The Magic Pill

By Lisa Snow
NYC Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor

An old saying says “figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.”  So let’s decode some figures (statistics) on fat loss and fitness.  Clients are always looking for the magic pill for weight loss that will allow them to lose weight without changing their nutrition habits or adding exercise.  Although some supplements like plant-based protein powder and EFA oil can give you an edge, the true “magic pill” for weight loss hasn’t been invented yet.  But if the magic pill did exist, would you take it?  Pharmaceutical industry statistics also show that just 55% of patients with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes actually take their medication regularly — medications that are lifesaving, require just a few seconds a day to take, and are clinically proven to work.  


So if the weight loss magic pill doesn’t exist, and we wouldn’t take it even if it did, what actually works?  Statistics from John Berardi, PhD at Precision Nutrition show that if you give people 1 change to make at a time, more than 85% of them will succeed.  If you give them 2 changes to make at the same time, less than 35% of them will accomplish it.  If you try to get people to implement 3 simultaneous changes, the success rate drops to under 10%!  


Now think about what most people do when they decided that they’re finally ready to commit to weight loss.  They say, I’m going to start walking or running every day, eat breakfast daily, take a multivitamin, quit smoking, and give up soda.  Whoa!  That’s five changes at once.  If only 10% of people succeed at 3 changes, what’s going to happen with 5 changes?  You guessed it, zero results.  Instead, what would happen if the same person tried just one of those changes for 2 weeks, like daily walking.  Then, for the next 2 weeks (weeks 3 & 4), they kept walking, but started taking a multivitamin daily.  By the end of 10 weeks, they would have made all 5 changes a regular part of their life.  Think this concept is too simple to work?  Or that people know this already?   I challenge you to try it anyway.  Pick one — and I really do mean just one — simple change, and stick with it for two weeks.  Write it down in your paper journal, track it with your cell phone calendar, or tell your friends about it on Facebook.  Then watch what happens.

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