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Today is part 7/10 in the ‘Silence Self Sabotage’ series.
Today we’ll cover:
- The 5th Success Strategy to Silence Self Sabotage.
And how to:
- Use Pleasure and Pain to your advantage.
- Model effective eating and exercise strategies.
- Discover your motivation strategy.
In doing so we’ll also complete Steps Three and Four of ‘Silence Self Sabotage’ and that’s: ELIMINATE & EDUCATE.
Onwards with Success Strategy #5 That’s: You Must Be Willing To Explore & Embrace The Unfamiliar.
Here’s why… You know how to do your old strategy for body gain and that has gotten you your current results, so it’s time to try something new.
If it’s hard you will want to revert to the old unsuccessful strategy – DON”T – you need to either persist or if that’s not an option realize you’ve successfully identified another way that doesn’t work (think of Thomas Edison and his 999 attempts at the light-bulb) and find another way. Always find another way. This inability to never accept failure as an option, is your guarantee to achieving your body gain goal.
The desire for certainty – to stick with what you know – will lead to failure or at the very least a boring life of status quo. Apply this to the areas of your life where you currently enjoy the most success and I’m certain that you do not stay stuck in safety/comfort zone in these areas. In these areas of your life you likely still experience fear however you also know that the fear subsides as soon as you take action. As Emerson said, “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”
You know by now I love a reframe – how about this:
What if you imagined your comfort zone as a circle and everything inside that circle is what just comes easily, it’s safe, it’s what you’ve always done – it gets you what you’ve always got. What if there was a second circle – an outer circle surrounding that first one, this represents moving out of your comfort zone. There are lots of little O’s in this outer circle. They could be obstacles OR opportunities it’s your choice.
How about if out of your comfort zone was not fearful and not pain – what if stretching beyond your comfort zone instead represented growth and development, new skills and better results? Let’s stretch the reframe further and say that staying stuck within your comfort zone and achieving the same old unacceptable results equals pain instead.
If fear has played a factor in maintaining your current health and body it’s important to first identify your fear before you can turn it into power. First ask yourself “What am I afraid of?” When you have identified exactly what you are afraid of it’s time to delve deeper. Take the plunge with me here and I’ve put aside some space as always in today action sheet (downloadable here: Action sheet #2) for your answers.
Ask yourself “How does this fear hold me back?” ”How does this fear help me – or how has it helped me in the past?” …and finally “What will be my pay off for eliminating this fear?”
Take your time with these answers and know that while action is the best antidote to fear – still even more powerful is to take action with a heart of appreciation. Bare with me for a quick exercise that illustrates an incredibly simple way to experience less fear and allows you right now to prove to yourself the validity of success strategy #2 what you focus on expands.
I’d like you to think of a time – a specific time when you felt fear. Go right back to that time and your experience of fear and in your minds eye see what you were seeing as you felt that fear …really get a feel for what you were feeling, any sounds you were hearing and the things you may have been telling yourself as you felt that fear …as you allow yourself to go right back into that time immerse yourself completely in the emotions that you felt. Great. And now I’d like you to think about something or someone you feel true appreciation for. It may be a person, or an experience – anyone or anything in your life that you are absolutely just so grateful for and so genuinely appreciative of …and as you think about the appreciation you feel right now – the feelings you’re feeling, the picture you can see and the sounds you can hear, I’d like to ask you: Where the fear is now?
I’m imagining the fear has gone – and that is the beauty of appreciation – it is impossible to feel both fear and appreciation at the same time. What a gift! A simple tool we can utilize to manage the fear system that is embedded within our brains. An instinctive, primal response that once assisted us to survive when we had wild animals to avoid and needed the instant ability to spring into action at even the hint of danger, but now limits our lives by encouraging us to seek safety and limiting our ability to follow through on our goals.
Now we’ve looked at managing fear let’s identify further what continuing to stay like this is already costing, and will cost you, and those you care about. Here we are building the pain and using it to your advantage. Your goal absolutely needs to be a HAVE to or MUST rather than a ‘that’d be nice.’ That’d be nice just isn’t going to get you moving. It’s going to lead to aimless drifting and waiting for life to get easier. It won’t. The stuff that has consequences right now will grab your attention.
So what is it for you?
What will happen if you do make this change?
What won’t happen if you do make this change?
What will happen if you don’t make this change?
What won’t happen if you don’t make this change?
Brain frying aside (!) I’m sure you’ve got a fair idea already and I’m going to ask you to get a little actionable and put pen to paper at the end of todays show and imagine your life in 3, 6, 12 months and 3 years time as you check out action sheet #2 and build on the questions you started in action sheet #1.
Ok so we’ve explored the need to identify and eliminate secondary gain and the importance of using pain and pleasure to your advantage. It’s time to upgrade your unresourecful strategies. So once you’ve worked out your current strategy isn’t getting the result you want it’s time to get specific on exactly what you’re doing, so that you can change it!
From here you can either elicit your own strategy for something that always gets you the outcome you want or model someone else who currently runs an effective strategy for what you want.
Let’s take a look at an effective eating strategy for example: People who maintain their health and body with apparent ease have a different way of thinking about food from those who constantly struggle. Let’s take 3 simple questions and contrast the answers and then in todays action sheet it’ll be your turn to elicit your own eating strategy.
I’m also going to include some of my favourite nutrition tips – as I love to talk food and I just can’t help myself.
First question “How do you know it’s time to eat?”
An effective response that is well worth modeling would be “When I feel hungry’ or ‘because I have an eating schedule and I know I’m scheduled to eat 3-4 small nourishing meals every day”
Given that food planning and eating frequency has a huge impact on the quality of food you will choose, you can imagine the effectiveness of these responses rather than for example “When I finally get a chance to duck out of the office to grab a bite at 3pm”
As a side note: It does not have to take more time to prepare more frequent meals – I’m not a cook, I’m not skilled at it and I don’t really enjoy it (I’m hoping I’ll become a little more like my mum who gets and gives great joy through cooking – but it hasn’t happened yet!) I also have a huge appetite, am pretty fussy and at best irrational and more likely totally punishing to be around if I can’t get my hands on the right food at the right time – so, I always prepare multiple meals at a time.
A couple of examples are a weekly mass bake of (low carb veges – except for sweet potato which I do include) on a sunday night which I portion and freeze and at lunch time I prepare salad for that day and dinner, and also the following day and dinner, AND also the veges to go in my omelet the following morning.
This is time effective and also means I’m sorted if I get home late and am starving – all I need to do is throw some protein together with the preprepared salad and veges.
My main point: Schedule Your Meals …as they say; “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
Second question “How do you evaluate options?” and the effective response “Whatever fuels my body best – whatever feels the leanest, lightest and gives me the most energy.”
Contrasted with “I go with whatever is most appealing to me at the time’ or ‘it’s dependent on my mood – sometimes I feel like I need something to cheer me up and sometimes I’m happy to choose the healthiest option.”
Not all calories are created equal. The best possible fuel will bring the best possible results – both esthetically, in terms of energy levels and also in the ability to fight off sickness. Would you expect your car or a race horse to run well if you fed it crap? And how hard is it to stick to your training and nutrition plan if you are constantly getting the flu?
On top of the question of the micronutrients or vitamins and minerals your food choices provide it is also essential to utilize the thermic effect of food. This is the amount of energy your body uses to metabolize food. Protein has the highest thermic effect at up to thirty percent. So up to 30% of the calories in a serve of protein are burnt just by breaking down, processing and absorbing it. Protein will also leave you feeling satisfied for longer. Other foods with an especially high thermic effect include vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, cucumber and also oats. A general rule is the more natural the food is, the harder your body will work to process it – and that’s a good thing. Accordingly fake, processed, sugary and fatty foods elicit the lowest thermic effect at around 3%.
Consider what simple adjustments you can make to your daily nutritional habits:
Here are 2 easy breakfast substitutes to avoid the fake and processed carbs and amp up the protein which is often lacking.
=> Make your oats with water or almond milk, protein powder and cinnamon – instead of milk and sugar.
=> Swap regular yoghurt for Greek yoghurt – more protein, less carbs = a lot more satisfying. Add frozen raspberries and almonds for a perfect balance.
It also important to get clear on your nutritional personality. You see I’ve noticed that people fall into one of two camps when they are following an eating plan: They either respond best to rules or to more freedom.
Are you the type of person who can have a block of 70% Lindt chocolate in your fridge and have 1-2 squares only a night? I certainly am not – I can’t even have cereal in the house or I’ll be nibbling it from the box in the middle of the night …even my bread has to be frozen so I’m not shaving off edges at random.
This class’s me as a rules dieter.
I have an emotional attachment to food. I need rules to succeed. I love them andI actually find them freeing as I know what to eat when and I don’t ever have to test my (lack) of self discipline. It means I can eat pretty perfectly during the week and then feel confident and content as I enjoy my Sunday treat day knowing that I’m allowed – that’s the rules and I’m still going to stay lean.
Back over at the fridge and reaching calmly for just a couple of squares of Lindt is my freedom friend.
Now this individual will not count calories or cope with excessive structure. Enforce rules and restrictions and they’re off the rails. Guidelines are the answer for the freedom dieter. Eat minimal refined carbs, have protein with each meal and eat right 90% of the time are the way to body gain results here.
And the third question “How do you know it’s time to stop eating?” “When I’m about 75% full or when there’s still food on the plate and I feel comfortable pushing that plate away with some food still on it or when I’ve eaten the amount that I’ve planned to eat, whether it be by macronutrient breakdown/serving size/calories” is an effective response.
And imagine the different result experienced by the person who answers “When my plate is empty’ or ‘when I just can’t fit in another morsel”
If size does matter to you and you too like the idea of a decent serving, the way to get away with it is to ensure the bulk of your meal comes from light and nutritious, low carb and low caloric density veggies. Those almost free foods that you’ll never get fat on. I like to have at least a dozen such veggies a day as otherwise I’m going to get very bored super soon and it’s important to get creative with balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices – even nuts, seeds and high quality cheese to ensure your veggies are a pleasure not a punish to eat.
Listening to those 3 questions – how did you go? Are you leaning to the leaner side of the eating mindset or is there some modeling to be done? To me the value of getting inside the mindset of someone who sustainably does what you want to achieve is invaluable because if one person can do it then you can as well It’s simply a matter of reprogramming your current ineffective neural associations in relation to food.
Over the years I’ve seen countless people struggle and deprive themselves as they suffer through self-imposed insanely strict eating regimes. Personal training clients who proudly tell me about their great food day so far: They skipped breakfast and morning tea – only had a green salad at lunch time and a ‘tiny’ biscuit and coffee at 3.30 …now it’s 8pm and their PT session is pathetic as there’s less than zero fuel in their tank for their poor body to work with …oh but I’ve got allthese fat reserves to burn they say pinching at a roll …I know by the time they get home for a late dinner they’re be ready to demolish everything in sight and soon after collapse into bed before waking up the next morning ‘not hungry’ and destined to repeat the whole cycle again.
I wish I was exaggerating the above scenario – I’m not!
The alternative is a day well planned. 3-4 meals that you love – that your body loves (ie; massive nutritional value) and you sale through your day with consistent energy levels, no feeling of self deprivation that leads to an inevitable splurge – if not that night than sometime soon …a strong and effective training session and a feeling of being in control.
As with anything you already succeed in, consistency is key with nutrition – and as I’ve mentioned, especially if you’re a rules nutrition personality there is real value in working in your treat meal/day each week. For one it allows you to stay disciplined the other 90% of the time AND just as importantly when you are eating clean/nutritious/well portioned meals all week in calorie deficit your rate of fat loss will actually slow down due to a drop in leptin levels (which is an anti-starvation hormone – a natural defense against starvation which our hunter and gather ancestors needed!) …so a periodic planned break from routine will boost leptin levels and facilitate faster fat loss.
Modelling the effective eating strategy and implementing the tips I’ve just shared will set your nutrition on the right path for body gain. To keep it there sustainably here’s the gold – make a list of the pro’s and con’s of your eating strategy – or whatever name works for you. Looking at that list, are the pro’s of your diet or the con’s of your diet more compelling?
The fact is until the pro’s list wins out you’ll never truly succeed. This is our old friend Pleasure v. Pain in action again. You need to associate pleasure with healthy eating. The pleasure of losing fat, gaining muscle, achieving, improving, appealing to the opposite (or same) sex and feeling great in whatever you wear – once you’re focused on these pleasures, eating great fuel becomes a tool for success rather than a pain. It no longer generates negative thoughts and the occasional cravings and social inconveniences are easily outweighed.
Talking social inconveniences: When dining out always make a reservation to cut down on “temptation” time. If you arrive without a booking and have to wait for a table it’s unlikely you’ll just sit there ignoring the tempting drinks and appetizers – fat-loss research shows you’re bound to consume roughly 20% more “mindless” calories while you wait
Equally, never go to a party or out to dinner hungry – a protein shake before you go is good security against over consumption.
Let’s now break down the exercise strategy of someone who fits exercise into their lifestyle easily and sustainably.
Here we have 3 questions again and I’ll give you the effective responses only this time, as the ineffective responses are going to be fairly obvious. I’m also gong to include some more tips.
Question one “How do you know it’s time to exercise?”
“I have a training routine that I ENJOY and I know I’m scheduled to train 4-6 times per week. I know what I’m due to do each day and when a reason beyond my control causes me to miss a session I make it up another day that week”
Sustainability is achieved by doing what you love – search until you find something you look forward to doing. It is also important to find out what works best for your ‘body type.’
Question two “How do you evaluate whether you will or won’t?”
“I stick to set days and times; my schedule is ‘booked in’ and non-negotiable while flexible enough to not be effected by factors such as weather or other people.”
Set up a routine that is not reliant on other people – it’s important that your training is ALWAYS within your control. Have options – for example if you like to train outside and won’t train in the rain have a wet weather alternative.
Question three “How do you know it’s time to stop exercising?”
“When I’ve completed the amount scheduled. I exercise enough, that I know when to listen to my body and do take an unscheduled rest day or exercise at a lower intensity when my body needs it.”
It’s always about what is best for your body LONG TERM – not necessarily what feels best right now. You know when your body genuinely needs a rest and when you’re looking for an excuse – be at cause. This is of course the law of sowing and reaping at play – too many people seek to reap before they sow. As with success in any area of life with body gain you need to be prepared to pay the full price for success in advance.
A useful question to ask if you are facing indecision regarding your training is “What would a person who has the health and body I want do in this situation?”
Sometimes it helps to tell yourself you’ll just do a few minutes – maybe you’ll just do a couple of reps and see how it feels? Whatever it is that gets you going, no big commitment – remember motion creates emotion and most of the time you’ll find you’ll get the whole session done once you make that start anyway!
As you consider the responses of a lifestyle exerciser you will already have an idea of what adjustments you may need to make. Effective modeling encompasses taking on only those aspects that will give you the results you desire and fit ecologically with your life. As such look for the distinctions you can benefit from rather than the distinctions you could use as an excuse to not make the change.
For example an effective strategy for one person to achieve their goal may involve exercising 2 hours a day 6 days a week and for you this is not possible – let alone desirable – however the attitude or approach with regard to an enjoyable, self-initiated, scheduled and non-negotiable training regime is completely copyable and can simply be completed in a timeframe that works for you.
This is the resourceful way to looking for the catch – a pattern that we can use to help or hinder us …to always look for what someone else has/does that you don’t have/or believe you can’t do will only lead to disappointment whereas to cultivate a habit of looking for what they are doing that you can start to do will snowball your results.
Years as a personal trainer working along side colleagues in fantastic shape – not all by a long shot, but we’ll focus on those that ARE a perfect reflection of walking the talk – has taught me that sculpting your ideal body is very definitely not a matter of lucky genetics, a metabolism that is naturally in overdrive or even a freakish desire to train rain or shine. My point is that people who are currently in better shape than you – are not blessed or better, they are just doing things differently and what they have learnt to do, or more so what they have learnt to think and believe you can learn as well.
Of course there are those ‘lucky’ few genetic freaks.
The chicks who did half as much as me and ate only fairly well and got incredibly lean and cut in a matter of weeks. However much fun they are to train they are very few and far between and if they took some time off they’d come back looking like they’d swallowed a sheep …easy come easy go! It’s the same as those super bright kids at school the ones who didn’t have to study and still blitzed it – all well and good for a while but wow did they struggle later when they did actually had to knuckle down to learn a completely new skill.
To say something carries a genetic component does not make it unchangeable – time to eradicate that old excuse right now.
So let’s touch on self discipline – the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not and having the strength of character to follow through on a resolution long after the initial enthusiasm has past. It certainly plays a role, however it’s often said that imagination will always win out over self discipline alone. Imagining how good the double fudge chocolate cake tastes or imagining the way you’ll feel when your partner or random strangers double take when they notice you strutting past in that hot new pair of jeans – the choice is yours.
Imagination is the creator of all our problems.
How many problems have you battled in your mind that never eventuated? And it can also be the solution to all our problems. How often has a unique perspective – be it yours or from someone else, provided the solution when you thought you were completely stuck?
Let’s test it. Next time you hear yourself making a ‘stuck’ statement that you know has been holding you back, take the time to ‘Mind-storm’ Brian Tracy style to come up with 20 solutions to that excuse you just made. Mind-storming is the solo-equivalent of brainstorming and all you need is a pen and paper and the commitment to set your judgmental mind aside and embrace the creative mind.
All you do is write your challenge at the top of the piece of paper and you’re off. The first solutions will come easily. The value is in persisting when the flow starts to slow. Once you have at least 20 solutions it’s time to choose the one that feels right to you – trust your instinct or unconscious mind with this, it’s a wonderful guide and it has your best interest at heart.
From here if the way to implement this solution is not obvious start another sheet of paper with your chosen solution and mind-storm 20 ways to make it happen. As Einstein said, sometimes we get boxed in by the boundary conditions of our own thinking – thinking outside the box in terms of various ways to achieve our outcome is essential.
Ok eating and exercise strategies are sorted – let’s move on to your motivation strategy.
I’m wondering can you remember a time when you felt totally motivated?
Can you recall a specific time….and as you go back to that time now – what was the very first thing that caused you to feel totally motivated? This is the trigger and it is very important to determine this very first thing. Was it something you saw – or the way somebody looked at you? Was it something you heard or what someone said to you and their tone of voice? Was it the touch of something or someone? What was the very first thing that caused you to be totally and absolutely motivated?
And after you saw heard or felt that – what was the very next thing that happened as you were totally and completely motivated …did you picture something in your mind – say something to yourself – have a certain emotion or feeling, what was the next thing that happened as you were totally motivated. After you saw, heard or felt that, did you then know that you were totally motivated or did you picture something else in your mind, hear something else or feel a certain way as you were absolutely motivated?
I’d like you to continue asking yourself these questions until you have all the steps you took to feel completely motivated. Make a note of each step – because strategies are cross-contextual, once you have this effective strategy you can use the same process for your motivation to exercise strategy – as a suggestion!
To give you an example of a very effective motivation to exercise strategy:
Step 1. I tell myself how important being in great shape is to my core identity beliefs, values and happiness.
Step 2. I evaluate what needs to be done.
Step 3. I think about how good the results make me feel and this strategy leads to action and results!
Here are some points to consider:
The strategy I just shared with you is towards pleasure motivated and this is generally the better option for consistent results over time. To look at pain motivation – if you touch a hot pan you pretty much just whip your hand away quick smart with zero consideration for the direction – it’s just away. If you’re shooting for a specific target, let’s say an arrow at a bulls-eye, your efforts are a lot more focused.
It’s optimal for your self talk to be as an encouraging coach rather than a bully and possibility oriented language such as ‘I can’, ‘I want to’, and ‘I will‘ has a lightness and appeal to it in contrast to the heavy handed necessity oriented ‘I must’ ‘I should’ and ‘I have to’ – try this out for yourself.
If there is a picture in an effective strategy it will be of the end result or completed task rather than the work involved. However the task will also be broken down into manageable chunks rather than one mammoth undertaking. Finally the task will be linked to a value at a higher level than the task itself. Before we move on from motivation it is important to acknowledge that motivation is like a shower – you can’t just do it once and expect the effects to last, it’s a daily habit to commit too!
I know we’ve covered a lot today. We’ve finished steps three and four though. To get actionable today I’d LOVE – like super LOVE you to complete the #2 action sheet that’s downloadable here: Action sheet #2
That’s it for me today… and for another week in Healthification.
I hope you’ll join me for Part 8/10 in the ‘Silence Self Sabotage’ journey with show #307 on Monday and steps five and six: STRATEGISE & PRIORITISE. Here I will uncover the proven system to ensure you can enjoy sustainable health & vitality ….we’ve laid the foundations and now it’s time to – make some time, implement and assemble the essentials to peace together the pieces that will enable you to sculpt your ideal body.
Super huge heart felt thanks to you for listening and especially to YOU if you’ve left me an iTunes rating and review. This week I’d like to say an extra big Cheers and Thank you to Poohbearitis-Dawny from the US.
Dawny says: I really enjoy and look forward to your podcast. I’m thankful that you’re so real. You touch on things that are interesting you keep it short and sweet and direct to the point. I feel like I’m able to connect with you and the things that you’re saying. It all makes sense.
Dawny you are so very welcome. I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know – it made my day!
If you liked this you’ll also like: Smart Simple Fat Loss: Most Effective Strategies.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.