“The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether it's proper technique, work ethic or mental preparation – the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, your job, whatever you’re doing.”– Michael Jordan
I have a confession to make.
I absolutely love Thai food (especially the curry dishes).
With selections of massamun, green, red, panang, huang ray, and sassy (pineapple) curry—you can’t go wrong with any of those selections.
You may be thinking did this blog just turn into a Cooking Network blog post? Not yet. The food and cooking information will be arriving in the not-so-distant future.
I had Thai food over the weekend and ordered a bowl of green curry. As I indulged into bite after bite, and eventually drunk the rest of the soup, I had an epiphany—this dish was perfectly crafted.
My green curry not only tasted exceptional, but the precision and attention to detail that went into making this dish is something that isn’t to be taken for granted.
Green curry (Gaeng Kiaw Wan) is one of the milder Thai cuisines. In fact, Gaeng Kiaw Wan in a literal translation means sweet green curry (I’d like to see who knows this at trivia night).
After you add a protein of choice, the main basic ingredients are coconut milk, green curry paste, palm sugar, and fish sauce. However, depending on where you are, expect to also have some Thai eggplants, sweet basil leaf, kaffir lime leaves, green bell peppers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, zucchini, green beans, broccoli, and baby corn (are you hungry yet?).
Ok, what does my green curry dish have to do with successful weight loss transformations?
Just as the cooks who carefully prepared my dish and added each item in the right amount, embracing upon your fitness journey requires careful preparation and inclusion of the right items for the perfect result.
Add too much of the wrong ingredients to any curry dish, then the flavor and the dish turns into something completely different. Include too many tactics to beginning your weight loss journey and you’ll suffer from information overload (and risk not even getting started due to paralysis from analysis).
Most people’s weight loss journeys aren’t successful because they haven’t included the essential ingredients.
Is it because they’re using the wrong diet? Not necessarily.
Or is it because they’re using the wrong workout plan? Not exactly.
Maybe it’s because they aren’t working hard enough? Nope (effort is hardly the problem).
They don’t want it bad enough? No way (what is this—a high school football pep talk?)
Losing weight is conceptually simple, but the execution is where the complication arises.
Just as cooking a delicious dish of green curry requires the proper ingredients and spices for a world class experience, successful weight loss transformations requires the same dedication. These ingredients are often overlooked because they aren’t sexy or trendy, but yet they’re damn effective and essential.
In fact, before I begin to consult with a person on a 1-on-1 level, one of the first exercises we do is address each of these five ingredients I’m about to discuss below.
If you want to accomplish your weight loss goals without compromising your sanity and preferred lifestyle, implement these five ingredients.
1.Have a meaningful incentive
The first step on your weight loss journey isn’t going to buy a gym membership, cleaning out your fridge, or researching workout plans.
The first step is to sit down and think about “why you want to lose weight?”.
I get it.
Writing why you want something seems silly and time wasting (after all, you need to get to the gym and sweat some calories off and clean your diet up).
However, this shotgun mentality may work at the beginning, but what happens when your motivation flames out and your adrenaline returns to its baseline. The novelty of something new has worn off and you don’t feel like going to the gym—what’s going to keep you going?
Without a powerful why there isn’t any substance or meaningful stakes brought to the table to guarantee you stick around at the first sight of resistance or discomfort.
A meaningful incentive isn’t buying a new pair of jeans, fitting into a neon green bikini for your vacation, building some size 16 biceps to impress at the beach, nor any other superficial surface metric.
A meaningful incentive connects on a deeper level and places a priority on the long-term (not just the weeks leading up to your summer vacation).
Aesthetics are important, but adding in other factors of your life such as losing weight to get off your medications, having the energy to play with your kids one day, setting an example for family and friends, or to improve your confidence to go after what you really want out of life.
2.Develop a winning game plan while preparing like a champion
Politics, sports, relationships, business, and wars all have one main commonality—to succeed requires strategic planning & preparation.
Presidential races aren’t won by the candidates just showing up. They prepare extensively and strategize to the minute of details. The super bowl isn’t won by the team just showing up on Sunday. They prepared two weeks in advance.
Wars aren’t won by randomly showing up and fighting. They prepare and take stock of the surrounding terrain while analyzing their enemy.
Businesses don’t make profits each quarter by just showing up blindly each day. They forecast and conduct meetings to properly plan and execute. Successful relationships are certain to go stale after some years, but that’s why the successful ones continue to evolve with each other and never stop dating each other.
Stating a desire and want without a plan for making it a reality is nothing but an empty wish (it’s just floating up in the clouds).
Successful game planning and preparing like a champion requires you to front load your work as much as you can.
Why is a plan so crucial?
Because if you blindly begin your exercise routine, once resistance shows up or you have unexpected obstacles appear, you’re going to falter.
By game planning, you’re creating the structure that specifically works for you (most importantly). If your fitness plans don't seamlessly mesh with your lifestyle, you’re not going to stick with the plan for the long haul.
When you’re thinking about how to construct a game plan, start with these three topics.
- Eating – How you eat needs to be considered based on your specific schedule, preferences, and comfortability while still complimenting your specific physique goals.
- Exercise – What type of workouts will you do? How many days will you lift each week? What exercises are you doing during each session?
- Implementation – What time are you working out and on what days? What about eating times? Have you established a sleep routine? Are you prepared for events, work, and other miscellaneous obstacles that will head your way?
Front loading your work isn’t sexy, but neither is budgeting your finances—yet you’ll do it if it’s important enough.
One of the best ways to start front loading your work is to identify three of your potential biggest obstacles that pose the biggest barriers to succeeding with your fitness goals. Once you identify them, determine a solution for each of those obstacles.
3.Seek accountability and support
I told myself I was going to write a book and months later, I had one page written and a half-assed outline.
I told some people I wanted to write a book and they would tell me this is awesome. I felt good having a dream of writing a book, despite the reality that nothing was being accomplished.
Answering to ourselves hardly ever works in the end because we can justify our excuses and lack of action. Our brains are tricky and will find angles to make ourselves feel okay with not following through on our initial commitments and desires.
When it comes to accountability and support, we need two distinct types of it: professional/expert accountability and unapologetically positive support.
- Professional/expert support and accountability – This is having an expert in your corner or at least someone who will keep you accountable while providing guidance. Your best friend doesn’t count due to the relationship. They're unlikely to push you outside your comfort zone and call you out for actions you fail to follow through with.
Whether it’s a coach or expert opinion on a forum—you need to involve someone with expertise who isn’t afraid to offer advice that you may not want to hear.
- Unapologetically positive support – Whether it’s a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, social media, or private group—this type of support essentially serves as your cheerleader. They keep your spirits high and keep you going when you feel like quitting.
They’re not going to give you logical expert opinion or call you out for something. They're going to be biased in their support of you, no matter what's going on.
4.Set a big, but realistic deadline
After you’ve established your meaningful incentive, a plan that fits your preferred lifestyle while establishing both types of accountability—now it’s time to put some skin in the game.
Without a deadline, there isn’t a sense of urgency to keep you focused and attentive.
While deadlines are important, you need to be realistic and properly assess everything going on in your life. If you have a hectic schedule and can’t workout as frequently along with getting inconsistent sleep—you can still expect some results, just not at the same rate as someone who consistently trains four days a week and routinely sleeps eight hours.
If you really want to up the ante, try a couple of these games out to make it fun and challenging with other friends when setting deadlines.
- Make a goal on Stickk and donate to an organization that you hate if you fail to keep your word
- Make a public declaration
- Implement negative consequences or positive rewards (this is dependent upon your personality)
After determining your realistic goal, now it’s time to reverse engineer your goal down into manageable steps.
To generate momentum and build your confidence for long-term success, you must establish periodic markers of success.
Twenty pounds may be your goal, but reaching that goal is months down the road and without any positive signs of success beforehand, you’re not going to last.
Psychologically, twenty pounds sounds like a lot to someone new or rusty with their fitness. A better approach is to break those twenty pounds down into sizable chunks. With some clients, I'll take it two pounds at a time.
Seems wacky and pointless, but just as in baseball, a couple singles and doubles here and there still drives in runs instead of just swinging for home runs while striking out more frequently.
Think little wins as opposed to large gigantic wins. You don’t go from broke to millionaire in two weeks. You don’t go from a mediocre NBA player to an all-star in four weeks.
5.Don’t forget to have fun
At the end of the day, we're only talking about fitness. Not quantum physics, the theory of relativity, or some high-stakes boardroom meeting—this is supposed to be stress-relieving.
Here’s a secret that I want everyone to know—I don’t enjoy working out sometimes. Driving to the gym is one of the hardest tasks in my daily ritual.
There are a plethora of other comforting options. I could write even more (probably code for looking at Youtube videos), watch TV, eat some comfort foods (not a good idea), sleep in, play video games, or have a ‘Netflixathon‘.
However, I enjoy the effects of working out. I enjoy how it makes me feel; the stress it releases from my body; the way it helps my body look and perform.
These factors lead me to make better decisions; thus helps my business and relationships. That is why I’m hooked on the gym, not because I enjoy being out of breath jump roping or pushing myself to exhaustion during a set of squats.
I don’t enjoy passing up ice cream, wine, and cookies the majority of the time. While I eat and drink these items occasionally, for the most part, I pass on them because my why is more meaningful than the immediate/short-term pleasure those items provide.
On the contrary, I enjoy how healthy foods make me feel, think, and perform.
Not matter the exercise routine you’re doing or the type of nutritional philosophy you’re following—you must enjoy some aspect of the journey (even if it’s simply finishing your workout or eating healthy through the week so you can look forward to your guilt-free weekend indulging meal)
Not finding any enjoyment and relying on sheer willpower is a dangerous game that you’ll always lose. Willpower is a limited resource that is zapped as you go about your daily routine and make decisions on numerous things.
Put your lab coat on, become a scientist and keep experimenting with the type of workouts and nutritional strategies until you find something that perfectly gels with your preferred lifestyle while fully complementing your physique goals.