You’re giving up too quickly.
This is what I tell people nearly every week when they ask me why they’re not losing weight, why they still battle insomnia, why their blood pressure is still too high…. after only a few weeks or a few days of trying.
They finally gave up sugar…for a couple of days.
And after only a few days of beginning the new habits, they looked at the results and were disappointed.
“I’m doing everything I thought I was supposed to do”, they sometimes say. “But nothing is working.”
Listen. Health turnarounds happen at their own pace. You didn’t become addicted to cigarettes after your first puff. Why do you think the craving goes away after only a couple of hours avoiding nicotine?
You didn’t gain 10 pounds after a single donut, and you won’t lose 10 pounds after avoiding donuts for a single day. It sounds obvious if you’re not going through it. But I’ve had those feelings, myself, wondering when the magic will begin. The truth is, it sometimes moves slowly. Normalizing hormones, cravings, portion size, recipes, soreness from using muscles you’re not used to moving…there is no universal time frame for when changes begin feeling normal, or when they start yielding observable, measurable results.
If you watch infomercials or read the marketing pieces certain supplement companies create, you’d think that overnight results are typical. But they almost never are. For most of us, you’ll get steady results with steady effort. Shortcuts – or “hacks” – aren’t nearly as short as they’re often made out to be. Sure, the hack articles go into detail about why this or that physiological reaction will be re-routed through some interesting supplement or strategy. But in terms of real results, the shortcut normally only shortens the process by a tiny margin.
The real hack is consistency.
Believe me, I’ve tried to hasten health results. I experiment and try everything. It’s something I’ve done since I was 15 years old. I love experimenting with health optimization strategies.
You know what works best? Doing most things well, and doing them consistently, and not growing weary in well-doing. That’s it.
All of us look at ourselves in the mirror after going to the gym to see if things have changed. That’s OK. But they didn’t change after a week. And some of us, when we’re frustrated by this reality, give up before the payoff. I know I have. This culture is used to instant results. I get it. Google anything, and you have an answer in milliseconds. Snap a pic and post it to Instagram, and you’ll get love from your followers in minutes. This is the speed of life now.
And this is where “bio hacking” found its footing. We imagine that the instantaneous nature of technology can be applied to physiology. But it can’t – at least not to the extent, it’s being sold. But nothing is more predictable than the results you get when you do the right things consistently. It’s a mistake to put a clock on your results. If you try something for only a few weeks, your mind perceives it as temporary. But what you need is a lifestyle.
I know, I know – every diet out there calls itself a “lifestyle”. We’ve transitioned to calling the maintenance portion of the Kaufmann Diet the “Kaufmann Lifestyle”. And this is good. BUT…. it’s only a lifestyle if you make it a lifestyle. If you imagine that you’ll do it for a month, and then return to toaster pastries, pizza buffets, and ice cream every night, you’ve lost already. Your mind is prepped for the short term, not Life. Switch your thinking to lifestyle, or you’ll become a chronic yo-yo dieter.
Patience and consistency are powerful. More powerful than supposed shortcuts.
Patience and consistency win.
Patience and consistency allow you to keep moving forward after holiday eating, or temporary setbacks. They keep you going if a week goes by without the scale moving, or if you miss a few days at the gym.
Short-term thinking causes you to give up if you’re not “perfect”, or if miracle results aren’t achieved.
Trust me. I’ve done it all, and I’ve heard it all in natural health. I’ve failed every way you can fail. The way out of failure is having a long-term mindset, and seeing yourself as being in this for life. This isn’t a swipe at people who bill themselves as biohackers. I’m a fan of every sort of exploration into human performance. But I’ve been at it long enough to realize that most “new” things aren’t that new. For example, I’m living through the third version of Paleo, the second version of ketogenic dieting, and the umpteenth version of gluten-free/food intolerance dieting in my lifetime. Same songs, greater details.
Whatever strategy you choose, think long-term. It’s not to say you should never tweak your approach so as to personalize it; definitely, do that! But get the foundational things down first, and adjust the details.
The rest is detail.