"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".
These words were uttered in 6th century BC and yet, they still ring true today. In order for us to accomplish something amazing, we must first take that step. That first step is the 5% Weight Loss Program.
We live in a country that values cosmetics over substance. We want to look like those men and women who show up on the covers of fitness magazines. We want to shed a few pounds and we want it to happen like it is magic! Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. In order for us to succeed, goals should be set and habits must be built to support our goal.
Dropping 5% of our total body weight might not sound like a whole lot. You might want to hit a much larger number. GOOD! I think that is a wonderful plan. But you have to remember one thing: you can't get to 10, 20 or 50% without the first 5%. This is what my program is all about!
The research does not lie. If you are able to lose 5 percent of your body weight, you will be able to see major health benefits! I have listed a few of these benefits below:
So you may be asking, how in the world are we going to do this? You may have tried every diet on the planet and every new weight loss system. Unfortunately, the weight always comes back. Not this time!
This plan is built on the power of habit. Habits are behaviours which are performed automatically because they have been performed frequently in the past. Tapping into this power will be the key to the kind of life you want to live. Human beings are creatures of habit. We wake up every day, brush our teeth, eat some breakfast, maybe grab some coffee, and we are off to work. The next day, we do the same thing. It is like the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. We are in autopilot. Why can't physical activity become a habit? For those of you who will take the first step, it will!
Physical activity is a habit that triggers widespread change. It spills over into other areas of our life. There’s something about it that makes other good habits easier. After getting in a good workout, it becomes much easier to turn down that cupcake and greasy cheeseburger. It becomes much easier to avoid smoking that cigarette or drinking that beer. Positive habits promote other positive habits. The rich truly get richer!
So how do we create a new habit?
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Our brain is looking for a shortcut. And no matter how hard we try to remove old, bad habits, they never really disappear. They’re encoded into the structures of our brain, and that’s a huge advantage for us, because it would be awful if we had to relearn how to drive after every vacation. The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between good and bad habits, and so if you have a bad one, it’s always lurking there. So if you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group. Like say, a weight loss group hoping to lose 5% of their body weight (wink wink).
How long does habit change take?
In our study, we looked at how long it took people to reach a limit of self-reported automaticity for performing a new behaviour, that is, performing an action automatically. For some, it took over 200 days. For others, it took only a few weeks. But the sweet spot for behavior change was 66 days. This will be the backbone of our program!
The 5% Plan is broken down into three 22 Day segments. Each phase will progress of the previous one. At the end of the 66 days, you will be 5% lighter and feeling 100% better!
The three segments are broken down as followed:
Attention US Citizens: We have a huge problem going on right now. Take a look around. Kids are out of shape. They are overweight. They are obese. How did all this happen?
Back in the day (I can say that now because I am in my thirties), activities were aplenty. If we weren't playing football, we were shooting hoops. If it wasn't basketball, then it must have been street hockey. And if we weren't doing any of that, then we were probably out on our bikes doing God knows what. Nowadays, 85% of kids live within walking distance of a playground. Do you think they are using them? Again, take a look around if you don't know the answer.
There is a childhood inactivity crisis and it is not just going on here in the States. Active Healthy Kids (an organization created to fixing this issue) did a little research. They identified a few areas to grade all participating countries, there were 38 of them, and continents, 6 of those. The areas they looked and results are as follows:
Now, if your kid came home with a D, what would you say to them? Some schools like the one I went to didn't even offer D's! For some kids, that D offers an out. Technically speaking, it is not failing. Your kid can come home and say, "but Dad, atleast I passed!" No, no, no. That shouldn't fly. It is not OK for your child to come home with a D on their report so it definitely shouldn't be OK for our country to be graded out as a D in regards to activity levels among our children.
So where did we all go wrong? As we have seen developments in areas like technology, we have seen decreases in activity levels. There are a lot of options for kids these days.
Automation, mechanization, urbanization, and digitization have reduced physical activity levels not only in our country but around the world! We need to do better. It starts and ends with the grownups who work with or live with children. Whether you are a parent, coach, teacher, guardian, or whatever else you may be, take a stand and promote physical activity. By doing so, you will help the future of humanity live a healthy and happy life!
I hope you all had a great holiday and Happy (soon to be) New Year!
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!