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This week on Balls 'n' All, I chat about the difference between short term and long term diets, and how long it really takes to make a real change to your eating habits. I also talk about the different drives that help people lose weight, whether it be to fit into a new pair of jeans or to play professional sport.
Short Term vs Long Term Diets
Jackson - Let’s talk about dieting, and more specifically the long term vs short term eating habits. And there’s so many people out there, myself included, that have woken up before and probably thought: ‘You know what? I’m going to start eating healthy.’ But I mean, is there such thing as when you see those ads on the lemon detox or ‘eat this for 3 weeks and then you’ll be fit and firing and ready to go’?
Jacob - Ah, yeah so, we’re going to talk about the difference between long term and short term diets in that regard. And so, yes, they are great and a lot of people do need those numbers to help keep them accountable. So for example when somebody starts a 12 week challenge or a 10 week challenge, what that’s about is... that’s the minimum amount of time it takes for the habits to actually start changing in the body. So when you first start a new routine whether it’s exercise or eating differently and eating more healthy, then you need to really work on that a lot in the first week. And there is a lot of change that occurs in the first week. So let’s just focus on the eating side of things as opposed to exercise. It’s quite easy to do for that first week because you’re still quite motivated. After that first week you start to lose that motivation a little bit and it starts to become a little bit more routine. And so, what the second point is after that is probably the four weeks. So when you’re setting goals and getting through to 12 weeks, what you would like to do, what you probably should do is set the goal of getting through the first day. And then after the first day get through the first week. And then after that get through the first month. And then from there the next one is 3 months. So a quarter of a year, 12 weeks. And what happens is the body actually changes neurally. So the nervous system actually changes in terms of neurotransmitters and hormones and things like that. Particularly with exercise but also with eating. And so you then establish a new habit. And I was talking to a friend yesterday, we went out for a coffee and he was saying: ‘I don’t see how people can find it hard to stay on track for 10 weeks into that second half of that.’ So once you’ve done it for about a month, that’s the hardest period. And I agreed with him, I said: ‘Yep, certainly the first month is the hardest period.’ But he said: ‘After that it’s just kind of set, like it just kind of happens, how can it be hard to maintain that, or keep that habit going in the second and the third month?’ And particularly by the time you get to the 12 weeks or the 10 weeks, around that 3 month period, how can it be hard to then stay on track after that? Because you’ll see that a lot of programs out there, online and at different places around, they’re all around 12 weeks. So he said: ‘Why do they, why do people struggle to then from that go into a new 12 week challenge or not make that a lifestyle?’ And I kind of disagreed with him and said: ‘You know look it’s different for everybody.’ He said: ‘Why don’t you just make it a lifestyle, right from the very start? Why do we even have a 12 week challenge?’ And the whole 12 week challenge thing is very, very valuable because it gives people an end point. If you’re climbing and someone put, you know, Jack and the beanstalk and the beanstalk went up for eternity into the sky and someone said go and climb that beanstalk, you’d get to a point where you’re just like: ‘Aw man, how long does this beanstalk go for?’ And you’d be more likely to give up. But when you can see an end in sight, it’s much much easier to keep working. So you go: ‘Aw well I’m at the 4 weeks, I’ve still got 8 weeks to go.’ ‘I’m at 6 weeks, I’ve got 6 weeks to go.’ And counting down like that helps you to get to the end. His argument then was that then puts in someone’s subconscious mind an end in sight. And they can go: ‘Okay well once I get to then I can just sort of go ahh,’ and release. And so what I believe is important is a combination of the two. So have the end in sight to get through there, but always throughout that process know that it’s going to be a new you. It’s a new lifestyle change. This is not just for anyone in the general public, this is also for sports people that may want to change their own diet. So having a different purpose for your goal, as opposed to just losing a certain amount of weight or performing better in a beep test or whatever it might be. Is having a reason to do it and I’ll being this back into sport here, where I’ll talk about Willie Rioli. He needed to lose a couple… I don’t know how many Kilos was it?
Jackson - I think he ended up losing 16 all up.
Jacob - Yeah so he went down to the SANFL and he needed to lose that weight. He did his first season and he worked very hard after that first season to then lose that weight, to train and get his diet right and train hard. In the second season he was there at the SANFL he then just absolutely exploded on the scene, obviously got drafted at the end of that. I love watching his instagram stories because they’re quite interesting. But to see his body and how fit he looks now compared to what he looked like in the NTFL it’s amazing. And I’ve thought about it and I realised he actually, he wasn’t someone, if you said to him: ‘Oh, you need to lose 16 Kilos just because you need to fit into a different pair of jeans.’ For him, he actually had another purpose, outside of just the health aspects of it. He wanted to play AFL. And it’s the same with Adelaide Crows’ Full Forward and I forget her name at the moment [Sarah Perkins], I’ll find it after this segment. She actually lost 40 Kilos, and I was watching her last night and she reminds me of Tony Lockett. She is just so dominant sitting there in the full forward position. She lost 40 Kilos to get drafted and play AFL Women’s. And it just made me realise that if you’ve got another, more, deeper purpose, you can actually achieve some great results in regard to your health.
Jackson - So in layman’s terms… tell me if I’m wrong here and pull me up at any time. Fundamentally, the time bracket, the finite time bracket, that is almost psychologically to help going in those early weeks when it might be tough. But ultimately the effectiveness of the diet is on the ability to change that person’s habits. Does that sound about right?
Jacob - Essentially, yes. Exactly, you’re trying to change the habits, that’s what you’re trying to do. And you need to do that for at least 12 weeks to create any sort of sustainable change. So of course you can slip back at any point, you know people who smoke cigarettes for example they might give up smoking and have given up smoking for 5 years and they go and take it back up. And then it becomes a habit again. It’s not that you can’t ever slip back. The body is an amazing thing and it can change at an point in your life. So that period is great, the 12 weeks is great for establishing a habit. But that’s it, just establishing the habit, getting it started. After that, it’s about making a lifestyle. So as long as you’ve got those goals and that period of time 12 weeks and you know, 1 day, 1 month and so on. Then you are going a long way towards making that change permanent.
Jackson - This is going to sound dumb but that’s okay because I say a lot of dumb things Jacob. This is almost a case of… and I’m not trying to be disrespectful to people that have had battles with substance abuse but is there similarities there in regards to obesity where… I suppose the example I’m trying to get at here is former and recovering alcoholics, they can’t go back to drinking. People that are addicted to drugs, it’s just about cold turkey where you know, they don’t recommend you do it recreationally if you’ve had a drug problem sort of thing. People that’ve struggled with obesity, that are then able to lose weight, whether it be through surgery or dieting or whatever it is, is it almost like they need to stay cold turkey because obviously at one point of their lives they were so addicted to food that they were overeating. If you are a person that has a story where they’ve lost 40 Kilos and they’re eating healthy again, would you advise against even snacking at places like McDonalds or other you know, fast food establishments? It’s almost like no going back?
Jacob - Uh, probably. Yeah, look I’m a pretty healthy person and I know that I don’t want to eat chocolate cake, don’t have the chocolate cake in the fridge. You know if it’s sitting there, I can’t, you know, trying to be disciplined to not eat ice cream or chocolate or chocolate cake is so hard if it’s just sitting there. Our bodies just see it and our mouths start salivating. So just simply don’t have it in the fridge. But that’s not to say you can’t… I think it is different to drugs and alcohol where you’ll probably want to stay away from it altogether if you have had an issue with it in the past. I feel like with eating, it is okay to go and have something every now and then and enjoy it. And if you have been eating differently and more healthy then your body will let you know, you will realise. If you for example haven’t been eating takeaway and you go and have takeaway on night then your body will let you know pretty quickly in how it responds to that. So I feel like you can still enjoy yourself if that’s what you see as enjoying yourself. But the whole idea of cheat meals and stuff like that I don’t agree with. You know, that’s another topic but yeah, I do feel like you can still go out and enjoy a piece of chocolate or cake or whatever it might be. But it’s about creating a new lifestyle and the whole 10 week or 12 week thing is just a way of starting off that lifestyle. Right from the very beginning it’s important that you recognise this is a new lifestyle. This is the way I’m now eating, this is who I am. Recognise ‘This is me now’, as opposed to just saying: ‘I’m going to do this for 12 weeks and then see what happens’. Because that’s never going to work.
What's your main reason for wanting to lose weight, and how long are you giving yourself to do it?
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