I think we can all agree that all of the above are addictive. That does not mean that everyone who does any of the above is addicted to it. Some folks are recreational substance, legal and illegal, users. But what it does mean is that people love all of the above, but why?
The answer is very simple. All of the above make people feel good. Actually, they make people feel great! It is called getting high, or catching a buzz.
It might sound like I am encouraging you to do or try some of the substances I pictured above, but I don’t have to. Statistically, almost every adult reading this has tried at least one of the above. And if you have only drank alcohol in your life, and you think that it is much different then the other substances in consequences and addiction, statistics tell a different story. There are an average of 85,000 alcohol related deaths a year in the U.S. of A., and we all know at least one person who can’t put down the “feel good juice”.
I am not hear to preach though, because I have indulged in adult drinks many times as an adult and probably will do so on a few more occasions, minimum.
But who are we trying to fool? Humans love to feel good. That is why we do drugs, legal and illegal, abuse prescription pills, eat crap, watch TV instead of do the other 100 or so more productive things that we should be doing. Wait, let me get my dictionary. Oh yeah, it’s called procrastination (good word). Remember, my first language is El Espanol, so I know very few words over 10 letters long.
The other long word I know is “supercalifragilisticaspialidocious”. But I found out in grade school that supercal…whatever was not really a word when my teacher asked me to describe my summer vacation and I went on to say it was supercali…whatever out loud, in front of all the other kids. They laughed out loud, but then I laughed back, internally, during math, when I whipped everyone and received an award for “Arithmetic Excellence”. (true story)
Ok, so far I have established that drugs, crappy foods, and inactive activities feel great! and are supercali…whatever. But what does that have to do with weight loss? It has everything to do with weight loss. Humans seek activities, chemicals, foods, and drinks that release the feel good chemicals dopamine or serotonin, or both. On the hierarchy (nice word Hector, but it’s one letter short of ten) of things you want to do, and not have to do, like work, eating vegetables and clean protein, and working out, is very low.
Think about it. Who wants to eat vegetables, a tiny bit of rice, and a piece of protein the size of a deck of cards, when you can have a fat cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake instead?
Who wants to go workout, when you can watch others be tortured on TV instead?
Who wants to take Zumba or go to an aerobics class, when you can just sit home and watch others dance?
Who wants to participate in a grueling boot-camp, hosted by me, a prior Marine thank you very much, that will make you sore as hell the next day, when you can just sit at home and watch some TV special about Marines or Navy Seal training?
Below, those are called Marine log drills because they are all sharing in holding up a big ass log the size of a telephone pole. Everyone has to do their part, so their fellow soldier doesn’t have to pick up the slack. The dude in the yellow that looks like a real life pit-bull is a drill instructor. He is making sure no one slacks off, and if you do slack off, well let’s just say you will be exercising for a very long time AFTER you’re done with the log drills.
It is simple, and I don’t believe I am about to write the following, but working out and eating clean much of the time is no fun and sucks, compared to other stuff we can be doing and eating. That is why losing weight and being fit is such a challenge. It is more mentally challenging than physically challenging. Everything we do starts with a thought.
And if your thoughts don’t view exercise and clean eating as beneficial, and no feel good chemicals are released when you think about weight loss activities, losing weight will be a challenge.
Here’s a simple experiment that I made up in college. My degree is from UOL, University of Life. (Tuition at UOL is practically free, but you are not guaranteed employment).
Think about exercising, eating vegetables and clean protein, and drinking water. Now close your eyes and really focus on it. How do you feel? If negative feelings were released, there is part of the problem. Your body doesn’t relate exercising and eating healthy to feeling good. And why should it, when we already have established that there are so many other things we rather do than workout and eat healthy.
Now think about pizza, burgers, other fast foods, alcohol, and any other chemicals you enjoy. You sense that good feeling you get just from thinking about certain foods and chemicals, that’s the challenge and hold up in your weight loss battle. You, like many others, enjoy foods and activities that are counter productive to weight loss.
People who lose weight, like 50 pounds or more, at some point start relating unhealthy and calorie dense foods to being overweight, and they also relate being overweight to being unhappy physically and emotionally. The relating of being overweight to being unhappy is a difficult realization to achieve, or even stumble upon. And reversing it, shedding pounds in the name of physical and emotional joy, is even more difficult. If it was easy, people would be losing weight left and right. But as we all know, this is not the case.
So what is the solution? The following is from UOL too. First you have to find an emotional or physical reason to lose weight, and hang on to it like a toddler does his favorite toy, with all your might. You have to have a reason. Here are some examples of reasons that I have received from clients and friends that have lost 20 pounds or more.
1. They lost weight for their kids. They want to set the example to their children and be a healthy parent as their children age.
2. They had a health scare. (This one works very well by the way). Either high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetic, fatty liver, or some other reason that could be assigned a medical measurement, lit a fire under their ass and pushed them in the right direction.
3. They woke up one day and couldn’t believe they weighed what they weighed.
4. They saw a picture or video of themselves and couldn’t believe how they looked.
5. They got out of a relationship that was sabotaging their weight loss efforts.
6. And some people were just tired of being overweight.
I am sure there are other reasons for weight loss, but the above are the most common.
After you find your reason or reasons for weight loss, you must take action by eating less and moving more. I know, I know, it’s not fun. But remember, you have some powerful reasons now. Give yourself some time and realize that weight isn’t gained over night and weight isn’t lost overnight either, unless you cut off your leg or something. DO NOT CUT YOUR LEG OFF.
And finally, after a few months or so, when you have lost 20 or 30 pounds or more, you will start to release dopamine when you workout. Why? Because your body, and more specifically your brain, will begin to relate exercising with weight loss. And ALL clients that I have had, especially women, who have lost 30 or more pounds become extremely happy with themselves and view exercise as something that helps them feel good (dopamine).
Find your reasons for weight loss and hang on to them for dear life. Bust your ass and lose weight. As a result of your weight loss, your body will view busting your ass as a good thing and begin to enjoy exercise.
The hard part is losing the initial 20 to 30 pounds. Good luck.