The 10 Key Differences Between Weight Loss Success and Failure

The 10 Key Differences Between Weight Loss Success and Failure
From Nerd Fitness - January 1, 2018


At some point in the past two days, you probably said something like the following:

And thus, we begin our search for the promised land of effortless, enjoyable weight loss:

We want that one workout that scientists hate that finally melts the fat off our midsections and makes us look like Wonder Woman.

We gorge on acai bowls and omega-3 supplements and get excited about the latest article that says red wine is a health food as we polish off another bottle.

We go through a series of follies in search of a get-fit-quick fantasy that never actually comes to fruition, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Reality paints a much different picture:

A flat stomach doesnt come in a bottle or in a workout DVD.

It comes from boring consistent action over months and years. Gross.

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

At the same time, I have also seen hundreds of thousands of people chase the latest health fad, lose a few pounds, and end up a year later right back where they started. Every year, I have seen packed gyms in January become ghost towns in February.

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

So what gives?

This year, what will separate the people who make new years resolutions and STICK with them, and those that give up after a few weeks?

With over 40,000 students in our flagship online course, the Nerd Fitness Academy, 150 1-on-1 coaching clients, and 10 years with thousands of emails and success stories, I created this monster resource that dives deep into the key habits that will actually help you get in shape this year.

Here are the 10 key strategiesthat separate the Healthy from the Unhealthystart doing these things today and youll actually make progress that lasts:

1. have a Growth 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(s) 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 these various factors, Ive seen a common thread in people who build healthy habits and stick with them:

A Growth mindset.

Lets get nerdy for a second (youre reading Nerd Fitness after all). 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 only says, I am Groot, but thats less applicable here.


Unhealthy Person: 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 wont work for me because [excuse to let myself off the hook]. Im the fat guy/gal and thats all there is to it.

Habit Building Badass: 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.

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

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.

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.

So, decide TODAY that this year that you are aa healthy, habit-building badass and then simply do the things that perpetually healthy nerds do. With each meal or each decision, ask yourself what would a healthy person do? And then do that.

2. know Your Big Why.

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

Even the best-laid plans and New Years Resolutions will end up in a ditch on the side of the road unless you have a damn good reason.

After all, 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 and its cold. There will ALWAYS be something.

You will never not be busy.

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

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

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 doomed. 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? Why do you want to build healthy habits?

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 Why and 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. dont go on a diet. adjust Your nutrition.

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

Mostly hate.

They go on diets all the timeespecially in early January, 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, and they cant wait to go back to eating normally. The problem is that their eating normally is the reason why theyre overweight in the first place.

Temporary changes to ones eating results in temporary changes to ones weight and 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 yup, dieting sucks.

Starvation, eliminating favorite foods, and trying to use willpower to avoid candy and sweets is a terrible strategy, so stop doing it.

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.

This year, never go on a diet ever again.

Instead, come to terms with this: My concept of normal eating is broken, which means it needs to change permanently in order for me to get healthy.

Think about that for a second.

If you never get to be 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 enjoyyour new normal.

Stop going on diets!

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

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

Instead you are going to make deliberate, incremental permanent changes to your daily nutrition, slowly, over a period of many months.

Eat to line up with your goals.

If you are afraid of giving up something, dont!Make the unhealthy foods more of a treat and less of a daily indulgence:

When you think about getting healthy this year, think in terms of days and years, not weeks and months:

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. This means you HAVE to enjoy the journey.

Once you accept that you never get to be done, you can start picking small adjustments or changes that wont scare you away from adhering to your plan.

4.know whats in the food You eat.

Did you know that when it comes to weight loss, your nutrition choices will account for 90% of your success or failure?

In the Nerd Fitness Rebellion, we refer to this as the you cant outrun your fork rule.

Seriously. 90+ PERCENT of the equation.

Tattoo this on your forehead. Hire somebody to skywrite it above your home every day. Pay somebody to call you every morning and remind you of this fact.

Whatever it takes to get you to realize that changing your eating habits will be the fastest (and only) path to weight loss in 2018.

And it starts by educating yourself about your food.

Make a habit of knowing whats in the food you eat!

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

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

The other half is lasers:

With each meal tracked, this habits adds up to knowing what needs to happen every day for you to get healthy.

Sugar is a big culprit in spiking insulin and thus contributes to making waistlines larger, which means checking the labels on the foods youre consuming for sugar is a great habit to get into.

Speaking of sugar, lets see a common pitfall you can start to avoid. Here are two different beverages:

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!

Dont fall for the hype: read the label, and break free of the Matrix!

Learn about the food youre eating. Youre an 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.

Whats that? You dont know how to eat healthy? I got you, boo: A beginners guide to healthy eating.

For each food, learn the following:

Dont overthink this: 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. 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!

Compare this to what youre going to do in 2018:

Lets see this in action: I want to lose X amount of weight by X date.

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 target weight.

Once you know where you want to be a year from nowyou can then just focus on what you need to do TODAY.

Want to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year?

Thats one pound per week. And that can happen by making a single change today and every day moving forward.

Focusing on the habit (today Im going to drink only one soda instead of 3, and have one vegetable) allows you to not get overwhelmed at the big picture.

In Minecraft terms, once you have the blueprints for a replica of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings, all you have to focus on is placing the next block in the right place. And then repeat!

Eventually, youll have Rivendell:

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

My goal is to reach my goal weight of 150 pounds by December 1st, 2018, so I will eat one vegetable every day, and I will strength train for 30 minutes, two days per week. On other days, Ill go for a 10 minute walk.

What happens when you do this: you stop worrying about the outcome, and instead JUST focus on the habit you have to do today.

It allows you to very easily answer the question: Yes I placed the block or no I did not place the block.

Make sure you are picking a blueprint that you can build (its not overly optimistic), and keep things simple. A target weight loss goal of 1 pound per week is reasonable and sustainable. Remember that the focus should be on SUSTAINABLE progressnot progress at any cost.

Once you start reaching goals you can create more complex plans.

Or in fantasy terms, after you finally slay the dragon, go find a bigger one!

6. You dont HAVE to exercise, You GET to exercise.

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 youre going to stop doing exercise.

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

Whats going on here?

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

8. Go All In On Momentum.

9. know Your Kryptonite.

10. Your are surrounded by supporters, not anchors

How is 2018 Going to Be Different?


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