Monday, December 16, 2013

Stonehenge, Eastern Mysticism, and Modern Weight Problems

Every once in a while I suddenly have some sort of a philosophical epiphany that relates to training or dieting, but once I start organising my thoughts so that I can type it up, I realise it's actually something I've written about extensively in the past.

Whatever though.

Last night I was watching a documentary about Stonehenge, and then after that there was one about The Beatles and I didn't see all of it but the part that I caught was focussing on their spiritual leanings under the guidance of the Maharishi. Seemingly unrelated topics.

Now in the Stonehenge documentary they were discussing how it might have been built, and they had this new theory about how the giant stones might have been moved across the country. As it turned out, they tried this idea out and it worked nicely. It would have been quite possible for ancient peoples to have used this method... however, they decided it probably wasn't how they had done it, as it was quite complicated and probably unnecessary so. The quote that stuck out to me was "the more complex you make something, the more there is that can go wrong". And so they figured a simpler method had probably been used.

This struck me as similar to a lot of what I talk about related to weight loss in particular. People are often impressed by complicated approaches that have a lot of rules about what foods you can eat, what foods you can eat at the same time as other foods, what times of the day and so on. Especially when there is an explanation for why all of this is important with some scientific sounding words thrown in, you get the impression that "wow, this guy (or girl) really knows what s/he's talking about!"

Really though... having such a complicated approach just means it is a lot harder to get right and stick to consistently. If there is a simpler approach available that will be just as effective, and a lot easier to put into action... why wouldn't you take it?

Now... the next show. I feel like I don't want to accidental misquote anyone here but there was a lot of talk about the positive effects of meditation and the Maharishi's teachings on people, and a few references to the Tao Te Ching which is something I often refer to as well... and the part that stuck out to me was something to the effect of "I haven't done anything special to you at all, this is what you are like naturally".

Again this is a lot like how I feel about weight loss programs. I always feel my greatest successes as a Weight Loss Coach are when my clients say things like "I feel like I have just lost the weight by accident" as they have stopped trying to force the weight off with difficult, restrictive programs. Doing "nothing special" is what seems to produce consistent, easy results. Why would anything special be required? Our goal is nothing out of the ordinary.

Naturally, people are not obese. Whether for marketing reasons, through a lack of understanding, or perhaps through trying to be kind, we often act like it is actually being "in shape" which is the unlikely, out of the ordinary condition that is only attainable to a select few people either through sheer good fortune or strict and obsessive adherence to some difficult and unpleasant diet and exercise regime. In the industry, you'll often see diet and exercise programs marketed on this basis; that the program creates the unique set of circumstances that can result in being in healthy shape at a normal size and body weight.

In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth and this is the opposite of how things really work. People can be normal sized and healthy following a variety of diets, or not following a particular diet at all. They can be normal sized and healthy following a variety of exercise programs, not following a particular program at all. It is NOT being normal sized and healthy that requires a specific set of circumstances.