at your local thrift store) and immediately donate your old clothes. Purge your closet! Don’t keep anything back. If it doesn’t fit—and fit well—it doesn’t stay. Keeping an outfit (“just in case”) is the same as the football “Prevent Defense” and you have subtly changed your focus from continued losses to “…but in case I regain…” and on what verb will your mind grab?  Regain.

Maybe you have an open bag of potato chips. “I hope I don’t eat any of those chips”. What is the action verb? Eat. What happens a little while later? You find yourself bag in hand, happily munching chips. The simple key step there is to not have the chips in your house. If you must have chips, then buy a bunch of single serving bags. Yes, they are much more expensive that way, but if you mindlessly grab a bag, you at least are limited to eating one serving. Hopefully you will regain control by the end of one bag.

You CAN do this. It IS within your control. It is ALL in how you think.

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Music composed and performed by Jason Shaw, courtesy of Audionautix.com

Voiceover courtesy of Matt Young. Matt is a professional voiceover artist. If you have any need of voiceover work, for your podcast, radio spot, or whatever, you can reach Matt by a variety of methods. He is on LinkedIn. On Twitter. And Google+. And you can read his really nice, contemplative blog. Matt was also my guest on MYST 54. Give his story a listen!