Do the opposite….

In June, I’ll be riding my bike from London to Paris in three days.  As part of my preparation, I went to see a strength and conditioning coach to look at my overall fitness and – in particular – my need to trim up.  As a result of the visit, I had some big changes to make to my diet, cutting out bread, refined sugar, increasing fruit and veg intake to 9-10 portions a day, water intake to 3L a day due to being dehyrated and pushing up my intake of good fats.  If you want to read more, details are on my cycling blog here.

Having a review phone call with the coach Simon earlier this week, I was puzzled why the weight wasn’t yet dropping off as I’d implemented some big changes and was expecting around a kg a week weight loss, that’s the target.  “You’re not eating enough” – came the reply. 

Now it feels like I’m eating all day, however for my body to feel like it has everything it needs before it starts burning fat, it needs around 2100 calories made up of at least 360g of carbohydrate, 110g of protein and 80g of fat.  So whilst I’m knocking all the good stuff down, I still wasn’t hitting my base metabollic rate of 2100 calories.  “To lose weight, you have to eat more Phil.”

I wrote a blog the other week about going slower to go faster and here I am again, with a similar metaphor “Eat more, to lose weight” (caveat of course being eat more of the right stuff).  Exactly the opposite of what you expect.

There’s a lesson to be learned here about assumptions.  Our basic assumption to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more, however as you can see, that is not the optimum pathway for you to make a sustainable change.  So, if that’s the case, what else that we think is true, is not?

Here’s the lesson – don’t accept conventions and always continue to question assumptions as they could well not be true or they may have changed or be changing.  De-learning is a difficult business, in fact it’s harder than learning.  Good questions to ask are things like: _

  1. “What evidence do we now have to support that assumption?”
  2.  ”How can we back up that decision with hard facts?”
  3. “What’s the opposite pathway to the one we’ve planned?”

If you continue to decide based upon past experience, assumption or convention, you will have the biggest blind spot.  Blind spots are missed opportunities most of the time, give yourself the best possible chance for opportunity to knock by questioning everything, including your own assumptions.  I love the idea of opposites, which I highlighted in point 3 above, it makes you stretch yourself and think of new possibilities and disruptive ideas.