Thursday, 9 March 2017

Post 48: Swinging the Other Way


Hi guys,


Welcome to this week’s post which, I’ll admit, has an odd title. This week is part confessional, part practical, and is related to Post 46 (found here). Whereas that dealt with what happens when your diet ends on a hormonal level, this post is going to talk about the practical advice to make sure that all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.


Recently, I rolled up to the counter to pay for my lunch, and the cashier commented on how much food I was eating… but was still so slim! Humble bragging aside, this is because I follow a few principles which has meant I’ve maintained my results. What impresses people the most is not just the weight I lost, but my ability to keep it off.  


That’s why this post is called “swinging the other way”; as I said in Post 46, once you hit your target you’re likely to swing 10-20% back to your old habits. You feel like you’re indulging, but you’re doing really well compared to before.


This comes with an important disclaimer: you have to go through immersion first to reach this stage. Making small changes here and there makes you feel restricted because you haven’t broken your old beliefs around food. Breaking beliefs requires big changes.




So to begin with, here are my confessions. These are the “off-blog” activities that aren’t publicised. I can already hear the haters chuckling away to themselves: “he’s no different to the rest of us…”:


  1. I drink a lot more often than I used to (on two or three nights a week; commonly no more than two drinks), and sometimes even beer (!!! - C).
  2. I eat a takeaway once every other week.
  3. I eat a lot more carbs; still not as much compared to the western diet. What I eat would still be considered low carb.
  4. I go to the gym twice a week rather than three times.
  5. I often eat too many polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs); this isn’t much of a confession to the layperson but having reached close to what I believe was a state of perfect personal health, it is for me.
  6. I stopped meditating; similar vein as the above.


The horror! Before some of you hyperventilate, here are some of the rules I’ve put in place to ensure I don’t go all the way back:


  1. I never buy bread, pasta, grains, etc. when I’m doing my weekly shopping.
  2. I don’t indulge using unhealthy food, but instead up the portions of the good stuff. For example, when I’m at restaurants, I don’t mind going for a load of “compliant” sides/starters.
  3. I never miss a workout; even though I’ve gone from three to two per week, I never miss those two. That’s because I make it easy to do so. My gym is at work, and I go at lunch times. Making your good habits convenient is half the battle.
  4. I eat a ketogenic diet half the week, and a diet including carbs the other half. The carb days will coincide with my workout days and with weekends.
  5. Don't stop taking your supplements: for me that means keep up with my vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium, and krill oil. They're there to make sure you feel great and don't get ill, and let's face it, are actually pretty convenient.
  6. I keep reading and watching health related media; when I come across an article on health on popular websites, I see what they have to say, and compare it to what I believe. I watch a few YouTubers and listen to a few podcasts. It’s all to keep the motivation going.


For long term readers, you’ll recognise the theme of pre-commitment: saying you’ll do certain things before the fact to lay the foundations of future success.


But if there was one rule to follow, it’s to simply keep measuring where you are. If you had a weight target, keep weighing yourself, for example. This stops “the surprise” two years down the road where you realise that you’d gone back the other way, and then some!


So this all brings me back to where we started, and our disclaimer. If you don’t have the immersive experience, then you’ll feel restricted. The restriction will create the pressure cooker effect, and eventually you’ll spring back, going further than where you started. By pushing yourself initially, you change your expectations and rather than pressure to return to your old ways, you’ll feel pressure to forge ahead and achieve more results. At that point, by swinging back in small ways, you relieve the pressure, and come to peace with your new self.


These are this week’s takeaways:
  1. Initial immersion is a must to keep this whole endeavour long term.
  2. Set some ground rules for yourself post-diet.
  3. Whatever you do, make sure you keep measuring whatever you were targeting in the first place.


Until next time,

Cowlean

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