The 10 Things Perpetually Healthy Nerds Do that Unhealthy People Don't.

The 10 Things Perpetually Healthy Nerds Do that Unhealthy People Don't.
From Nerd Fitness - October 9, 2017

We want weight loss to be effortless, exciting, and entertaining:

One simple trick to lose 50 pounds!

The superfood that burns fat!

How Hugh Jackman got in shape to play Wolverine in just 12 weeks!

We want that one workout that scientists hate that finally melts the fat off our midsections and tones our arms and makes us look like Wonder Woman. We gorge on acai bowls and omega-3s and get excited about the latest article that says red wine is a health food as we polish off another bottle.

Like Monty Python searching for the Holy Grail, we go through a series of follies in search of a nice idea that never actually comes to fruition.

Right, right.

Reality paints a much different picture:

Weight loss comes from habits that dont grab headlines.

Boring, dull, and oh-so-incredibly effective.

I have seen tens of thousands of people lose millions of pounds collectively and get healthy permanently since I started Nerd Fitness almost a decade ago.

At the same time, I have also seen hundreds of thousands of people make dramatic grand declarations about the latest trend or fad, lose a few pounds, and end up right back where they started. If that sounds like you, youre in good company.

No wonder a 2016 British study declared were doomed to stay fat.[1]

So what gives?

Whats the difference between the Try-Try-Agains and Perpetually Healthy Nerds (PHNs, for short)?

With over 40,000 students now in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, I created this monster resource that dives deep into the 10 most crucial habits of Perpetually Healthy Nerds.

How many of these 10 can you check off? Be honest! Santa is watching.

1. They have a Groot Mindset.

Your mom was right, you are a unique snowflake.

That means there are ton of things that affect why youve gained weight over the past decade and why you struggle to lose it:

All of these things play a factor in what you look like and how healthy you are. Despite all of these various factors, Ive seen a common thread amongst Perpetually Healthy Nerds (PHNs) that crushes all other factors:

A Groot mindset.

Youre reading Nerd Fitness, so I assume youre familiar with Groot, the tree-like superhero from Guardians of the Galaxy. He can grow and change his shape to suit the situation. He also says, I am Groot, but thats less applicable here.


Unhealthy Nerd: I have bad genetics. My parents are overweight. I am busy. I have children. I have a slow metabolism. Im never going to be able to lose weight. This plan and your strategies wont work for me because [excuse to let myself off the hook]. Im the fat guy/gal and thats all there is to it.

Perpetually Healthy Nerd: I have bad genetics. My parents are overweight. I am busy. I have children. Soooo.How can I make this work for me in my situation? I know people like me who have lost weight, which is a great sign. I refuse to accept that I am a lost cause. I am Groot.

It might not be your fault that you are overweight (thank genetics and bad habits from your parents!), or that life sucks right now. But it IS our responsibility (and nobody elses) to deal with it.

People that get healthy build a new Groot-like identity for themselves. Not the identity of a victim of bad genetics or a too busy life, but rather the identity of somebody that CAN change.

We all have emotional, visceral responses to what we see in the mirror or how we feel when we wake up. We need to cut through the emotion and get to the truth: we alone are responsible for our fate, and that means we alone can fix it.

Even if it isnt your fault where you are, accept that its your personal responsibility to deal with it.

Like Groot, you can change and grow. Youll learn that your excuses are mootif busier, older, fatter, poorer, and more injured people than you can get in shape, you can too.

Decide today that I am a perpetually healthy nerd and then simply do the things that perpetually healthy nerds do. And then repeat.

2. They know their Big Why.

The road to perpetual weight loss and healthiness is fraught with peril.

Even the best-laid plans will end up in a ditch on the side of the road unless you have the ability to persevere when life gets busy and its Taco Tuesday and a new video game just came out and your kid is sick and you just dont feel like exercising.

That perseverance comes from a damn good answer to the question: Why?

And not just Because I need to lose weight, but two levels deeper, Inception-style: WHY you need to lose weight. Thats the motivation and answer you need to be reminded of to persevere over the next few months.

Because cake is delicious.

And winter is coming.

If your answer is: Im here because my doctor/wife/husband thinks I should lose weight. I know I should exercise more and do more. you are more doomed than Sean Bean in literally any show or movie. You will give up at the first sign of adversity.

Compare this to the raw, deep, honest answers we get from Nerd Fitness Academy members when we ask about their Big WHY:

Why are you here?

Is your reason for being here more important to you than cake? If it isnt, youre gonna give up at the first sign of adversity.

Write down your Great Big Whyand go deep, my friend. Way down. And ask yourself Why? to the answer of each of your questions until you get to the root of your reason for being here.

Once you write that answer down, hang it up somewhere you can see it every day: fridge, cubicle, bathroom mirror. Accept responsibility for your current situation, be compassionate, and also accept that you CAN change, and your identity can change with small wins that prove it.

3. They dont go on diets; they adjust their nutrition.

Perpetually UNhealthy people have a love/hate relationship with diets.

Mostly hate.

They go on diets all the time, and then they go off diets. And then they go on another diet. And then they find another diet thats supposed to promise even faster, easier weight loss, so they switch to that one.

Unhealthy people get dieting wrong from the start, and this is what dooms them.

Unhealthy people go on a diet for a month or two until bathing suit season is over and they cant wait to go back to eating normally, because dieting sucks!

The problem is that their eating normally is often the reason why theyre overweight in the first place.

Temporary changes to ones eating results in temporary changes to ones physique. Like an addict chasing the next high, somebody consistently has to chase the next diet because their normal eating is the problem in the first place!

And Im with you, dieting sucks.

Starving yourself, eliminating all of your favorite foods, and trying to use willpower to avoid candy and sweets is terrible. No wonder people abandon diets as soon as they start them; they think if this is what it takes to be skinny, Id rather stay fat and happy.

Lets compare this to PHNs.

They dont go on diets, because they know diets suck and temporary changes wont work. Instead, they make adjustments to their nutrition and eat for their goals.

PHNs have internalized the following: The concept of normal eating is broken, which means it needs to change permanently. You never get to be done.

Think about that for a second.

If you are never done with your nutrition, and you cant go back to how you were eating before, then the ONLY way permanent success happens is if you actually enjoy and can stick with your new normal.

Fortunately, because PHNs have a Groot Mindset, this doesnt scare them!

If giving up soda forever is scary, they slowly cut back from 12 a day down to one a day. If giving up pasta forever scares them, they learn about portion sizes and turn pasta into a special experience (homemade pasta, only when out at restaurants, etc.).

Heres another difference about PHNs: They usually dont do cheat days or feel guilty when they eat ice cream. Thats a recipe (zing!) for self-loathing and shame.

Instead, PHNs eat well most of the time and occasionally choose to consume foods that might not line up with their goals (pizza while playing D&D once a month, beers and wings on Sunday during football season).

PHNs have the same idea about supplementsthey know supplements cant replace a great nutritional strategy, so they dont chase the latest and greatest.

These things are fine, because they are playing the LONG gameyears, not weeks or months:

Stop going on diets!

Stop chasing silver bulletsthose are for werewolves!

No more diet pills, cleanses or crazy 30-day strategies.

Nothing you do can be temporary, or the results will be temporary.

Instead, make deliberate, incremental permanent changes to your daily nutrition, slowly, over a period of many months. Dont feel guilty, and dont do cheat days. Instead, eat to line up with your goals. If you are afraid of giving up something, dont. Work to make it more of a treat and less of a daily indulgence.

Know that it took years for you to get to your current physique, and its going to take months if not years to correct it.

Once you accept that you never get to be done, you learn that you have to enjoy the journey, and pick changes that wont scare you away from adhering to your plan.

4.They know whats in the food they eat.

Do you know how many calories and grams of sugar are in a can of Coke? Or how big a serving of peanut butter actually is? Or how many calories and carbs are in a cup of healthy granola?

If you do, youre well on your way to being a PHN!

Whether its portion control, calorie counting, tracking macros, or even keeping a food journal, PHNs have a rough idea of the nutritional breakdown of the food they consume regularly.

After all, GI Joe tells us that Knowing is half the battle!

The other half is lasers:

PHNs know their nutrition accounts for 90%+ of the battle when it comes to weight loss, and thus thats where their focus is!

Seriously. 90+ PERCENT.

So they do their homework:

With each meal tracked, this behavior adds up to a quick mental model every day of roughly how many calories a PHN consumes each day.

This knowledge allows for shame-free and guilt-free meals even if they arent part of the big picture:

For example, a PHN will know that theyre going to be eating pizza for dinner, so they opt for eggs and bacon for breakfast and a salad for lunch to even out their daily total.

Because PHNs also know sugar is a big culprit in spiking insulin and making waistlines larger, they seek to limit sugar intake and make their calories count, especially if those calories are in beverage form.

PHNs are inherently skeptical of food marketers, and therefore take the time to look at labels:

Look at those two things above: one is a can of cola that you know is bad for you, the other is marketed as a healthy beverage. Theyre both terrible for you!

PHNs know that fruit juice is pretty much sugar water, most granola bars have as many carbs and sugar as a candy bar, and a healthy muffin is a calorie bomb.

PHNs want the most bang for their buck, so they educate themselves on food.

Learn about the food youre eating. Youre a grown adult, you can take 3 minutes and Google it.

Once you know the composition of your meals, you can start to make subtle adjustments or change quantities over time as you start to approach a healthier weight. Be okay with good enough to start, and get more accurate as time goes on.

For each food, learn the following:

Keep a food journal and just write down what you eat every day for a week. If your weight isnt changing, adjust down total calories and minimize sugar consumption and see how your weight changes. Make small adjustments over time and see how your body responds.

Speaking of goals.

5. They use Blueprints and Blocks to Create Goals.

Perpetually unhealthy people say things like Im going to exercise more this year!

Goals like this are cloudy with no real markers of success. With no beacon guiding them, perpetually unhealthy people dont know if theyre on track, and theres no accountability if they dont succeed. These goals get tossed in the abandoned pile next to goals like Im gonna start flossing!

That is very different from PHNs.

PHNs grow like Groot through proper goal-setting and achievement:

An example: I need to lose X amount of weight by X date or else X will happen.

This is the goal that my friend (and NF success story) Saint set: to reach a single-digit body fat percentage before his wedding date, or hed lose $500 to a friend. With a very specific goal and a specific timeline, we can work backwards to calculate how much weight we need to lose each week to build that blueprint: our goal physique.

Once a blueprint is selected, a PHN will focus on just placing the next brick or block according to the plans. They know that if they picked the right blueprint, placing one block after another in the right place will eventually result in a completed building.

In Minecraft terms, once you have the blueprints for a replica of Rivendell, all you have to focus on is placing the next block in the right place. Repeat. Eventually, youll have Rivendell:

Heres a real-life example of this block-placing mentality:

My goal is to reach 150 pounds by December 1st, so I will eat one vegetable every day, and I will strength train for 30 minutes, four days per week.

In this instance, a PHN is focused only on the habits themselves, trusting the outcome will take care of itself.

Using block-habits like this results in no wiggle room: You can very easily answer the question Yes I placed the block or no I did not place the block. You either ate a vegetable today or you didnt. You either exercised for 30 minutes today or you didnt.

Pick habits and challenges and goals that are designed for YOUR level. Start with habits SOOOOO easy that you cant help but achieve them. And focus on the habit.

If youve never built a thatched hut, dont pick a blueprint of a cathedral for your first building. Pick a blueprint that works for you at your level, and complete it! Only then should you pick a bigger, more complex project to follow.

Think of it in video game terms:

6. They dont HAVE to exercise, they GET to.

Unhealthy people treat exercise as a miserable means to an end: Ill exercise until I reach my goal weight and then I can stop this exercise stuff and go back to what I was doing before.

Temporary changes, miserable strategy, temporary results sound familiar?

They run on a treadmill because they think they should, but they hate it, and they never want to go back. Or they get dragged to a class with a friend and the class ruins fitness for them.

They do their best to build the habit, but theyre so unhappy and unexcited about the exercise that the habit never sticks.

Look, heres the truth: exercise sucks.

So PHNs dont do exercise.

At the same time, Ive heard fromNerd Fitness Academy members: I cant believe it, but I actually look forward to exercising now. How did THAT happen?

Whats going on here?

Because nutrition is 90% of the battle, having the habit of exercise and movement is more important than what specific type of exercise you choose.

7. They invest in their health like a 401(k).

8. They Go All In On Momentum.

9. They know their Kryptonite.

10. They are surrounded by Lakitus, not Banana Peels.

Are you a PHN?


Continue reading at Nerd Fitness »