Just Be Compliant!
This past summer my girlfriend, all of you know her as
She-Ra Lisa, went to Europe for a month as a present to herself for surviving 6+ years of school, defending her dissertation, and finally becoming a doctor!
In the middle of June, she headed to Germany to meet up with her good friend, Leslie, who’s husband is stationed there at the Ramstein Air Base. This worked out perfectly because Lisa didn’t have to spend an inordinate amount of money on lounging, and, if need be, I could always fly to the base to borrow a Tomahawk H-2 helicopter if any dude tried any funny business with Lisa.
It was a win-win, really.
Anyways, as it worked out, the game plan was to head to Italy for a week – Tuscany, of course – to peruse wine country, and indulge themselves in everything Italia!
Serving as a second course, they returned back to Germany, and with Leslie’s young daughter in toe, they travelled all across the country visiting places like Dresden, Prague, Strausberg, Frankfurt, and because Ramstein is really close to the border of both France and Luxembourg, they also had the opportunity to experience those countries as well.
In a nutshell, it was the trip of a lifetime and Lisa enjoyed every second of it.
Side Note: and while I missed her tremendously, I enjoyed every second of not putting the toilet seat down, and being able to toss my socks wherever the hell I wanted.
Living room floor? Hell yes!
Kitchen sink? Whatever!
Freezer? Sure, what not?
As most can surmise, spending a month in Europe means enjoying the hell out of food – and that’s exactly what happened. It was what it was, and when Lisa came back to the States she knew it was time to hunker down and get back to her regular eating habits again.
Now, it’s not like she let herself go or that she had a lot of weight to lose – far from it! Even though she was away for so long (and enjoyed herself), it’s not like Europe is some barren wasteland devoid of gym equipment and green vegetables. Lisa still went out of her way to exercise and make daily trips to the local grocery store to purchase healthy food.
What’s more, it’s not like she came home and we had the conversation that every guy dreads. You know the one where your significant other walks into the room, the theme music from Jaws starts playing, and in slow motion she says those four words that strike the fear of god into us:
Do I look fat?
Um, uh, um, uh, uhhhhhhhh.
Haha. Thankfully it never came to that!
Well, one month went by and her weight would go down, then come back up again, go up a smidge, then stay, then drop a smudge, and the same pattern wound ensue for the next few months.
It was frustrating on her part – because it’s not like much changed. She started a new job, her stress levels were infinitely lower compared to when she was trudging through school and internships, she was still going to the gym three times per week to strength train, and she was still teaching her spin classes every week.
Too, her and I would do our normal weekend ritual of hitting up Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s loading up on veggies, fruit, grass fed beef, eggs, and the usual stuff we stuff our fridge and cupboards with. And, to top things off, Lisa would do the bulk of the weekly meal prep on Sunday morning. BAM!
All the containers on the bottom are the meals I take with me to the facility each day of the week. It’s awesome.
So, as you can see, it’s not like too many things were different. Except for one thing which Lisa nipped in the bud just last week.
You see, at her work (and everywhere else in the world) people like to bring in baked goods or fill the “community” candy dish with things like M&Ms or Skittles, or whatever other yummy candies you can think of.
And, like any other human being out there, Lisa can’t help but “dip in” on occasion and grab a few pieces here and there. No big deal, right? Everyone does it, and besides, a piece of candy here and there isn’t the end of the world and certainly won’t make that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.
Just out of curiosity, Lisa decided to nip things in the bud and actually stick to her normal eating schedule for a week.
Low and behold, she lost seven lbs in one week!!!!!!! And the only thing that changed was that she stayed true to her word and didn’t deviate from her plan. At all.
Giving full disclosure: Lisa also taught a double spin class on Saturday and fasted through Sunday which I’m sure played some role, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary or anything she hasn’t done in the past.
She stuck to ger guns, and actually followed through with everything she laid out. In her own words, “I told myself to NOT TOUCH anything that’s not included in my meal plan.”
In short, she was compliant!
And this can apply to anything – whether you’re trying to clean up your diet, lose a few lbs, gain a few lbs, improve your deadlift, save up for vacation, or I don’t know, do your part in helping to bring awareness to the rights of gay seals…….
…..being compliant is kind of a big deal, and will almost assuredly lead to success.
For most, it’s not a educational thing, as my astute colleague, Mark Young, has stated on numerous occasions.
Most people know that daily exercise is important and that M&Ms aren’t the best choice of snack in the middle of the day. It’s not necessarily about having will-power or anything like that. It’s merely about recognizing that certain things in your life may need to be “adjusted” – whether it’s social, emotional, or even physical – and setting up a plan to help you become successful.
Compliance doesn’t even have to be an all-or-nothing affair, either. Almost always, it’s just about starting small, like getting up five minutes earlier if your goal is make sure to eat breakfast in the morning, and going from there.
Once you’ve established that you can do that, then you can add more to your plate like taking your fish oil or making some scrambled eggs with veggies.
It’s isn’t necessarily about conquering 18 tasks at once and trying to do a complete 180. Most people who do that fail…..like, all the time.
But in the end, you HAVE to be compliant to some extent, and to hold yourself accountable. Without that, you’re just setting yourself up to fail.