A buddy of mine used to say this daily. For years. Seriously. Every day. Not hyperbole. I agreed they are awesome. I agree we should work hard at kindness to all people, especially those who we may not at first think are much like us. But I wasn’t catching my buddy’s wisdom for a while. In the pursuit of health and fitness, a spirit of love is superior to hate, criticism, and ambivalence. In the pursuit of wellness, a spirit of love for others is superior to all the trackers, the food logging, the workout programs. It’s not just a flippant or strictly religious sentiment; studies actually show that expressing care for people outside of your kin group may help you live longer: https://www.sciencedirect.com/.../pii/S1090513816300721.... Over time I came to agree that my buddy was on to something with his specific word choice. In life, we must relent to our repeated experiences; and my repeated experiences demand from me the belief that gay people and minorities are the best.
Fairly early in my career I met with a couple where they asked me something rather jarring, “are people ‘ok’ at this gym with a gay couple?” “‘Ok’?,” I replied. “No; they’re not... JUST ‘ok’, they’ll LOVE you.”
Think about that. Think about having to wonder if you can safely enter a new space in a free country based on who you’re attracted to. Think about that in your own country. I mean, I’ve travelled to countries where I maybe needed to think about if public display of affection with my wife was going to be a cultural faux pas. But think about in YOUR OWN COUNTRY worrying about if people can just leave you alone.
That aside, the reality is that there is a disproportionately superior track record of support and reliability for me from people not like me. Percentage-wise, it’s actually pretty crazy how many regular members, how many clients, and how many staff were coming from a dramatically different world of experiences than mine. In a moment of reflection one day in 2006, I realized I had 25 direct employees, and only one of them was a young, straight, white male... and he’s deaf.
Hindsight is clear. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of the awesome people who supported me. But there is a special accolade that needs to go to minorities and gay people. Their unending support for me, for my teams, and for my dreams is totally unrivaled. And sadly, whenever it came down to critical junctures in my businesses or career, there is a starkly clear demographic break.
That is, in 20 years of this profession, only one person ever bounced a payment. He was one of the most connected people in my network, by the way. I’ll let you guess his demographics. Only two people ever asked for refunds in all that time. Neither was my client, but that of an employee or contractor. Both were male, straight, white; and I’ll let you guess about their ideological/political leanings. I could increasingly predict which people were most likely to be unreliable in payment, no show, disappear without communication, and be generally cagey by how much like me they might appear to be.
I don’t know why, but in the case of my entire professional experience, minorities, gay people, and those with political beliefs way on the other side of the spectrum were just more supportive of business and me. An irony to be sure, all of the big talkers about “support small business” were among the very few people who just sort of evaporated last year. When it came to putting their money where their mouth was, only a mouth remained when shutdowns hit. Our business grew and we weren’t crushed by the pandemic, thankfully. But that thanks can only go to a few people who may seem to be a lot like me on the surface.
Marginalized people have taught me a lot. People who may appear to be a lot unlike you have a treasure trove of grace and education to gift you, if you’re willing to accept. As you grow, you find the differences smaller and smaller. And perhaps you too can be the best. For yourself. For health. For others.
On the right: heart attack and died at age 43.
But then we have what’s on the left: I took my mom out for lunch last week about twenty miles south of Myrtle Beach; and afterward we walked out onto the pier, popped up a table umbrella, and painted those paintings together along the inlet. We painted, side by side, in the rain. It was beautiful. THAT was health and fitness. That trip - with my family, time together, enjoying the ocean, catching sea creatures, parasailing, helicopter tours, and making memories - was palpable, undeniable health and fitness.
Listen. I get it. I live the fitness industry. But shredded abs and insta is NOT health and fitness. Admirable? Sometimes.
My grandma, despite all her faults, figured out stress management to a degree that she was still kicking everyone’s ass at Scrabble until around age 90. No abs. My dad, despite his faults and a lot of untoward food choices, figured out peace in his heart to a degree that he lived a long and fulfilled life. No Insta.
We may want to think that quarterly the handful of ER visits and untimely demises of young fitness personalities and bodybuilders is an outlier set of events. But it isn’t. It’s a flag. Those are just the ones who paid the ultimate price, so we couldn’t equivocate anymore. Hell, I like Franco. But even he bit the dust at 78, which for a Sardinian who was paying EXTRA attention to health is ridiculously young. Like. RIDICulously. The fat slobs who try to die young in Sardinia AVERAGE 83 years for life expectancy.
And nobody is about to hop on here and even pretend like the mental health epidemic is better INSIDE the industry than outside of it. Lift some weights. Move. Eat like a grownup. But, man: LIVE LIFE! When I had Lyme disease, I literally couldn’t lie down without pain. Forget about stand or walk or exercise. It brought me back to writing music again. I picked up the 8 string guitar. That brought me back to life. THAT was health and fitness. Being with my kids all day three days per week and seeing them all seven every week, THAT is health. Being a unidimensional cartoon is not health even if it’s hidden inside pretend “fitness.”
In 2013 a lot of scientists and authors took to completely dismantling the anti-science recommendations of the American Heart Association: https://centerforhealthjournalism.org/2013/11/28/american-heart-association-protecting-industry-not-patients-barbara-roberts-md-and-martha. This excoriating article details just some of the known millions of dollars with which pharmaceutical companies purchased the American Heart Association's new guidelines. We will never know the full extent of the extortion involved. Simply the grift proven at the time was enough to permanently remove all credibility from anything the AHA ever says again.
Scathing rebukes abounded, not just this absolutely devastating expose above. The AHA proponents who were pressuring all of us to take statins, it turns out, have severe conflicts of interest. The revised AHA guidelines were a marketing campaign for its donors, having no connection to any legitimate biochemistry or science.
And it missed the point anyway.
What IS heart disease?
Atherosclerotic plaque development.
And what is that?
It is fibrous tissue buildup and calcium deposits: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2035445/.
Statins exert ZERO impact on this. None. There exists not even one study contending this fact. Not even a hoodwinking underhanded one like the liars at the AHA love to feed us.
And why would the body develop excess fibrous buildup and calcified tissue in the circulatory system?
The answer is NOT cholesterol. We actually know this with complete assurance. By definition, the development of untoward growth (ie - fibrous buildup and calcification) IS an inflammatory response. In fact, researchers have proven that we can incite plaque formation with immune triggering ALONE, “even in the absence of traditional risk factors”: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22895665/. It is very important that you understand the prior sentences and references. If unclear, reread them. None of this is contentious opinion. This is the KNOWN science.
Thus, what we factually know is that heart disease is created solely or primarily by inflammatory response, without the alleged cholesterol risk factors, that statins do not affect this, that statins raise other risks (ie - organ damage and dementia), and that the foremost proponents of statins are in the pocket of those selling them. There is nothing of opinion or controversy in the prior sentence. It’s not a position. This is just what is inarguably known.
The lipid hypothesis was floated in the 1800s, gained steam in the 1950s, but was always wrapped up in muddy thinking that ignored the persistent elevated blood pressure and chronic cigarette smoking of study participants. Post hoc, observers noticed that many of those high BP smokers ALSO had elevations in cholesterol. But subsequent analyses have failed to confirm the lipid hypothesis, repeatedly, namely failing to show any way that the inherently healthy lipoproteins which our bodies need (aka - cholesterol) play any mechanism in the formation of the fibrous calcified plaques which we call heart disease: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e010401.short.... Cult followers of the cholesterol religion hated this paper and any like it. And I don’t care for it a ton either, because it is still looking at statistical epidemiological associations. And we don’t need those. At all. We understand the working mechanism of heart disease. We do. We KNOW how to make plaques in the near-absence of cholesterol. We KNOW that no amount of cholesterol produce plaques in the absence of inflammatory factors. Distracting correlations aren’t real science, especially once the mechanisms are known. And we KNOW fibrous calcification IS heart disease. Arguing over peripheral correlations is ridiculously anti-modern and anti-science.
Many people with high cholesterol live longer. Many people with low cholesterol die younger. Not opinion. Statins are still unproven for benefit, but proven for organ damage. Not opinion. No ideology is present in these statements.
So why are we still operating off a repeatedly failed hypothesis from the 1800s? Because the American Heart Association authors are deep in the pockets of those selling the “cure.” Also, not opinion.
I can remember my grandmother beginning to opt out of more demanding hikes and beach visits as she approached her 90s. I now know 20-somethings and 30-somethings (in fact, I’ve even seen peers of my young children) who have to do the same. Low physical fitness and capacity doesn’t NET you a decrease in effort. It NETS you an increase in effort to do basic living, such that you keep living less and a smaller and smaller existence with increasing restrictions.
Most beneficial practices for health and fitness actually take far less effort than the deleterious ones. I have experimented with a variety of fasting methods for the past 30 years, all of which take less time and decision-making budget than standard American eating or dieting. I used to skip school lunches and pocket the money. I used to visit amusement parks and simply drink water all day.
The Spring and Summer of 2018 I experimented with an exercise program which took up no more than 27 minutes per week. In the attached photo from 2018, keep in mind the ONLY exercise I had done for months was a set of pull-ups in between appointments on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. TOTAL. I’d average 12 sets each one of those days, each set lasting no more than 45 seconds. That was it. Granted, they were all about 30 reps; so I was logging around 360 pull-ups each of those days, over a thousand per week. Still, though, the total training time was 27 minutes per week.
The idea that being healthy and fit takes more time, effort, and money is demonstrably untrue. Active self-sabotage or “apathetic” go-with-the-flow takes far more energy, both on the front end (quantifiable daily practices) and the backend (palpable health consequences). The “effort” people reference is a delusion. The effort to be healthy and fit is provably same or less. What they mean is “unfamiliar.”
I can and I do regularly walk people through how to spend less time and money on productive foods than unproductive foods. Precision Nutrition was circulating an infographic several years ago to this effect. That’s just the simple direct transactional analysis.
But when we get into ripple effect, it’s not even close. The time, money, and energy people spend on recreation which worsens them is 10 times greater than what people who improve health prospects spend.
The fitness industry as a global whole commands billions of dollars. That’s true. About 81 billion at last check. That’s everything combined. Meanwhile, the number one fast food chain? 125 billion by itself. Tobacco company revenue in 2018? 125 billion. The electronic gaming market? 137 billion. Pharma? TRILLIONS. Even the porn industry is over 100 billion, dwarfing the measly 81 billion of fitness industry revenue. Cybercrime and Dark Web? TRILLIONS.
It’s pretty plain to see that humans don’t have an effort problem. We are putting in plenty of effort. We have a familiarity and belief problem. We believe that we aren’t putting lots of effort into worsening. It’s become so familiar to collaborate with deterioration that we don’t even acknowledge the hard work we put into getting worse. Improvement might be a few minute commitment a few days per week. Worsening is a 24 hour-a-day job.
The effort at change, therefore, must be placed on calling out your false narratives and delusions. People will tell me they “couldn’t” make a healthy choice at a work event or party. Really? There were no proteins, no veggies, and no water? Even if so, I’m not totally shocked. But remember: you could just NOT EAT.
It may be unfamiliar. But it takes LESS effort to do good. It takes less effort to withhold oneself from sabotage. It takes less effort to be healthy and fit once we let go of our made-up stories.
We can start by putting less effort into maintaining our delusion that it takes more effort.
Researchers are further uncovering that visceral fat (midsection among organs) is the only body fat storage inherently problematic: https://newsroom.heart.org/.../more-belly-weight....
To be clear, some insulating fat under the skin doesn’t have a theorized mechanism for raising health risk nor an epidemiological statistical connection to increased health risk. In fact, what we do know is that UNDERweight people have higher cardiovascular health risk (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29981771/), more issues with infertility (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32289345/), and cognitive decline (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26294005/).
Why would this be?
All of the hormones which keep us alive and let us thrive are derived from or regulated by fats. Too high is an obvious problem. But we tend not to think about how too low must likewise be a coequal or greater problem.
And, to be fair, underweight BMI is not prevalent in the industrialized countries.
But what’s so special about visceral midsection fat versus subcutaneous fat?
Again, we tend not to think about how internal organs require a certain amount of space, a balance of pressures, blood flow, and alignment. As the body aggregates fat storage around organs, these functions are impeded. There is literally pressure squeezing on the lungs, the kidneys, the liver, and so on.
Where I first see this is in posture. The person will “make space” in order to breathe, by increasingly extending the low back in order to open up the abdomen and try to make room for organ function. This leads to chesty breathing which induces persistent anxiety. Combined, the risk of elevated blood pressure is nearly assured. Fatigue, likewise, must eventually ensue, as the person is perpetually doing a minor (or major) back bend and stretching the abdominal muscles and obliques. Shoulders shrug up to allocate more space. Distance between hips and rib cage continue to increase in hopes of making room for internal organ function.
This adaptation can only scale so far. Ultimately, people will find they cannot ever take deep breaths into the lower 2/3 of the lungs. Stress, allergies, and respiratory difficulty amplify. Liver and kidney function is consistently impeded. Digestive function, likewise, has a fair degree of pressure. Walking gait also devolves because the lordotic lumbar curve is magnified. Chronic discomfort and hip/low-back pain is a constant. It has nothing to do with added “weight” necessarily, and everything to do with compression and non-neutral postures.
I have found that people who make a targeted effort at dropping overall body fat will eventually remove visceral fat. To be sure, all of my clients who clock low DEXA scan body fat obtain low or even N/A visceral readings.
Weight may matter a little bit. But having piles of useless energy storage crushing internal organs is ruining health prospects, mental health, and general enjoyment of what could be an energized, joyful, and easy-breathing experience.
Yesterday will be the last day you made an excuse. After this, you will have in hand the tool to enslave willpower and subjugate excuses. Not only will you no longer make excuses and cite lack of willpower, you will completely dominate the concepts. Annihilate, if you want. They no longer play a role in what you do or don't do.
Let us tackle wellness. Do you have a plan for wellness during a worst-case scenario?
That is, what specifically WILL you do on your most overbooked stressful week? If there’s no plan for this, then there is no plan. I guarantee an excuse is forthcoming until you rectify this.
It was no different when I managed large teams. It is no different when I coach people in senior executive roles. Among my repeated review questions with clients is, “how will you do that on an ‘impossible week’?”. We agree on a next step, an action item, a process goal. Cool. It could be meal prep. It could be Blue Zones. It could be daily walks. It could be tracking. It could be three-day-per-week workouts. All of it is ripe for excuses and "loss of willpower" until you thoroughly answer the next question. How will you do that plan when you wake up late, feel like crap, global pandemic hits, you remember you have an anniversary this weekend, you pull a hamstring, power goes out, car breaks down, kids get sick, etc.? If you don’t INSTANTLY have an answer for these and more, you’re planning on NOT doing it. It’s an impotent plan. It’s a non-plan. It's a plan for excuses.
When you want to accomplish anything, plan what you would do toward that end WHILE sick, injured, in pain, overwhelmed, unsupported, traveling, broke, caring for a health-failing family member or friend, during monsoon or snowstorm, unmotivated, uninspired, anxious, depressed, negative, and so on.
999 out of 1,000 times when I hear people talk about fitness endeavors, the forthcoming week they describe is a fantasy. When reality hits, there is no more practice. Excuses reign.
The obvious remedy is to plan as if the week will be almost impossible. That way, when challenges come, no big deal. When challenges are moderate or low, you thrive. There is no such thing as a challenge-less week. Please stop planning as if such a thing existed. Stop planning for excuses.
This is critical. People who are expecting or waiting to have a fantasy perfect week will never follow-through, because there is no such thing. There will always be a holiday, a weekend, a tweaked muscle, a low energy day, a life or work issue, and so forth. Always.
If you just examine basic holidays, weekends, and important dates for the people in your immediate circle, there are only about 5 blocks of 3-5 consecutive days per year that look anything like what people describe in their goal-setting for weight loss or for New Years resolutions. Part of the reason why popular fitness franchises pitch 4-to-12 week programs is because they’re counting on your NOT planning for what life looks like 9-to-11 months out of the year.
The people I’ve known to be most successful at anything, including fitness, don’t have ONE less stressor or barrier to success than those who are least successful. Usually, they have more. THE differentiator is what they will tolerate as a pretext to excuse themselves from their practice. And that takes a hard examination of how to incorporate health and wellness endeavors into a packed calendar, a low energy week, a high stress day, an overspent lifestyle.
Once you embrace this, you will have made your last excuse.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
- Nelson Mandela
There are 95-and-over age brackets at track tournaments.
People scoff. I send them clips of the 102-year-old record holder: https://youtu.be/tOzCoDvRqyk
There are people missing limbs whose strength performances rival division I collegiate superstars.
People scoff. I send them clips of amputees pulling 630lb deadlifts: https://youtu.be/wnmKXzq6Zuo
There are 50-year-old moms in better shape than most of my male peers when they were in their 20s.
People scoff. I send them a clip of Olympic gymnast Oksana Chusovitina who was THE top ranked vaulter in the world just a few years ago: https://youtu.be/XNNmjH0nxWM
About 90% of billionaires are at least in their 50s, 70% are at least in their 60s, 40% are over 70. The average age for a person’s net assets to exceed the millionaire mark is their late 50s.
People scoff, ready to give up at 30, 40, 50. I forward them the FIRST book Bertha Wood ever published: https://www.amazon.com/.../ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp.... She began penning it at age 90. It first published when she was 100-years-old.
There are destitute people with no advantages who find a toehold and make a way.
People scoff. Learn Oprah’s backstory. Read Mark Mathabane’s “Kaffir Boy.” Read Nick Vujicic’s “Life Without Limits.” Jim Kwik is now a world-renowned expert on learning and memorization. Growing up, he was known as “the boy with a broken brain,” saddled with a learning disability so severe that most educators thought him a lost cause.
Disproportionately, a majority of my best clients and employees were/are minorities and very unlike me. People with broken cognition, broken thyroids, broken bodies, broken spirits, broken mentality, broken trust of society, have all shown me that they can excel specifically where others say “it’s impossible; the game is rigged.” Well, the game is rigged. I agree. But you will never catch me agreeing that it’s impossible.
Mandela was right. But he didn’t go far enough in that quote. Even after we see that it’s possible, we still round up “difficult” or “rare” to “impossible.” The resistance against improvement is so fragile and so dedicated to its victim narrative that there are now sophisticated ways to try to shame encouragement. I’ve seen simple realistic encouragement replied to as “toxic,” or “culturally insensitive,” or worse. People will insist that an event of the past must enslave them for the future. When they choose perpetual victimhood, what other conclusion is there but "impossible"?
What is more toxic and culturally insensitive than to label a well-meaning advocate as “toxic” and “insensitive”? Those labels only work for someone who is mired in their own ethnocentrism. They only “work” for an elitist and exclusivist. Absolutely, I agree that people can misuse/abuse rare or outlier stories as a way to dismiss averages and become tone deaf to underprivileged people. That does happen. But to throw the blankets of “toxicity” and “insensitivity” on every single factual item which challenges victim narratives is the bigger error. It’s the biggest error. It’s a selfish, arguably narcissistic, opinion-brandishing which seeks to undermine positivity and honest encouragement. Insisting on perpetual victimhood is primarily a way to persecute and bully others. Hurt people hurt people.
It always seems impossible until it’s done?
The mind determines what’s possible before it even tries and certainly when it doesn't know. Those who insist on victim narrative debate that all things are impossible. All things are impossible to the person who insists on remaining forever a victim to that which isn't currently happening. And possibilities unfold precisely at the juncture where we choose not to be victim, to no longer be victim, to stop imagining the present is shackling us because of our obsession with the past or the imaginary.
Unfortunately, many people let one misunderstanding destroy their health. In most cases, it destroys their lives. People clamor for fat loss and stamina; but they tend to completely ignore the single capability which makes those two things possible. When this misunderstanding runs amok, they get the trends which are only intensifying in the developed world: rapid acceleration of the loss of health. If we can just keep this one item in mind, we can begin to reclaim a lot of our lost health prospects.
There is only one thing missing in all of the elderly people in assisted care or nursing homes: strength. Some are thin. Some can walk all day. Some can stand for hours. None are strong. None. Endurance and body comp are nice. But there is only one thing we’re destined to lose when we don’t attend to it. This is a particularly damning problem, because the remaining physical abilities are all contingent on how much strength potential is left.
Be strong. Be mobile. Be enduring. Perhaps, be relatively lean. But don’t throw away health because of idolatry to body composition.
I once had a client who was in the best overall shape of her whole life just three years before she totally threw away her life. It was one of the starkest examples I’d ever witnessed of a person opting directly into rapid loss of health.
She was at her peak while we were training only twice weekly. At the time, she was plugged in with me, with a yoga practice AND a variety of endurance training and activities.
A busy season of work and life began to chip away at her availability, first bringing us to unpredictable once weekly meetings. At that point, her strength did remain, just barely. However, she stopped yoga AND any cardiorespiratory efforts. Body composition began to slightly worsen, only slightly; but it was evident that her top-end endurance vanished.
Over the course of the next two-and-a-half years, our frequency lessened all the more, all the while I increasingly encouraged her to find a way to become more plugged in through the week, perhaps finding a new yoga studio, signing up for a cycling club or ANYTHING.
I no longer had the availability to take her more than once every two-to-four weeks or so. Otherwise, I would’ve encouraged her to return to the template which worked, our original weekly split. She began reporting back “exercise” as “going for walks.” This would be a win for someone who was completely sedentary. But for someone who had been very athletic, this was a significant downgrade and a probable sign of continued worsening.
In exercise science studies, strength can be maintained and even built a little in as infrequently as once weekly. If it’s a targeted practice, there need not be high frequency. In fact, too much frequency will not allow progress. But at far less than once weekly and with no real targeted effort, strength will vanish. This is not “getting older.” This is a specific request we make to the body, pleading to get weaker. Young people, too, get weaker if they train the body to get weaker.
Unfortunately, strength is the key to all other aspects of health and fitness. Endurance, mobility and body comp can all be achieved pretty rapidly once there’s strength aplenty. Without strength, they’re a dice roll at best and an impossibility at worst.
Long story short, this same client I described above decided to become incredibly weak. The first thing I noticed was that her frequency of colds and regular illness skyrocketed. I tend to followup with people for years after we worked together, just to check in and make sure they’re alright. In her case, every check-in was substantially worse than the prior. I worried for her, as she had become quite slight, and now had really big risks of bone break or trauma with even a light fall. In fact, this is precisely what happened almost at the three year mark to the day from when she’d let busyness first distract her. She took a routine simple fall at work one day, resulting in traumatic brain injury. In the three years since, she has not recovered cognitive function. She did not rebuild her strength. And without rebuilding it, I don’t see her making a neurological comeback.
I still check on her. At last look, she was attending her therapy, but had become even less regular in her fitness practices than when we discontinued working together.
The most worrisome report of hers was the all-or-nothing false religion that so many Americans errantly believe. Since she couldn’t be immediately lean and high cardiorespiratory output, why bother even strengthening, right? Never mind you’ll never get the leanness and high output capability without strength. I worry for her. I worry for a lot of people in the developed world.
Her false religion is ubiquitous. If people can’t lose weight readily, they quit strengthening. If people don’t have high cardiorespiratory capacity, they stop with mobility practices. This single misunderstanding is literally killing us.
Fitness is bigger than magazine covers. And force production is THE ONLY thing that will keep you out of the nursing home. There are plenty flexible, thin people with endurance in the nursing home. There isn’t one person at the nursing home who can squat 200-500lbs.
Don’t throw away your health just because you misunderstand fitness. Don’t let this one item destroy your life.
Almost. Researchers are finding that if we use a peptide (GLP-1) or related drug to artificially suppress appetite, people can keep about 40lbs off at one year after the weight loss: https://healthsciences.ku.dk/.../researchers-find-the.../ .
This is sognificant, because in studies and at medical weight loss clinics, the 10 year follow-up is a 99% fail rate. At the 2-3 year follow-up, over 90% of success stories, testimonials, and jaw-dropping transformations turn to complete failures. It’s so bad that most clinics won’t even publish anything after year 3.
I have clients who are 80-150lbs lighter at 10-20 year follow-up. I have peers who do as well. I’ve seen outliers. They exist. There are people 200+lbs lighter at 5, 10, 15 years later. It is exceeding rare; but it exists. In ALL of these cases, I’ve only witnessed the continually successful approach being centered around long-term development of strength and habit-building for athleticism. On the dietary side, tactics vary greatly. Some had surgical alteration of the body so they can’t physically binge easily. Others rely on a cocktail of drugs. VERY FEW lock in a lifelong balanced practice with regard to food.
Thus, although I’m as anti-intervention as you can get, perhaps we have to acknowledge that the most widespread substance abuse and drug addiction is food and drama. You heard me: people are friggin ADDICTED to food, stress, and drama. AND, frankly, it’s maybe going to take medications for most people. Drug therapy may not be ideal. But if the average people walking around are severely mentally ill junkies, it’s probably not going to work to tell them “move more; eat less.” That’s to say nothing about how that advice misses the point altogether: a lot of people need to eat MORE of nutrients in order to keep excess useless body mass off. A lot of people need to learn to stop getting high from seeking and choosing drama and chronically invoking stress responses. Yes. It’s a real thing. We dump dopamine and get high when we thrust our brains into drama:
It sounds odd to people who don’t study human behavior as their profession. But there is an opiate-like high from the drama of wrecking your health, quitting a healthy diet, sabotaging love-ones, stressing work environments, engaging in useless debates, and so on. That’s right: there is a mental “payoff” from failing. There is a psychological “benefit” from drama addiction.
So, incretin drugs like GLP-1 may play a critical role in offsetting the widespread self-destruction. With appetite more sated, people won’t get quite as high from sabotaging themselves. This has to do with the neurotransmitter balance associated with satiety and hunger-reduction. To a certain extent, cravings and hunger are a yearning for drama. They are the withdrawal symptoms of sobriety. People tell me “the craving/hunger is overwhelming.” And I say, “welcome to sobriety.” Getting and staying sober is a daily journey. You don’t get the luxury to quit your addiction without a single withdrawal symptom.
That’s probably where GLP-1 can step in. I’d add that you should also pay attention to nutrient sufficiency, choline and cholinomimetics until you’re past the 3-5 year barrier. But all of that is going to take more than popping a pill a day, which is simply too much for people. On average, anything beyond a pill from the doc is too much. Just a reminder that half of people who would die from skipping a life-saving pill DO SKIP taking that one simple daily step: https://www.uspharmacist.com/.../medication-adherence-the...
Morbid obesity in America DOUBLED in the exact same period of time that FitBit and other tracking technology exploded into popularity. Obviously, I believe in health and fitness. Absolutely people should incorporate healthy behaviors. But human behavior doesn’t care about exercise science, nutrition science, or logic. Rational approaches to irrational problems can’t cut it. We need non-rational solutions to our non-rational problems.
Paradoxically, swapping one drug for another may be precisely the answer. I hate to say it. But I am ultimately a pragmatist. We have to do what works, regardless of what we believed “should be.” And right now, GLP-1 is looking pretty good for people who just straight up are not going to manage themselves or develop discipline.
Sustainable weight loss is here; it just may look unlike anything we expected. And that could be a good thing.
“Not one of you can out-will me. You may have been born with more genetic prowess than I have. But you cannot out-determine me. You can’t out-will me. You can’t out-want me. You can’t out-work me. You can’t out-desire me.”
- CT Fletcher
People ask about the right diet or workout plan. All of it is superfluous and immaterial without a mindset like CT Fletcher.
Your total program could be one single push-up and one single squat. The next day two. The next day three. In six months, 200 and 200. In a year, 500 and 500.
Your total program could be two days of total body lifting and four 30-minute jogs.
Your total program could be whole food, paleo, vegan, etc.
None of that matters AT ALL. Without a mindset like CT Fletcher, it wouldn’t matter if you had infinite resources, personal chefs, trainers, and more. Look at Oprah. No one on earth has had a greater advantage at being in shape than she; and she cannot even pull it off a little bit. It’s not her priority. It’s not where she allocates her drive. She’s not a bad person or weak. She just will not apply herself for wellness. Not another genetic gift, dollar spent, or hour of freedom will make that choice for her.
What WILL you do? That’s it. In 5 years, what WILL you do? In 10 years, what WILL you do?
People talk about starting a business, changing a social structure, altering their lifestyles. Consulting groups ask tens of thousands of dollars to help you build business plans. MBA programs ask 100k. Advocacy groups ask for your law degree. Weight loss apps ask for your credit card.
Without the mindset, none of it matters AT ALL. You could argue that people putting their money where their mouth is would be a testament to the mindset. I disagree. I’ve coached double-PhD researchers who were deep in depression, MDs and lawyers who wished they ran a bakery, multi-millionaires who begged for significance, and fitness celebrities with imposter syndrome. People can talk. Hell, they can even succeed in spades and still be unfulfilled.
You’re always going to be confronted with the same question whether you live on the street or in a penthouse suite: “How do I crush today?” Every single day comes again: “how will I show up TODAY?”. I know people who thought they could ride their own coattails into the sunset. They achieved every worldly checkbox of big houses, planes, etc. and are the saddest, hollowest individuals on earth. A lotto ticket today will not help you crush your day in 10 years. Only mindset will dictate how you show up tomorrow. The cover of Forbes today will not help you crush the day in two years. A weightloss win today will not say anything about crushing the day tomorrow.
Only mindset will. Only mindset will. Only mindset will.
Every single advantage on planet earth will not guarantee you know how to answer that question any better than every disadvantage on planet earth. I don’t like the silver-spooners any more than you do. They’ve never had to confront life in a real way. But they still have to find significance, meaning, and internal validation. Their intrinsic motivation is actually at a severe disadvantage. That can’t be gifted in a trust fund. That can’t be found in a bequest. That isn’t bestowed at a board meeting.
Work ethic is built by numero uno alone. Mindset is chosen by the one in the driver seat alone. Internal development of character does not get an external booster. And it wouldn’t matter anyway. We’ve been dealt our cards. We can play them like CT Fletcher. Or we can keep whining about how we need another hand. None of us are getting another hand. And even if you were, we still have to choose how to play it.