By the time you are finished reading this post you will know exactly what to do to finally lose weight, especially if you have tried everything and nothing has worked.
But first a warning: What you are about to read is a real, non-clinical account of what it takes to create transformation. Some of the things I wrote may sound harsh and insensitive. So be it. I favor results over anything else. If harshness is required to help someone change, I consider it kindness. Prepare to be entertained, to cringe, be guided, and above all else be prepared to transform.
Let’s get started with a story…
Professional Yo-Yo Dieting
I was frankly sick of working with her…
She was both a pain in the ass and a model client. She told me everything I wanted to hear. She made promises to herself even.
But she never followed through.
A partner and I had worked with her a year ago. We had successfully helped her get ready for her bodybuilding show. A show she won.
She lost 30lbs.
She wrote us a testimonial. I took out my partner’s name, in case he doesn’t want to be named. Here it is:
Before working with XXXX and Martin I was the poster child for the phrase, “You can’t out train a bad diet”. For 5 years I had been training harder than any other female at my gym and yet my physical appearance would not change much. You see I quietly suffered for over 30 years with B.E.D. Binge Eating Disorder and I was stuck in a cycle of dieting and binge eating. One step forward and three steps back. This compulsion had taken me over. It was maddening. I was full of guilt, shame and sadness over my secret. I used food to cope/or not cope with life. I spent thousands of dollars on books, seminars, tapes, programs, councilors but nothing helped me long term. I felt helpless and I was tired of hiding my issue from my friends and family. I was exhausted and felt unfixable like I was terribly broken and something was deeply wrong with me.
After one on line session with XXXX and Martin I stopped bingeing on peanut butter, my number one trigger food. It was not unusual for me to eat an entire jar of peanut butter in one day or several in a week before this session. But just like that, I could take it or leave it. I don’t know what kind of ‘voo-doo” they performed on me through the internet, but whatever it was, it worked! I was shocked.
With the help of XXXX and Martin I was able to release 30 pounds of fat and live out my dream of competing in several national qualifying bodybuilding contests where I either won or placed in the top 4. What a relief it has been to bust through my inner barriers and blow past what I ever thought was initially possible. They believed in me before I believed in myself. XXXX and Martin helped me learn how to commit to this goal and take daily action toward it’s achievement as they gave me the tools I needed, accountability and support every step of the way.
This is not the end of the story it is only the beginning for me. If you want to be your own success story and stop being stuck, make a decision to work with XXXX and Martin and win the battle of the mind once and for all. It is honestly the best thing that I have done for myself and in turn my family. You don’t need years and years of therapy, you just need XXXX and Martin.
We stopped working with her right after that show. And then it happened.
She proceeded to go back to her old patterns. She ballooned up in weight.
Why had this happened?
I blamed myself. I hadn’t been able to help her develop a way of eating that allowed her to lose the weight and KEEP IT OFF.
I had just reenforced what she had done her whole life. The ugly truth settled in my mind…
Like a psychiatrist teaching a depressive how to do depression better, I had taught her how to yo yo diet better. I had just given her professional instruction on how to yo yo diet better.
My partner and I were now on our second attempt at helping her lose weight and keeping it off.
We worked with her for months. Sometimes having dots of progress. But mostly having spectacular failures.
And then my partner disappeared. He became too busy.
It was now me and her. I tried everything and anything I knew to help her. But nothing worked.
It was maddening. But I kept at it.
I kept going because of my stubbornness. I was COMMITTED to helping Vicki transform…
And even though at some points it seemed she was committed to making it impossible for me to help her, she really wasn’t. She wanted to make things work.
She had been trying to create transformation in herself for many years and even though she had failed countless times, she kept going. She kept believing that she could create long lasting fat loss.
I kept believing in her. I had a deep sense that we were in this together. And there was no way in hell we were going to quit….
One day, in an attempt to use my past as a guide of what not to do, I sat down to think about everything I had tried to do with Vicki that hadn’t worked.
Here’s a list of the things I tried. Enjoy…
- I helped her hate nuts (her favorite high calorie food). By the end of our session she would gag at the thought of eating them. But by the end of a week she proceeded to eat a bucket full of them. Fail!
- I put her in trance. Her eyes glazed over. She looked like a zombie. I regressed her back into childhood. We spoke to her inner child. Her inner child told me she would change. Her inner child lied.
- I gave her magical post hypnotic suggestions. I told her stories with hidden messages. I tried to trick her. I tried to encourage her. I tried to motivate her. I tried to pump up her self image. I tried to teach her. I tried to give her tiny habits. I tried to sympathize with her. I tried to listen to her.
- And a bunch of other things.
But none of it worked…
She clearly needed a different approach.
Next, in an attempt to decipher what I could do more of to help Vicki, I thought back to the mild successes Vicki and I had had in the past. I realized that Vicki had made the most progress when I had challenged her in some way.
And then I had a morbid idea.
Vicki needed to suffer. I had been suffering for months while working with her. I wanted to spread the joy back to her.
I immediately started to plot my revenge…
Me: What is something you are so COMMITTED to doing that you do it even if it sucks?
Vicki: I get up to go to work at 3:45 am in the morning.
Me: Why? Get brutally honest. What gets you up at 3:45 am even though it sucks to get up so early?
Vicki: If I don’t show up for work, I will let people down. I don’t want to let people down.
She valued not letting people down MORE than her OWN discomfort.
I now had all the pieces I needed to craft my revenge.
Her life was about to change….
No Way in Hell
Fast forward a week. I’m holding my iPhone in my hand and there’s silence. Pure silence. The world is still for a moment.
And then she says…
There is no way in HELL I’m going to lose that money.
I knew we were onto something as soon as I heard these words come out of her mouth…
She had just made a pact with the devil. In this case the devil was handsome. The devil was me.
Vicki and I had just come to an agreement that she would write me a $2000 check. As long as she followed through with a few behaviors I had assigned, then I would not cash the check.
But if she did screw up, I would happily cash the check and use it any way I pleased.
Ahhh… sweet revenge.
Or was it?
Making this devilish pact with me worked for Vicki.
The following video details all of the changes Vicki observed while working with me. It was recorded on June 9, 2016, roughly seven months after doing the intervention that changed everything for Vicki.
Vicki clearly transformed.
How did I find a way to help Vicki change even though she had been trying to change for years with no luck?
When I look back at the few things that really made a difference in Vicki’s transformation, five main patterns jump out…
- She knew she wanted to learn a long term approach to fat loss.
- I prescribed her new behaviors that fit seamlessly into her life AND would deliver the results she had been after her whole life.
- I created the conditions that would get her to follow through on these new behaviors NO MATTER WHAT.
- I set things up so that her fat loss became a winnable game. The more she did a few easy behaviors, the more results she got and the easier and more enjoyable the whole process of fat loss became.
- She learned to see getting and staying fit as a learning process.
The rest of this article will teach you how to apply these lessons into your own life, so that you can replicate Vicki’s results or make any transformation something you follow through on no matter what while enjoying it.
Knowing What You Want and Signposts
It took us a while to get Vicki to a place where she knew what she wanted. But we got there.
She wanted LONG TERM SUSTAINABLE FAT LOSS.
I divided the goal of long term sustainable fat loss into two phases:
- Getting lean.
- Staying lean.
Start of Phase #1…
I remember sitting on my living room floor, speaking to her over the phone…
I asked her: How will you know that what we are doing is working? Give me something specific. Give me something clear.
She said: I will be able to fit into these particular pants I used to fit into.
Perfect. We now had a clear signpost that would let us know if what we were doing was working or not. If she was able to fit into these pants, she was on her way to achieving sustainable fat loss.
On her way. Not there. But on her way.
A signpost goal is a goal that when you achieve it or you get close to achieving it, you know you are on your way to a big picture goal. In Vicki’s case the signpost goal was fitting into the pants and the big picture goal was sustainable fat loss.
Time passed. And she was able to fit into those pants.
Her next signpost goal became to be a certain weight. She would use a scale and track her weight.
Time passed. And she was able to get to that weight.
She had successfully completed phase #1 (getting lean), now we were on to phase #2 (staying lean).
Start of Phase #2…
This phase would require a different approach than the previous phase. The way she knew if she was making progress before was that she felt her pants looser than they felt before whenever she tried them on or that the numbers of the scale were less than they used to be.
That wouldn’t work this time. We had to come up with something different.
Here’s what we came up with: Her signpost goal became to maintaining her weight, across time, even after going through stressful life events. She would measure this goal by being able to see her weight stay within a range for a particular period of time.
Time passed. Life transitions happened. And she was able to maintain her weight.
Thus she was able to reach her big picture goal of long term sustainable fat loss for that period of time, but in order to KEEP her goal of long term sustainable fat loss, Vicki will need to maintain her weight within a range across time.
Big picture goals like long term sustainable fat loss NEVER END. They just keep going.
Last time I followed up with Vicki, she had been succeeding at her big picture goal.
Bottom line: You only need two things to get started. A big picture goal and a signpost goal.
To find what your big picture goal ask:
- What do I really, really want long term? 6 months to a year from now work great.
To find what your signpost goal is ask:
- How will I know when I am moving in the direction of what I want?
Bottom line: Decide that you want to create long term fat loss. Realize that this is divided into two phases (getting lean and staying lean). Make sure you have specific and measurable ways of measuring your progress towards your goals.
Having goals and having ways of knowing if you are on your way to achieving them is nice, but it’s not enough. You have to know what to do. That’s what the next section is about.
Doing the Right Thing
Getting Vicki to gag when she thought about nuts obviously hadn’t worked.
How do I know?
She ate a jar of peanut butter a week after we worked on getting her to hate nuts.
The important question is: Why hadn’t it worked?
New behaviors work when the following conditions are met:
- The new behavior gives you the results you want.
- The new behavior fits seamlessly within your life.
In Vicki’s case, not liking nuts would have helped her lose fat – the results she wanted.
But hating nuts didn’t fit seamlessly into her life.
Vicki really liked nuts and didn’t want to give them up. I hadn’t realized this. When I tried to get her to dislike them, the intervention failed. As it should have.
So, what new behavior did work with Vicki?
Answer: Getting her to agree to count calories and have a weekly total calorie limit.
Why did this work? Here are the main reasons:
- Counting calories was a form of controlling the amount of food she ate, and managing the total amount of calories we eat is the single most important factor that determines weight loss and weight gain. Eating more than we need equals weight gain. Eating a bit less than we need equals fat loss.
- Counting calories gave her ONE thing to put her focus on, instead of many. In the past she thought she had to focus on a laundry list of things and do them all perfectly in order to lose weight. This made weight loss too overwhelming to stick to.
- We worked together as a team. She helped me come up with the intervention (eating a weekly total caloric limit) that changed it all. She was involved in the process. By me listening to her, as opposed to me trying to make her do something, she was able to guide me in helping her come up with something that worked for her.
I created the Doing the Right Thing Process to help others replicate the type of results I got with Vicki.
The following two recording will take you through the Doing the Right Thing Process. The first recording will help you find the correct behavior(s) that will give you the results you want. The second recording will help you take this results producing behavior and format it in a way that actually works for you.
Bottom line: Know that the total number of calories you eat is the most important determinant of whether you gain weight, lose weight, or keep it. That’s a fact. Find behaviors that make lowering the number of calories you eat easy and painless.
Now you have behaviors that are right for you. It’s time to set things up so that you actually do them. That’s what the next section will help you with.
Following Through No Matter What
After having worked with Vicki for 11 long months with no progress, I finally figured out the intervention that changed everything, I called the intervention Follow Through No Matter What.
Here’s a note she sent me after I delivered Follow Through No Matter What with her…
Follow Through No Matter What is a process designed to get you to take consistent action towards your goals and dreams when you have tried everything to get yourself to take action, but for some reason you can’t seem to get yourself to do it.
The following recording will take you through the Follow Through No Matter What process.
Bottom line: Results come when you do the right thing long enough. You can set up your environment so that YOU HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE than to do the behaviors that will allow you to control your calorie intake over time. Do this.
It had been about a month after I had delivered the death blow aka the Follow Through No Matter What Process. And Vicki was getting fucking results.
And the results just kept coming.
Each week I followed up with her. More results. And more results.
It was as if every week things got better. And it started to feel inevitable. It was as if we were inside a tornado of results, good feelings and positive action.
It was intoxicating.
What we were doing was working. It felt good. Really fucking good. And the better it felt, the more results she got, and the more positive action she took.
This was momentum.
I had experienced this type of momentum with my long term coaching clients over the years, but it seemed like it happened randomly. By luck. By chance.
But not this time.
This time things were different. This time I realized that creating momentum wasn’t random. Far from it. This time I understood I had the power to create it. And so a new pattern was born.
The Creating Momentum Process is a recipe for making achieving your goals exhilarating.
Bottom line: You can make the process of losing fat and keeping it off enjoyable. Just follow the steps I outline in this program and you will naturally experience momentum.
Momentum happens when you do the right thing, get results and feel good about them. But this doesn’t always happen.
The next section will teach you a strategy for keeping momentum going even after you mess up.
Keeping Momentum Going LONG TERM
Fat loss or staying lean are NOT about doing everything right. Perfectly. Forever.
Far from that.
Things didn’t always work out perfectly for Vicki. At all. Sometimes she did the wrong thing, or so she thought. Sometimes her results stalled, or so she thought. Sometimes she felt bad, because of how she thought.
I expected this.
Things are not supposed to work out as planned. Things are supposed to work out as they do.
What matters is:
Does the person know how to deal with whatever happens, learn and grow as a person because of what happened, and use what they have learned to reach their goals in an even more meaningful way?
Much of the work I did with Vicki centered around teaching her this lesson. She learned it.
Mistakes are not really mistakes. They are an integral part of a learning process. There wouldn’t be a learning process if there weren’t mistakes. They are required. Learn to love them.
I created the recording below to teach you HOW to use whatever happens (even messing up) to your advantage. This skill will allow you to keep getting the results you deserve LONG TERM.
Bottom line: Know that you are going to make mistakes in the process of losing weight and keeping it off. Learn how to use those mistakes to your advantage by using them as feedback about how to improve what you do next time. Then do something different next time.
You now have all the pieces to keep going long term. But long term is long. It’s the rest of your life.
How do we make it enjoyable? That’s what the next section is about.
Enjoying the Journey
It may take months to get to your goal weight. I want to make sure you know how to enjoy those months.
You will get there. And once you are there…
I want to make sure you know how to actually keep enjoying the process of maintaining your new weight, because if you know how to enjoy maintaining your new weight, then you will succeed in long term fat loss.
That’s why I created the Look How Far You’ve Come Process.
The Look How Far You Have Come process will teach you how to experience continuous enjoyment and gratitude as you go along the rest of your journey. It will teach you the skill of comparing correctly, which is vital in order to make sure you feel good about your progress.
Bottom line: You will feel good about your progress when you compare correctly. Make sure you understand how to compare correctly and that you actually do it. This is what will make your fat loss journey enjoyable.
Getting and Staying Lean: A Recap
What to do for long term fat loss in a few short words:
Eat the correct amount a food in a way that works for you. If the way stops working for you, then switch it so that you have a way to eat the correct amount of food for your desired results.
Long term fat loss is divided into two phases: staying lean and getting lean.
Here’s what to do to get lean:
- Create a goal.
- Find a behavior you can stick to that will allow you to lower the number of calories you are eating.
- Run the Follow Through No Matter What Process so that you actually do the behavior.
- Wait two weeks.
- After two weeks. If the new behavior is leading to fat loss. Keep doing it. If it’s not, then go back to step 2-4, but make sure you keep doing the old behavior as well. In other words, you are adding new behaviors so that you end up doing more new behaviors over time.
- Use any mistakes or lack of results to your advantage.
- Enjoy the journey by practicing the Look How Far You’ve Come Process until you get to your desired level of leanness.
*Important note: Only add new behaviors when you have not gotten results for two weeks straight.
Here’s what to do to stay lean:
- Have a way of measuring whether you are maintaining your weight.
- Keep doing the behaviors you are doing that led to the fat loss.
- Use any mistakes you make to your advantage.
- Keep doing the Look How Far You’ve Come Process
*Important note: After you have reached your desired level of leanness you will be able to eat more than you did to get to lean. This is because your body had a number of calories you had to eat below in order to create fat loss.
A Note for Vicki: My Clients are My Teachers
I wasn’t really sick of working with you. Well, actually I was. But I was confused.
Let me explain.
I was sick of working with the woman in my head I thought was you. I felt frustration not by you, but because of my ideas that what I was doing with you should have worked, but didn’t.
But nothing should work. Everything works how it does. Clients do what they do. They don’t do what they should do.
And I think many coaches wrestle with this. Many coaches blame their clients for not responding as they should.
And I’ve done that. But I do my best not to.
Because when a client doesn’t respond as they should, that’s a huge opportunity for a coach.
A massive one.
A coach becomes effective when he looks at the reality of how something really works and gets curious. And he learns from that reality. Lesson that he uses to help their clients.
And that’s what I did with you.
Thank you for re-teaching me flexibility. One of the most important lesson a coach can learn.
Working together has enriched my life. I hope it’s enriched yours as much as mine.