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Published on October 18, 2018

The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds

The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds

“If I drink this supplement, will I lose 40 pounds in two weeks?”

– the older man’s eyes stared at me vividly.

Another consultation with a new member in the fitness center that I manage. And yet another person that fell prey to the marketing-trap of a supplement company that promised immediate results.

Rapid weight loss is enticing. It speaks to our human nature. It’s unfortunately also a false fantasy of ours at the same time.

The truth is that while you might be able to lose weight in a very short time, it’s practically impossible to keep it off. Here’s why and how you can actually shed pounds – sustainably and continuously.

The Little Secret Behind Rapid Weight Loss

I’ve talked about this multiple times:

I’ve googled ‘2 weeks transformation’ about 5 years ago. It’s when I started working out and didn’t see the expected results.

As a training newbie, I stood in front of the mirror and thought: This is not what I’ve signed up for. Full 14-days of relentless training and a strict diet and I still wasn’t seeing the results that I’ve wanted.

My envy suddenly started getting bigger, as I scrolled through pictures about those short-term transformations with incredible results. A sixpack after 2 weeks? It all seemed so easy.

What was I doing wrong? Is there a crucially important supplement that I’ve forgot to take?

Of course not everything in my workout schedule was perfect. I didn’t have the right knowledge, persistence nor a coach back then.

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Yet I was on the right track, I’ve made that first step. But I was missing the most crucial factor of it all: Patience.

The Key to Patience

A mentor of me once told me bluntly: You can have it all young man. You can be a great salesman. You can be an entrepreneur. You can run a successful business. As long as you just freaking refuse to give up.

Is it that simple? It is.

I’ve came into a management position at a young age not because I’m the brightest. But because I’ve outlasted my colleagues. I’ve showed more tenacity and persistence at the right point, which eventually led to a promotion after a promotion.

There are a lot of similarities between business and the results in the gym. There are just different rewards.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a time when you should quit. In fact, I’m a proponent of the mentality of ‘failing fast’. Yet there’s a distinction to be made between a strategy that isn’t working because of it’s content, or because of the lack of time.

For a more in-depth article of how long it takes to build muscle and lose fat, take a look at my other article: How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

The Art of Weight Loss

“You will never get a sixpack.”

– most of my friends after I told them that I joined a gym.

Yet here I am, writing this article, with abdominal muscles. Flashing the structural appearance of a 6-pack. I shall repeat again: Weight loss is simple, but not easy.

It’s not easy because it goes against our nature. We all have to know that our ancestors dealt with much rougher situation than we did. Over millions of years our genome has evolved to store energy. No, to hold on to energy with all of their might, to prepare for rainy days.

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Only in the recent decades we’ve went from scarcity to absolute abundance. The supermarket just around my corner, in beautiful Switzerland, contains ripe fruits from all over the world. Packaged, conserved foods that can be stored in our shelf for years to come.

While our recently-evolved, self-conscious forebrain is demanding us to keep losing 10 more pounds, our genome is subconsciously desperately trying to hold on to all of those energy storages.

Fat cells used to be our friends, now they’re enemies. (Find out more about the reason why here.)

How To Trick Your Genome

What if I told you that there is a way to soothe your genome and your brain at the same time? How can we manipulate both of these entities to reach our goals?

Here’s everything that you need to know about substantial and sustainable weight loss in one sentence: Calories and satiety are not linked. I repeat: Calories and satiety are not linked!

We can eat a huge McDonalds meal with thousands of calories. But still feel hungry after one hour. We can spoon ice cream late at night – and the only time we feel satiated is after we’re weighing 2 more pounds.

On the other hand we can eat 1-2 cups of broccoli or spinach and often feel full. What matters is the caloric density and the 7 crucial factors influencing satiety.

The 7 Facts About Satiety

Hunger and satiety are sensations. Satiety is the absence of hunger. If we feel satiated, we feel full. If we feel full often we’re more likely to stick to a diet.

If calories are not linked to satiety, which factors are then? Luckily in 1995 there was a study, where people were given servings of 38 foods. Here’s what they found:

The researchers concluded:[1]

Servings of different foods vary greatly in their satiating capacity.

And the effect of a food on one’s satiety is important, as the satiety heavily influences our future eating behaviour – logically. These are the components that played a role.

Foods That Influence the Satiety Levels

1. Fiber

Fiber fills up your stomach and speeds up the digestion through your small intestine. This means that less macronutrients will get absorbed. Therefore also less calories. Foods containing fibre-entrapped natural sugars produced the highest satiety scores in the whole studies. Let’s eat our veggies and fruits!

2. Sensory information

Studies have shown that our sensory information can play a huge part in our satiety. We’re primed to seek a variety of foods. But if we routinize the habit of eating and mostly eat the same foods during our eating breaks, satiety might come earlier.[2]

3. Water

If a food contains more water, it will naturally also be less calorie dense. Not only that, but the increased water content also fills up our stomach more. Boosting our feelings of satiety.

4. Protein and carbohydrates

Protein and carbohydrates (despite the refined sugar of course) seem to have great satiating effects. Both of these macronutrients can therefore help you lose fat more easily. But stay away from fatty products, as fat was inversely correlated with satiety. Plus fat contains nearly double the calories.

Other Factors That Influence the Satiety Levels

5. Plate size

The bigger the plate size, the more calories you will consume.[3]

6. Amount of fat cells

Our fat cells, scientifically called adipocytes, release a hormone called leptin. Leptin levels are significantly higher in obese individuals. This is a bad thing. When we start dieting, our leptin level goes down fast – too fast. An indication to our brain that we’re starving. We suddenly feel hunger, have reduced motivation and burn less calories at rests. This means that if we’re overweight, our body wants to keep us like that.[4]

7. Serotonin

Ever wondered why chocolate is so addictive? This tasty, dark food is releasing serotonine in our bodies. To the same extent as cigarettes. This explains why stress makes some people gain a lot of weight. They crave that good-feeling neurotransmitter that gets released by our brain neurons. This means that the less stress we have and the better we feel, the more satiety we will experience.[5]

The Next Steps

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln

It’s time that we start thinking long-term when it comes to weight reduction. Because we have to realize that if we use the dieting approach to weight loss we’re losing both muscle mass and fat mass.

This means that every time we start a diet it gets harder, not easier. If we quit a diet – or worse: we gain all the weight back – we enter a negative spiral.

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It’s therefore absolutely crucial that we start with the end in mind. We have to start a diet that is sustainable for months to come. There are three ways to do that:

1. Keep satiety as your main focus

While a calorie deficit is important we also have to focus on staying full. If our brain thinks we’re starving, our diet is doomed to fail.

If we fight against our genome we enter a war we can not win. Willpower isn’t enough.

2. Add weightlifting and cardiovascular training to your schedule

This way we can better the ratio of lost fat mass and lost muscle mass. Increased muscle mass will also make it easier to keep off the weight, as it increases our caloric need. And we can eat more, which is a great plus!

3. Instead of fundamentally changing your diet plan, add incremental changes.

While I offer professional meal plans at my website, I also stress the need to incrementally adapt to the new dieting approach.

A diet shouldn’t necessarily be a diet. It should be a long-term dietary change for the better. We lay the groundwork to our dieting success by beginning with the end in mind.

Conclusion

Rapid weight loss is a false fantasy. There’s no supplement that will help you lose 40 pounds in 2 weeks.

It’s practically impossible to keep the weight off long-term, because the dietary switch was never sustainable in the first place. The 7 key components of satiety, the physical training and the method of incremental changes weren’t applied properly.

Instead of focusing on short-term results, we should pay special attention to long-term habit change.

Because weight loss is a trojan horse. We might expect superficial results like an improved look in the mirror. But if we begin with the end in mind and if we focus on long-term habit change, it affects multiple components of our existence. In fact, some clients of ours told me happily that they’ve got – no they’ve earned – a new life.

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Featured photo credit: Meghan Holmes via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: A satiety index of common foods
[2] Rolls, Hetherington, Burley & van Duijvenvoorde, 1986: Sensory information
[3] Obes Sci Pract.: How does plate size affect estimated satiation and intake for individuals in normal‐weight and overweight groups?
[4] Nature: Leptin and the regulation of body weight in mammals.
[5] Obes Res. : Brain Serotonin, Carbohydrate-Craving, Obesity and Depression.

More by this author

Florian Wüest

Qualified and experienced fitness trainer and online coach.

Why You Should Keep a Fitness Journal to Jumpstart Weight Loss The Truth Behind Rapid Weight Loss and the Best Way to Shed Pounds How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss? How Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Keeps Hunger at Bay While Plant Based The Biggest Myth Debunked: The More Protein You Eat, the Faster You Build Muscles?

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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