...and how to break through the "invisible barrier"
We sent out an email over the weekend and we got a very powerful response to something we wrote. And this response triggered some thoughts on what it really takes to lose weight and keep it off.
We have been writing and thinking a lot about this issue because people go on tons of different diets and programs. But the stats show that people are having a very tough time keeping the weight off.
What is interesting is that the PEERtrainer community is full of people who have lost weight, kept it off and then progressed way beyond that. The members of this community make tremendous changes in their life on a very routine basis. For example, we keep seeing people lose a bunch of weight-- and then become a long distance runner. Half- marathon, marathon.
It keeps happening.
So we decided to create this blog post to try and identify why this is the case. This may be a little controversial as well because we have some different thoughts on how to go about things. Often this has created some conflict. And I think it may be interesting to share that conflict with you, and show you some of the decisions we make "behind the scenes" at PEERtrainer.
Here is what we wrote first of all:
"Life is too short not to really go for it. It is truly possible to make big, positive and permanent changes in your life."
A very simple statement that was part of an overall plea for people to set their sights a lot higher. Here is one response we were just emailed:
"Wow! What a statement! Thank you for that one; I just printed it and put it up in my cubicle at work. Thanks for all the great encouragement - it really helps!"
Why Did This Comment Resonate?
We get a lot of great feedback in general. (We also get our share of people who object to certain things we do!) But we have started to get more adamant in communicating to people that there is a tremendous benefit to really deciding to expect more of yourself.
It's almost like there is this "invisible barrier" that most people bump up against---and then stop. But the secret is that if you put your shoulder down and take a slightly harder run at it, this "invisible barrier" comes crashing down. It really does.
A lot of what we do is simply encourage people to take a harder run at that barrier. And people are responding well to this encouragement!
Now, one important reason this particular comment (and approach) resonates is that almost EVERY product or service to help you lose weight is designed to either manipulate you or appeal to something that you REALLY want but is unrealistic or not helpful over the long haul.
So much of what is out there is fundamentally short term in nature.
For example, when was the last time you were offered a "7 Day Zap Your Belly Fat" kind of diet program? Probably a couple times in the last 24 hours! Do you think you are truly going to zap your belly fat in 7 days?
Of course you are not, and in all likelihood you probably know exactly what you need to do over the long haul to actually zap your belly fat. But the ugly truth in weight loss marketing is that people generally are highly responsive to short term and short cut approaches that are counter-productive in the long run.
Short term manipulation is where the money is.
At PEERtrainer we know this because over the years we have hired and worked with some of the best minds in marketing. These people demonstrate to us beyond a doubt that the "7 day belly fat zap" approach works from a sales perspective.
But we refuse to do this approach because we know how people really lose weight over a period of years. And when we refuse and try to develop a different approach these people get MAD at us. Seriously. They say, "Habib and Jackie, you guys need to understand that people need to be sold. It may be cheesy, but people respond to cheesy."
We respond and say, "no, we want to inspire people and help them over the long term. We understand where the marketing minds are and we want to try something different." It usually doesn't go well from there. They think we are stupid or at least unreasonably stubborn.
Maybe we are on one level, but this is the approach that we have chosen to take.
We hope from a business perspective that this a good long term decision, and that we have identified a "gap" in the market. If we are right that people want to be inspired and not just manipulated then that is good for us. And when other companies in the space start to maybe copy this approach, then maybe we will have had a role in changing things on a more widespread basis.
The development of PEERtrainer has been a step by step process. One of the key things we have learned over the years is that the most important thing for us to focus on is a message that impacts people fundamentally.
In truth what has happened over the years is that we have developed an "agenda" here with PEERtrainer. And many of you have picked up on the fact that a lot of this goes way beyond weight loss. (Those of you in Phase 2 are learning this and hopefully benefitting from this.)
We believe that when people develop the ability to make long term changes in their diet and fitness, they are then able to make a whole BUNCH of other positive changes in their life.
So it is great to hear responses like the one we just got!
In case you missed the email over the weekend, here it is:
We just published a new article that picks up on a conversation we started last week:
A Critical Component To Successful Long Term Weight Loss
One of the key differentiators to what we do at PEERtrainer is our focus on helping people make changes that really stick. From a statistical perspective, this issue is dominant. The number of people who succeed long term on traditional plans is extremely low.
Our whole approach at PEERtrainer has been to try and liberate people from the thinking that they need to focus on one method at a time. We get people to "fuse" their knowledge. But there are SO many other components of success, and this article goes into one of them.
I hope this focus resonates with you. Life is too short not to really go for it. It is truly possible to make big, positive and permanent changes in your life.
The more we see this happen among members of the PEERtrainer community, the more adamant we become about making sure we communicate to everyone that change is possible.
We also want to make sure that we address as MANY of the components of success as possible. And please keep the questions coming!
Read The New PEERtainer article
Weight loss has been a big CHALLENGE for me for the past decade or more. Everytime, I took a step, I rather did get more discouragment or negative remarks. To top it, the physical strain and drain of work and the emotional strain of relationships just got me on the fatter side of the scale.
Healthy eating and excercise, together has evolved me to a beter person, physically as well as emotionally. The slightest neglect can get me back to stage 1 and this is a constant fear. But a recent chat with my personal trainer, was just perfect to solves this matter and I would share it with you later on. Now everytime, i look at myself and hold my tummy fat, I say" Stop stressing".
My PT tip..Our body reacts to stress - one of the ways it triggers the adrenocortical glands, which secretes cortisol, Increased cortisol trigerrs increased fat storage especially around the waist( a region everyone sees and says " i am fat"). Stress also triggers emotional eating, again leading to weight...so all in all...Stressing is absolutely a waste of time and a hazardous thing. So learn to appreciate yourself, ur work and Importantly, listening to your body signals..
Posted by: cma | October 08, 2010 at 10:38 AM
David, I love your analogy of weight loss to a road. I too, have been up and down all my life in regards to my weight loss. I begin the trip this time with a different mindset just as you have. I am more concerned about my health. My heart does not race; I can get down on the floor and back up again; my cholesterol is under control; and I feel better EMOTIONALLY.
Like you said, this road does not end. I want to be as healthy as I can for the rest of my life. To be healthy, I need to eat right and exercise. Not just for this week, this month, or this year but for the rest of my life.
Posted by: Carmen | October 07, 2010 at 01:58 PM
One change I have made to my life that seems to have really begun to make a difference has been to stop thinking about "weight loss." I have been heavy since roughly age eight (I am forty-seven years old now) and through out that whole time I have fought my weight - saw my life a journey on the road from fat to lean - and all too often back again. Why? Because when I saw myself as on the road from fat to lean, I was still on the "fat road!" Sure, when I was moving to lean, I was moving away from fat, but the road I was on still leads back to fat and all I needed to do to go back there was let myself get turned around. The road I was on would do the rest.
So how to fix this? I got off the road. The new road I am on is from being out shape to being in shape, from being inactive in my life to being active. The weight loss as its coming is merely what I call "collateral benefit" of being on the fit road (sort of the opposite of "collateral damage." And so far its working great.
Benefits from this approach:
1) This road does not end. I will never get to a point where I will be able to say, OK, stop being active. When I have done the diet thing in the past, there has always been a point where I reached a goal and stopped dieting. What did that really mean? Turning around and since we all know the road I was already on, we all know where that eventually led.
2) The feedback I get on what I am doing is unrelated to the scale. Sure, its nice to get on a scale and see weight loss, but when I have been active all week and seen and felt myself getting stronger and my clothes fitting better - the scale diminishes in importance.
3) The feedback I get from the new road is immediate. I have been working out on a steady and organized program for almost six weeks now and it's very cool to see and feel the way I am changing. Climbing stairs without gasping, feeling a bit stronger each workout, running for the bus not just because I have to but because I want to. :)
Anyway, there it is. Hope it helps.
Posted by: David | October 06, 2010 at 08:19 PM