The book “Mini Habits for Weight Loss” by Stephen Guise focuses on building a lifestyle system for sustained weight loss rather than following a specific diet plan. The book emphasizes the importance of forming small habits that compound over time and lead to lasting change. The author suggests focusing on what can be controlled and separating general motivation from momentary motivation. The goal is to make healthy habits a part of one’s lifestyle and build consistency over time.
[Music] Have you ever wondered if mini habits are good enough to lose weight.
That’s what we’ll talk about today.
[Music] Today we’re going to talk about the book from Stephen Geis, “Mini Habits for Weight Loss.
Stop Dieting, Form New Habits, and Change Your Lifestyle Without Suffering.
” I’ll say right off the bat that this book made me sad.
Because I think it’s the kind of book I would write if I were gonna write a weight loss book.
It really is a great book.
Not saying that I would write a great book, but what he wrote is a great book and I really enjoyed reading it.
I thought it was helpful for me.
As much as I talk about all the habits and, you know, particularly I like to talk about health habits, I still struggle with them myself.
I still struggle to get to the place where I can lose more weight, I can exercise more, I can do the right things.
I wish it was something I loved.
I love sitting things.
I love knitting and reading and doing podcasting and sitting is my thing.
Forming many habits around weight loss is a great start for me too.
I’m struggling with it maybe just like you are.
Now this book’s a little bit different than the last one we talked about.
He says that losing weight it’s not whether or not we can have a perfect diet for 30 days.
A lot of us do that, right.
We start off the new year, we’re excited to lose weight, we’re doing a great job, and I’m on day 14 of exercising every day.
We start off great.
Where we really maintain that healthy living, sustained weight loss is about lifestyle change in the long term.
I always see people talk about how they can get through their holiday party or get through the Christmas time or get through the long days of winter and keep their weight loss going.
But you know what.
In my mind it’s not what you do between Thanksgiving and New Year’s that causes weight gain.
It’s what you do from New Year’s to Thanksgiving.
It’s those other months that are really getting us the wrong way.
You are gonna screw up.
There are gonna be days where you don’t feel like doing it and this book is talking about what can we do to make a lifestyle choice.
The big thing is when you’re talking about doing systems or you’re talking about your daily habits.
This is a concept that Scott Adams came up with a long time ago because if you build a system around losing weight, not as a goal, but you make the system where you’re going to eat healthier, you make the system where you’re going to exercise more, you make the system where you’re going to get enough sleep, you make the system where you’re going to do all the things you need to do to be a healthy person.
That’s where this book is really going.
It’s about building a lifestyle system that will tilt the scales of you losing weight in your direction.
He says that we look at it all wrongly whenever we’re focused on the type or the quantity or we’re gonna do this diet or that diet or the keto diet or the green diet.
I always thought too that if you do a low carb diet it generally works.
I do believe that protein is better for you than carbs.
But if you also said that I was going to be on a diet where I only ate purple food or I stopped eating brown food, well if you stopped eating brown food that would get rid of all the chips, the potatoes, the rice, it would get rid of most snack foods.
So you can see that just shaving off a piece of food item typically helps us.
But the question is, are we getting obsessed by the wrong thing.
And then we might switch from diet to diet because this one didn’t work or that one didn’t work.
And instead, he really wants you to think about your life and your lifestyle, that it’s not this 30 day, eat this exact food, eat my exact menu plan and you will lose weight.
He says, “This is a lousy strategy that consistently fails and people have tried everything to get it to work.
” You know it, you have seen all the diet books out there, You’ve seen all the diet systems out there.
And we have never had more diets than we do right now.
I remember as a high school teenager, we would look at it, me and my friends, we would look at everything we could do.
Oh, there’s these little cubes in their weight loss suppressants.
Let’s eat the tiny cubes.
Oh, this is a diet where you can eat X, Y, and Z.
Let’s eat that instead.
The funniest diet I saw when I was in high school came right out of a teen magazine.
And I thought this was actually pretty clever.
It had this scale where you ate one celery stick, you ate two things of broccoli, and it went up by number.
Then you would eat three beets, you would eat four things of asparagus, whatever.
You kept going up by number, by number, by number.
And if you got up to, I don’t know what it was, number 60, then you could have a piece of chocolate.
But by that time, you’ve eaten 400,000 different varieties of vegetables, and you probably no longer feel like eating your chocolate anymore.
But he says that all these diets don’t work for us in the long time, we don’t stick to them, we lose our joy in life, it’s really not helping us to maintain that healthy lifestyle.
When I lost weight before I got injured, I did it just through perseverance of good habits.
My trainer, Heather, she set me up with this great plan where I would look towards my calories, I would look towards healthy foods, I would try to do the best I could, and an exercise plan.
And I just stuck to it every day.
Did I screw up.
Did I have days where I didn’t do it properly.
Sure I did.
But you know what.
It was changing back into that lifestyle, which I’m trying to go back to now, that made it work.
Because it was about changing my systems as compared to following a diet.
So he says that that’s what this book is all about.
It’s here to help you become better at that system.
He says, “Lasting change requires only one thing, consistent action over time.
A mini habit is designed to fit this requirement exactly.
No more and no less.
So he really wants to make this simple, easy for us to do, something that we can start out.
Examples, he says, you know, what is a mini habit.
And a mini habit might be one pushup, one plank, one squat a day, very easy to accomplish.
And if you were looking at going for a walk, it might just be a walk down the street, like 50 feet, and then walking back again.
So these habits are so small that we can accomplish them.
I think the whole world has a lot to thank BJ Fogg and his “Tiny Habits” book.
This is another one of those books, but it’s refocused towards weight loss, helping us see the many habits that we can take on that will make lifestyle choices for us forever.
And he says that what we can do is just focus on compounding effects.
We talked about that when we talked about atomic habits.
If you can improve just 1% every day, you compound that on itself.
If you ever saved for retirement, the retirement is on compounding interest.
You don’t put a dollar in and then in two years you have another dollar, it’s compounding.
So think about your efforts as compounding on each other.
You will start to build faster and faster.
And he wants you to think about what the impact of weight loss would be on you.
I mean, how would you feel.
My trainer, she used to do the funniest thing and it was the most miserable thing I had to do, but boy, it still has an impact on me to this day.
She had me walk around after I lost 20 pounds with a 20 pound weight, carrying it up four flights of stairs many times over and over.
That’s the weight you lost.
Does that feel good to carry it up the stairs.
Let’s keep going, ’cause you could get rid of another 20 pounds and think of how good you’ll feel.
And she’s right.
When you put weight back on, you feel it, and you know what you felt like, and now you know what you feel like now.
So having that imagery of what it would feel like to lose 20 pounds and no longer have to carry it, go find something that is 20 pounds and pick it up.
Wouldn’t you feel awesome if you no longer had to carry that around.
I know it was awesome for me, and that’s where I’m going back to.
And he says that if we form it into habit, it will impact us more strongly than if we just have the urge or the willpower to do it.
And he gives a study, we talk about this many times, that it takes 66 days to form a habit.
There are other studies out there.
I’ve seen anything from three weeks to 92 days, but just get the idea that habit forming takes time.
And once you get into the habit, you won’t even notice it because suddenly you’re just doing it.
There’s so many things that during the pandemic were hard for me, but then I was home every day and by myself and I didn’t have things distracting me to the degree I have them most times and suddenly I formed a habit and now it still is a habit for me.
So it’s one of those things that we have to go and form the habit and once we do then it’s autopilot.
We’re no longer expending will or at least much will in order to get there.
He gives the quote of Sun Tzu, “Victorious warriors win first, then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
” You’re winning the battle before you even go into the battle, and that’s what he’s trying to get us to do.
And the goal, he says in the end, is to just make it a part of us.
A habit means that it’s built into us now.
Do you think about getting the mail.
No, it’s just a habit.
Do you think about brushing your teeth.
became a habit a long time ago.
So that means that it’s built into us.
Instead of these, “You have to want it.
You have to feel it.
” That’s what’s going to get us from the shoulds or the can’ts away from even the wants into do, done, I’ve accomplished this.
And when we do the other systems where we’re trying to base it on willpower, We feel lazy, we feel like a failure, and then we just think that we have failed the plan, when in fact, plans are built to fail.
They don’t bring about the change that we need in our brain, or the changes in our habit and our lifestyle that will give us the long-term effects.
And I know, I’m one of those people that when I do lose weight, it’s because I’m gutting it out, or I have that great desire and I’m putting it in front of me.
I told you, I have pictures of of adventures all over my house because I’m trying to encourage myself to want things that are typically very hard for me to want.
Do I have pictures of great knitted sweaters that I would hope I could knit someday.
I have pictures of hikes that I went on and I loved every minute of it.
So my motivations are about things that are adventures.
They’re not about me sitting in my chair wondering why I never lose weight.
He mentions that there’s motivations.
You know, if you decide that you’re going to go out to a bar with your friends, you could have a lot of different motivations.
“I don’t want to drink that beer,” or “I don’t want to eat those fries.
It’s not healthy for me.
I want to be healthy.
” Or, “Mm, that looks delicious.
I’m going to eat that.
I’m going to drink the beer.
” Or you want to feel good.
You want to have fun with your friends.
You want to have a good, exciting time.
Then you feel like you should eat it.
Then you think, “Oh gosh, I really want to lose weight.
I really should want to lose weight.
” And then you don’t eat it.
all sorts of things tugging at us all the time and what we have to do is first of all he says control what we can.
He says quote the first rule for living a good life is to focus on what you can control.
As such it’s best to separate these two concepts into something we can control.
General motivation and something we can’t fully control.
So general motivation is I want to lose weight I want to be healthy.
Momentary motivation is that thing that rushes in on us, eat the french fries, drink the beer, have a good time with your friends.
That is so hard to control.
And our ability to have willpower is related to all sorts of things.
I know I feel excited to do my weight loss and to have willpower.
When I’m on a good streak, things are going my way.
Right now I’m down five pounds.
I feel great about it.
My willpower is high.
But I go out with my friends.
I want to go out with my friends.
we do our best thinking when we’re out at a restaurant.
Or you just want to have a good time or maybe today was a gigantic bummer and work didn’t go the way you hoped it was.
Or maybe you’ve just had 360 days of rainy days and you just can’t take it anymore.
And so you want to go out and eat and have a good time.
Those are those momentary motivations.
You’re driving by and you see the restaurant that you always love going to.
You’re right here, you got cash in your pocket, oh my gosh it’s dinner time and that momentary motivation overwhelms you.
He says in the end people gain weight in the same way that you lose weight in small steps.
We don’t put on 10 pounds in a day, we wake up a couple of months later trying to get into our swimsuit in summertime, now we no longer fit into our swimsuits.
That’s something that happened over time.
It’s these small choices.
It’s a small thing that happened.
When I got injured, I was laid up for two years.
I didn’t put all the weight back.
I didn’t lose all my fitness in one big swoop.
It just happened over the course of those two years.
Change is not going to happen fast.
You didn’t put it on fast.
You’re not going to lose it fast.
And even if you do, it means that you’re not changing your life in such a way.
I would love to tell you I lost 75 pounds.
It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me and you think I’m never going back I’m never putting on that weight.
It’s not gonna happen and then something happened.
I got injured.
I got depressed about it I sat there put it all back on again You are going to put on weight and you’re gonna take it off same way slowly And if you do it because you’re changing that’s what’s gonna help you He breaks up the part that the body really does not want to change.
It doesn’t want you to lose weight It doesn’t really want you to gain weight We have this set point system and you’ll see that rear its ugly head Whenever you have what they call a plateau, right.
You’re hammering away at your diet You’re doing all the things you had been doing and suddenly your weight loss stops.
And why is that.
It’s because our system is trying to maintain a life for us We have to have our body range in a very dedicated temperature, you know Somewhere like between 96 and a hundred and three degrees we can run when we get below or above that we start to have health Problems so our body is very focused on keeping us at the right temperature at Maintaining the right blood sugar at maintaining the right chemicals in our system and at some point When we change too much suddenly the body is like whoa, whoa, whoa Let’s slow down a minute and let’s figure out what’s going on An epidemiologist friend of mine told me that the body is essentially trying to give itself a pause even it means not losing weight To try to get back its equilibrium again.
That’s what a plateau is and I thought that was just genius Of course, our body is not used to it It knows how to keep Jill at this weight at a good temperature but if I drop 75 pounds, it suddenly has to relearn exactly how to keep me healthy at that weight.
It’s annoying, I will tell you, and I know you know it too.
You’ve probably all had plateaus where you tried to lose weight and it just got stuck there.
But again, we can overcome that by going through these very small habits.
So on this episode we talked about why mini habits would work and why we have to change our habits as compared to just trying to follow a diet instead and What we can use these mini habits to do so that we actually get the weight loss or basically any goal The book is about weight loss, but this system is fantastic.
It could help you with anything So my challenge to you is I want you to write down two types of motivations You have the general motivations which are the big things that we can control.
And then I want you to write down some of the momentary motivations that keep you from having those instantaneous moments of control.
Write those down and just take a look at them.
See what types of motivations are really controlling the strings here.
Next week we’ll talk about how to form better habits, mini habits, so that we can have some success in this area.
Arduin, thanks so much.
I appreciate you listening.
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