Have You Succumbed To The Cleveland Browns Approach To Weight Loss?

I follow two NFL teams and have for as long as I’ve been interested in the sport (which is a little over a decade.) I am a New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans fan.

However, living in Ohio, I am nothing but a mere spectator to the sadness that is being a Cleveland Browns fan. Cleveland, in general, does not have a spectacular history with winning in professional sports. Over the last few years there have been glimmers of hope with the Cleveland Cavaliers (Thank you, LeBron) and to a slightly lesser extent with the Cleveland Indians.

The Browns are a totally different story.

Last season was particularly painful because the Browns were winless for the entire 2017 season and they only had one win in 2016.

Each year, they get great draft options and never seem to get much luck when it comes to picking the right combination of players, coaching staff, etc. to make much of a difference.

This year got off to a strange start. The Browns opened up the season with a game against our neighboring rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Historically, the Steelers generally have no problem counting on a win against the Browns.

But something seemed different in this game. Either the Browns were playing significantly better or the Steelers were playing a lot worse. Either way, the Browns were doing better than many expected. The game went into overtime and ended in a tie.

On the second game of the season, the Browns held the lead over the competitive New Orleans Saints and watched as the Saints took things over late in the game to win. It was arguably just another reminder of how frustrating being a Browns fan can be.

As I saw one of my friends comment on social media “Same old Browns!”

But there was one comment, on the heels of this second loss of the season that made me stop in my tracks.

I heard someone say “The Browns are doing everything in their power to NOT win.”

And I see this happen with so many of my weight loss clients.

It’s not that they don’t want to win the weight loss game and it’s not that they aren’t trying to win.

They just can’t get enough of the right things happening at the right amount of frequency to win that game.

I know this may seem like something of an apple to oranges comparison but hear me out.

Obviously, when it’s your weight to lose, then YOU are in control. You are the quarterback, the running back, the defensive line, etc. And if you’ve hired someone like me, you’ve at least given the reigns to someone else to be your coach.

But, you have to make the plays. You have to eat (or not eat) the right foods, the right portions, and not self-sabotage.

You have to not “choke” when you hit the field for the real game instead of the scrimmage.

Much like watching the Browns play, as the spectator you see them do several things right but they can’t make a trend out of it. Therefore, they lose game after game after game. Then they change team lineup, coaches, back office staff, etc. It’s a complete upheaval.

Sound familiar?

Those who have been unsuccessful with weight loss keep banging their heads against the wall looking for the next book, the next pill, the next powder, the next tea, the next trend. And what do they get? Little to no success. Just like the Browns.

As I write this post, I am happy to report that just last week the Browns won their first game since 2016. The joke around town is that Cleveland fans reacted as if the Browns had just booked their ticket to the Super Bowl.

So, let me try and give you a formula for success so that the Cleveland Browns approach to weight loss doesn’t affect you:

  1. You need the right team to win. In your case, you need a solid support system, people who encourage but promote understanding and guidance. This can include friends, family, co-workers, trainers, dietitians and/or doctors. Just like a quarterback can’t win a game by himself, you would be hard-pressed to work in complete isolation and succeed with weight loss.
  2. You have to master the basics. If you watch a football team during their practice each week, there are constant drills on the basics of their game. Agility, throwing, catching, sprints, etc. If the basics aren’t nailed down, they can’t complete the plays during the game. For you, this means being intimately aware of your food portions, caloric needs based on gender, height, current weight, level of daily activity, etc. and putting the time in to see these habits fall into place.
  3. You have to believe in yourself. When LeBron was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers during his second tenure with the team, the term “Believeland” started to show up on merchandise around town. Cleveland fans needed to believe the teams that they had shown so much love and support to over the years were capable of winning. You have to believe you’re capable of the same. If your mind continues to run the refrain that you’re nothing but a failure, you’re likely to fulfill that prophecy. Believe that you have what it takes to not only see some weight loss but all of the weight loss you are aiming for, assuming that your goals are realistic respective of your current lifestyle.
  4. Accept disappointment as part of your progress. Unlike a team such as the New England Patriots, the Browns don’t have a trend of winning. It’s not been a winning culture. So, as a Patriots fan, I tend to be spoiled by a high frequency of winning. This is normally balanced out by a much less frequent trend of winning by my other favorite team, the Tennessee Titans. For you, this may mean you have more in common with the Browns or the Titans if success has been eluding you. So, the scale may not always tell you nice things (even if you “think” you’ve been good) and some days you have to accept that your best laid plans ended with a pint of ice cream to cap off a stressful day. These things will happen. Accept them, expect them, and move forward.
  5. Break the habit of giving up on yourself. If any city were capable of staging mutiny because of their team’s performance, Cleveland would have to be high on the list. Nevertheless, they stay faithful no matter how frustrating it gets. And even if it’s short-lived (let’s hope it’s not), the faithful do get rewarded somewhere along the way. Your weight loss path will be frighteningly similar. You will want to give up, you will have the deck stacked against you and there will be critics (family, friends and that downer Becky who works in your office!) But your success is reliant on your work, your effort, and your resiliency. When you reach your goal (because you didn’t give up on it), you can kindly tell Becky to screw it.

So, each week I’ll be rooting for my two teams but I’ll be keeping an eye on the Browns simply because I live here and they deserve to win just as much as anyone else.

And so do you.

“We Make Great People Greater”

(Here’s Sebastian wearing his Browns gear when Daddy isn’t putting him in a Pats onesie.)