Without a doubt one of my favourite things about 2019 were the events we attended and having the chance to get to know our customers. I am truly grateful for every single conversation I have had, but last year there was one in particular that stood out to me.
The conversation in question was with a customer called Jack, whose name I have changed for the sake of this story. I have since contacted Jack and he has kindly given me permission to share our conversation with you.
The conversation started with Jack telling me how he had recently turned vegan and began using our products shortly after. As conversation starters go this one got Jack an instant fist bump from me.
Jack then told me that his goal was now to lose weight and get in shape. In his own words, Jack was ‘at least 50lbs heavier’ than he wanted to be.
So we proceeded to chat about how Jack planned to achieve his weight loss goals. It was at this point my alarm bells started ringing.
“I’ve been thinking about going on a vegan keto diet.” Jack said.
“I’m also trying intermittent fasting and am only eating between 5 – 9pm. Apart from an apple cider vinegar shot at 6am, 12 noon and 4pm. I read that it helps with fat loss. But does apple cider vinegar count as breaking my fast?”
“I’ve also started weight training 5x per week and fasted cardio every other day. But I have a question about weight training. Do you prefer an incline dumbbell press or a flat dumbbell press? I’m trying to build my chest and want to know what angle I should use.”
With these few sentences I had instantly spotted Jack’s problem. And it had nothing to do with the angle of his bench or whether the vinegar was breaking his fast.
Lost down a rabbit hole of blog posts and PubMed studies, Jack was suffering from a severe case of information overload. This had caused him to overthink the hell out of his nutrition, training, and life in general.
The result? Jack was unable to make any progress because he had made everything far more complicated than it ever needed to be. Of course Jack isn’t alone in this problem. In 2019 we had more information at our fingertips than ever before, but the sheer volume of it has left many of us paralyzed.
For every study that proves one theory there is another that disproves it. For every argument there are another ten on the counter. For every miracle diet there’s another that’s even more complex and even more restrictive.
Jack and I continued to talk for a further 20 minutes, but I can summarise all the advice I gave him in just one word.
Stop worrying about the microscopic details and focus on setting healthy, sustainable habits that you know you can stick with in the long term.
Start with the things that will make the biggest difference. Move more, eat more vegetables, drink more water and get 8 hours of sleep every night.
These are the things that work. But they aren’t sexy and they don’t sell magazine covers, so no one talks about them anymore.
If in your own words you are 50lbs overweight, you don’t need to employ military-grade fat loss tactics to make progress. You don’t need to go into ketosis or drink a thermogenic tea from the Kinabalu rainforest.
You need patience, you need focus, and most importantly of all you need consistency. You need to trust the process too. Results will take time, but stick to the formula and you WILL reach your goals.
The reason fad diets and miracle weight loss cures DON’T work is because they are just too unsustainable to stick with long term. Eventually you fall off the wagon and rebound to the exact same place that you were before.
As with anything in life, the simpler you can make it the easier it will be to achieve long term success.
This advice doesn’t just apply to fitness, either. I’m constantly looking for ways to simplify every area of my life, because I know that doing so makes me more successful and a hell of a lot happier too.
Check out this article the three easy questions to ask yourself for greater health and happiness.
As the owner of a business this isn’t always easy. There are still days when I try to do everything, but I know that I am most efficient and most productive when I am laser focused on the things that I know will make the biggest difference.
The same rules apply to my relationships. Over the years I’ve learnt that I don’t need hundreds of friends – just a few close ones for whom I can be there whenever they need me. I know without a doubt they’d do the same if ever I needed them, too.
And then there is the materialistic world that we live in that always seems to trick us into wanting more. More money, more followers, more cars, more stuff. I don’t know about you but none of this has ever brought me more happiness.
More ‘stuff’ means more attachment and more complexity. ‘Stuff’ doesn’t make me happy. Memorable experiences and the people that I love do.
(Photo below: Cleaning up the beach on Random Act of Kindness Day 2019).
Now if I buy something new, something old gets re-homed or recycled. It’s that simple. If I catch myself chasing ‘more’ I ask… could I be just as happy with less?
Of course I am not perfect. There is always an area of my life that is more complex than it needs to be. But the more I can simplify the more freedom, fulfilment and happiness I experience as a result.
With simplification comes success. Whenever you are faced with an obstacle in your life I challenge you to simplify it instead of adding more.
Oh, and in case you were wondering. I spoke to Jack on the weekend and he’s already 4lbs down in two weeks :)
(And he’s stopped the vinegar shots, too.)
Now I want you to ask yourself…
In what areas of your life can you be like Jack and simplify things today?