How to Lose 10 Pounds in 30 Days
Get 2,000 people in a room and at least half will say they’d like to lose a little weight. Get 2,000 hard charging, go-getting, Type A personality entrepreneurs in a room and many of them will say they’d like to lose weight fast. Plus, entrepreneurs are their businesses, and that means how they feel (and how they feel about how they look) can be extremely important to them.
So while I was surprised … I probably shouldn’t have been.
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The event organizer had hustled over right before I went onstage. The speaker scheduled to appear after me wouldn’t make it since his flight had been delayed.
“Can you go another 45 minutes to fill the time?” the organizer asked. “Maybe do a Q & A?”
I’m not a huge fan of mass Q & A’s since the questions tend to be hyper-specific to the individual and totally boring to the group. So I finished my presentation and asked the audience to suggest topics. The A/V guy posted them on the giant screen behind me and then I had the audience members vote by applause for their favorite topic.
Which topic won? Not raising capital. Not finding investors. Not leading better or hiring smarter or harnessing the creative power of employees.
Nope. This was the overwhelming favorite: “How can I lose 10 pounds in one month?”
Like I said, maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. So if you want to lose some pounds relatively quickly, here’s how.
But before we start: I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not a certified exercise professional. I have no official credentials.
But I do like to take on unusual physical challenges. I once completed a 92-mile, 4-mountain gran fondo after just four months of training. (I also rode the same event the next year, five months after having a heart attack.) Then I got tired of being “cycling skinny,” decided to see if I could do one of those “actor transforms himself for an action hero role” things, and gained 22 pounds while decreasing my body fat by a couple of percentage points. (While far from an action hero, I did put on a fair bit of muscle.)
Again, I’m not a physician, so try this at your own risk. But it does work.
How do I know?
I shared the following with that audience and then decided to prove to myself it works. In a month I went from 172 to 161 pounds. So if I can lose the weight, you probably can, too … if you want to lose the weight, because it isn’t easy. (But is anything worthwhile ever easy?)
Now let’s get started. Here are two overriding premises:
Commit to the process, not the goal.
You’ll lose weight by following a process, not envisioning a goal. (For more on the critical difference between goals and processes, check this out.)
If you can’t commit to the process, you won’t lose weight. So commit to sticking with it for 30 days. Think about it: You can do almost anything for 30 days.
Embrace the power of “I don’t.”
Believe it or not, using the phrase “I don’t” is up to eight times more effective than saying “I can’t.” It’s more than twice as effective as a simple “no.”
The Journal of Consumer Research ran a number of studies on this difference in terminology. One of the studies split participants into three groups:
- Group 1 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should “just say no.” This group was the control group, because they were given no specific strategy.
- Group 2 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should implement the “can’t” strategy. For example, “I can’t miss my workout today.”
- Group 3 was told that anytime they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, they should implement the “don’t” strategy. For example, “I don’t miss workouts.”
- Group 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members stick with their goals for the entire 10 days.
- Group 2 (the “can’t” group) had 1 out of 10 members stick with her goal for the entire 10 days.
- Group 3 (the “don’t” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members stick with their goals for the entire 10 days.
So embrace the power of “I don’t.” When you’re tempted to miss a workout, say to yourself, “I don’t miss workouts.” When you’re tempted to eat a bowl of ice cream, say, “I don’t eat ice cream.” “Don’t” is non-negotiable; “can’t” implies you have a choice … and making the right choice, time after time, is really hard.
Always think in terms of “I don’t.”
Now on to the specifics …
1. Start with a fast day.
I’m normally not a fast/cleanse kinda guy, but only drinking clear liquids for 24 hours is a great way to hit the reset button on your normal habits. (I didn’t use a cleanse/flush product; whether you do is up to you.) Plus an occasional fast is evidently good for you.
Best of all, your stomach will shrink, and when you do start eating, you’ll feel full faster–and therefore will eat less.
Just stop eating at, oh, 8 p.m. tonight, only drink clear liquids tomorrow, and start back up with a healthy breakfast the following day.
Think you can’t go a day without eating? You can. It’s not that hard.
And you’ll probably lose a pound in the process, which gets you off to a nice mental start.
2. Exercise first thing every morning.
But not long–20 minutes of moderate cardio is enough. You’ll get your day off to a great start, you’ll be less likely to overeat later (since you’ll know that means you wasted some of the effort you put in), and you’ll be in a much better mood all day.
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