Losing weight can be hard work, but, as Gary Dawkins,
of Creative Conditioning at River Ridge Retreat, writes, the
toughest part isn't in the gym.
Photo by Rachael Kelly.
To anyone looking on, someone battling to carve fat from
their figure and achieve some health and fitness goals is
involved in a physical struggle.
It's the arms and legs that are pumping away and the lungs
that are sucking in the big breaths.
But the most important battleground when it comes to fat-loss
health and fitness goals, is, in fact, the mind.
Indeed, it has been estimated that the mind accounts for
about 85% of the likelihood of a person achieving their
goals. The remaining 15% consists of other components, such
as exercise type and quantity, nutrition, resting metabolic
rate, gender, stress levels etc.
Despite this, most of the readily available information on
health and fitness concentrates on the components that make
up that 15%, remaining relatively silent on the decisive 85%.
Think about it for a moment.1. How long has it taken you to
form your current habits? Years and years, I bet.2. How hard
is it to change the way you think when it comes to subjects
that involve strong emotions? Changing the way you think
about losing weight can fall fairly neatly into that
category, making it extremely hard to get a new perspective.
Rather than challenge ourselves to think beyond the way we
have always behaved, it is easy to simply keep reading the
latest exercise and nutrition fads. We can put off the evil
day by reassuring ourselves we will start our new weight-loss
plan tomorrow, based on the new exercise and nutrition
information we have just learned about. Yet tomorrow seldom
Research suggests that most people experience their best
long-lasting fat-loss health and fitness results when they
are forced to. This usually follows an extremely ''painful''
event in their lives. For example, maybe the doctor has
recently diagnosed the early signs of diabetes.
Let me ask a couple of questions.
Would it be easier to learn about the tools that, when
applied to you, will lead to rapid and long-lasting health
and fitness results? Or is it easier to wait until there is
enough pain in your life to ''force'' you to make the
Over the past 16 years as a personal trainer I have only ever
observed lasting positive changes in my clients' health and
fitness when they have changed their thinking and then acted
on this change. And by this I mean their long-term thinking.
Remember this: anyone can sail a ship in calm seas. It takes
a real ''captain of their thoughts'' to sail a ship in rough
When people incorporate the latest behavioural change
techniques into their lives, significant change is possible
almost immediately. There are many ways to apply the correct
behavioural change tools. For some people it requires a
complete reshuffle of their values and where they prioritise
health and fitness in their ''life values'' list.
I find this technique of values elicitation very interesting.
Often when people write down their values they afford health
and fitness a high placing on their list. But when we dig
deeper and find out how they are actually living on a daily
basis we determine that, in fact, health and fitness are
given little priority. For example, someone may place health
and fitness at No 2 on their list - sitting just behind
family, but following a daily nutrition analysis it may
emerge that they have takeaways for dinner six nights a week.
It is obvious then that this person does not value health and
fitness as highly as they think they do.
Make a change
Some tools to use now to change some habits. -
• Write a full page on how the way you think about fat loss
has negatively affected your ability to achieve the results
you want. Be honest.
• Write down a list of 20 values you have in life. These
values may include family, career, education, and health and
fitness, and so on.
• Now write down these 20 values in the order you have been
living them by. Do not write them down in the order you wish
you were living them. Again, be honest.
• Now carefully select the seven values from this list that
are most important to you now and into the future.
• This process will provide new insights to you immediately.
It is the first step in helping you to change any habits not
aligned with your fat-loss desires.
Did you know?
• For 80% of people, gym memberships are a complete waste of
money. Research suggests that only 20% to 25% of people who
sign up to a long-term gym membership actually keep going any
longer than three weeks. Yet they keep paying for at least 12
• Why? Because their mind is not willing to do what they
''think'' they dislike - exercise and/or healthy
• If these 80% of people do not want to waste any more
hard-earned money, they have only one option - learn the
correct behavioural change techniques that work for them
first, and then sign up to a gym.