How a free app helped me lose 3kgs in a week!
There’s a story about a young man who comes to a great Samurai, and asks him to teach him swordcraft.
He asks, “How long will it take you to teach me to be a master swordsman?”
The teacher replies, “With my training, and if you listen, 5 years.”
The student says, “But what if study twice as hard as the other students, do twice as many exercises, twice as often?”
The teacher says, “10 years.”
I think it was probably funnier in the original Japanese, but I think there’s an interesting point here. Some things you just can’t rush. And if you do, it just takes you longer.
In life, I’ve tended to be a bit like this young samurai. When I fix my sights on something I just dive into it. I do read all the books I can get my hands on – do all the courses, listen to all the podcasts.
I go hard.
Sometimes I’ve got 12 open books by the bedside table.
I burn through it all, and then apply the stuff that makes sense. A lot of the real learning happens when I’m knee deep in it, but slowly and surely, I master whatever I’m working on.
But I’ve come to expect that it’s going to be a slow process – or at least slower than I’d like.
Right now, my finances are pretty sorted, so I’m making health the main goal. It’s my focus, and I’d like to lose a few kg’s.
So I’m going to the gym. I’ve dropped down on the carbs. I’m eating more vegetables.
It seems to be working, but things are moving pretty slowly.
I’m thinking, maybe this is just what it’s like getting older. It gets harder to bounce back. I’m not a spring chicken anymore.
But I’m still the same basic organism, so I’m wondering why I’m not getting quicker results.
And it’s not because I’m not going hard.
Some weeks I’m knocking up 6 sessions, eating zero carbs, and getting nothing! Barely a milligram.
So now, I’m starting to feel a bit humble. Maybe I actually do need a personal trainer. I need a bit of outside help.
This is a pretty big shift for me. At first I’m like, “I’m Jon Giaan. I’m motivated, I’ve got a can-do attitude. I was a borderline professional athlete. Other people need someone to hold their hand through this stuff, but not me.”
But I bite the bullet, put my ego to the side and track down a personal trainer in my area. I find this guy with cred. He’s a former body-builder. He still competes, and still wins his age group (60+).
That’s my man.
We catch up for a chat, but then he says, I’m going away over Easter. Let’s catch up in two weeks.
Two weeks? Wtf? I’m ready to go now. I’m ready for results.
I tell him I’m keen. Is there any thing I can do over the next couple of weeks to get started?
I’m fishing for some secret sauce here. Crunches and Pilates? Juice fasts? Put banana skins in my socks? Eat nothing but north Alaskan Salmon?
But nope. None of that.
He asks me one questions: “Do you keep a food-diary?”
I almost choke on my kale salad. “Food diary? Yeah sure mate. Here it is here with Hello Kitty on the front and the boys from One Direction on the back.”
“This is Harry. He’s my favourite. We’re going to get married one day.”
Seriously. But I don’t want to be an arrogant prick, and the guy obviously gets results, so I politely ask him to tell me about it and say that I’ll give it a go.
Basically, I’ve just got to keep track of what I eat, with a rough idea of the calories in each meal.
But I’m thinking. “Man, this guy has me figured out all wrong. Food diaries are for losers. I don’t need that.”
As I’m driving away, I’m wondering if I’m even going to bother. But then a light goes on.
I’ve made my millions doing essentially one thing … Want to know what it is?
Recording campaigns. We’re always testing, measuring, improving. Send out a campaign, see what response you get. Improve it and go again.
You idiot Giaan. Just shut up and take his advice.
So I stick to my regular training schedule. The same old 4 or 5 sessions a week.
But I start to record everything I eat.
What happens? Boom. In 7 days I lose 3 kilos!
How did that happen?!?
Well to start, turns out I don’t eat as well as I thought I did. I have too many snacks, and my meals are too big.
That was a revelation.
The other thing is that a diary is like having someone looking over your shoulder all the time. You might be reaching for the chocolate, but then you think, oh oh, if I have that I’ll have to put it in the diary…
It’s a new level of accountability.
So just by watching what I was eating more closely, I ate a lot better and lost weight.
And that was seriously all I did.
So what are the lessons here?
- The big one here is don’t be an arrogant shit. If you think you have nothing to learn, there will be nothing to learn. Don’t think you’re different.
- Don’t rush. You have to master walking before you can run. Sometimes you’ve got to drop back a few levels and work on things again to really improve your game.
- Follow people who have gotten results. I don’t think I would have really listened to this guy if he wasn’t a totally shredded 60-year old. There’s a lot of motivation there, and motivation is gold.
- If you can’t measure it, you can’t control it. This is the golden rule of budgeting but turns out its just as true with food.
- Don’t stress the precision. I was measuring every calorie with military precision. Most of the value is often just in paying more attention – being more mindful.
- But be brutally honest with yourself. It’s tempting to make stuff up – to go a little easy on yourself – but you’re only cheating yourself, as the saying goes.
Just goes to show that even the brilliant success guru Jon Giaan has something to learn. And even he can be an idiot.
This food diary gave me a slap in the face. But I didn’t take it personally and it was just the slap I needed.
Thank you, Sensei.
Ever tried a diary practice to improve your game?