by Sean Croxton
Dean Dwyer is a Professional Human Being.
And then some.
Anyone who can take books like Rework (about streamlining success and increasing productivity for entrepreneurs and small businesses), Good to Great (about how companies achieve enduring greatness), and Against All Odds (the autobiography of James Dyson, the inventor of the Dyson vacuum) and apply them to fat loss and personal transformation is my kind of guy.
Diet books will only take you so far, my friends.
So last night, I skipped the Lakers game and read Dean’s new book entitled Make Shi(f)t Happen: Change How You Look by Changing How You Think. Actually, I didn’t just read it. I inhaled all 268 pages of it cover-to-cover.
Was it good?
Heck yeah it was good! Rarely do I ever read a book straight through. But when Dean shared the epiphany he had after 25 years of eating “healthy” while still carrying around an extra 50 pounds of body fat, I was hooked.
In Dean’s words…
“There was no reason to believe that this time around would be different, and yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was onto something this time because my epiphany focused not on how to lose weight, but rather on how to think about weight-loss. Twenty-five years of doing “stuff” hadn’t worked. This time I needed to be different, and in order for me to be different, I needed to think different.”
Word up, Mr. Dean.
How many years have you been fighting the battle?
How many diets have you tried with only temporary success — or none at all?
If you’ve been on the fat loss train since the Clinton administration, deboarding at every dietary stop — South Beach City, Atkinsville, Low-Fat Francisco — but you’ve got no souvenirs to show for it, it might be time to ponder what the common denominator is in all of this…
As I touched on in THIS BLOG, faulty thinking is often the root cause of failed attempts at fat loss and lifestyle modification. To review…
Thoughts determine our feelings.
Feelings determine our actions.
Actions determine our results.
Dean’s epiphany to be different by thinking different was the impetus for the twenty shifts — defined as subtle changes in thinking that in turn allowed the subsequent shift to come more easily, until the accumulation of shifts resulted in a complete mental overhaul — outlined in his book.
As I wrote last week, one small success on top of another small success on top of yet another small success eventually becomes one BIG success.
Speaking of success, Dean has managed to subtly shift his protruding late-forty-something-year-old white belly (his words, not mine) into a set of six-pack abs.
That’s a lot less carrots, Mr. Dwyer! (You’ll get that joke once you read the book.)
So…are YOU ready to make some shi(f)t happen?
I hope so, because today I’m going to share a handful of shifts and advice from Dean’s book that you can put into action TODAY.
Let’s DO this shi(f)t!!!
DO What Fits. Sorry for repeating myself, but small shifts lead to what Dean calls seismic change. But if you’re on-the-go all hours of the day, a diet program that requires you to cook every meal from scratch just ain’t gonna work. It doesn’t fit into the context of your life! Instead, do some Googling to see if there is a ready-to-eat healthy meal store like Fitzee Foods nearby that you can stop by to pick up your meals for the week.
Or if your latest fat loss regimen requires that you do an hour a day on the treadmill plus weights, how long do you think you’ll be able to stick with it? That doesn’t fit either! Like Dean says, if you don’t see yourself doing it five years from now, it’s definitely not for you.
Instead, you can work out at home for 30 minutes most days of the week using just your body weight and minimal equipment. No travel time. No gym dues. No awkward locker room moments. And no ridiculous fantasies of doing things that you simply don’t have time for.
If it doesn’t fit, it’s not going to stick!
Ignore Most (But Not All) Experts. Most fat loss and health gurus out there don’t know shi(f)t! What they know is what worked for them, lacking any and all awareness of the FACT that there are different solutions for different people. As Dean points out, be on the lookout for experts who focus on outcomes while omitting the details, ones who push products over principles, and those that make you dependent on their products and services.
This reminds me of when I was a personal trainer and the veterans would advise me to teach my clients just enough to make sure that they came back for more sessions. That never sat well with me. I’m a “teach a man (or woman) how to fish” kind of guy. This ain’t no seafood restaurant.
Become an Expert on YOU! I get a LOT of email from people asking me if I could tell them EXACTLY what to eat — how many grams of this and grams of that to throw down their pie hole. My answer is always this: I don’t know! Find out what works for you by keeping a diet log, tracking not only what you eat but also how you feel after each meal. There’s a really good one included in my e-book The Dark Side of Fat Loss.
Let. Me. Be. Clear. There is no one on the face of this Earth who can tell you exactly what foods you should eat and in what ratios you should be eating them. No one!
And this brings us to the next shift….
Think in Beta. I love this one since Dean snagged the idea from the aforementioned book Rework, which may have been the last book I read cover-to-cover in one sitting prior to Dean’s opus.
Here’s the deal — when a software program is in beta you expect there to be glitches and bugs. The developer uses this trial period to capture user feedback so that the functionality of the program may be improved upon. Once the bugs are worked out, an upgraded 2.0 version is released.
As Dean writes, we need to get our beta on! In other words, it would be unrealistic to expect ourselves to get this whole fat loss thing right the first time around. Necessity is the mother of all invention. What I mean is that in order to become the expert on YOU — to become the 2.0 version — you have to go through some trial-and-error first to find out where the glitches are. Once you figure out what you need, then you can create a solution for yourself. And the solution is probably not someone else’s program.
Didn’t I write about this last week?
If you’re walking on a path that’s already trodden, you know it’s not yours.
Experiment on yourself and work out the beta bugs. Be mindful of what’s working and what’s not. Again, log your meals. (No, you won’t have to do this forever.) Monitor your post-meal body language. What is your body saying to you? Manipulate your macronutrient ratios — the percentage of proteins, fats, and carbs. Keep an eye on your measurements and how your clothes fit.
Remember, you are a complex being, so getting your beta on can take weeks or even months. Even those geniuses over at Facebook seldom get it right the first time. Embrace the bugs in the system, recognizing that every tweak you make is but one more small success on the road to seismic change.
Identify System Problems. This one comes from another book I recently read (and loved) called Switch by Chip and Dan Heath, in which the authors introduce the concept of the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). Put simply…
People tend to ignore the situational forces that shape other people’s behavior, thus attributing it to the way they are rather than the situation they are in.
I can write an entire blog on this one (and probably will at some point), but for now let’s consider the following:
You say you can’t help but eat sweets before bed, but would this continue to be true if you didn’t keep sweets in the house?
You say you can’t keep your weight down because there are no healthy food options near your job, but what if you took your own lunch?
You say that you don’t get up at 6am to go to the gym because you’re too tired to deal with the hassle of getting ready, but what if you laid out your gym clothes the night before and left your alarm (the one on your phone, I assume) in your workout pants pocket?
You see, these aren’t really problems with YOU per se. Rather, these issues are guided by situation forces that can be very easily overcome by simple situational shifts.
The little things go a long way.
And that’s the point of Dean’s book — a little shift here on top of a little shift here on top of another little shift over there eventually leads to seismic change.
Dean is one of the few in the health blogosphere who has this thing figured out. It’s not just about food and fitness, you guys. You gotta get your mind right.
Read his book.
I guarantee it will make you shi(f)t your pants! Pun intended.
By the way, Dean was a presenter at my Paleo Summit. I posted his presentation below. I’ll leave it up for the rest of the week. Watch that shi(f)t!!!
I love it Sean! This is a great topic and is completely relevant to wellness yet mostly overlooked. Keep it up Buddy!
Clinton administration?! Try Nixon. Yup, done ’em all. Working through paleo now, struggling with the “evolutionary” aspects, but working through it.
Love the idea of “beta.” Doc’s pushing Metformin and Lipitor on me, but my panels are improving (slowly). What’s the harm in letting me continue to work on this? What’s the hurry toward the pharmaceutical?
I need this book. Pronto.
Sean, You are awesome. I love how your approach is about overall wellbeing – there is no other way to be healthy or make a major life change. I read your blog and am amazed at how relevant it is to the chemical dependency field! I want to bring these ideas into treatment centers to help people find true recovery.
loved this post. yeah…it was pretty awesome
YES! This! My view – I am a work in progress (beta!) and as long as I remain in progress I’m OK.
Hi Sean, this is great and gives so much hope. I love the beta principle. I decided a couple of days ago that my new mantra is ‘small picture’ – my approach to staying in the moment and already it feels so powerful and my body is beginning to relax having been locked in an uptight position since birth! Keep it coming. x
Keep at it, my friend. It will certainly pay off. Your doc will be shocked by your improved cholesterol scores next time around.
Hope you enjoy the book!
Thanks so much, Alyssa! I appreciate you reading my blog. I hope they can be helpful to those in your field. The chemical nature of our food supply has led to a dietary chemical dependency. In my opinion, any treatment should be holistic, covering as many bases as possible.
Keep helping people, my friend!
Thank you, Felicia!
Get your beta on, Jennifer!
Awesome, Clo! You go it — think small picture and take baby steps toward seismic change.
You’re on your way!
Since the Clinton administration? More like Carter’s! I’ve been on that train so long, I knew the route blindfolded. When I read Mark Sisson’s “Primal Blueprint” it was such a magical moment. No more fake cheese, low fat dressings, cardboard bread and crackers- just real nourishing food. It took a while to learn new strategies for composing a meal, but the Primal community, including you and Dean, provide the knowledge, the humor, and the support to make it easy- at my finger tips. Just today I’ve crossed the line where my BMI is no longer in the ‘overweight’ range for the first time in 20 years. But its also the first time (since the Carter administration) that I haven’t seen reaching a weight loss goal as a reason to go back to ‘normal’ eating. I don’t ever want to go back to a SAD diet.
Sean you’re amazing, you get the quantum energy factor 🙂
You’re the underground wellness lightworker!
Great Blog Sean, I have been in the health / fitness industry since being an athlete over 20 years ago and so many people need to hear this message. Fat loss, Fitness, Nutrition are all deeply affected by one’s thinking and as you mention thinking – feelings – actions – results – is the way to go. Keep up the great work Sean. HR