Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Art Of War On Weight Problems

In his famous book of strategy, Sun Tzu said:
  • If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
  • If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also know defeat.
  • If you know neither the enemy or yourself, you will sucumb to every battle.
We can apply this lesson to our weight loss and body conditioning goals, as follows:

If you know yourself and know your enemy.

In this case you could consider "your enemy" to refer either to your current body condition that you wish to change, or to the course of action required to achieve this result.

First, you must know yourself. What is your current condition, for example your starting weight? Now what is a suitable goal weight, that is neither unrealistic, unhealthy, and not too pessimistic either. A suitable weight one might expect an active, healthy person of your height, age and gender to be.

Now, what is the most suitable course of action for you to achieve this result? This would include a suitable activity, exercise or training plan, and suitable nutritional requirements. Simply put; how many calories to support this goal weight & enable adequate results from training?

If you know all of this, you'll find that what's required is quite simple and easy to adhere to. Even for more advanced or more ambitious goals, I believe that the effort to reward ratio is always proportionate. That is to say, so long as this is actually what you want, it is never more effort than it is worth. When your heart is not it in, it may be a different story.

If you know yourself but not your enemy.

OK, so you know where you are at, and where you'd like to get to. That's a start, but if you don't know how to get there... your chances are hit and miss at best. If you're not making progress, you can only guess at why and your guess is likely to be wrong.

Particularly in terms of intake levels, my observation is that people guess wrong consistently. Following misguided advice, they are likely to stress themselves out attempting to stick to restrictions that aren't even helpful or necessary, while oblivious to the much simpler actions that would ensure success.

If you know neither your self nor your enemy.

You don't really know where you're at, or where you want to be. You have not identified your goal, nor do you know what is required to get there. In this situation people are just doing some random activity, hoping that it will produce some result, and hoping that this result will make them happier.

To my mind, and example of this would be joining the gym just do do an hour on the Cross Trainer machine a few nights a week. Since you don't really know what you want, this seems as good an option as any, and hopefully it'll make some difference that you'll be satisfied with. Unfortunately, this won't happen.

Let's finish on a positive note though.

Back to the first point. If you know your goal, know that you have a suitable training program to achieve that goal, and know the nutritional guidelines required to enable that result, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

You are absolutely assured of success.