6 Bad Arguments That Make the GMO Debate Look Stupid

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Although I took a critical thinking course in college, it was really my friend and mentor, Donna from BAD RAP, who taught me how to unravel faulty arguments. She was so good at breaking them down to their faulty base assumption, and presenting  a more logical, more sound option instead.

Recognizing faulty arguments can be a challenge, because many times faulty arguments are built upon logic that is emotionally compelling. And emotion can create blinders. That logic though, when examined, frequently falls apart. Most people are not very good at examining logic, so faulty arguments can take root and grow as more people are exposed to them, because they are so emotionally compelling.

Below, I’m going to list 6 of the faulty arguments about GMOs that the GMO debate is rife with, and explain how those arguments play upon your emotions rather than utilize facts.

1. The Bandwagon Fallacy – other countries do it so we should too!

This is the argument that we should ban GMOs because other countries have banned them. The problem with this is that just because someone else does something doesn’t mean we should too. It also doesn’t mean that that someone did it for reasons based on facts and evidence. Other countries prohibit women from driving, and stone people to death for adultery, and chop people’s hands off for theft. There are lots of countries with different laws than us, and it doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, mean we should have the same laws as they do. Plus, a lot of countries base their laws on religion, or on public opinion, not facts and evidence.

The Bandwagon Fallacy isn’t evidence. If we ban GMOs, it should be because the evidence says we should. Not because someone else does it.

I propose that we stop using the Bandwagon Fallacy as an argument in the GMO debate and instead base our arguments (and laws) on actual evidence.

2. The Shill Gambit Fallacy – you’re being paid to say that!

Maybe that person arguing in favor of GMO technology is being paid by the GMO industry. Upon first glance, this argument makes sense – we can’t trust your argument because you’re being paid to make it! You’re an industry shill!

There are a few logic problems with this argument though. First, vocal proponents of both sides of the debate are being backed by industry interests. Dr. Kevin Folta, a vocal GMO proponent, has received grants from Monsanto for his research and education initiatives. And Dr. Charles Benbrook, a vocal GMO opponent, is backed by organic corporations such as Whole Foods, Stonybrook Farms and Organic Valley. Virtually every organization on either side of the debate has industry funding at some level. If being ‘paid’ to take a side in the debate is a reason to dismiss someone’s argument, then we pretty much need to dismiss everyone.

Second, as someone just trying to gather information on the topic, I noticed that as soon as I began expressing ambivalence about the topic, I began being accused of being a shill. I have been accused of being a shill innumerable times in discussing this topic. Lets get this out of the way: the only entity I shill for is The Y, which is an amazing non-profit organization (and where I work, although I am currently donating my entire paycheck back to The Y, so I’m not receiving any personal financial gain for said ‘shilling’). And the Y has no stake in the GMO debate.  I have never received any money from the Food Industry, biotech industry, Monsanto, the Organic industry or ANY OTHER entity for asking questions about GMO technology. Not a penny. Ever. From anyone. So even though I’m NOT a shill, I still get accused of being one, all the time. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only person out there questioning GMO ideology who isn’t a shill.

Finally, the Shill Gambit, while effective for swaying people’s emotions, doesn’t actually negate a person’s argument. Even if they were a shill, it doesn’t mean they are wrong. The shill accusation isn’t evidence that a person is wrong. Once I realized this, I began watching to see if people making shill accusations would follow up with any evidence that the person they were accusing was wrong. It rarely happened. This disappointed me.

If being paid is the only motivation a person would have to make an argument, wouldn’t we have to assume everyone taking a side in the debate is being paid to by one industry or another? Shouldn’t we apply the same Shill logic to both sides? Are all people in support of biotechnology being funded by Monsanto? Are all people arguing against GMOs receiving kick-backs from Whole Foods? That is where Shill logic must lead, if a person wants to use it. Either we evaluate arguments from both sides based on evidence, or we apply Shill logic to both sides. We can’t reasonably and logically (or fairly!) allow one side to use shill logic and require evidence from the other. We must evaluate both arguments based on the same set of rules.

I propose we stop using the Shill Gambit altogether, and evaluate both sides of the argument based on evidence.

3. Appeal to Emotion Fallacy – children aren’t science experiments!

An appeal to emotion is an argument that seeks to elicit an emotional reaction in a listener, rather than address the actual topic of debate. It’s a way of deflecting attention from the issue.

Have you seen the images of children holding signs saying “I am not a science experiment”? MAN does that pull at the heartstrings! The cute little kids! We gotta protect them, right? This imagery provokes an emotional reaction, but is not evidence of harm.

There’s also the one about farmers in India committing suicide. This one is even more emotionally compelling, but it turns out it’s not really based on the facts (read this article to get a better idea of what is really happening). Facts be damned though, because once you’ve created an emotional reaction in a person, their ability to be logical is undermined.

I propose we stop using emotional manipulation to undermine people’s ability to evaluate an argument logically, and instead focus on the relevant facts and evidence.

4. Cherry Picking Fallacy – The Seralini Study.

Cherry picking is the act of selecting only the evidence that supports your argument, and ignoring any evidence that contradicts it.

A friend recently forwarded an article to me that claimed to detail new evidence of the harm caused by GMOs. I clicked through with an open mind. I am genuinely interested in this topic, and am willing to reevaluate my opinions if new evidence compels me to do so. I was really disappointed when the ‘new research’ turned out to be the same rat tumor study I’d seen a thousand times before. Just as the anti-sugar people routinely trot out the ONE rat study that hinted at an addiction-like response, this ONE (deeply flawed) rat study gets trotted out over and over and over in anti-GMO rhetoric.

I propose that rather than make decisions based on one or two single studies, we instead look at the entire body of scientific evidence on a topic before coming to a conclusion, or making laws on that topic.

5. The Naturalistic Fallacy – anything man-made is bad!

Empires are built upon the theme that ‘Natural is good! Artificial is bad!’ There seems to be a growing distrust of science, and anything that sounds like a chemical.

The Naturalistic Fallacy is an argument that something is bad because it’s not natural, or that something is good because it is natural. It stands that since GMOs are created by science, they must be bad, because they’re not natural. This isn’t evidence though. It’s an assumption based on wishful thinking. Plenty of things that are natural are dangerous (arsenic, diphtheria, snake venom) and plenty of man made things are AWESOME, like helmets, vaccines and smart phones. You can’t determine the safety of a thing based on whether it’s natural or man-made. You have to look at the evidence.

I propose we stop buying into the naturalistic fallacy (and I do mean buying $$), and instead focus on the evidence when determining if a thing is safe or dangerous.

6. The Burden of Proof fallacy – do your research!

“Do your research!” people bellow at me from the pages of Facebook. This is usually after I’ve asked them if they have any evidence to support their claim. They respond by telling me to do my own research.

This is a fallacy that shifts the burden of proof from the person making a claim and onto the listener. Except that things don’t work this way. If you want people to believe your claims, you have to provide supporting evidence. Every time a person tells me to ‘do your research!’ what they are really telling me is “I don’t actually have any evidence, I just heard this somewhere and it sounded good and/or made me feel good about myself, so I am choosing to believe it. Hey, you should believe it too!”

If GMOs are bad, there must be evidence out there to prove it (and sure there is, that one rat tumor study!). So, find the evidence and present it. Telling people to ‘do your research’ is laaaaaaazzzzzzzzyyyyyyy. And no one is obligated to believe something without evidence. So, find the evidence and have it handy.

I propose that rather than telling other people to ‘do your research!’, we all arm ourselves with the evidence that supports our claims. And be forthright with that evidence when asked for it. It’s the respectable, and respectful, way to communicate.

So, to wrap up…

Most of us don’t have the time (or, quite frankly, the critical thinking and scientific literacy skills) to hunt down all the research on a topic and evaluate it in context. So most of us need to rely on reputable science and public health organizations to do that for us. One such organization is the World Health Organization. They’ve put together an easy to read FAQ on GMO technology and it’s impact on health and the environment. They’ve covered pretty much all of the major issues that come up in these debates. The WHO is one of the most reputable health-related organizations in the world. You can read the WHO’s FAQ here: http://www.who.int/foodsafety/areas_work/food-technology/faq-genetically-modified-food/en/

My own opinion on the topic, today, leans more toward the ‘GMOs are probably safe, and offer a lot of promise for solving issues of food security around the world’. I have been on the other side of the issue in the past. I am open to new information if it should arise, and willing to change my opinion (again!) if I see evidence that leads me to believe I should.

It should be noted that it was ‘doing my research!’ that led me to go from Anti-GMO to cautiously Pro-GMO. Which is why it’s particularly amusing when people tell me to do my research – I’m like ‘how do you think I came to this conclusion!’.

It should ALSO be noted that these bad arguments, the six fallacies I’ve listed above, aren’t exclusive to the GMO debate! You will find them anywhere you find people arguing about anything. I hear them regularly in regard to diet, vaccines, health, politics, religion…and from all sides. Being able to recognize them will help you make sound, reasoned, evidence-based decisions about your health.

When a person must rely on these bad arguments to support their conclusion, you can be reasonably sure the evidence is NOT on their side. It’s not a guarantee, of course. Just because a person uses a fallacy doesn’t mean they’re wrong. But in general, the more fallacies a person must rely on, the higher the likelihood that they’re just plain wrong.

I propose that rather than make decisions and laws based on bad arguments, we examine all the evidence critically and make an informed decision. A girl can dream, can’t she?

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Knowing When to Prioritize Weight Loss, and How To Do It

 Guest post by Sean Flanagan

woman's legs on a domestic scaleNowadays more and more people are becoming aware of how weight is an imperfect predictor of health outcomes and the shortcomings of the body mass index for those with significant muscle mass.  The current state of evidence suggests that activity is more important than weight, but does that mean that body fat isn’t worth thinking about at all?

In this post, I’m going to talk about how to view weight in its proper context of health.  We’ll discuss the role of body fat in health, how to minimize your cardiovascular risk factors, as well as how much you should even focus on weight in the first place for having success changing your body composition.

The Two Biggest Limitations for Weight as a Predictor of Health

  • Weight doesn’t necessarily reflect level of leannessWe’ve all heard about the silliness of labeling heavily muscled lean athletes as “overweight” because of their body mass index.  But a more common issue that can slip through the cracks of the body mass index is that you can be a “normal weight” but still high body fat levels due to having low amounts of muscle mass.
  • Activity levels matter moreYour cardiovascular risk factors are lower if you’re overweight but active than if you’re normal weight but inactive.

But does this mean it’s time to say “F It” and never think about body mass again?

Just because weight is an imperfect predictor for health does NOT mean that body mass isn’t worth thinking about.  While it is better to be active and overweight than inactive and normal weight, you would still benefit from being both active AND have body fat within reasonable limits.  The issue is not that it’s useless to think about body mass; the issue is that looking at weight, especially by itself, doesn’t tell the full story.

Why Fat Mass DOES Matter

Moving past an overly generalized view of weight, let’s talk about body fat.  It’s common to think about body fat simply as this thing that stores calories and sits between our skin and our muscles.  The reality is though that body fat doesn’t just sit there; it’s actually playing an active role in your body.

Adipose tissue is more accurately thought of as your body’s largest endocrine gland.  Not only are hormones such as leptin released from adipose tissue, but chemicals such as inflammatory cytokines are also released from body fat.

It is these inflammatory cytokines that are the main reason we should respect the impact of body fat on health.  As body fat levels increase, so does the release of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6.   Elevated levels of these and other chemicals increased by increased body fat are play roles in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, migraines, fatigue, and more.

Visceral fat is considered by many experts to be more dangerous than subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is the fat underneath your abdominals and around your organs; it’s not the stuff you can pinch (that would be subcutaneous fat) but it does increase the size of your waist.

So where does this bring us?  Excessive body fat can indeed impact your health and we can use waist circumference as a more precise benchmark than weight due to the impacts of visceral fat.

The state of having a waist size considered excessive is referred to as abdominal obesity or central obesity.   Waist size is its own valid assessment tool, but also waist-to-hip ratio is as well.

Below are some of the different bench marks used by different health organizations for defining abdominal obesity:

American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (Waist Circumference): Women: > 88 cm (35 inches), Men: > 102 cm (40 inches)*

World Health Organization (Waist-to-hip ratio) : Women: > 0.85, Men: > 0.9

*It’s worth emphasizing that these thresholds are for determining who is at the highest risk.  Getting further away from the cut-off (to a point) yields greater risk reduction.  The UK’s National Health Service recommends that men have a waist measurement no greater than 37 inches for men and no greater than 31.5 inches for women.

How Much Should You Freak Out and What Should You Do About It?

Okay… so maybe you just grabbed a piece of measuring tape discovered that your waist measurement is about the cut off.  What should you do?

Well unless medically advised otherwise, you should focus on developing health supporting habits as well as habits that will allow you to enter a calorie deficit.

In other words, not much changes if you were working on improving your health and/or losing body fat before.

If you’ve been exclusively focused on weight and calories in vs out before, I would suggest not just being mindful of waist circumference, but also taking an honest inventory on how much your habits are supporting your health goals.  This is important on two levels:

  • 1) As we talked about early on, being active is SUPER important for health. We also discussed how body fat (both visceral and subcutaneous) can act like an endocrine gland, releasing inflammatory cytokines. So it’s essentially not visceral fat (the more harmful to your health of the two) VS physical activity; BOTH matter. So if the degree of a calorie deficit you’re aiming for does not allow you to be active, it would be wise to start eating the food in a way that enables you to support a healthy weight AND activity level.

and 2) There appears to be at least some relationship between healthy habits and protection from visceral fat.  A 5-year study from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every 10 grams of soluble fiber eaten daily, visceral fat decreased by 3.7% over the next 5 years.  Some experts also suggest that exercise, and often aerobic exercise especially, are effective for reducing visceral fat levels.

And if you were working on health supportive behavior changes but were convinced that body mass isn’t a risk factor so you’ve avoided habits that support creating a calorie deficit, it would be wise to also look at what changes you can make that would support eating fewer – and/or burning more – calories per day.  You don’t need to throw away the healthy habits you’ve made and go on a crazy diet, you just need to apply the same mentality that enabled you to create behaviors that support your health towards habits that make it easier to create a calorie deficit.

You can read more about my 4 types of habits for fat loss I wrote about in a previous guest post HERE.

Wrapping Up:

Although weight isn’t the only thing that matters for your health, and your healthy habits are ALWAYS great, it would be a major act of self-deception to internalize that body mass has no importance whatsoever.

Waist circumference (and waist-to-hip ratios) is an evidence-based means of assessing disease risk.  And although you should put most of your brainpower towards having consistency with the health habits you’re working on, it would be well advised to save a little bit of awareness for what is happening to your midsection and to be skeptical of the judgment of any health “experts” who claim that body mass has no importance.

Body positivity and self-compassion are both great tools that support a happy and healthy life, but denial of the evidence on abdominal obesity is not required in order to be body-positive or self-compassionate.

Talk soon,

Sean

Sean Flanagan is a fitness & nutrition coach helping people implement habit-based strategies for lasting fat loss. Sean and Amber co-run the Habit Project, for which the next 12 Week On-Ramp is enrolling soon. You can get on the presale list and be one of the first notified of enrollment at http://seanflanaganwellness.com/on-ramp-coming-soon

We Need to Talk About Mental Illness

Depressed woman in front of a benchLet me tell you a story.

I wasn’t a happy child. I was awkward and overweight, and was teased mercilessly all through elementary and middle school. I had trouble making friends and had very few, all the way through high school. As a teen, I engaged in self-destructive behaviors like extreme dieting and drinking and smoking. The crowd I was drawn to was anti-social and dark. While they tolerated my presence, they didn’t treat me with respect or as a friend, in fact they were quite mean, and made jokes at my expense. I thought I deserved it. My old journals are filled with self-flagellation, loneliness and morbid thoughts.

I think these things were chalked up to ‘normal’ teen angst. At church, I was told to pray harder, because Jesus was the Way and the Truth and the Light, and he would fill the emptiness I felt, which was clearly the absence of God. So I did pray harder, and wondered what was wrong with me when God didn’t answer and make me feel better, as the youth leaders told me He would.

As a young adult I began having vague physical symptoms like fatigue, various gastrointestinal issues, frequent headaches, and insomnia. My mom gave me a book of natural health and alternative medicine, it was quite large and covered a multitude of ailments, giving creative and often very expensive treatment recommendations. I self-diagnosed myself with systemic candida and began treating myself with all sorts of interesting folk remedies.

Because putting a clove of raw garlic in your vagina will totally cure your headaches. The book made it seem very rational and reasonable. To my muddled thinking, at least.

A lot of my meager wages went to natural cures, supplements, and exotic foods that supposedly had curative powers.

Somehow, my ‘systemic candida’ didn’t go away, and my symptoms persisted.

I resisted going to the doctor though, because the book (this was before the internet, so I got my information primarily from the book) made it clear that doctors would treat my symptoms by forcing pills on me and dismissing my concerns, not caring to look for the underlying cause. Which of course I had determined, through my ‘research’, to be systemic candida. It was no accident that the book had a supplement catalog at the end and a telephone number through which I could order the author’s own brand of supplements.

Sometime in my 26th or 27th year, I did go to the doctor. I explained my symptoms. My doctor suggested I may have depression and referred me to a psychiatrist for an evaluation.

Depression? No way, I thought. No way, said the church. No way, said friends and family members, who cautioned that a psychiatrist would just ‘throw pills at me’, that “Psychiatrists say EVERYONE is depressed and needs to be medicated, but the medications are horrible things that will just make you a zombie”, they said. “Pills are the coward’s way out. Pills are for the weak.”

In what was probably the bravest decision I’d made in my young life, I decided to go against the Church and my friends and family, and follow my doctor’s advice, and go to the Psychiatrist and be evaluated.

And, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

“SEE?” said everyone. “Now they’ll just want to put you on medication. Don’t listen! Meds mean giving up! Meds mean you are weak! Don’t listen to the doctors!”

But, I took the pills anyway.

And I slowly started to feel better. Less hopeless. Less empty. Less lonely.

And the symptoms I’d self-diagnosed as systemic candida? Those started to go away too. I slept better. I had fewer headaches. The rumblings and pain in my belly receded.

And the pills? Were EXPONENTIALLY less expensive than all the natural ‘cures’ I’d been treating myself with. The dozens of supplement pills I’d been taking daily made way for one medicine pill a day. Who is the pill pusher, again?

But I certainly wasn’t about to go around TELLING people about this. Because I’d internalized the message that taking pills (medicine pills at least, apparently supplement pills are ok) was weak. I was ashamed. I’ve given up, sold out, taken the easy path. I kept the fact that I was taking anti-depressants a secret lest I hear from my friends and family how weak medicine is, and how fake depression is, and how shameful mental illness is.

Family and church members who would have leapt to get me medicine for physical illness had made it clear that taking medicine for mental illness is something to be ashamed of. And as a result, I had suffered for YEARS. How different might my life have been if I’d been diagnosed and treated when I first started showing symptoms (late childhood, I believe)? My symptoms were significant, and destructive. And they were not my own fault.

I’ve talked about my struggles with anxiety and depression frequently here on my blog, because I know that talking about it is the only way to remove the stigma. Over the years, my depression has taken different forms – PPD after my babies were born, panic attacks at some points, physical pain at others. Sometimes it is manageable with exercise, other times it isn’t, and I need meds.I haven’t always recognized it until it reached crisis point (because it has rarely manifested as ‘feeling sad’), but I’ve gotten better at it. I’ve gotten good with it. I’m not ashamed any more. I’m angry that people who claimed to love me would let me suffer so profoundly, for so long, and would still, to this day, shame me for being weak and taking meds.

And I’m angry that it is happening to people all around me.

My story isn’t unique. I hear it from other people every day. Every day.

You know it’s true, and you know it’s common. You may even have said and thought some of the things that were said to me. You may have said them to yourself. You may have said them to others. You may not have said them or thought them, but you know you’ve heard them.

Because these attitudes pervade our society. Depression and other mental illnesses are whispered about, and joked about, and spoken of in shameful terms. When diet gurus say that mental illness can be treated by the ‘right’ diet, they are doing exactly what the church did to me – victim blaming. The church told me I was unhappy because I wasn’t praying hard enough. Diet gurus tell you you’re unhappy, or experiencing vague physical symptoms, because you’re not eating clean enough or paleoing hard enough or eating too much sugar. You weakling! It’s all your own fault!

People self-diagnose themselves with thyroid disorder, or adrenal fatigue, or leaky gut, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or GMO allergies, or (like me) systemic candida (all conditions, most of which don’t actually exist, that have the same symptoms as depression), or any number of other conditions to avoid having to confront the possibility that there might be something wrong with their head. ANYTHING is preferable to mental illness, right? Even a fake disease made up by scam artists to sell you magical supplements and diets.

Any illness, real or fake, is on the table, except mental illness. I can understand. I had it done to me for a long time, and I did it to myself for a long time after that. My early conditioning primed me to accept magical thinking and distrust science and doctors. It took me a long time to break free, and I had to make the same mistakes over and over before I really learned. But if and when I see signs of depression in my daughters (because depression has a large genetic component) I won’t hesitate to get them the treatment that their doctors recommend, though I don’t doubt I will hear echoes of that shame in my head if that treatment involves medication. I will not let my daughters hear it, though.

Roughly 7% of US adults will experience one or more episodes of depression this year. That is millions and millions of people. More women than men are affected. Symptoms can be vague and diverse, and frequently mistaken for other conditions. The danger in self-diagnosing with something you’ve read about on the internet is that you may have a very serious illness that will go unrecognized and untreated. Getting professional diagnosis and proper treatment is so important.

And TALKING about it is important. There are SO many of us dealing with depression and other mental illnesses. Most of us struggle in silence, because of shame. The way to change that is to talk about it. The more of us who talk about it, the more people will get the help they need. And the less shame there will be.

Talking about it in the fitness industry is especially important, because a lot of people fall into the trap of believing that losing weight will solve their problems. But if the problem is depression, losing weight (or trying to lose weight) won’t help, and could even make it worse.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms below, you may have depression. You could also have any of several different illnesses and conditions with similar symptoms, so getting evaluated by the proper professional (starting with your medical doctor) is vital.

Symptoms of depression (source: WebMD)

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

The first person to talk to is your doctor, the sooner the better. Your doctor will know if and who to refer you to.

You can search for depression resources by city here on medicine.net.

PBS.org also has provided a list of depression resources.

NAMI also has a straight-to-the-point page on how to find help.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately.

Have something to say about this? Join the conversation on Facebook.

 

What Happens When the Coach Turns Out to Be Human After All?

10984616_10103728889677041_7584110485221997944_nYou guys know I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for a WHILE. Seven or eight years, actually. It started with an injury in ’07, I slipped on a wet sidewalk and dislocated my kneecap. It healed, but a level of pain remained, and it was actually one of the reasons I started exercising. Exercise was my primary (and only) pain management tool for several years, until I needed to add pain medication to the mix as well. Over the last year, the pain has worsened to the point that I’ve had to gradually cut back on the amount, kind, and intensity of exercise I’ve been able to do. It ultimately got so bad that a month ago I had surgery, to remove some bone fragments that had dislodged when I dislocated it and have been floating around causing trouble all this time, as well as some bone spurs and scar tissue. And so, for the last month, I’ve basically been sitting or lying down most of the day as I recover from surgery.

The result? I’m not in the kind of shape I was in even a year ago. One of the pain meds I have been using produced a 10 pound weight gain, and I went into the surgery a little worried that the complete inactivity required for recovery would cause even more weight gain. When I expressed my relief on my Facebook wall that the eating habits I’ve established over the last 8 years helped me maintain my weight in spite of not being able to exercise (whew!), a couple people got mad at me for it. I’m supposed to be body positive, they said, I shouldn’t worry about my weight! One person crowed happily that I’d probably gained fat and lost muscle. I responded that I’m sure I have. I can see in the mirror that I’m softer and curvier, and I know I’m not as strong. This I am actually ok with, I like my body this way, and I like my body when it’s more muscular. Turns out I just like my body. Go figure!

But I do worry about my weight. I have a history of obesity, and health problems stemming from it. I also worry about not being active. Inactivity isn’t good for me. My blood sugar gets wonky, I get anxious and depressed, my migraines might come back, I’m just not as happy when I’m not getting my exercise.

So, while I’m relieved the eating habits I’ve built have kept me from gaining weight, I know that it’s important that I get active as quickly as possible (mindfully of my recovery from surgery, of course). My exercise habits have suffered, due to circumstances beyond my control. It’s time for me to start rebuilding those habits. And those habits may look different post-surgery than they did before.

So, it turns out I am human. It turns out life happens, and I have to be flexible. It turns out that sometimes, circumstances beyond our control can require us to change our behavior and build new habits.

And so, I’ll be participating in the new Habit Project On-Ramp program not just as a coach, but as a team-mate. I’ll be working on the habits right along with everyone else. I’ll be checking in daily with encouragement as a team mate, but also with support as a coach. I’ll be getting to know this group in ways I haven’t had the chance to get to know our other groups. I’ll be challenged, and struggle, and succeed right along with you guys. AND IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME.

Want to start this crazy journey with me? Or heck, just watch me flail a little and be human? Check out the program. I think it’s gonna be pretty powerful.

 

 

How To Use Habits for Weight Loss (WITHOUT counting calories)

Guest post by Sean Flanagan

Often when Amber or I talk about how a calorie deficit is what produces weight loss and how a calorie surplus causes weight gain, people assume that this has to be achieved via calorie counting.

Being aware of calories is great and there can totally be value there, however 1) you’re not going to count calories forever (we hope), and 2) unless you’re in a tightly controlled scientific laboratory, your estimates for your calorie intake are always going to be exactly that – estimates.

So how can we create a calorie deficit without aiming for a specific number?  There are four different broad brush categories of habits that we use in the Habit Project to accomplish this – each category complimenting the other.

Category 1: Satiety and Eating Pattern Awareness 

I’m kind of cheating here since becoming more aware of your current patterns is essentially a built in “meta habit” that ALWAYS happens when focusing on changing your habits one at a time.  But specifically, we also have the “record what you eat” habit which is 100 percent focused on becoming aware of current eating patterns.

In addition to the increasing awareness of what you eat, there is also increasing awareness for your body’s satiety and hunger signals.  Learning how to identify true hunger from hunger resulting from boredom, as well as what “satisfied” feels like compared to “stuffed”, is critical for creating a calorie deficit without counting calories.  If you’re always eating when not hungry and eating until stuffed, your chances of creating a calorie deficit are not very high.

I put these in the same category as there is a lot of overlap – often when people record what they eat, they start becoming aware of times where they eat mindlessly and then start the practice of checking in with their hunger/satiety.  When we transition to habits on satiety awareness, we take this eating pattern awareness and we bring it to the next level.

Category 2: Food Habits That Maximize Satiety

Being aware of your satiety signals is awesome!  What happens though if you’re paying attention to your satiety signals but the foods you’re eating add a lot of calories without adding a lot of satiety?  This is where playing with the dietary variables that support satiety come into play.  It’s even possible that your time practicing your satiety awareness has taught you a few things about what types of foods make you fuller than others.

We have a few different food habits that we use to support satiety – but the big two are really our protein and veggie habits.  Most people can benefit from eating more protein, more veggies, or both.  And they make a huge impact on how full we get.

Some meal time variables that impact satiety are; 1)Fiber content, 2) water content, 3) protein content, and 4) slowness of eating.

Category 3: Physical Activity Habits

The benefit of physical activity for creating a calorie deficit is of course that moving more means burning more calories per day.  There are a few different ways we like approaching movement habits – mainly we like to create habits that help people find enjoyment in walking and their preferred methods of resistance training.

The important thing to emphasize here is that the physical activity habits on their own are ALWAYS still good for health, but it’s the appetite awareness and the maximizing of the satiety value of meals that enables the increases in movement to lead to a calorie deficit.  If increased exercise leads to increased hunger and increased hunger means more meals where you’re eating until you’re too full with mostly foods that don’t contribute much to your satiety, you could end up accidentally creating a calorie SURPLUS rather than a deficit.

Category 4: Habits That Maximize Your Chances for Success

The 4th category is essentially all of the behaviors that contribute to a calorie deficit in a less direct way, but are still powerful for creating the health and fitness that you are aiming for.  Our habit focused on self-compassion is the example we’re the most proud of from this category – as many Habit Project members have reported this habit had a strong impact on how they performed on every other habit.  Apparently self-compassion doesn’t burn many calories, but does impact a bunch of different components of your life to make the entire process less bumpy and more direct.

Other habits from this category would be sleep-related habits, as sleep helps to enable you to be more active AND become more aware of your satiety.  Food and lifestyle skills habits like planning and prepping can also fit into this category.

Want Help Making These Habits Actually STICK?

While of course coaching is helpful for making changes, the combination of coaching AND community is super powerful.  The more you support your team, the more they’ll support you, and the more you support each other the more you’ll feel accountable TO your team.  In other words, the amount of energy you put into your community will help determine the power of the community in helping you create change.

We’re incredibly proud of the communities we create in the Habit Project, and we hope you’ll be a part of our newest one.  On July 13th, we start our 12 Week Habit Project On-Ramp (exclusively on iPhone/iPad) and enrollment is now open.

Over the 12 weeks, we’ll be focusing on all 4 of the habit categories talked about in this article – spread over 6 different habits – to help you build a strong foundation in your habit-based approach towards fat loss success.

Registration closes Wednesday at 6:30pm pacific time/9:30 eastern – you can grab your spot here:
http://seanflanaganwellness.com/habit-project-on-ramp/

And we do have something for those without an iPhone! Our Facebook-based Habit Project has rolling admissions, check it out, and sign up for the next admission day here:
Facebook Habit Project

Talk soon,

Sean Flanagan

How the Habit Project Gave Me Freedom and Sustainable Weight Loss

Guest Post by Habit Project alum Meredith Gafill

“The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work.”  From the book Habit, by William James

This sums up my experience with the Habit Project better than I ever could.  Simple to the point of boring but so spot on.

habit-2

I came to be a part of the Habit Project by accident.  I had signed up with Amber Rogers and Sean Flanagan to participate in their Body Recomp Program late last year.  I had been working out pretty religiously but wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted.  Not quite enough muscle definition, a bit too much flab.

I was convinced that if I could just push myself a little harder that these goals would be mine.  Push, push, push.  If I could just do more and eat less, I would be better.  Push, push, push.  Work harder.  Eat some magical combination of foods invented by someone smarter than myself.  Push, push, push.

As it turns out, a week or so after I started the Recomp program, I found out that all that push, push, pushing had left me with a torn labrum in my left shoulder.  Surgery would be in a few weeks and there would be no way to continue my kettlebell training.  Benched!  Even worse I wouldn’t be able to do all the house and gardening chores that helped me burn so many, many calories.  I felt totally bereft.  Everything was going to fall apart.

Suddenly, the Recomp program seemed silly.  If I couldn’t lift then what was the point?  Lucky for me, as I was checking in on the Recomp Group Facebook page, one of the other members of the group posted about the Habit Project.  She asked Sean if she could switch out of the Recomp Program and try the Project instead.  I was intrigued and asked for the same favor and was quickly welcomed into Group Panther, a division of the Habit Project.  I had no idea about what I was doing there but things started rolling and I was learning as I went.

I had my surgery right after the switch and was pretty out of it for a few days but continued to check in with my team and read what others were experiencing with their habit work.  As the days went on and I was finally able to live without handfuls of painkillers, I started to engage and participate in the first activity habit.  Movement, exercise, some kind of workout.  Could I do something every day?  What would I like to do?  Was I sure that I could do it daily?  Once a week?  Twice?  Thrice?  I settled on a morning walk, five days a week.  You create your own goals in the Habit Project and walking was all I could really do.  Nothing epic, but it was a start.  Seemed a bit too easy but what the heck?  I’d just try it.  That morning walk has been with me ever since and I continue to absolutely love it.  I can count the days that I have missed and they have only been because I was sick as a dog or had an unusually early appointment, which is rare.

Success!  Right out the gate!  I was reporting to my group daily and even participating as a group leader at times.  We worked on one habit every two weeks and that we had to check in was what kept me REMEMBERING to do my new habit.  Kept me on track, working towards bettering myself and creating a healthier lifestyle.  The successes kept me engaged with the program.

I was patting myself on the back instead of always judging that I was doing too little.  That little thing?  Walking daily? It kept me from gaining weight during my long recovery (in fact, I lost weight) and I found that starting my day with a nice easy walk put me in a better frame of mind than my previous habit of grueling  5 to 8 mile runs.  And I did it while eating very well as the next few habits were all based on taking in the proper amount of protein and vegetables.

I won’t take you through every habit in the Project but I will tell you a few things you can expect.  No one will ever tell you what you may or may not eat.  You will not be given a strict plan to follow.  You will not have any activity taken away, nor will you be required to use equipment or follow a particular exercise regimen or plan.  You will be given a habit and then Sean, Amber and the rest of your group will be there to help you scale it to your lifestyle and needs at the time.  I know, that sounds like work.  You were hoping for a magical recipe to perfection….  Really, this is so much better because you invent your new life the way you want it, which is easier to maintain for life.  These little changes?  They lead to the freedom William James was referring to in the quote at the beginning of this post.

Freedom.  I now have a handful of habits that streamline my days and make things so much easier.  I eat 3 solid meals and have at least 5 servings of veggies on most days (I used to be a vicious meal skipper- I thought it was a good thing to fast) and my energy level is much higher than when I was skipping meals right and left.  I take a good protein powder and probiotic daily.  I walk 5 days a week and lift 3 days with pull up training in between.  I go to bed and rise around the same time daily and I shut off the computer about an hour before bed and don’t look again until I rise- this helps my mind calm so that I can rest better.  I am nicer to myself (Self-compassion habit!) and have found that I am generally more relaxed and have a more positive outlook these days.  I am done push, push pushing all the time.

In the end, I lost 8 lbs without ever giving up a food group or a meal.  My weight hasn’t fluctuated more than 3 pounds in the last 8 months and I now enjoy knowing that my clothes fit all the time.  I feel better and I am rarely ‘hangry’.  I am a lot more accepting of myself as I feel really good about the changes that I’ve made.  I am 100% positive that my changes are sustainable and quite honestly now that I have practiced these habits for such a long time I find it hard NOT to do them.  Plenty of days I have rationalized why I don’t have time to do my workout only to find myself on the mats getting in sets between loads of laundry and stripping sheets off beds.

 I just started my own new habit upon returning from vacation and I have a recipe for success.  I created the habit and have a way of checking in with that habit daily.  In two or three weeks, that habit will be mine and I will hardly have to think about it again.  I’ll just do it.  Freedom is what the Habit Project is all about.  You learn the recipe, the procedure and then you practice it until you own it.

Note from Amber: for a limited time, Sean and I are enrolling for our 12 Week Habit Project On-Ramp exclusively on iPhone/iPad via an app designed for programs like ours.  To learn more and claim your spot, go here:  Habit Project On-Ramp

How To Be Beautiful

Ok, ok, sorry for the cheesy title.

Several years ago, before I started Go Kaleo, I entered a contest run by Women’s Health Magazine called ‘Fittest Friends’. I submitted a picture (along with a couple hundred other women) and there was a public vote on the pictures. I actually won the public vote, kind of by a landslide. But when the celebrity panel of judges decided on a Grand Prize winner from among the top ten vote-getters, they actually chose another entrant. It was an interesting experience (you can read my blog post about it here). Very shortly after, I started my Go Kaleo blog and facebook page. The Fittest Friends contest was actually one of the impetuses for creating this movement. It was pretty obvious to me that the public was hungry for a different “face of fitness”, and I wasn’t seeing it provided by the fitness industry monoliths, so I decided to start it myself.

In the years since, I’ve seen some amazing shifts in the industry. I like to think that I, and others like me (like James Fell, Disrupt Your Diet, Sean Flanagan and others) had a hand in bringing about that change. While shame-based advertising is still the ‘normal’, there’s a powerful groundswell happening, and more and more fitness and health professionals are calling out that shaming and creating a new standard, of self-compassion, compassion for others, and joyful self care.

It Cosmetics is running a video contest with the theme ‘Your Most Beautiful You’. With the memory of the Fittest Friends competition, I see an opportunity to bring this message of self compassion to the beauty industry. Help me do it. Please ‘like’ and share this video! Lets shift the thinking. Makeup not as disguise to blend in, but as self-expression to stand out. And on a deeper level, a message that who you are as a unique individual is important and worthy of expression, and when you value the qualities that make you YOU, people who are looking for those qualities will be drawn to you. It can start with something simple like the way you do your eyeshadow, but the more you honor and express your authentic self, the easier it will get. And over time, you will find yourself growing and thriving, speaking out in ways you never thought you could, recognizing how valuable your time and passions are, and you will begin to effect those around you – and the world.

This video is about makeup, yes. But it’s about so much more as well. People thought I was crazy when I started my blog, but look what happened. So, you may think this video is crazy, but lets see what we can DO. Please like and share. Join the revolution. Take up space. Be #partofthesolution #VoteItGirl

Click here to see (and like, and share) my video.

Thank you friends!

5 Things I Stopped Being Afraid of When I Learned How to Science

Yes, I used science as a verb there. And when I say I ‘learned to science’, what I mean is I learned to read and understand a scientific study, I learned to think critically and apply the rules of critical thinking to the information I was consuming, and I learned how to tell a credible source from a thinly veiled sales pitch disguised as ‘news’.

critical thinking in wood type

We are creatures driven by fear. Marketers take advantage of that and make us fear…well, anything and everything. And then when we’re nice and afraid, they handily provide a solution to those fears, a product you can buy that will protect you. The ‘Organic and Natural’ guru scares the bejeezus out of you with gruesome tales of rats with tumors from GMOs (and the subsequent green juice detox sales pitch), while the conservative talk radio host fills you with dread at the looming fiscal Armageddon (and then offers you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in gold! Gold!).  Like pretty much everyone else, I’ve fallen victim to this form of stealth marketing, in fact I probably still do now and then, even though I’ve gotten MUCH much better at recognizing it.

So, without further ado, here are 5 things I used to be afraid of, until I learned how to science.

1. The Government

Have you heard the rumors that ebola was invented by the Government as a population control device with the ultimate goal of rounding us all up into FEMA camps? Yeah, I never got quite THAT deep, but there have been times in my life where I’ve gotten a little paranoid and conspiracy minded. It was actually kind of gratifying thinking that the government cared enough about me that it wanted to destroy my health and livelihood and be all up in my business.

I imagined I was much more important than I really am, and that made me feel good about myself. It also gave me the (false) sense that I had Special Knowledge that not everyone was privy to. Turns out, though, that The Government has bigger things to worry about, and actually would prefer I be a healthy and functional member of society, because then I can pay taxes. And really, The Government could give a rats ass about what I text to my husband to bring home from the grocery store. For real, yo.

2. Big Pharma

The Pharmaceutical industry is certainly powerful and profitable. But it’s not trying to make/keep me sick. Big Pharma has never forced a pill down my throat. It HAS, however, produced medicines that have improved my quality of life, and actually SAVED my life a couple times over. Could there be better oversight? Sure. Is there a seamy underbelly of the industry? I imagine so. Is Big Pharma a monster waiting to snare me and force me to become addicted to a hundred different pills? Uh…no.

Nowadays, I’m actually much more concerned by the far less regulated supplement and ‘natural health’ industries, which are free to sell any number of untested, unproven magic concoctions at rather extraordinary prices, unburdened by the kind of regulation and oversight that the pharmaceutical industry is subject to. “Don’t buy the medicine pill, buy my snake oil pill instead” the supplement marketers bark at me from the internet. As if.

 
3. GMOs

Oh, the fearmongering about GMOs abounds! And I found myself ensnared in it. But the more I learned about the science of biotechnology, and more importantly the potential benefits, the less worried I became, until one day I found myself wistfully hoping that Big GMO would hurry up and invent a drought-resistant mango tree that I could grow in my Northern California back yard. Wouldn’t that just be the bee’s knees?

Oh yeah, and that ‘study’ with the terrible images of rats riddled with tumors supposedly from GMOs? It was retracted. It was later republished, but the (well earned) damage to Seralini’s credibility had been done. And then I fell in with a crowd that reads science journals and websites like http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/ and https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ (neither of which sell essential oils on their sites – in fact they don’t sell anything) and after that I just couldn’t bring myself to live in terror any more.

4. Skyrocketing Cancer Rates

Who WOULDN’T be terrified at the ever increasing rates of cancer we’re constantly hearing about? Is it our food? Something in our environment? Is The Government running secret population control experiments on us? Best to eliminate every chemical from our lives and spend all our money on pure clean chemical free food and personal-care products, right? I mean people are dropping like flies over here!

Except when I learned how to find and read actual studies, imagine my surprise at learning that cancer rates aren’t skyrocketing. They’re not even increasing. In fact, they’ve declined slightly. What? But all the websites/magazines/diet gurus/essential oil marketers led me to believe cancer was skyrocketing. If they were wrong about that, I wonder what else they were wrong about.

5. Chemicals

“OMG did you know [insert food producer] puts [insert scary-sounding chemical] into their [insert food product]?? They’re pumping us full of chemicals and we wonder why cancer rates are increasing!” I admit, this line reeled me in more than a little. I filled my shopping cart, both in the grocery store and online, with ‘natural’, ‘organic’, ‘this-free’ and ‘that-free’ products, and emptied my wallet into the pockets of Big Organic and Big Placebo. I was a Natural Mom, dammit, and that made me safe. And better than everyone else. Right? All in an effort to protect my family from the deadly chemikills. Except that I learned how to science, and began to realize that everything is chemicals, and that a lot of those scary sounding chemicals the marketers were telling me were dangerous were actually things like salt. And vitamins. And vinegar.

Every substance on earth has a chemical name, including the air we breath and the water we drink and the compounds that form the tissues of our bodies. Being a chemical doesn’t make something bad. Everything is chemicals. And being natural doesn’t make a chemical safe. Arsenic is natural. Snake venom is natural. Diptheria and measles and tetanus are natural. Oh yeah, and being man-made doesn’t make something dangerous. Science takes the active compound from a natural substance, isolates and refines and standardizes it, tests it and regulates it and makes it safer and more effective, and turns it into a medicine that can save or improve lives. This is not a bad thing, yo.

Science is a good thing. And learning how to critically evaluate the information you consume can be one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. You don’t have to actually be a scientist to be able to recognize a credible source of information. You just need to know how to evaluate an argument and determine if it is strong and based on verifiable evidence, or if it is weak and based on flawed logic. This skill can be applied to all sorts of information, not just science – it can be applied to political rhetoric and cultural establishments and religious dogma.

Want a reader friendly place to start? Check out the Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.

And there’s also some of my other posts on this topic:

Cognitive Dissonance
The Straw Man
Gaslighting

 

 

Disorder in Diet Culture, Habits for Fat Loss, and DEADLIFTING

I sat down for and interview with Coach Cox on Saturday, and we had a GREAT discussion. We covered quite a bit including strength training, recognizing disorder in Diet Culture, and establishing new habits to support fat loss. Be sure to check out Coach Cox’s website here, and you can watch the video below.

 

Fast Weight Loss VS Easy Weight Loss

Guest post by my coaching partner, Sean Flanagan

 

Everywhere you look there are products that promise fast and easy weight loss.   “Just drink this drink and the pounds will just melt off! 30 lbs in 30 days”! Obviously as a reader of this site, you know that there are no such thing as sustainable ”magic bullets” and that EXTREME weight loss can be ripe with a multitude of problems…. But is it possible to have fast or easy weight loss in a psychologically and physically healthy way that won’t set you up for long term failure and disappointment?

I think the answer is “yes”, but with 2 caveats.

1) Relatively speaking. “Easy” will always require some work and “fast” has an upper limit – generally the guideline of “no more than 1 percent of bodyweight lost per week” is a good line to draw.

And 2) You have to pick one – fast OR easy.

The strategies for each are significantly different.

  • The “easy” path will generally consist of behaviors close to the form and degree that you will maintain for the long-term.
  • The “fast” path shouldn’t consist of behaviors that are absolutely unsustainable, but will likely need to be modified as time goes on.

 

We can do this the easy way or the hard way!

The Easy Way…

*Props for the Back to the Future II reference? No? Well okay…moving on…

 

The easy way consists of making changes that are completely sustainable or pretty damn close to it. For example, you may be able to walk 20 minutes a day every day for the rest of your life… but while you have extra time this summer and have a couple pounds you want to lose, you may walk a whole extra 10 minutes each day! See what I mean? No dramatic difference.

An easy version of a “be mindful of portions” habit could simply be using a measuring cup when you have ice cream at home so you don’t accidentally eat more than you mean to – this could save you hundreds of calories per week. Using a measuring cup for one thing isn’t too much of a pain in the ass, and if you do this long enough you’ll be much better at estimating portion size anyway. Okay cool – keeping dessert calories in check to make it easier to be in a slight deficit – easy enough.

So we have ease of implementation and sustainability. What DON’T we have?

With the easy way, we don’t have a promise of timeline. Maybe you’ll lose a pound a week – maybe you’ll lose 3 lbs in a month – and maybe those first 2 lbs just won’t budge for a month or two.

But when you do get on the scale or test your body fat and see the change, you’ll think to yourself “well that was easy!”

And even more important, you will have gotten there purely by focusing on long term health supporting strategies.

 

The Fast(er) Way

The fast way, if used at all, should always be built on a foundation of sustainable habits. If you’re just getting off of the fad diet wagon, you’ve got some ground work to lay before you can have a reasonable expectation for fast fat loss that is anywhere close to sustainable.

To come back to our “be mindful of portions” habit we talked about before, an example of the fast way version of this would be weighing and measuring of just about everything to achieve that 1 percent of weight lost (or less) per week. If you’re around 200 lbs, this would translate to a 1,000 calorie deficit per day. Now one caveat to get out of the way – how doable-in-a-healthy-way this is depends on how many calories you need for maintenance.

If you’re sedentary and only burn 2,500 calories per day, eating 1,500 calories will likely leave you hungry and miserable. But if you’re somewhat more active and burn 3,000 calories per day, then 2,000 of course is a bit more tolerable. So in no way am I saying “a 1,000 calorie deficit is doable and healthy for everyone” – there’s a difference between on paper and in real life with this stuff.   Always test the waters first with a smaller calorie deficit.

So in the context of healthy (relatively) fast fat loss, how is that an example of “a behavior isn’t absolutely unsustainable, but will likely need to be modified as time goes on”?

Being mindful of portion sizes is TOTALLY a habit that is sustainable. Measuring some things is sustainable. But depending on your current weight and your goal weight, maybe you wouldn’t use the same calorie target forever and you probably won’t want to spend as much time and energy weighing and measuring forever.

Now, maybe the calorie target you choose for weight loss WILL be the number of calories that will maintain your target weight. So it’s possible that you start with a calorie target and just keep using it until you reach true maintenance (the more weight you lose, the slower this process will become thus creating the illusion of plateaus).

But for others, you may use a given calorie target just long enough to get some initial relatively fast success so you can feel more comfortable increasing your activity, decrease some health risk factors, increase your energy, etc. You may want (and tolerate) that steady 1 – 2.5 pounds or so of weight lost per week until you get to a point where you’re okay with where you’re at… or to switch back to the easy path.

 

Choosing Your Path

The path towards lasting fat loss should always be process focused, should minimize excessive wasting of willpower, and have an eye on long term sustainable behaviors.

By no means do I suggest approaching the weight loss journey as a series of sprints – I don’t care what Vin Diesel says, you should not try to live your life one quarter-mile at a time. That stop-go stop-go pattern is a recipe for frustration, disappointment, and the failure to learn sustainable behaviors that allow you to maintain success.

On the other hand, there will be times in your long journey where you press down on the accelerator *a little bit more*.   The easy way should be your foundation – and it’s perfectly fine to ONLY use the easy way. But there may be times where you want to be a little bit more precise or ambitious with your calorie intake or do a little bit more exercise. In addition to the prerequisite of having strong habits already in place, you’ll also need to make sure you monitor your psychological response. Because, if you’re pushing the throttle a little bit more with the faster approach, we need to be careful not to drain willpower or cause excessive stress that leads you to wanting to never do any health-related stuff ever again.

Regardless of which approach you take, I always suggest using the self-assessment of “Am I 90-100 percent confident I can do this for the time frame I am aiming for?”

If the answer is “no” and you’re aiming for the easy way, you need to make it easier. If the answer is “no” and you’re aiming for a period of time with the fast way, you either need to make it easier OR shorten the time frame (since you’re probably not going to do it forever, anyway).

I hope this post helped to clarify for you the two ends of the spectrum for the pursuit of lasting fat loss – and what “easy” and “fast” means in the context of approaching your fat loss responsibly, protecting your relationship with food, and keeping the entire journey sustainable.

Oh yeah, and for 21 examples of ways of approaching fat loss the easy way, check out the 21 Habits for Lasting Fat Loss guide that I co-wrote with Amber.

 

Talk soon,

Sean Flanagan

Sean Flanagan is a fitness and nutrition coach specializing in sustainable and totally-not-extreme weight loss. He offers personal training in Oakland, CA (and surrounding areas) and online coaching programs alongside Amber. You can learn more at http://www.seanflanaganfitness.com/