What makes a bullet go far? If you’re like most people, you’d say it was gunpowder.
If this was your answer, you’d only be partially right. There are actually three key factors to how far a bullet will go:
- Yes, the amount of gunpowder you use is important.
- The aerodynamics of the bullet are incredibly important. A sniper bullet will go much further than a round pellet.
- The environment that the bullet goes through matters most! Shoot a bullet in a vacuum and it can travel forever! If you shoot a bullet it water, it won’t travel far at all.
Factor #1 is all about the force required to get started with moving the bullet. However, factors #2 and 3 are related to friction. A bullet needs to have as little friction as possible to keep moving. Reduce the friction and a bullet can travel far.
And believe it or not, the same rule goes with weight loss: reduce the amount of friction working against you to go far with weight loss journey.
It’s Less About Adding Effort, It’s More About Reducing Friction
When it comes to weight loss, too often focus is put on how much effort is required to lose weight. However, putting more effort into weight loss can be like adding more gunpowder to a bullet. Just like a bullet being shot in the water, if all the effort spent trying to lose weight is in an environment conducive to failure, the effort will likely be wasted. You need to reduce the friction.
If you’re struggling to get started, yes, you then need to put in more effort if you want to succeed.
However, if you’re struggling to actually lose weight or to stick with the program, the amount of effort you put in is likely not the main problem. The amount of friction that holds you back from building momentum on your journey is likely the main problem. So how can this friction be reduced?
How Can You Reduce Friction?
The first step in reducing friction is to start recognizing what sources of friction exist in your life that prevent you from losing weight easily. By reflecting on this, you can then start developing a plan on how to remove or reduce these sources of friction. So what are potential sources of friction? I’ll divide them into the three factors that control our weight control spectrum: Environmental, Physiological, and Mental.
Enviromental Sources of Friction
Just like a bullet will stop almost immediately if a gun is shot into water, weight loss will stop almost immediately if done in an enviroment that is not conducive to supporting your weight loss journey. Here are some environmental sources of friction that could prevent you from succeeding with weight loss, and some potential ways to reduce that friction:
- The number of advertisements you recieve on television tempting you to eat more
- Potential solution: watch less television, get an ad-blocker for your browser
- How much pressure your workplace or your family members put on you to eat excessively
- Potential solutions: have a heart-to-heart conversation with coworkers or family members about how they can support you with your goals, set clear boundaries
- How easy it is to get access to unhealthy foods and excessive calories
- Potential solutions: move your snacks to somewhere difficult to reach, set rules on when snacking is allowed (eg only during a certain time or on a cheat day), remove your delivery apps from your phone
- How hard it is to exercise
- Potential solutions: create a routine that is quick and does not require exercise equipment, purchase high quality exercise equipment that you can use at home
Physiological Sources of Friction
Think about adjusting your physiological sources of friction like making the bullet more aerodynamic. The easier you make your body’s hormones and energy levels work for you rather than against you, the higher the odds of sticking with your weight loss journey. Physiological sources and potential solutions below:
- High levels of insulin resistance, which jacks up the hunger mechanism.
- Potential solutions: Investigate some of the solutions proposed here, and speak with your physician.
- Eating the wrong food for your body, impacting your hormones.
- Potential solution: try adjusting the food you eat, and reflect on how you feel as you make small adjustments. Related to the point above, if you eat too much junk, it’s going to be harder for your body to feel full. Junk food is engineered to be addicitive and hijack our feedback loop.
- Hormonal and bodily reactions when attempting to lose weight too quickly. Due to metabolic compensation, our bodies fight back hormonally when we try to lose weight too fast.
- Potential solution: Go slow! Luuze can help you with setting a reasonable goal.
Mental Sources of Friction
Losing weight is not just about willpower, but often we don’t do ourselves any favors beating ourselves up over weight loss struggles. Some mental sources of friction and potential solutions are below:
- Added stress in one’s life, leading to stress eating and eating your feelings.
- Potential solutions: Address your stress and investigate how it can be managed. Managing stress in one’s life and can be complicated, but recognizing this direct connection between stress and weight gain can help you recognize areas of your life that you may need to address first. Weight gain can cause stress in itself which then can create a negative feedback loop as well, so be careful to not get caught in this – this stress can often occur when you put too much pressure on yourself to lose weight. I keep on repeating myself, but it’s okay to go slow! Doing so can be one of the best things you can do to move forward with permanent, sustainable weight loss.
- Getting into a shame cycle of losing and gaining, or binging.
- Potential solution: Don’t beat yourself up! Recognize that ups and downs are part of every single journey. My scale weight went up over 45% of the time during my 100 pound weight loss journey. However, the downs help you build the skill of weight loss and lose weight for good when you reflect and realize why you gained weight! If you have had issues in the past with binging, check out my article about binging for some ideas.
- Having a perfectionist mentality, preventing you from action unless there is full commitment.
- Remember that the scale lies and one bad day does not hijack an entire month of bad work. Read more about how perfectionism can hold you back from success and some ideas for solutions here.
Remove Friction To Succeed On Your Journey
Ironically, for myself, the introduction of a massive amount of friction that would prevent me from losing weight (becoming a father and having a newborn son) helped me realize that I had too much friction in my life to actually succeed with weight loss. Reflecting on the impossibility of my situation, I realized that in order to succeed, I’d need to reduce friction in the areas that I could control.
I decided that instead of losing weight as fast as possible, I’d reduce friction by losing weight as slow as feasibly possible. Instead of putting more effort into exercise, I decided that at least to start, I wouldn’t focus on exercise at all.
Instead of trying to push harder to lose weight, find ways to make it easier to lose weight! You can do this by working to remove areas of friction that impede on your weight loss journey. Here are 17 more additional suggestions on how to do this!