My background is in statistics, specifically expected value and what it takes to return a profit given a series of data. Here is what I can tell you as a matter of fact.
A small profit means your potential losses are not only possible, they are probable. The opposite is also true, big risk often means there can be big reward but often means that your exposure to risk INCREASES.
But what does this have to do with dieting?
We all know someone that has lost a lot of weight. I can speak for myself because I gained and lost over 50 pounds at least THREE times. So I know how to lose weight.
What I didn’t know was how to KEEP IT OFF!
I talk to a lot of clients and potential clients that say things like “if I can just lose 40 pounds I would be happy”.
First off, there is a lot of assumption happening in that statement but what I can tell you is that a lot of the time the 40 pounds isn’t the thing holding back happiness.
I know for myself as an example I went from 255 pounds to 185, an astronomical accomplishment if you think about it.
If I am being honest I wasn’t unhappy at any point in that journey, the losing weight was much more about health scares and getting things under control. So losing that weight was, all in all, easy. I was over consuming in a large way, had a mostly sedentary lifestyle and I got to 215 relatively easy. Going from 215 to 185 was a bit tougher but in all that failure I learned one thing that made it all easier.
DON’T GO BROKE!
When I was at 215 I was eating 3000-5000 calories a day and working out a lot (sometimes up to 3 times a day). From 255 to 215 it was about the same but my work capacity was lower. What I will say is that from 255 to 215 I didn’t know what I didn’t know. By the time I hit 215 I had cleaned up a lot of bad habits along the way and was eating a lot more nutrient dense foods.
I was so motivated during that time seeing all that success so let me be clear.
That success came from EXCESS. Once I hit 215 I was USING calories as opposed to my previous life where the calories went unused and were often stored by my body for later use. The only problem was, I never used it.
There were two things that made a big difference for my journey, in EXPECTED VALUE terms it’s called the spread. What that means is that with more opportunity I could make great progress.
The second thing is that I added to “the spread” by adding activity, like I mentioned, extreme activity that was well fed.
As you can see I am a math guy. So about the time I hit 185 I went to get my body fat checked.
Remember, this whole time I have been happy, I am achieving great things and I have lost 70 pounds. In theory nothing this body fat test could tell me would change that. I went into it thinking I was probably in the neighborhood of 20%.
It was going to be my final thing I did before I moved back to my normal and newly active life.
I was 32.7%.
This was at least three years before Eat To Perform and after some actual crying I had to know what I didn’t know. So I hired performance nutritionists. What I didn’t want to do was take a step backwards. The first few people wanted to put me on a drastic cut but the third person I talked to said “you have a muscle problem”. Per the test I believe my lean mass was something like 127 pounds.
When he asked how much cardio I was embarrassed to say A LOT and almost exclusively. I am going to jump ahead here for a second. From that time to now I have gained almost 40 pounds of muscle.
The problem I had was that I had the surplus part of the equation right but I didn’t have the stimulus right. Once I fixed that everything changed.
In the next year I went from 32% to 8% going from 185 to 149.
Right now I have 165 pounds of JUST LEAN MASS. Since that time I have run two 3 month diet cycles and one small clean up. IN 13 YEARS!
The rest of the time has just been eating and staying active with a heavy emphasis on good sleep.
Here is how most people do it. They go as low as possible as soon as possible, this increases their chances of “going broke” and ultimately failing because ultimately life is too short to not enjoy food on occasion. My new approach that ultimately became Eat To Perform put the emphasis on the surplus and not the deficit.
To this day, talking to the general population, there is no other brand that does it similar to how we do it.
Said simply, if you can start higher and gradually decrease you can go a lot farther than you can just playing it safe and too close to the vest.
Said another way, you DON’T DIET most of the time so that when you DO DIET it is more effective.
Something that should be obvious is that I had to allow myself to gain weight to add that muscle. That was really hard to do given how hard I worked.
What people don’t tell you about being super lean is that you have to SACRIFICE, most people choose less food, I chose more work and occasionally less food.
But when I was done I was ready to be done and in my heart I knew I wasn’t supposed to be that small. I didn’t dislike being lean but eating that much became a chore (in a healthy way) and working out that much without incentives wasn’t going to be sustainable.
The life I have now is a compromise between those two worlds.
To summarize, most people fail at dieting because they get to the bottom too fast, they lack the energy to stay active and at a certain point the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
When I say incentives I mean “do you make your living by staying lean?”. Athlete’s and movie stars do. Lawyers and accountants don’t.
Also let me add this, I was “happiest” going from 255 to 185. Going from 185 to 149 came with a lot of mental health challenges. People often ask me why I chose not to maintain that level of lean (I hope it’s obvious I know how) and the answer is because I am happier with food and with activity.
FOR JOY and in regards to activity IN MODERATION.
My current life is my best life but I hope to be able to see that ten years from now also.
So if you have literally tried everything I would ask you, have you tried what I just described? For almost everyone that answer is no and frankly some version of what I described is your get out of diet jail free card.
*The picture is me now at about 195.
If you feel stuck and need answers customized coaching is likely going to be the answer. Simply click the link below and an Eat To Perform coach will walk you through what your EXACT plan would look like.
**Also note that on that page there is a button the bottom right to talk to a coach LIVE
Even the programs that reverse don’t do a good job because they cave to the fear of their clients or they let AI (artificial intelligence) do the work.