Reading with Your Ears

Books are such a gift. Aside from that chocolate crispy layer of an ice cream cake, there is NOTHING better on this planet than listening to a great book while going for a nice walk.

It doesn’t hurt that this is my view:

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts are FANTASTIC tools when it comes to achieving your fitness goals. This is especially true if you’re not the biggest fan of exercise. For more details on why, check out my post on Temptation Bundling and also my Serial Challenge for Gym Haters.

You don’t have to suffer while you exercise. If you keep a healthy diet, a nice walk with a book is just fine to keep you in shape.

Additional benefits:

  • For awkward people – You’ll always have new things to talk about
  • For premature geriatrics – Music is loud
  • For people who hate exercise – A compelling book means a 30 minute walk becomes two hours
  • For people who want to impress other people – Your friends will wonder how you got so fit AND so smart

Pro-Tips

Pro-tip: If you’re buying from Audible.com, listen to a sample first. Make sure you like the narration.

Pro-pro-tip: Audiobooks are expensive. Many local libraries provide free remote access to a wide variety of audiobooks.  Call your library to find out if they offer this service.

Here is my audio-reading list from the past few months:

  • “Bold” by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
  • “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan
  • “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan
  • “Go Wild” by John Ratey & David Perlmutter
  • “Thinking in Pictures” by Temple Grandin
  • “The Autistic Brain” by Temple Grandin

I highly recommend any of the books from this list. I especially enjoyed the Temple Grandin books.

If you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear.  My preference is non-fiction, but I’m open.

And now, for my walk 🙂

Happy “reading”!

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Seven Magic Pills to Regulate Your Appetite

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          These magic DNA pills will give you thigh gap.

I spent 26 years looking for a magic pill to regulate my appetite.  I spent the last two years finding quite a few.

  1. Veggies and Fat with Every Meal. Non-negotiable. And yes, this includes breakfast.
  2. Eggs. The best food to ever exit a chicken’s pu**y. Need I say more?
  3. Start Your Diet with a Juice Fast. Good for you? Bad for you? I don’t know. But a few days of juice torture and I promise you  this – either you will be dead, or your appetite will be.
  4. Water with Every Meal. I know you know this already. Don’t roll your eyes at me.
  5. Hot Soup with Every Meal. Even in the Summertime. I wanna see you sweat!
  6. Intermittent Fasting. It works for me. Try it.
  7. Never eat carbs alone. Trust me, you won’t stop.
  8. Drive Slow Homie. If you can’t control your appetite, don’t begin a diet and exercise regimen at the same time. First get used to your new eating habits.

FAQ’s

1. What if I want a donut?

You can have one. But only if you eat a large plate of veggies first.

2. What if I want a chicken parm sandwich?

See question one.

3. What do I do if I hate all of your suggestions, and I’d rather be stuck to my couch? 

It’s a free world! Do it. Couches are comfortable.

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Temptation Bundling

Woman exercising on treadmill in gym

 

In yesterday’s post, I posed a challenge for those who struggle to find gym motivation.

I  love psychology. And I believe that pairing gym visits with a particularly engaging story can help you not only find the motivation you need to show up, but also cause you to associate more positive feelings with the gym in the future.

The challenge is a form of “Temptation Bundling.”

Willpower is Half Motivation

Willpower isn’t just willpower. Really, it’s a combined term for two aspects of a human trait:
1. The strength of a desire; and
2. The willingness and ability to actually perform a concrete action in furtherance of that desire

If you know absolutely nothing about math, but know that you’ll get $500 if you learn Trig by next year, you might learn it.

But if you know absolutely nothing about math, but you know that your first born will be killed if you can’t figure it out in the same time frame, the odds of you learning it are much higher.

It’s an oversimplification to chalk this all up to dopamine, but certainly it plays a role. Motivation is related to attention. And attention is related to things that matter to you. Like your first-born not being thrown into a river.

Stack the Deck in Your Favor 

Things that matter to you can improve your willpower by increasing your attention, and therefore your motivation.

So make a conscious effort to make mundane things matter more. This is how you stack the deck in your favor.

It will help you in two different ways:

[1] Activation Energy. Increased attention provides the initial interest and activation energy you need to get started and get over initial hurdles.

[2] Habit Formation  Performing any activity will begin your brain on the journey of creating a habit. Doing it in an interested state will likely make it stick better.  As they say, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” Soon enough, you’ll enjoy a semi-automatic behavior, the familiarity of which will bring you comfort and joy.  You just need a little help getting there.

Use Temptation Bundling

Temptation bundling is just one hack of many that you can use to increase your motivation, and thus, your willpower. Bundle an enjoyable activity with a less enjoyable one, and keep the association strict. 

In order to do this effectively, you’ll have to know yourself.

For example, I love audiobooks, and I don’t have much of an attention span for television. I like certain shows, but I can’t focus on a show while exercising. You might experience the exact opposite.

If you LOVE a particular show, then ONLY watch that show at the gym. I personally do the same with audiobooks.

More Examples of Temptation Bundling for Fitness

  1. Make a pact with a friend you don’t see often, but whose company you thoroughly enjoy.  For the next three months, you are only going to hang out at the gym. This is you time.
  2. Listen to your favorite audiobook only while exercising.
  3. Watch your favorite TV show only while exercising.
  4. Have a small piece of chocolate every time you exercise! And at no other time.
  5. Splurge on cute gym clothes, so that whenever you are at the gym you feel like the hottest ticket
  6. If you are motivated by physical challenges, then spend the first 2 minutes of your workout racing yourself on the treadmill and try to beat your old times.

Many people do these things without even realizing. Often, these are the people who experience the most success.

If you don’t do these things naturally, then it’s very important to be concrete in your temptation bundling rule and action.

The only person you are trying to help here is yourself, and a concrete behavior is what you need to get the habit formation going.

If you have any other tips and tricks, I’d love to hear. And I’d also love to hear how any of these tips work out for you.

Happy Bundling 🙂

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To Lose 30 Pounds, Aim for Eight.

 

Successful diet
“Yes! I ate a whole slice of pizza and only gained seven pounds”

So you want to lose 30 pounds, am I right? Or 40 or 50?

Well you can do that. And probably in time for Spring, too. Definitely in time for Summer. Wouldn’t that be the most incredible thing? Just stop for a moment and imagine how sassy you’ll feel. Just imagine how quickly you’ll abandon your loser husband and kids.

Losing enough weight to abandon your entire family is well within your reach. In fact, I wish I could just burst through this computer screen right now and squeeze your face until you feel within your soul just how possible this is for you.

All you need to do is forget your ultimate goal. Wipe it completely from your mind. Instead, just “aim for eight.”

It’s not magic, it’s logic.

Losing 30 pounds is hard. Losing 40 pounds is the absolute worst.  You just don’t need to embark on that kind of journey, because you’re probably not a murderer and therefore deserve some modicum of happiness in your life.

Losing 50 pounds is basically impossible. It’s so difficult that I’d rather get eaten by a shark. And yet I have lost 50 pounds, and more.

Great White Shark  breaching
I would rather be inside this thing

But losing 8 pounds?  That’s cake.  Most people can do it in less than a month just by making small changes.

Here is the idea.

This is important. You can’t “aim for eight” in order to lose 30. You need to forget the 30 completely. Forget it at a cellular level. It is NOT your goal. Not now, not ever. Your goal is eight.  It is always eight.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Because it’s not enough to simply forget your larger goal. You must actively banish it completely from your mind. It’s just not your goal, because your goal is to lose just eight pounds. Eight Eight Eight Eight Eight.  Lose 8 pounds and then reevaluate.  Chant it with me now “Eight Eight! Eight Eight! Eight and reevaluate!”

So – What is your sole mission on this earth?

To lose 8 pounds. And not starting tomorrow, not starting on Monday, starting right now. If you want to lose weight, then you start RIGHT NOW – the second you read this paragraph.

Your goal is now to lose 8 pounds. As quickly as you can, but in a healthy way.

What’s Next?

Once you lose eight pounds you have two rules:
1. You are PROHIBITED from losing more for a minimum of 1 or 2 weeks; and
2. You are PROHIBITED from gaining any weight back during this time. You hear me?

Not an an ounce. You are spending a minimum of one or two weeks maintaining your new sexy self.  But it’s even better if you spend more time maintaining. You can maintain your 8 pound loss for a month or more if you want.

Why? Because you reached your goal. And now you can let your body and mind rest as for as long as you need.

A Note on Natural Fluctuations During the Maintenance Period 

And now, excuse me as I contradict myself. Of course, natural fluctuations in weight happen – and for some women more than others.

And if you go from a strict eating regimen to a less strict regimen, you’ll probably gain some weight from water and glycogen.

Be reasonable, and be kind to yourself. But be mindful. You’ll know if you’re gaining ‘actual’ weight. Just try not to do it, but also not to lose. Because your body thinks it’s starving to death, and it wants a little break.

Re-evaluate 

Maintenance period over.

Congrats. You lost eight pounds, and you’ve maintained it. Or maybe you gained a pound or two back.

No big deal. It’s been one or two weeks, but maybe you want to maintain for longer.

Because what’s your new goal? You guessed it. Aim for 8. You can do it the same way you did the first 8, or maybe try something completely new. Who cares? Just do it.

Wait, hold on. I’m confused. How much weight am I trying to lose? 

Imagine a friend is curious about your diet. She asks you what your goal is. Do you say “Oh, well I just lost 8 pounds, and now I’d like to lose 20 more? ”

Hell no!

You say “Yep – I’m just trying to lose 8 pounds” And every time you lose 8, you win. Re-set. Game over.

What’s going to happen when you lose 8 pounds?

The first eight: You’re going to feel great. You’re going to feel as bright as the sun. You might go down one size. You’ll realize, “hey – it’s not so hard.” I could do this 3 more times.

The second eight: This is when you begin to feel like a new person. You’ve probably gone down one or two dress sizes.

Do this three times, and you’re down by 24 pounds. You won’t even realize how it happened so quickly.

Meanwhile, you’ll be establishing great habits. You won’t be stressing yourself. You won’t be setting insane expectations, and you won’t be simultaneously starving and working out at the gym. Instead, you’ll be giving your body what it wants and needs, because you’re only trying to lose a few pounds at most.

So aim for 8. I don’t care if you’re 20 pounds overweight, or 100 pounds overweight. Write it down today in lipstick on your bathroom mirror.

And when you reach that goal, you can re-evaluate.

Start today! Don’t wait until Monday! You can do it!!!

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