Bred For Convenience, Doomed To Failure

Several times a week, I get that dopamine hit.

That instant surge of gratification from 1-click purchasing, drive-thru ordering, scan-and-pay apps…you know what I’m talking about.

We more than just a nation built on convenience, we’ve nearly dominated the planet with it.

We wanted faster, we got that.

We wanted fewer steps to get our desired result, here’s your hack.

And those little convenient tricks, hacks and apps give us exactly what we were looking for faster than we’ve ever had it.

Yet, it doesn’t exactly work that way for weight loss.

Well, let’s be honest: You could always have bariatric surgery and bypass that whole “diet” thing.

And bariatric surgery does, in a way, give that quick fix.

As if there were anything convenient about weight loss, those types of surgery might be the only remotely sustainable and fast method out there. Not foolproof, mind you, but faster than months of caloric restriction to get to a desired bodyweight.

Although the catch is, you do HAVE to stay low in calories for the rest of your life if you want the surgery to stick.

But there is that nagging feeling of purism with weight loss. The feeling that “I did it the old fashioned way.” You know, the slow, painful, arduous way of cutting intake and moderately raising caloric expenditure?

Therein lies something of the problem.

We’ve built our expectations around getting what we want as fast as we can get it but our body betrays us when we apply Amazon Prime-type expectations to our physiques.

And this is where I have to remind you: weight loss (or weight maintenance) was never going to be about what was convenient for you. While it would likely serve you best to not live in extremes (severe caloric restriction or a propensity for only high-intensity exercise), we can’t seem to wrap our heads around the fact that the “I-Want-It-Now Syndrome” can’t apply to every facet of life.

But what I can encourage you to do is to make the process as convenient as possible and still just uncomfortable enough to elicit change.

So if you’ve not been successful at planning all of your meals over a given week, try focusing  on the problem areas of your daily intake.

Let’s say it’s dinner. Can you plan for one or two different options to get you through a week and work with leftovers? Can you stop from snacking or having a dessert after you’ve finished dinner? These things matter. And they don’t require calorie counting. They just require conscious change and some ability to be proactive.

“But Jason, I hear what you’re saying…I’m just SO busy.”

I feel you. I do. The little bit of extra labor it will take initially to recalibrate your focus will be worth it. Most of my clients are, when asked candidly, aware of the areas that need to improve in their diet.

Can your spouse/significant other do the meal planning so you don’t have to think about it? I mean, what’s more convenient than someone else doing the work for you?

“But Jason, I’m not a good cook.”

Yeah, I wasn’t a good cook for a long time either. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t have the confidence to do it regularly. I wrote something about that in this article. Now, I do the majority of the dinner cooking at our home.

And this is what I mean by stepping slightly (not skydiving) out of your comfort zone.

These are YOUR goals and YOU have to determine how you will navigate towards them.

Can you cut back on calories by not snacking in-between meals? Cool, try that for a while and see if the scale rewards you.

OR, maybe you need to snack in-between meals so you are not having second helpings at dinner. You’ll want to determine if that’s a challenge for you.

You’ll also want to consider making sure your family and friends are in the loop about what you’re trying to change. I can’t begin to tell you how many clients I have who desperately want to lose weight, and tell me how supportive their family members are, only to be bombarded by food/drink at the first sight of a bad or stressful day.

“Oh you had a bad day? How about we just go out to the restaurant, order an appetizer and a beer and by the way, I’ll have the hamburger and fries.” (Holy sh*t, did I really just eat 2150 calories in one meal???????)

Yes…you did. We won’t dwell on it.

But let’s be real for a moment. I don’t have a single client who is actively trying to lose weight that doesn’t know how counterproductive restaurant food can be to a diet. Can it be done? Yes. But it’s difficult and remember: we want convenience.

So, this is where you have to make those hard decisions: do I want what I want when I want it or am I going to sacrifice that incessant need for the dopamine hit of convenience and do the things it takes to succeed?

My kind suggestion it to be willing to leave the conveniences that life affords you to things like shopping so you can free up the time it takes to value yourself, your goals and your results.

“We Make Great People Greater”