Peak Performance Insider: The law of chocolate chip cookies, how to form habits that last, and everything you need to know about weight loss
Estimated read time: 5 minutes
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I lost $500 in January last year and it’s 100% my fault.
One of my goals was to post a video to my YouTube channel every week on Tuesday for a year.
I recruited a friend as an accountability partner and agreed to pay him $500 if I didn’t post a video by midnight every Tuesday.
And as much as it pains me to admit it I sent him $500 the very first week—only a few days after creating the agreement—because I missed my deadline by 3 hours “perfecting” the video.
Sending my friend $500 a few days after making the agreement was infuriating—I mean I was really, really angry at myself—but it was also an important reminder that showing up is everything.
If your goal is to exercise five times each week, what you do is far less important than just showing up.
How you choose to create accountability is up to you.
I choose money because losing it is painful and a sharp deadline so it’s nonnegotiable.
But the key is to create compelling consequences so that you don’t ignore your commitments.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to be held accountable for something?
- What does accountability mean to me?
- What is the best way for me to be held accountable? (Hint: this last one must involve a consequence)
Now without any further ado…
1. The law of chocolate chip cookies
The Law of Chocolate Chip Cookies is as follows:
If the cookies don’t go in the grocery basket, they don’t go home.
And if the cookies don’t go home, they don’t go in your mouth.
And if the cookies don’t go in your mouth, they can’t turn into belly fat.
So does that mean the end of cookies?
Of course not.
Chocolate chip cookies are one of life’s greatest treasures.
But there’s a difference between enjoying a freshly baked cookie and snacking on cookies every day.
And that little difference makes all the difference when it comes to getting in shape.
What This Means For You: All things in moderation.
2. How to build habits that last
I recently came across a powerful technique for developing new, better habits while breaking old, bad behavior patterns.
The big idea is that changing your behavior is most effective when you change your identity.
And I don’t mean facial reconstruction or changing your name (this isn’t Mission Impossible).
I mean focusing on identity-based habits instead of outcome-based habits.
Identity-based habits focus on who you want to become, so the process of building habits really just becomes the process of becoming your new self.
All you have to do is decide the type of person you want to be, then prove it to yourself with small wins.
In time you’ll start winning so much as that new person that you’ll start to look and feel like the new you, too.
Some examples related to food are religious adherents or vegetarians whose eating habits are determined by their identities.
What You Can Do: Start small with easily achievable milestones.
Try setting small milestones like, “I don’t eat snacks before 10am.”
Then a few weeks later “I don’t eat snacks before lunch.”
Then maybe “I don’t eat snacks before dinner.”
Keep track of your wins and celebrate your milestones in ways that align with your goal.
That kind of slow, easy progression can make picking up new habits (or breaking bad ones) not only doable but actually easy.
And if you’d like to learn more about identity-based habits, check out “Atomic Habits” from my recommended reading list.
3. Everything you need to know about weight loss
It’s estimated that 45 million Americans—nearly 15% of the population—go on a diet each year and spend nearly $50 billion dollars on weight loss products and services, according to research conducted at the Boston Medical Center for Nutrition & Weight Management.
That is a massive number of people spending a fortune on fitness every single year.
So what’s all the hype about? Why do so many people spend so much time and money trying to lose weight? And, most importantly, what exactly is intentional weight loss?
In the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness:
Now let’s put that all into perspective.
What is Body Fluid?
Using a lean, healthy male as our example, body fluid is divided in a two-to-one ratio between two compartments:
- Intracellular Fluid is all of the fluid that exists within the cells in our bodies. This amounts to 60-67% of the fluid in the body and is about 42% of one’s total body weight.
- Extracellular Fluid is all of the fluid that exists outside the cells in our bodies. This amounts to 33-40% of the fluid in our bodies and is about 21% of one’s total body weight.
This means that in total, your body fluid amounts to anywhere from 60-67% of your total body weight.
What is Body Fat?
Body fat is connective tissue found all over the body that is mainly responsible for storing energy, cushioning, and insulating the body. The main types of fat cells are white, brown, and beige cells.
- White Fat cells are the body’s primary energy storage units and are located under the skin, namely around our belly, arms, buttocks, and thighs. These fat cells cushion and support joints and organs and help the body perform a variety of vital functions.
- Brown Fat cells burn fatty acids to help keep us warm. These kinds of fat cells are found primarily in babies, although adults store small quantities on their necks and shoulders.
- Beige Fat cells are found all over the body and are believed to come from white fat cells, through a process called “browning.”Upon activation this beige fat begins to behave like brown fat and burn white fat for energy.
All of these kinds of fats can be stored as essential, subcutaneous, or visceral fat.
- Essential Fat is found in the brain, bone marrow, nerves, and membranes that protect our organs. It is, as its name suggests, essential to support human health.
- Subcutaneous Fat is the fat stored under the skin that you can squeeze or pinch with your fingers. It makes up the overwhelming majority of the fat in our bodies and although a certain amount of subcutaneous fat is normal and healthy, when people talk about losing weight they are often referring to reducing this kind of fat mass.
- Visceral Fat is commonly referred to as “belly fat” because it is stored in our abdomen and around our major organs.
Carrying any form of fat in excess greatly increases a number of health risks including heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and breast cancer.
But the benefits of having a healthy body fat percentage include properly regulating body temperature, balancing hormone levels, promoting good reproductive health, neurological function, and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
What is Lean Mass?
Lean mass is commonly referred to as lean body mass (LBM), which includes body fluid, organs, bones, muscle, tendons, and other connective tissue.
Lean body mass is calculated by subtracting body fat (BF) from body weight (BW) using this simple equation: LBM = BW − BF.
Putting It All Together
Intentional weight loss means a reduction of total body mass from any number of those areas as a result of efforts to improve one’s fitness and overall health.
And in order for weight loss to be permanent, you have to permanently change your lifestyle.
So although Dry January, Sugar-Free February, a 5-day juice cleanse, or even an intensive 12-week training program may help you lose weight in the short term, those results will only last if you continue doing similar things.
What This Means For You: Permanent weight loss results from lifestyle change. Period.
I hope this helps!
Food For Thought This Weekend
Perfection is the enemy of progress.— Winston Churchill
This quote reminds us that it’s okay to mess up because aiming for perfection prevents us from moving forward.
Progress comes when we keep pushing, not when we’re stuck trying to be flawless.
So focus on doing what you can right now.
Perfection can wait, but our dreams shouldn’t have to.
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help:
1. Download my free health and fitness guide. When you’re ready to tackle your fitness goals, this is definitely where you should start. It’s the same framework for achieving goals that I use with all of my clients. It also contains 6 habits of highly successful fitness people.
2. Are you an entrepreneur or busy professional who wants to get lean, boost energy, and feel fantastic? Apply for private one on one coaching here.
3. Promote yourself to 2,000+ subscribers by sponsoring this newsletter. Contact me for details.
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