Tuesday, 28 March 2017

30 Day Cowlean Challenge, Day Nine: Band of Brothers

Hi guys,

Weigh-in: 204.8 lbs
Calories: 3150 kcals

Not bad at all. We’re heading to new low weigh-in levels (204.4 was the lowest so far) and when I was at the gym today I caught the outline of an elusive six-pack. While I despise the woe-is-me mindset, I do think my pale skin means I have to go even (Cow) leaner in order to see the money maker.

When it comes to goal setting, and progressing in life, I’m quite a solitary guy. I find that when I scurry away and move mountains on my own, that’s when things really get done. But that’s the topic for tomorrow, today we’re going to take a quick look at the benefits of losing weight with another person or with a group.

The first and main benefit of teaming up is accountability. You have to be honest and open with your results, and you feel like you’re letting other people down when you slip up. The positive balance to that is that when you slip up (because everyone does!), there’ll be people there to be empathetic and get you right back on the wagon. Accountability is number one because your progress becomes external.

The second benefit is social. Whereas the solo dieter has to work his or her lifestyle around other people, the band of brothers have each other for company; people who are eager to hear about new techniques, read interesting articles, or spot you at the gym! If you have a look back at my article on happy hormones, you’ll recognise the presence of oxytocin here.

Getting healthy as a team is effectively all about environmental design. If you want to achieve something, you should set up your environment to make it easier. So if your aim to go for a brisk walk before work each morning, set out all your clothes the night before. Another example would be food prep: get everything chopped during a frenetic thirty minutes on the weekend then have everything to hand during the week.

Assuming that you’re someone who gets better results in teams (and there isn’t a right answer here; I’m certainly not one of these people), I’d recommend that there still needs to be a leader. This is the person who sets up the Facebook or WhatsApp group and consistently posts what they’re working on and how they’re doing. It certainly shouldn’t be condescending, but you should be posting your results like clockwork.

I’d also limit the size of the group to four people. It can be tempting to be too inclusive, which leads to the group getting too big. When some people can hide on the sidelines, everyone else is tempted to as well.

My last piece of advice, and this might sound odd coming from someone who’s doing a daily blog challenge, is don’t talk about it that much! Do you remember when you were a kid and you and your friends had a great idea? Then you spent the next day talking about it and completely burned your enthusiasm out? It still happens to us now. For this to be a long-term thing, you’re going to need to play it cool…

Until tomorrow,


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