In This Issue (#56)
- Editorial: 70 & 80 Year Old Bodybuilders Run Circles Around "Youngsters"
- Ask Tom Q & A of The Month: Body Wraps & Waist Wraps: The Difference Between Losing Fat And Losing Inches
- Article of the month: The Big Picture Of Weight Loss, By Will Brink
- Monthly Motivator: Willpower is way overrated by Doug Bench
- Motivational Quotes of the month
70 AND 80 YEAR OLD BODY BUILDERS
RUN CIRCLES AROUND "YOUNGSTERS"...
Editorial by Tom Venuto
I attend a lot of bodybuilding contests and have seen some absolutely astounding physiques onstage over the years. But the one category I have always enjoyed and respected the most is the master’s competition.
In some organizations, the “masters” division starts at 35, but usually “masters” means age 40 and over. In some contests, there are categories for grand masters or 50+ and 60+.
It’s always inspiring to see these physiques, and I’ve seen many fine master’s physiques, but just recently, I attended a natural bodybuilding competition in New York and witnessed something that blew even my mind…
Bertie Nicklette... age 80 (yes, E-I-G-H-T-Y)... was up there on stage flexing away with the best of them.
If there was an ounce of fat on his body, I'll be darned if I could see any. Mind you, he wasn't huge, like some of the guys in the open division, but I'll tell you, he had a lean, athletic body with just the right amount of muscle that anyone of any age would admire and desire.
If you think Bertie is a rare exception, think again...
Let me introduce you to Jackie Lee. I’ve known Jackie for some time now, as she is one of the "role models" profiled in the book, Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age, which I co-authored
with Life coach and nutritionist Jon Benson.
Inspired by the former Miss Olympia, Rachel McLish, Jackie took
up weight lifting about 20 years ago when she was in her 50's.
She hasn't stopped since.
Let me tell you, this lady is a ball of fire... what an
inspiration! She is 74, but she looks 54.
Jackie does cartwheels out onto the stage and still does
the splits. She told me she stopped doing her handstands
a few years ago, but she's going to start practicing again so
she can add that into her routine too!
What's even more striking is that Jackie has the mind
and the ambition of a 22 year old. She insists that life
can BEGIN at 70!
Jackie is not just a bodybuilder and fitness competitor, she is a vocalist who has performed at Carnegie hall, she's also a yoga instructor, personal trainer, actress, acrobatic dancer, and motivational speaker!
"I guess I'm pretty 'spry'", says Jackie, "In fact, I plan
to remain active my entire life - and live to be 120! Care
to join me?"
Think this is another “rare case”?… an “anomaly of nature”?... just “great genetics?” Think again. These types of over 40 success stories are getting more and more common as collective belief systems are starting to change with the passing generations.
The paradigm is changing.
Last month in IRONMAN magazine (March 2007 Issue), the cover story was called ‘Over 40 Bodybuilding.' On the cover were featured Lee Apperson (age 48) and Jennifer Micheli (age 43). Both of them looked 10-15 years younger than their age and they both had the muscularity and leanness of 25 year olds.
Inside was featured none other than Rachel Mclish, the first Miss Olympia. At age 52, I SWEAR Rachel looks almost exactly the way she looked when she won the Miss Olympia… In 1980! Maybe even better!
On page 84 there is a photo and story about Murrel Hall, “The Master of Muscle.” Murrel has competed in over 100 bodybuilding competitions and is still in absolute peak condition at age 65. His abs are his best body part and he keeps a six pack all year round, (not just for competitions).
Also featured in the March IRONMAN… Dave Goodin. At age 48, Dave is one of the best natural bodybuilders on the planet … literally on TOP of his game… a world champion.
The same goes for Elaine Goodlad. At age 40 she not only competes in IFBB professional figure competition, she is also at the TOP of her game - WINNING against women literally half her age! (take a a look at her picture to the right.. YOWZA!)
Of course there’s natural bodybuilder and multi Team Universe champ Skip Lacour at age 44, former Mr. America (1972) Bill Grant still "jacked" at age 58, and Brenda Kelly, a Fitness Model at age 48 and many others who are fit and over 40, all as a result of the bodybuilding lifestyle.
I realize not everyone is interested in "bodybuilding." In fact, some people are turned off by it. Can't blame them, I suppose. Bodybuilding - at the competition level – requires discipline that borders on self-sacrifice and you could even say that the sport is somewhat of an odd subculture.
However, "bodybuilding" does not necessarily mean getting oiled up, pumped up and posing onstage in front of a crowd. Bodybuilding is a chosen lifestyle, not a competition.
I do believe that competition serves an important purpose... It's a tool to bring out the best in you... but the competition side of bodybuilding is not required to reap all the benefits.
The minute you pick up a weight and lift it, you are "building your body" and you have taken the first step towards turning back the aging clock... and you are a "body builder."
I cannot stress how much of an impact this can make on your life! Most exercise physiologists agree that weight training can give you a 10-15 year drop in your biological age!
Nothing else can guarantee you such a dramatic reversal in the effects of aging... and notice that I didn't say "delay" or "reduction" in the effects of aging... I said "REVERSAL!"
Look and see for yourself some of the scientifically-
verified benefits of weight training:
- Increased strength
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Increased resting metabolic rate
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Reduce risk of diabetes
- Increased HDL cholesterol
- Increased bone density
- Increased natural growth hormone
- Increased natural testosterone
And that's just a partial list. When you combine a strength training program with just the right amount of aerobic exercise, with a supportive nutrition program and the right mental attitude, you can totally transform your life.
The paradigm of what age means is changing. Even the mass media is saying, "50 is the new 30"...
With people like Bertie and Jackie, it looks to me like 70 is the new 30! Or, if you're like great grandmother Marjorie Newman (pictured at right), then 86 is the new 30!!!!
Mark my words, it won’t be long before muscles, six pack abs and optimal health at age 80 or 90 will be commonplace and 120-140 year life spans will be the norm for those who understand the truth… (and the truth is not found in drugs or “anti aging clinics”… its found in the gym!)
Let me share with you the words of Dr. Judd Biasiotto,
one of my favorite inspirational writers, a sports psychologist, legendary powerlifter and a man who
won the Natural National body building championships
at the age of 50:
"I hate this thing we call age. You're too young for this,
or you're too old for that. We are governed by this thing
called age. Its crazy. We have these primitive, categorical
notions about people who are in their teens or over 40.
People are treated as if they are prehistoric creatures.
Worse yet, many people that age act like they are prehistoric.
When they hit their 70's, they think they are dead. Its sick.
How many times have you heard someone say, "I'm too old
to get in shape. I'm over the hill." Who says? Try getting
in shape just once and see how you feel. Age is nothing
more than a number. I've seen people in their eighties
who can run most teenagers into the ground. And I've seen
teenagers who have already reached a cumulative point in life.
It's not age that counts; it is the mind."
Judd's got it right: You are as old as you think you are.
Sometimes, however, it's difficult to "think young" unless
you have the right role models or mentors.
Did you know that your friends and the people in your peer
group have a greater impact on your thoughts, beliefs and
your entire life than any other influence?
If you hang out with people who believe it's all downhill
after age 40, or that after 70, it's too late to get in
shape, then it won't be long before you adopt the same
negative beliefs yourself.
However, when you seek out positive role models and you see
with your own eyes that others YOUR age have done it, it begins to break down limiting beliefs and then
you too, begin to believe it's possible for you as well.
Who are your "role models?" And if you don't have positive role models yet, where do you find them?
I hope with this newsletter and my other writings to help you in your quest to find role models and to get inspired. Two years ago, Lifecoach Jon Benson And I published, "Fit Over 40," a book that is literally filled with "ageless" role models (more info below).
Our goal in Fit over 40 was not only to give the “how to” information about exercise, strength training and nutrition, but also to provide the role models you need to help you change self limiting beliefs you might have about what aging means.
Many people who are over 40 (and especially over 60) who have never exercised before often ask, "Where do I even begin???" Here's where: It all begins with your beliefs. Once you've seen with your own eyes what others have achieved, your belief systems begin to change and you realize that you can do it too.
Cardiovascular exercise, nutrition, motivation and especially strength training... these are the four pillars of the bodybuilding lifestyle. Add in role models and a strong social support circle and you'll have as close to the fountain of youth as you will ever find.
Train hard and expect success,
FIT OVER 40:
ROLE MODELS FOR EXCELLENCE AT ANY AGE
in 2005, Life Coach and nutritionist Jon Benson teamed up with fat loss expert and bodybuilder Tom Venuto to create "Fit Over 40: Role Models For Excellence At Any Age," and it’s now available in both ebook and hard copy editions along with some very special bonuses.
Fit Over 40 is NOT just a health and fitness "how to" book
for the over 40 crowd, filled with exercise, nutrition and
fitness tips. Fit Over 40 is also an inspirational e-book,
profiling 50 amazing human beings - age 40 to 80 - who defied
the odds and created bodies and levels of fitness and
health that would be envied by 20 or 30 year olds!
These "chicken-soup for the soul-style" success stories
and before/after transformations have to be seen to be
believed! These are just a few of them:
- A 77-year-old grandmother who trains and competes in
bodybuilding with her 48-year-old daughter!
- A 49 year old man who overcame Multiple Sclerosis,
and built a body that would impress Arnold Schwarzenegger
- A 46-year-old morbidly obese man from Chicago who lost
130 pounds in one year, and today is a fitness addict who
runs in skyscraper stair climbing races (he even runs
the Sears Tower race, placing in the top 8% of the field)
- A 55-year-old former skid row alcoholic and drug addict
who found rehab and relief from addictions through strength
training and exercise
- A "heart-cripple" who literally regenerated 75% of his
dead heart tissue and today competes in bodybuilding - at the
age of 74! (His tissue regeneration was clinically documented
by his ama zed and stunned physicians.)
And here's a pre-view of the type of body-transforming,
youth-restoring information you'll learn:
- How to rebuild your body to the muscularity of a 20 or 30
year old - or, just tighten up the "mushy spots" that you
thought it was too late to do anything about.
- How to melt inches and pounds off your body, by
accelerating your metabolic rate and releasing a
flood of youth restoring growth hormone - naturally
- How to get super-motivated instantly, change self-
limiting beliefs and build up your confidence and
certainty, no matter how old or out of shape you are
By using the methods revealed in Fit Over 40, an older man or woman can enjoy the following benefits:
- A flat stomach and a smaller waistline
- Stronger libido and a better sex life
- Impressive muscularity
- Higher levels of naturally-released GH and testosterone
- Remarkable energy and stamina
- Increased mental alertness
- A stronger, healthier heart
- Reduced biological age (look 15-20 years younger)
- A powerful immune system
- More ZEST for life!
- And much, much more
"I am not kidding when I say my wife and I were simply
stunned as we paged through this book. This isn't just
a guide. This is total inspiration and motivation. The stories
will have a tremendous impact and help you realize what
is truly possible. If you have trouble believing in you,
then read these stories of others who believed in themselves
and prove that no excuse is good enough to join the ranks
of the 400,000 who perish each year due to poor diet and
lack of exercise. They decided not to play their victim
cards and instead share their powerful victories with
you and I in this inspirational work."
- Jeremy Likness
Author, "Lose Fat, Not Faith"
You can now get a free preview, which includes the introduction and 4 free chapters of the book! You can also get three free reports just for trying Fit Over 40 on a 60 day trial basis:
Why Grow Old by Orison Swett Marden (e-book $19.95 value free). Before any of the modern gurus of the self help movement, there was Orison Swett Marden; founder of SUCCESS magazine and a pioneer in the personal development movement. In 1909 he released a very short book called Why Grow Old, which in just 30 short pages, reveals what is perhaps THE ULTIMATE SECRET to staying young. This rare manuscript has now been republished with a new forward by Tom Venuto and is available exclusively with Fit Over 40
Menopause, Hormones And Fitness: One Woman’s Incredible Journey To Become "The Fittest Female At 50" (e-book $19.95 value FREE): Jill Langham, R.N., CPT, one of the nation’s top experts on female fitness, hormone balancing and menopause, shares her incredible personal story. Discover how she came out the other side of "The Change" with better health and a better body than most women 20 years younger. An absolute must-read for all women.
The Best Natural Ways to Increase Your Testosterone By Men’s Health Expert, Christian Finn (42-Page E-BOOK! $19.95 value FREE!): You don't have to resort to steroids to boost your male hormone levels. In this exciting special report, you'll discover how to quickly boost your testosterone levels by making small changes to what you eat and how you exercise
Plus, there's a brand new audio CD, MP3 bonus and hard copy book edition available for the first time ever as well.
To learn more (and to download your free sample), visit:
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Body Wraps & Waist Wraps: The Difference Between Losing Fat And Losing Inches
"Body wraps" and rubber waist belts have been around for ages in the weight loss and spa industry. Claims include loss of body weight, loss of body fat, and loss of inches. When your body fat decreases, your circumference measurements usually also decrease, but what few people realize is that “fat” loss and “inch” loss are not one in the same. If you don’t know how to tell the difference, you could be falling for one of the oldest, most notorious fitness and weight loss scams in the book.
FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE MONTH
The Big Picture of Permanent Weight Loss
by Will Brink
Most people who read my articles and e-books know me as a science guy who likes to quote studies and apply research to everyday problems such as weight loss, bodybuilding, and other health/fitness related topics. However, sometimes you have to step back from the science and look at the big picture to help bring people back into focus, so they can see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
For most people reading this article, finding an effective diet that works most of the time must seem as complicated as nuclear physics. It’s not, but there are a bewildering number of choices for diets out there. High fat or no fat? High carbohydrate or no carbohydrate? Low protein or high protein? To make matters worse, there are a million variations and combinations to the above diet scenarios to add to the confusion. It seems endless and causes many people to throw up their hands in frustration and give up. In this article I will attempt to change all that.
There are some general guidelines, rules of thumb, and ways of viewing a diet program that will allow you to decide, once and for all, if it’s the right diet for you. You may not always like what I have to say, and you should be under no illusions this is another quick fix, “lose 100 lbs. in 20 days,” guide of some sort. However, if you are sick and tired of being confused, tired of taking the weight off only to put it back on, and tired of wondering how to take the first steps to deciding the right diet for you that will result in permanent weight loss, then this is the article that could change your life…
Do you need to be a scientist to apply what you will learn here? No. A mind reader or clairvoyant? No. A nutritionist or medical doctor? Not at all. What you need to be is open-minded and willing to learn a few key concepts that will allow you to sort through the confusion.
You will be able to apply what you learn here to any diet you are considering and decide if it makes sense, once and for all! The process, however, is neither easy nor quick per se, but I never promised you either of those things…
This article does not look at specific diets but will teach you to take a logical approach and apply some common sense to choosing a nutritional plan for life long weight loss. If you are willing and able to make a paradigm shift, then let’s proceed.
Does your diet pass “The Test”?
What is the number one reason diets fail long term; above all else? The number one reason is…drum roll…a lack of long term compliance. The numbers don’t lie; the vast majority of people who lose weight will regain it - and often exceed what they lost. You knew that already didn’t you?
Yet, what are you doing to avoid it? Here’s another reality check: virtually any diet you pick which follows the basic concept of “burning” more calories then you consume – the well accepted “calories in calories out” mantra – will cause you to lose weight. To some degree, they all work: Atkins-style, no carb diets, low fat high carb diets, all manner of fad diets - it simply does not matter in the short term.
If your goal is to lose some weight quickly, then pick one and follow it. I guarantee you will lose some weight. Studies generally find any of the commercial weight loss diets will get approximately the same amount of weight off after 6 months to a year. For example, a recent study found the Atkins' Diet, Slim-Fast plan, Weight Watchers Pure Points program, and Rosemary Conley's Eat Yourself Slim diet, were all equally effective. (1)
Other studies comparing other popular diets have come to essentially the same conclusions. For example, a study that compared the Atkins diet, the Ornish diet, Weight Watchers, and The Zone Diet, found them to be essentially the same in their ability to take weight off after one year. (2)
Recall what I said about the number one reason diets fail, which is a lack of compliance. The lead researcher of this recent study stated:
“Our trial found that adherence level rather than diet type was the primary predictor of weight loss”(3)
Translated, it’s not which diet they chose per se, but their ability to actually stick to a diet that predicted their weight loss success. I can just see the hands going up now, “but Will, some diets must be better than others, right?” Are some diets better then others? Absolutely. Some diets are healthier then others, some diets are better at preserving lean body mass, some diets are better at suppressing appetite – there are many differences between diets. However, while most of the popular diets will work for taking weight off, what is abundantly clear is that adhering to the diet is the most important aspect for keeping the weight off long term.
What is a diet?
A diet is a short term strategy to lose weight. Long term weight loss is the result of an alteration in lifestyle. We are concerned with life long weight management, not quick fix weight loss here. I don’t like the term diet, as it represents a short term attempt to lose weight vs. a change in lifestyle. Want to lose a bunch of weight quickly? Heck, I will give you the information on how to do that here and now for no charge.
For the next 90 to 120 days eat 12 scrambled egg whites, one whole grapefruit, and a gallon of water twice a a day. You will lose plenty of weight. Will it be healthy? Nope. Will the weight stay off once you are done with this diet and are then forced to go back to your “normal” way of eating? Not a chance. Will the weight you lose come from fat or will it be muscle, water, bone, and (hopefully!) some fat? The point being, there are many diets out there that are perfectly capable of getting weight off you, but when considering any eating plan designed to lose weight, you must ask yourself:
“Is this a way of eating I can follow long term?”
Which brings me to my test: I call it the “Can I eat that way for the rest of my life?” Test. I know, it does not exactly roll off your tongue, but it gets the point across.
The lesson here is: any nutritional plan you pick to lose weight must be part of a lifestyle change you will be able to follow - in one form or another - forever. That is, if it’s not a way of eating you can comply with indefinitely, even after you get to your target weight, then it’s worthless.
Thus, many fad diets you see out there are immediately eliminated, and you don’t have to worry about them. The question is not whether the diet is effective in the short term, but if the diet can be followed indefinitely as a lifelong way of eating. Going from “their” way of eating back to “your” way of eating after you reach your target weight is a recipe for disaster and the cause of the well established yo-yo dieting syndrome. Bottom line: there are no short cuts, there is no free lunch, and only a commitment to a lifestyle change is going to keep the fat off long term. I realize that’s not what most people want to hear, but it’s the truth, like it or not.
The statistics don’t lie: getting the weight off is not the hardest part, keeping the weight off is! If you take a close look at the many well known fad/commercial diets out there, and you are honest with yourself, and apply my test above, you will find most of them no longer appeal to you as they once did. It also brings me to an example that adds additional clarity: If you have diet A that will cause the most weight loss in the shortest amount of time but is unbalanced and essentially impossible to follow long term vs. diet B, which will take the weight off at a slower pace, but is easier to follow, balanced, healthy, and something you can comply with year after year, which is superior? If diet A gets 30 lbs off you in 30 days, but by next year you have gained back all 30 lbs, but diet B gets 20 lbs off you in the next 3 months with another 20 lbs 3 months after that and the weight stays off by the end of that year, which is the better diet?
If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you have totally missed the point of this article and the lesson it’s trying to teach you, and are set up for failure. Go back and read this section again…By default, diet B is superior.
Teach a man to Fish…
A well known Chinese Proverb is;
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
This expression fits perfectly with the next essential step in how to decide what eating plan you should follow to lose weight permanently. Will the diet plan you are considering teach you how to eat long term, or does it spoon-feed you information? Will the diet rely on special bars, shakes, supplements or pre-made foods they supply?
Let’s do another diet A vs. diet B comparison. Diet A is going to supply you with their foods, as well as their special drink or bars to eat, and tell you exactly when to eat them. You will lose – say – 30 lbs in two months. Diet B is going to attempt to help you learn which foods you should eat, how many calories you need to eat, why you need to eat them, and generally attempt to help teach you how to eat as part of a total lifestyle change that will allow you to make informed decisions about your nutrition. Diet B causes a slow steady weight loss of 8 -10 lbs per month for the next 6 months and the weight stays off because you now know how to eat properly.
Recall the Chinese proverb. Both diets will assist you to lose weight. Only one diet, however, will teach you how to be self-reliant after your experience is over. Diet A is easier, to be sure, and causes faster weight loss than diet B, and diet B takes longer and requires some thinking and learning on your part. However, when diet A is over, you are right back where you started and have been given no skills to fish. Diet companies don’t make their profits by teaching you to fish, they make their money by handing you a fish so you must rely on them indefinitely or come back to them after you gain all the weight back.
Thus, diet B is superior for allowing you to succeed where other diets failed, with knowledge gained that you can apply long term. Diet programs that attempt to spoon feed you a diet without any attempt to teach you how to eat without their help and/or rely on their shakes, bars, cookies, or pre-made foods, is another diet you can eliminate from your list of choices.
Diet plans that offer weight loss by drinking their product for several meals followed by a “sensible dinner;” diets that allow you to eat their special cookies for most meals along with their pre-planned menu; or diets that attempt to have you eating their bars, drink, or pre-made meals, are of the diet A variety covered above. They’re easy to follow but destined for failure, long term. They all fail the “Can I eat that way for the rest of my life?” test, unless you really think you can eat cookies and shakes for the rest of your life…Bottom line here is, if the nutritional approach you use to lose weight, be it from a book, a class, a clinic, or an e-book, does not teach you how to eat, it’s a loser for long term weight loss and it should be avoided.
Missing link for long term weight loss
We now make our way to another test to help you choose a nutrition program for long term weight loss, and it does not actually involve nutrition. The missing link for long term weight loss is exercise. Exercise is the essential component of long term weight loss. Many diet programs do not contain an exercise component, which means they are losers for long term weight loss from the very start. Any program that has its focus on weight loss but does not include a comprehensive exercise plan is like buying a car without tires, or a plane without wings. People who have successfully kept the weight off overwhelmingly have incorporated exercise into their lives, and the studies that look at people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off invariably find these people were consistent with their diet and exercise plans. (4)
I am not going to list all the benefits of regular exercise here, but regular exercise has positive effects on your metabolism, allows you to eat more calories yet still be in a calorie deficit, and can help preserve lean body mass (LBM) which is essential to your health and metabolism. The many health benefits of regular exercise are well known, so I won’t bother adding them here. The bottom line here is, (a) if you have any intentions of getting the most from your goal of losing weight and (b) plan to keep it off long term, regular exercise must be an integral part of the weight loss strategy. So, you can eliminate any program, be it book, e-book, clinic, etc. that does not offer you direction and help with this essential part of long term weight loss.
Side Bar: A quick note on exercise:
Any exercise is better than no exercise. However, like diet plans, not all exercise is created equal, and many people often choose the wrong form of exercise to maximize their efforts to lose weight. For example, they will do aerobics exclusively and ignore resistance training. Resistance training is an essential component of fat loss, as it builds muscle essential to your metabolism, increases 24 hour energy expenditure, and has health benefits beyond aerobics.
The reader will also note I said fat loss above not weight loss. Though I use the term ‘weight loss’ throughout this article, I do so only because it is a familiar term most people understand. However, the true focus and goal of a properly set up nutrition and exercise plan should be on fat loss, not weight loss. A focus on losing weight, which may include a loss essential muscle, water, and even bone, as well as fat, is the wrong approach. Losing the fat and keeping the all important lean body mass (LBM), is the goal, and the method for achieving that can be found in my ebook(s) on the topic, and is beyond the scope of this article. Bottom line: the type of exercise, intensity of that exercise, length of time doing that exercise, etc., are essential variables here when attempting to lose FAT while retaining (LBM).
Psychology 101 of long term weight loss
Many diet programs out there don’t address the psychological aspect of why people fail to be successful with long term weight loss. However, quite a few studies exist that have looked at just that. In many respects, the psychological aspect is the most important for long term weight loss, and probably the most underappreciated component.
Studies that compare the psychological characteristics of people who have successfully kept the weight off to people who have regained the weight, see clear differences between these two groups. For example, one study that looked at 28 obese women who had lost weight but regained the weight that they had lost, compared to 28 formerly obese women who had lost weight and maintained their weight for at least one year and 20 women with a stable weight in the healthy range, found the women who regained the weight:
- Had a tendency to evaluate self-worth in terms of weight and shape
- Had a lack of vigilance with regard to weight control
- had a dichotomous (black-and-white) thinking style
- Had the tendency to use eating to regulate mood.
The researchers concluded:
“The results suggest that psychological factors may provide some explanation as to why many people with obesity regain weight following successful weight loss.”
This particular study was done on women, so it reflects some of the specific psychological issues women have - but make no mistake here - men also have their own psychological issues that can sabotage their long term weight loss efforts. (6)
Additional studies on men and women find psychological characteristics such as “having unrealistic weight goals, poor coping or problem-solving skills and low self-efficacy” often predict failure with long term weight loss. (7) On the other hand, psychological traits common to people who experienced successful long term weight loss include “…an internal motivation to lose weight, social support, better coping strategies and ability to handle life stress, self-efficacy, autonomy, assuming responsibility in life, and overall more psychological strength and stability.” (8)
The main point of this section is to illustrate that psychology plays a major role in determining if people are successful with long term weight loss. If it’s not addressed as part of the overall plan, it can be the factor that makes or breaks your success. This, however, is not an area most nutrition programs can adequately tackle and should not be expected to. However, the better programs do generally attempt to help with motivation, goal setting, and support. If you see yourself in the above lists from the groups that failed to maintain their weight long term, then know you will need to address those issues via counseling, support groups, etc. Don’t expect any weight loss program to cover this topic adequately but do look for programs that attempt to offer support, goal setting, and resources that will keep you on track.
“There’s a sucker born every minute”
So why don’t you see this type of honest information about the realities of long term weight loss more often? Let’s be honest here, telling the truth is not the best way to sell bars, shakes, books, supplements, and programs. Hell, if by some miracle everyone who read this article actually followed it, and sent it on to millions of other people who actually followed it, makers of said products could be in financial trouble quickly. However, they also know - as the man said - “there’s a sucker born every minute,” so I doubt they will be kept up at night worrying about the effects that I, or this article, will have on their business.
So let’s recap what has been learned here: the big picture realities of permanent weight loss and how you can look at a weight loss program and decide for yourself if it’s for you based on what has been covered above:
- Permanent weight loss is not about finding a quick fix diet, but making a commitment to life style changes that include nutrition and exercise
- Any weight loss program you choose must pass the “Can I eat that way for the rest of my life?” test,
- The weight loss program you choose should ultimately teach you how to eat and be self reliant so you can make informed long term choices about your nutrition.
- The weight loss program you choose should not leave you reliant on commercial bars, shakes, supplements, or pre-made foods, for your long term success.
- The weight loss program you choose must have an effective exercise component.
- The weight loss program you choose should attempt to help with motivation, goal setting, and support, but can’t be a replacement for psychological counseling if needed.
I want to take this final section to add some additional points and clarity. For starters, the above advice is not for everyone. It’s not intended for those who really have their nutrition dialed in, such as competitive bodybuilders and other athletes who benefit from fairly dramatic changes in their nutrition, such as ‘off season’ and ‘pre-contest’ and so on.
The article is also not intended for those with medical issues who may be on a specific diet to treat or manage a specific medical condition. The article is intended for the average person who wants to get off the Yo-Yo diet merry-go-round once and for all. As that’s probably 99% of the population, it will cover millions of people.
People should also not be scared off by my “you have to eat this way forever” advice. This does not mean you will be dieting for the rest of your life and have nothing but starvation to look forward to. What it does mean, however, is you will have to learn to eat properly even after you reach your target weight and that way of eating should not be a huge departure from how you ate to lose the weight in the first place. Once you get to your target weight - and or your target bodyfat levels - you will go onto a maintenance phase which generally has more calories and choices of food, even the occasional treat, like a slice of pizza or whatever.
Maintenance diets are a logical extension of the diet you used to lose the weight, but they are not based on the diet you followed that put the weight on in the first place!
Regardless of which program you choose, use the above ‘big picture’ approach which will keep you on track for long term weight loss. See you in the gym!
Will Brink is a columnist, consultant, and writer for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications. His articles relating to nutrition, supplements, weight loss, exercise and medicine can be found in such publications as Lets Live, Muscle Media 2000, MuscleMag International, The Life Extension Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise For Men Only, Body International, Power, Oxygen, Women's World and The Townsend Letter For Doctors. He is also the author of Priming The Anabolic Environment, Fat Loss Revealed and Brink's Bodybuilding.
See Will's ebooks online here:
A complete guide to bodybuilding supplements and eating to gain lean muscle
Fat Loss Revaled (formerly Diet Supplements Revealed)
A review of diet
supplements and guide to eating for fat loss
(1) Truby H, et al. Randomised controlled trial of four commercial weight loss programmes in the UK: initial findings from the BBC "diet trials" BMJ 2006;332:1309-1314 (3 June)
(2) Michael D., et al, Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction. A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2005;293:43-53.
(3) Comparison of Diets for Weight Loss and Heart Disease Risk Reduction—Reply. Michael Dansinger. JAMA. 2005;293:1590-1591.
(4) Kruger J. et al. Dietary and physical activity behaviors among adults successful at weight loss maintenance. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006, 3:17 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-3-17
(5) Byrne S, et al. Weight maintenance and relapse in obesity: a qualitative study. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Aug;27(8):955-62.
(6) Borg P, et al. Food selection and eating behaviour during weight maintenance intervention and 2-y follow-up in obese men.Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Dec;28(12):1548-54.
(7) Byrne SM. Psychological aspects of weight maintenance and relapse in obesity. J Psychosom Res. 2002 Nov;53(5):1029-36.
(8) Elfhag K, et al. Who succeeds in maintaining weight loss? A conceptual review of factors associated with weight loss maintenance and weight regain. Obes Rev. 2005 Feb;6(1):67-85
ANNOUNCING BRINK’S BODYBUILDING – NEW EXPANDED 2007 EDITION
Independent Researcher Known For Brutal Honesty Reviews Popular Bodybuilding Supplements and Reveals How To Build Solid Lean Muscle Without Drugs
If you’d like to see an independent expert’s review of popular bodybuilding and muscle-building supplements, and you'd like to learn which one's really work and which ones are complete hype, I highly recommend Will Brink’s NEWEST e-book, Brink’s Bodybuilding.
Like myself, Will is an independent bodybuilding & fitness writer/researcher who is not affiliated with any supplement company. What’s more, Will is a stickler for the facts and for the unbiased reporting of research.
Note: Will’s newest e-book is a great companion guide to my Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle program (the information is not redundant, it's very complimentary), and the training section by world renowned Strength coach Charles Poliquin is simply priceless. Click here to find out more:
Willpower is Way Overrated!
The REAL Science-Based Secrets for Persistence and eliminating Procrastination
By Doug Bench
If I were to ask you, what was the most important characteristic for overcoming procrastination, for persistence, and long-term achievement, what would you say? Willpower? That would not be an unusual answer, but it would be wrong.
Willpower is vastly overrated as the leading trait used by success-minded achievers. If we keep this discussion on a scientific level, willpower cannot be responsible for more than one-sixth of anyone's success.
The real secret to success is your imagination and your ability to visualize success. This powerful trait is responsible for five-sixths of every great achievement.
Suppose that you have set a goal to lose 10 pounds. You are absolutely determined to be 10 pounds lighter by next month! You are using your willpower to prove that you are stronger and more powerful than those extra cookies and calories.
So you say to yourself, "I will not overeat... I will not overeat... You repeat this to yourself over and over again, using your willpower. But all the time you are consciously saying this, your imagination is visualizing how great those cookies smell, and telling you how great those cookies taste. Sooner or later you will grab those cookies or extra calories and chug them down. Why?
Whenever you have a conflict between willpower and your imagination, whenever they are pulling in opposite directions, your imagination will ALWAYS win!
But if your willpower and imagination are working together, pulling toward the SAME goal, this will create an all-powerful force that is impossible to overcome, and success is always the automatic, inevitable result.
Now this sounds great, but how does this work scientifically? Most sources of self-help tell you "what" you should do. But very few tell you "how" things work. KNOWLEDGE is the real key to success.
Revolutionary brain-science discoveries have been made in the last few years. In that research lays the proof of the above theory and how you can put this to use in your life to overcome procrastination, and reach transcendent levels of success.
While using a PET scanner to verify that indeed most people solve math problems in the left side of the brain, neuroscientists made a startling discovery.
[A PET scanner is used to take a scan-image of the brain. The subject is injected with a very small amount of radioactive isotopes, then placed in the scanner, in which an electromagnetic device passes a very thin electromagnetic field through their brain. The part of the brain that is "thinking" at that time will have excess amounts of blood-flow, which, due to the radiation, shows up on the PET scan.]
In the math function tests, each of the subject's brain scan lit up in a similar area of their left-brain.
But something else occurred that the scientists had not predicted. The brain scan also lit up in 5 other areas of the brain! This was a revolutionary discovery. It verified that your brain is constantly "thinking" on six or more levels at once.
In additional testing, subjects were given a math problem to solve and a sedative that was slowly increased, until they fell asleep.
What happened? The light on the scan image representing the math thinking, WENT OUT! But the other five areas of the brain scan that were lit, stayed lit.
CONCLUSION? You are constantly thinking on 6 levels at once, but only at the conscious level, are you aware of your thoughts and ideas.
The other five areas are known as your nonconscious brain or what used to be called the subconscious brain by non-neuroscientists.
When the scan-light went out for the conscious thinking and math problem-solving, as each subject fell asleep, all of the other areas stayed lit.
This means that you are always thinking at your nonconscious levels. No matter that you may be consciously asleep.
Your imagination and powers of visualization reside in your nonconscious brain. Your willpower resides in the conscious brain.
Your conscious brain represents one-sixth of your brain's thinking power. Your nonconscious brain represents five-sixths of your brain's thinking power.
Which part of your brain is most important to control? Which is more powerful: a 500 pound Gorilla or a 100 pound weakling who gets sand kicked in his face? Do the math!
Your nonconscious brain has five times the power of your conscious brain.
Therefore anytime you have a conflict between your willpower, which functions in your conscious brain (1/6), and your imagination, which functions in your nonconscious brain (5/6), who is ALWAYS going to win?
Yep! Your visualization and imagination of the taste of those cookies-every time!
So what can you do to fix this?
Well there is another scientific principle involved here.
Your mind sees only in pictures. If I were to ask you to close your eyes and remember what you did first thing after you got up this morning, you would see this in pictures. You would not see this written on a page of notebook paper in your brain!
Because you are aware of what you think consciously, your conscious brain can see things and think things through and filter out negative pictures and give thoughts (mind-pictures) true meaning or perception.
You CANNOT filter out the negatives from your nonconscious thoughts because you're not even aware of what that thinking (picture) is!
So when you say to yourself, "I will not overeat!" Your conscious brain (1/6) can give this true meaning, but your nonconscious brain (5/6) sees a picture of, "Overeat!" "Overeat"!
And boy does your nonconscious listen to you!! It is not at all uncommon for people who want to lose weight to actually gain weight!
Have you ever said to your children, "Whatever you do, don't spill the milk!"?
Five/Sixth of their brain, sees a perfect picture of what?
That's right! "Spill the milk!"
Kids listened well at my house. They always spilled the milk.
How do you solve this problem?
Now that you know the scientific basis, it's easy. You've got to get your nonconscious brain, 5/6 of your brain-power, in line with your conscious, willpower brain, 1/6 of your brain-power.
You must use your imagination to dream and visualize all of the positive benefits you can gain by losing ten pounds and bombard your nonconscious brain with these pictures so that your entire brain is working toward the same end.
Instead of saying "I will not overeat!" say, "I am fit, and thin, because I eat healthy foods!" See yourself doing so as you say this!
Also, start seeing yourself doing the things you will be able to do after you lose weight.
Start visualizing every single benefit of that goal.
Then your entire brain is working in the same direction. And no matter what your goal is, weight-loss or other great goals, your success will be automatically guaranteed. You won't need willpower anymore.
After about thirty days of imagining and visualizing your success, your brain will have created enough new neurode connection-patterns, so that it will automatically take the steps necessary to reach your goals.
You won't have to do it; your brain will do it for you!
Willpower is overrated! Oh, it's still important. You need to use it to make the initial decision to change.
But once that decision to change is made with willpower, use your imagination in your nonconscious brain to make that willpower decision stick, permanently!
Procrastination will disappear, persistence and long term success and achievement will take its place. Not a thing you can do to stop it.
Your brain will be programmed for Success. Automatically! Trust Your Greatest Achievements to Neuroscience! Learn more at:
About Doug Bench
Doug is a noted educational and motivational dramatist, humorist, author, trainer and speaker. Over the last 7 years, Doug has read over 60,000 pages of books and research reports and studies on the human brain. He has delivered keynotes and seminars to more than 220 groups and 180,000 people in the last 7 years.
Doug is a published researcher in the field of applied physiology, specializing in the effects of extrinsic stimuli on maximal performance, and has written several ebooks, reports, and manuals including "Mind Your Brain", "Mastery of Science-Based Advanced Achievement", "Recent Revolutionary Brain-Research Discoveries for Success", "Motivation Automation" and "The 80 Most Important Neuroscience Lessons for Achievement"
He is a member of the Central Florida Speakers Association, the National Speakers Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Join Doug's Free Email Newsletters at www.ScienceForSuccessSystem.com. This article was reprinted with permission from Doug Bench, Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved.
QUOTES OF THE MONTH
“Human behavior is the effect: Human thought is the cause. Whatever you do, you do first in your mind. Your mind, the ultimate source of all your actions and reactions, orchestrates every deed, performs every act, authors every word. The consummate truth of life is… We think, and with those thoughts we create.”
- Dennis Deaton
“If you don’t do anything other than what you are doing right now, how can you ever expect to get anything other than what you already have? To grow in life we have to grow with life. We have to be constantly moving forward, onward, and upward. If we are not moving forward, we are moving backward because whether we like it or not, evolution is a forward moving phenomenon.”
- Geoff Thompson
“The law of cause and effect precludes ever having anything for nothing. You must always pay a price for everything that comes your way. The key is to determine what it is that you want and what price you have to pay to get it. Then resolve to pay that price, or even more, for this will bring you even more of what you want. You can only reap what you sow.”
Dr. Walter Doyle Staples
“Most people state preferences rather than make committed decisions: “I’d like to give up smoking”; I’d like to get a promotion”; “I hope I’m selected for the tem”; or “I’d like to earn more money this year” – all of which are just wish lists. Preferences and wishes have no power to positively change your life. In contrast, the power of a committed decision cannot be underestimated. A true decision evokes a firm commitment to make it happen, leaving no choice for any other option.”
- Jeffrey Hodges
“There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”
- Ken Blanchard
“Successful people think about solutions most of the time. Unsuccessful people think about problems and difficulties most of the time. Solution-oriented people are constantly looking for ways to get over, around and past the obstacles that stand in their way. Problem-oriented people talk constantly about their problems, who or what caused them, how unhappy or angry they are, and how unfortunate it is that they occurred. Solution oriented people on the other hand, simply ask, ‘How can we solve this” and then take action to deal with the problem.”
- Brian Tracy
“Anyone who has every played an instrument, participated in a sport, or practiced a martial art knows that you hit a plateau where it seems as if you are making no progress whatsoever, That’s when the uninitiated often quit, give up, drop out, or take up another instrument or sport. But the wise have discovered if they just keep practicing, eventually they make what feels like a sudden leap to a higher level of proficiency. Hang in there. Be patient. Don’t give up. Plateaus are normal. You will break through.”
- Jack Canfield
"If you truly want a better life than you have now, do what it takes. Otherwise, give yourself and those around you a break and just admit that you don’t want to pay the price, that you’d rather whine and complain than step out of your comfort zone and do what’s necessary to make things better for yourself.”
- John Assaraf
“Pay any price to stay in the presence of extraordinary people.”
- Mike Murdock
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