“I seem to be moving away from the “I need to eat X amount to have fun”, or the “I need to drink X amount to have fun”. Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE food and LOVE alcohol, being able to fit a burger or a beer into my macros is amazing.

But at the moment, progress makes me happier than stuffing my face because losing weight is adding so much to different aspects of my life – confidence is up, mental health is better, and as a result of that my friendships are stronger, romantic relationships are healthier, sex life is better, energy levels are better, everything IS just better.
I know it sounds cheesy but Propane is literally changing certain aspects of my life in a very positive way, especially my relationship with food and consequently my relationship with others. Last April I was miserable and a lot of that came from self-esteem issues @ 93kg compared to 76kg this week.
Callum, Propane Athlete.
Callum – 93kg to 76kg

The lessons to learn from Callum

1) ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’
This is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
Sometimes we think of our lives as modular (or blocks of lego for the oldies). We tell ourselves that we only have a certain number of lego blocks, each one carrying an opportunity cost to develop something else: competing for space in your life.

That’s not totally untrue. Some pursuits can be zero-sum: hang out with a group of friends on a Tuesday night, you’re forgoing being able to hang with a different group. Spend 3 hours per week learning French – that’s 3 hours less time to watch Netflix.
Where we go wrong is when we think that physique improvement is a separate and unconnected block. That it would be somehow SELFISH or a WASTE of time to carve out some sacred time and energy to those pursuits.
Taking care of your body is a positive sum game: it pays dividends in all other dimensions of your life.
Taking care of your fundamentals is necessary to sustain your higher functions. As the foundation of the pyramid, it permeates and enriches (or saps) the rest of your life. 
  • You can’t focus on reading a book when you’re bursting for a poo:
  • It’s hard to have a vibrant social life when you haven’t got a roof over your head. Incidentally, here’s a homeless ‘pick-up artist’ who’s doing exactly that:  operating at one level of the hierarchy while homeless, unhappy and alcoholic. This is a dysfunctional picture.
A lot of people shouldn’t even be worrying about their life purpose: they need to clean their toilet first.  – David Allen
Nothing new here. We all know this intellectually, but we are exceptional rationalisers. We continue to get our priorities out of whack, especially during stress-periods.
  • We skip training for weeks on end so we can stay late in the office.
  • We’re consistently out late, and forget that ‘sleep is a necessity, not a luxury’.
  • We have no concerns doing it at the time, because when we skimp on the fundamentals, we don’t bear the cost immediately. Instead, it slowly accumulates and bites us later.
Back to Callum – he’s found the balance point where taking care of the fundamentals enhances your life.
Go too far the other way, and the focus on the fundamentals becomes pathological. When it overtakes and detracts from the higher functions, we slip into eating disorder territory. The diet and training then dictates, rather than enhances, your lifestyle.
  • Can’t go out for a meal, wouldn’t be able to track the macros accurately. 
  • Terrified of my upcoming holiday in case I gain weight or miss a training session
  • <10%, but feeling fat, just need to lose a couple more pounds…

So how do you find the balance point?

Trick question.
Fortunately, that balance point is NOT another zero sum game.
There doesn’t need to be a tension between enjoying a flexible life and hitting your fitness goals. It is neither about the grind, nor wild hedonism.
Deep into a diet, there’s the tendency to think in a binary way towards food. We equate suffering with progress, and decadent indulgence with enjoyment. If we take things to the extreme, we see how polarising causes us to get carried away:
Going out for a burger with friends would cause you to go over my targets for today. So you do one of two things:
  • Stay in the house and starve yourself, while smugly judging them.
  • Go out with good intentions to track meticulously, but fuck it, you crack and double up on everything. By the time you get home, you’re feeling guilty and continue the binge until you’re about to burst. A single meal has turned into a diet derailment.. it wasn’t even enjoyable.
What happened? We’re in a state of long term restriction and gnawing hunger, and the tension builds. The Flexible dieting/IIFYM movement attempts to solve this problem, but more often, people just transpose their neuroses from ‘clean’ foods to 3 magic numbers. It’s an improvement, but there remains this volatile relationship with food – which has now just been substituted for a volatile relationship with the numbers. We put our macro targets on a pedestal and equate MORE food with linearly MORE enjoyment. If this belief takes hold, it’s lethal, and keeps us in the throes of binge cycles.

Callum gets it. He’s learned:

  • How much is ‘enough’ food to feel satisfied
  • The average of your efforts produces your physique
With intelligent planning and a longer term focus, he can factor in social events and work without detracting from his progress, neither feeling the need to binge OR stop enjoying life. This is MORE effective than going #beastmode, because you aren’t sat watching the clock. Am I lean yet? Am I lean yet? Instead, what if you could set the plan on cruise control? You set flexible buffers in advance, and life just happens. 12 weeks later and you’re stronger and leaner.
Just like that Seth Godin quote, set up a diet you don’t need to cheat on.

Need a framework to put all of this into practice, and fit your social life INTO the plan? Join our Fat-Loss Mastery VIP group and sail through your fat loss goals.

 

BONUS

This is Callum’s Christmas strategy from the VIP Coaching Group.

CHRISTMAS STRATEGIES

Hey all, long time no speak! Just a post to see if anyone else has any little tricks they play on themselves to do some sort of damage control over the holiday period.
This year is the first Christmas period that I’ve come home from university not stressing about how much weight I’ve put on while away. I weighed in this morning at 76kg (all thanks to Propane magic) despite a pretty hectic first term in hospital, not to mention 4 nights out last week to celebrate finishing exams. However, I’m determined to maintain some sort of macro control over Christmas while still enjoying having a social life.
I try my best to never say no to any social situation, Yusef will absolutely attest to this given that he sees my eating out/alcohol days on spreadsheets week in/week out.
This is especially true over Christmas where I’m reunited with friends I’ve not seen in months – saying no just isn’t something I’m very good at!
The main issue is, like most Irish people, our catch ups usually start and end in the pub. Another issue is, with all of us being 20 years old, we’ve got no other commitments and a night out can commence with no prior warning. Sometimes they’re planned which is great and allows me to do 48hr macro planning, but other times I’ll receive a text at 9pm saying, “Pub?” Around 9pm my eating for the day is usually done, I’ve got 0kcals to play with and my heart sinks. I know I can employ Propane “break glass strategies” to cope with situations like this, such as 72hr macros, but over Christmas I’ve got absolutely zero routine and there’s always the possibility of 2 consecutive nights out…
To cope with this I’ve started doing something slightly different/maybe totally bonkers for the Christmas break.
  1. Wake up
  2. Before I eat anything, even if I’m not planning a night out, enter the maximum number of drinks it takes to get me suitable smashed into MFP
  3. Ring-fence those kcals and work under the assumption that I might get a text at 9pm about going out to the pub/cinema/bowling/wherever (Note: this is the absolute MAX number of drinks I can put away and I will very, very rarely drink 1000kcals… Better to plan for the lowered inhibition that I’ll have after a few pints. Also if I didn’t love Guinness so much these kcals would be much lower!)
  4. Hit remaining macros throughout the day as normal
  5. At 9pm I’ll be doing one of the following:

a: Going out to have a fun time with friends, guilt free (see attached pic for scenario 1)

b: Playing macro Tetris with lots of fun Christmas foods such as After Eights, Celebrations, Mince Pies etc. before falling asleep in front of the TV – just as fun as going out

 

(also see attached pic for scenario 2)

I know to some of you that this level of effort just to fit in alcohol is totally bonkers and I know that excessive alcohol is always going to be bad, but doing this keeps me sane for the booziest/merriest period of the year and I’m hoping it will keep the macro/life balance ticking along nicely.

I’ll probably only end up drinking the ring-fenced alcohol for 4 nights out of the next 14 days at home, but when I do eventually get that text about the pub/cinema/burger at 9pm, I know I’ll be buzzing to go out rather than dreading it. If I don’t end up going out, I’ll still be having a bloody cracking time in front of the TV with my 1000kcals of junk food!

This Christmas for me is just about limiting damage rather than making progress on lift numbers/weight loss. 2125 kcals is still a deficit for me, so hopefully the average of my efforts over the break will mean that I’m still moving (albeit slowly) in the right direction and I’ll be ready to smash it come January. Apologies for the long post, this is my first Christmas break in about 8 years without January exams… Safe to say I’m feeling like a bit of a spare part and wanted to do something productive!

Hope everyone has merry festive period!

 

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