The Great Comparison Hoax

Comparison

Death by a thousand cuts.

Luckily I don’t mean a literal death, since that’s the least anabolic activity of all time and would surely negatively impact your gains. The death I’m speaking of is more sinister, capable of covering your otherwise great life with a general malaise that seems unshakable.

Most of us know objectively that to compare ourselves to others is an exercise in futility. We’re emotional creatures, and logic and rational thinking get drop kicked right out of the window when it comes to our wants and desires.

When it comes to how we look, how strong we are, how fast we’re progressing and everything in between, our emotions can push our rational minds out of the driver’s seat, take the wheel, and drive us straight towards Crazyville.

Like sticking a fork into an electrical socket, or taking a 3 hour nap while you’re cooking a steak in an oven (I’m not alone in the last one…right?), comparing ourselves to others is more often than not a horrible idea that no good can come from.

Much like a moth drawn to the flame, we just can’t help ourselves. None of us are truly immune to it.

Our Behind-The-Scenes VS Their Highlight Reel

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We’re with ourselves 24/7, and as a result we know more about us than any outside observer would; our motivations, goals and hot button issues. When we go into comparison mode, our brain wrangles up those demons and throws them right back into our faces, completely unfiltered.

The problem is that we aren’t comparing our demons to someone else’s – we’re pitting them against only what we can see on the surface, and given that people typically put their best foot forward in the public, this is rarely an accurate portrait of the situation.

Imagine yourself doing all that you can to get results in the gym. You’re logging your workouts, keeping track of your calories and nutrients, making time to prepare your meals when you would love nothing more than to ease up on the reigns just a little bit.

Then one day you see someone working out there with a physique that you would sell your first born child for, casually strolling through their session. And here’s what kicks you right in the junk: they’re eating a candy bar post workout.

All of a sudden, your inner comparison beast busts loose.

Why do they look like that and I don’t? They clearly don’t work as hard as I do. I train hard ERRYday. #BeastMode #NoDaysOff #AnotherRidiculousHashtagHere.

 I take my nutrition way more seriously and here they are eating a candy bar, looking like they just walked off the set of a photo shoot.

But you don’t know the full story. You don’t know what they sacrificed to get there, or anything about them. All you have to go off is this brief snapshot in time, and it’s easy for the comparing mind to take that and create a vivid picture that’s far from reality.

Getting caught in this trap can cause you to do things you otherwise wouldn’t do. I’m talking constant program hopping, ridiculous diets, setting unrealistic time frames for yourself, and setting out on a never-ending quest searching for “the secret”.

Our worst vs their best. Our inside vs their outside. It’s always a losing battle.

Welcome To The Black Hole Of Suck

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The appetite of a black hole is insatiable, feeding off of everything around it. When it comes to comparisons, this is the exact scenario that we find ourselves in – and it will drain your life dry if you let it.

In this mode, nothing is ever enough. You constantly feel inferior.

You’re never strong, because someone else is stronger.

You never feel truly feel comfortable in your skin, because someone is always leaner, has bigger biceps or more ab definition.

You aren’t making progress fast enough, because someone is always achieving more in a shorter amount of time.

Comparison feeds off of these types of thoughts., and it never ends.

I once dated a woman whose ex boyfriend was a UFC fighter. After a quick Google search to find out who he was, I went from being completely happy with my development and progress to feeling like Captain America pre-Soldier Serum.

Here I am, a guy who works out 3x a week, loves to eat ice cream by the pint, enjoys a good marathon video game session and more often than not falls asleep to a YouTube video because I stayed up way too late clicking my way through the internet rabbit hole, comparing myself to an Olympic champion with ungodly genetics who trains more hours in a week than I do in a single month and makes a living training to punch a hole through the soul of other elite athletes in front of thousands of people.

If I were looking for a recipe to help make myself feel like hot diggity dog shit, I hit the nail right on the head.

By constantly sucking in all of this outside stimuli without any filter, letting it bombard our inner world, all we do is diminish our own accomplishments, taking the wind out of our sails for no good reason.

The Only Way To Slay The Comparison Beast

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To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

The act of comparing may never really go away, but you can turn the tide in your favor.

When you notice in the moment that you’re falling victim to this mindset, stop immediately before the thoughts build any momentum.

Take a deep breath and relax. By doing this, you go from being reactionary to proactive, creating space to decide what you’re going to do next with the information you have.

This may sound woo woo as all hell, but give it a try. Your breath (that thing that keeps you alive) is intimately connected to controlling how you feel in any given moment.

Is your training partner progressing faster than you? Great – there’s something that you can learn from them. Maybe you won’t have the same results as them for a host of reasons, but if nothing else it shows you a vision of what is possible, and you can bring that energy and excitement to your workouts.

There will always be someone better than you out there, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. All that you can focus on and truly control is the effort that you bring to the task.

You’re the only person that you need to compare yourself to, and only to check-in and make sure that you’re improving at a rate that’s acceptable for you and your goals.

When this is the focus, what others are doing becomes irrelevant.

Let me be clear. I’m not saying that you can’t look at what others are doing and using that as fuel to push yourself forward.

Sometimes seeing others making progress towards their goals can be a healthy gut check for you, allowing you to reconnect and give yourself an honest assessment as to if you’re playing it safe or if you have more to give.

For others it does more harm than good. It’s like fire: you can use it to warm up your house or burn it to the ground. The devil is in the details, and it will take time to learn when to push forward and when to be kinder to yourself and pull back a bit.

Instead letting the accomplishments of others feel like a slight towards you, use them to build yourself up. Choose to be inspired by what others are doing, no longer making yourself the victim of outside forces, and tap into a constantly renewable source of motivation and energy – yourself.

Game Of Bones: 3 Ways To Crush Stiffness And Prepare Your Body For Battle (AKA Life)

Photo Credit: dot-dashlee

Today’s guest article is brought to you by the awesome Kate Galliett – enjoy!

It was a dark and stormy night. The candles had been lit and were flickering, casting dancing shadows against the stone walls. I, Kate Galliett, Queen of the land of Fit For Real Life, had settled in for an evening of movement studying & wine drinking. There was a knock at my door.

“Who’s there?”

“Tis I, Rog Law of House Cinnabon.”

Rog entered my castle with a look of despair on his face.

“M’lady, I am troubled.”

“What is the matter Sir Rog? Is there trouble at the Wall?”

“No . It’s much worse than that. It’s my people. They are being crushed by an unseen force! It’s said to be called “21st century living”. Have you heard of this thing? Their bodies are breaking down. I know I have what they need to be confident, sexy mo-fos, but I fear all will be lost if they lose the ability to move freely and without restriction!

I’ve come to ask your help. Please Lady Kate, join forces with me and help the good people of the Land of Sexification to move better, feel better, and be better.”

I sensed myself shift into battle-mode.

“Sir Rog, I only hope it is not too late. Come quickly, we must get to work drawing up battle plans immediately to fight the crushing force that is ‘21st century living’.”

What follows is what was born out of that dark, stormy evening.

These are the very best recommendations I could give to Sir Rog to help his people – you – to save yourself from the darkest of forces, that which sucks the life of you; unnecessary aches, pains, and injuries caused by modern-lifestyles which grind us into the ground if we aren’t actively working to fend it off and become truly unbreakable humans.

Commit To Practice Time Every Day 

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Do you think master swordsman, Syrio, teacher to young Arya Stark of the much-loved Stark Family of Kings’ Landing, became a master by practicing only on occasion? No-sir-ee-bob. He also would never have said “no-sir-ee-bob”.

The point is, by not actively working to improve your mobility, you’re actively allowing the sub-par soft-tissue quality and movement-capacity to remain. You don’t become a master overnight. You don’t become a master in 30 days. Depending on how long you’ve been carrying around soft tissue that is tight, rigid, and otherwise not bend-y, it might take a fair chunk of time to get your body moving fluidly again.

Start looking for opportunities to interject mobility work into your day. You will often catch me stretching the soft tissue of my well-worn gymnastics hands into the table, the steering wheel, the floor if I’m sitting on it…because I know, that if I reserve soft-tissue work for just once a week, my hands will be incapacitated, locked up from all of the strain that gymnastics and rock climbing puts on them.

Wherever you need to improve your soft-tissue quality, you must seek out ways to do that in your day. It could mean digging your foot into a lacrosse ball in the morning as you brush your teeth. It could mean standing up every hour at work and finding a doorway to stretch your chest out in.

Commit to it. Commit to yourself.

Do Your Research And Know Your Weak Spots

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If you’re about to be double-crossed by the Kings’ Hand, it would serve you well to know ahead of time. But to do so, you’ve got to be looking below the surface of what you’re being told.

For example, if your IT Band is aching and hurting, your IT Band is fooling you into thinking that it is the cause of the issue. It’s not that things are never as they seem, sometimes, the IT Band truly is causing an issue – BUT – more often than not, the pain in the IT Band is coming from a root issue that lies elsewhere.

Here are a few reasons why the IT Band can be painful:

– The hips are unstable (read: weak) and the IT Band is trying to do the work of the other hip muscles.

– The glutes are weak, and when the glutes are weak that is a whole bunch of effort that has to be moved to other parts of the lower body, and the IT Band won’t be escaping the extra work load even though it will hate every second of it.

– Your running form is poor. Not everyone likes to run. But some people do. And those who do would be well-served to run with good form. Because anything done with poor form is just plain poor son.

– There’s an insane amount of “run form techniques” out there, but a simple one that easily moves you into better run form is hill running. The incline doesn’t allow you to over-stride, and you will automatically land more forefoot on the hill as you run up it. The grassy surface is a bonus! PS – just walk down, lest you be the fool who trips and goes rolling the rest of the day down.

– Your shoes are selling you out. No need to go crazy with minimalist shoes unless you’re into that sort of thing, but, when you have tight shoes on that don’t let your feet articulate with the ground very well (or at all), your foot becomes weaker, and in time that will negatively affect the stability of your knee. The IT Band inserts just below the knee, so what is happening with the knee, will eventually affect the IT Band as well.

Become The Leader Of Your Body

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(Writers’ note: there is a long-standing battle between myself & Rog Law regarding which man is better and obviously the answer to that is “Rob Stark”, but Mr Lawson feels that “Jon Snow” is our winner here, and yet we remain friends proving that friendship can be built despite fundamental differences of opinion.)

Rob Stark may be a young man still as he unites an army of men behind him as they engage in conflict with the Lannisters’ army, but unite them he does. (No need to lead your body into a Red Wedding though…ain’t nobody got time for that shit.)

It’s time to stop letting achy joints & injured bodies decide what your life-agenda is going to be.

How many things have you put off because your body was telling you “hey, we hurt”?

How much longer are you going to let the Lannisters rule your….oh, sorry, got carried away there for a sec. Your body, how long are you going to let your body decide whether you do ‘more’ or ‘less’ with life?

You, as a human, have the capability to do anything your mind and heart desires. But, you want your body to be physically capable of doing it, or else, those things you wish to do will remain but fantasies in your mind.

Here are 3 things you must do if you want to lead your body to glorious victory:

Get mobile. You need your soft-tissue to be pliable and move-able. If it’s not, your joints will take extra wear & tear, which not only hurts, but it also wears them down faster.

Get connected to your body. Don’t get lost in fitness by only looking at measurable things. There is value in looking to hard-to-quantify, but absolutely legit things like the mind-body connection (or to give you a ‘non-hippie’ term: proprioception & kinesthetic awareness).

Get your foundation strong. Strength training doesn’t just strengthen your muscles – it also strengthens every part of your skeleton, and having a strong structure means less risk of breaking the structure. Build the base of the structure strong and mighty and you’re going to have a structure that is durable for a lifetime of adventures.

Sexification Note: Earlier this year, Kate created a 12 week program to help people re-connect with their bodies while ridding themselves of nagging pains and annoying stiffness. I personally use Kate’s resource because I move as well as a hippo riding a skateboard and feel way too old before my time. Since it’s helping me get my groove back and then some, I want to pass it along to you as well.

Click here to learn how to free yourself from stiffness and random pains.

An Open Letter to People Struggling to Exercise

It’s hard to ignore, isn’t it?

That pulling sensation from somewhere deep inside. While the origin is unknown, this isn’t the first time that this feeling has crept up on you.

Maybe it was the game you watched. Seeing the athletes move their bodies with a sense of purpose, all towards a single objective, trigged your own desire to step into the arena.

It could’ve been that couple that ran past you, laughing with each other as they quickly changed from full-sized humans into tiny specks in the distance. You haven’t gone on a walk in awhile, and on any given day a set of stairs can leave you more winded than you care to admit. It feels like a finger thump straight to your heart.

Or perhaps it hit you as you flipped through the magazine in the checkout lane. On the cover, some “fit” model with abs for days. Page 26: lean legs and a butt that could stop a speeding bullet without so much as a flex.

Regardless of the source, the cause is the same. Your higher self, your own personal version of Jiminy Cricket, your inner voice (mind sounds like DMX, in case you were wondering), is throwing anything it can at you, trying to get you to pay attention to one thing: you’re not firing on all cylinders.

I’ve Been There Too

Back in the not too distant past, I was about as unhealthy as you could get.

Outside of organized sports until I was 12, moving around just wasn’t my thing. I took full advantage of every possible opportunity to lie down, sit in a chair or lean against a conveniently placed wall.

Exercise? Nope – it made me breath too hard. Then I’d sweat too much, which means I’d need more showers, which would cause me to run out of workout clothes, forcing me to continuously buy new ones. You can clearly see how if i kept exercising it would only lead to my financial ruin.

And eating healthy? French fries are technically a vegetable, and scientists have managed to cram every vitamin, mineral and nutrient that I need be a fully functioning human into chicken nuggets, so I didn’t need to bother with eating that green stuff.

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Does not include cash purchases or eating friends leftovers.

Lengthy gaming sessions that stretched from dusk till dawn were the norm. Food that I could buy and eat in five minutes or less became my main source of sustenance.

At 20, after years of these kinds of shenanigans, it’s no wonder that I slept horribly, was in a constant state of lethargy, had cholesterol levels over 350 and suffered from a boner that was as dependable as a narcoleptic security guard.

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Certified sex machine.

Looking to do something (pretty much anything) to turn things around, I stumbled my way into fitness thanks to a series of random events, and it sent my life in an entirely new direction.

The Benefits

You’ll probably live longer. Even if you don’t, your quality of life will undoubtedly be better when compared to doing nothing.

You’ll have less fat and more muscle, all contributing to a leaner you. Clothes will fit better.

You’ll be more resistant to random injuries and the normal wear and tear of life. Slipping on ice in the winter time is no longer an instant death sentence.

Everyday life become easier because you’re stronger and more prepared for the tasks.

Exercise can serve as a new outlet for your aggression, sadness, or simply become a way to wrangle and process your thoughts better. Empowerment is just one workout away.

You’ll have more energy and an increased sense of self-confidence, not only from your appearance changing, but from the act of pursuing a goal.

Less stress, sharper brain function and an increased sense of creativity all await you. Your sex life will be better too because you’re more aware of and connected to your body – hollaaaaaaa.

You’ll be better able to modulate your energy. Like a DJ doing their DJ thing (like Jon Snow, I know nothing), you’ll know your levels at all times, whether you’re giving a task your all, have a little more in the tank, or you’re just coasting. And you can adjust your faders – is that what they’re called? – accordingly.

Here’s the rub: it takes time & consistency for all of these benefits to come to fruition. The sooner you make peace with this fact, the smoother your ride will be.

I completely get the urge to want it all right NOW. I was there, too. I was stunned when my biceps didn’t explode through my Kmart t-shirt after my first curl, and my back didn’t grow wide enough to block out the Sun when I did my first chin up. You mean I have to come back tomorrow and do this whole exercise thing AGAIN?!

Yup.

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Do Something. Anything.

Do what you like. Yoga, running, weight lifting, break dancing or chasing ducks through the park like a crazy person. In the beginning, it really doesn’t matter.

If you’re new to exercise, pick something and get moving just to get the ball rolling. Remove as much friction as you possibly can between you and starting.

Do you need to have a solid plan when starting out? Not at all. Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough for the time being – you’ll learn what you need to along the way, refining your aim as you progress. Plus you’ll likely change course plenty of times as you figure out what’s important to you and what isn’t.

One of my first fitness fails was a run in the middle of winter wearing sweatpants, a hoodie, gym shoes and construction gloves because I just finished watching a Rocky montage. I slipped and bruised my tailbone and I gingerly limped my way back across campus while holding my buttcheeks in shame.

Sign Up For The Journey, Not The Destination

Some are motivated by the drive to succeed while others get pumped up when they’re trying their best not to lose. You may be someone who is motivated by outside rewards, or you forge ahead based on intrinsic factors. No matter which camp you more or less identify with, tap into your motivation style.

There’s no judgement on where you fall. This is a marathon, not a sprint. To avoid burnout, find something that you enjoy about the process outside of the end goal you’re looking to achieve. Regardless of where you want to go, the distance between point A and point Z is going to take time, and you can run yourself ragged grinding as fast as you can towards the finish line without actually enjoying anything along the way.

It’s like someone on a quest to make a million dollars. They can either become so focused on the destination that they only experience any kind of joy once they hit their goal, or they can create mini check points & rewards along the way, specific to how they roll, to keep them excited and make the road to dolla dollas far more enjoyable.

Abs Are Overrated

Last year I hired a coach and spent a few months dieting down for a photo shoot, something that I always wanted to do for the hell of it. I set the of goal of becoming leaner than I had ever been, and 20 pounds later I achieved just that.

And I was happy. For like 5.6 seconds in total.

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Mainly I was just hungry and I wanted cake.

That’s the thing nobody really tells you. Once you reach your coveted destination, the victory is short-lived and before you know it your brain is already focusing the next shiny object.

I wasn’t any happier when I reached complete ab-domination, but when I started I sure thought that I would be. That’s when I realized that it’s not necessarily about the goal that you pick, but more about what your goal represents, who you become in the process and the traits that you develop along the way.

Even if you don’t completely hit your target, you’ll still learn a ton in the process. Sometimes a goal isn’t meant to be hit, but it gives you something to aim at for the time being.

As tempting as it is to try and fix inside issues with outside solutions, don’t. You’re enough as is right now. Instead of aiming to fix yourself, or thinking that you’ll be happier once you have X, adopt the mindset that you’re just making upgrades to an already awesome design.

Work from the inside out, not the other way around.

You’re Gonna Mess Up

A lot.

Years later you’ll look back on the major fails made along the way and laugh at yourself, wondering if your brain was hijacked by aliens who controlled your body, making it do silly things for their enjoyment.

It’s part of the game, so chalk it up as nothing but feedback designed to help you learn, grow, and spin your wheels less in the future.

Don’t add unnecessary pressure by locking yourself into some arbitrary deadline from the start. Chances are it’ll be unrealistic to begin with anyway. This whole exercise thing is like a giant carousel. When you inevitably goof up, fall off your intended path or things don’t go as planned, don’t flip out – the next chance to make things right is moments ago.

Ready? Take a deep breath and get ready for a wild ride. I have no idea where you’ll end up, but I promise that it will change your life if you let it.

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” – Colin Wright

The Unbearable Lightness of Not Giving a Fuck: Why Caring Less Helps You Live More

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Close your eyes, pause for a second and listen.

Do you hear that?

Somewhere very near, nestled between your left and right ears, is the sound of a never-ending cacophony of fucks bouncing off the walls of your skull, slowly driving you mad.

And unbeknownst to you, it’s holding you back from going all-in. From choosing a goal and showing it what you’re made of. From grabbing hold of life and making the most out of your short time on this spinning rock.

Heart disease? Sugar? Ninjas? Nah, giving too many fucks – that’s the real silent killer.

The Anatomy of a Fuck

It’s completely natural to care about the opinions of others; we’re social creatures and we’ve been doing it all of our lives.

No one is immune to this, nor should we be.

Allow me to share a few shining examples from my past.

At some point in early grade school (or yesterday), I remember having to pee. Bad. Cartoonishly bad. Michael Jackson bad. I raised my hand to go to the toilet and the teacher told me to hold it. So I did, all while recalling the horror stories of those who dared tempt fate before me and paid the price. In their pants.

Then came the critical fork-in-the-road moment. I was either going to sit there and soil my adorable Dockers shorts in front of all my friends, or challenge authority and fight my way to porcelain freedom. Thankfully my mom gave me enough good sense, and I ran out of that classroom and down the hallway like I scored the winning goal in the World Cup.

Then there was the time when I gave a public speech and got way too close to the microphone when I spoke, causing epic feedback and giving the audience an excuse to erupt in laughter. To this day, the thought of speaking to more than one person fills me with debilitating levels of anxiety.

I could go on, but you don’t have the time and I’m quickly running out of tears.

These are my stories – what are yours?

I see it all the time when working with clients.

Busy men an women who put themselves dead last after a long list of duties, stressing because they’re running around trying to be everything to everyone.

And we’re not even talking about what can start to happen once you choose to do something differently.

Put on weight? Nobody says a word.

Adopt new habits, start to feel empowered about the direction of your life, and maybe lose a little weight in the process? All of a sudden you’ve changed. You’re in the gym too much. You’re obsessed. You’re too muscular. You’re looking unhealthy. You’re no fun.

The Sea of Fucks is vast and wide; navigating it can be treacherous, and if we’re not careful it will swallow us whole.

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The problem isn’t that we care about what others think; we’re not robots. The real danger appears when begin to value their opinion more than the combination of our own knowledge, instincts and sense of self-worth, and changing our actions because of them.

Giving too many unnecessary fucks  fills our lives with so much noise that true clarity becomes damn near impossible. It forces us to dull our edges, and because we’re too busy worrying about what other might think about us we become stifled, unable to express who we truly are.

Here are three practices that you can begin to use in the war for your mental sanity.

Get Clear On What You Want

This step is critical in creating an anti-fuck shield deep within your soul. Your goals are you goals, so own them completely.

The less clear we are in terms of what our aim is, the more likely we are to fall victim to the whims and fancies of others.

One week you want to build a back that’s large enough to block out the Sun, then the next you’re switching it all up, devoting your energy towards becoming an ultra marathon runner because someone told you that it’s the best way to get a six-pack.

Like dandelion fluff on a breezy summer day, just as you start to head in one direction and gain traction, you’re quickly blown in another, stuck in this seemingly endless loop of having your course of action determined by external forces.

Remember The Golden Mantra

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Ready? Here it is: Just because someone can talk to you doesn’t mean you should listen.

Imagine if I waltzed into where they house the Large Hadron Collider, with my little shorts and shaker cup filled with protein powder, and started lecturing all of these brilliant scientists on what they were doing wrong, how I thought they could make improvements, and that putting a piece of cake inside the machine would probably accelerate results due to its delicious nature.

These people are at the top of their field, with years or rigorous study and practical experience to back them up.

Me? I know less about physics than I do about how planes work (AKA nothing at all). I’m just there, throwing unsubstantiated fucks into the air for no reason other than I can. They have every right to smile and nod, while secretly trying to make me disappear with their mind.

There’s a different between acknowledging that someone is saying something versus actually absorbing what’s said and having it influence your behaviour.

Create Your Power Team

It’s easy for us to be deterred or hurt by comments that people make about us or what we’re doing, but author Brenè Brown has a simple tactic to help us filer and reduce the amount of people we let into our inner circle: make a list.

Brown suggests that we take a small piece of paper (think smaller than you’re already imagining) and write down the names of people whose opinions and feedback we actually value and will ever think about considering.

This list will clearly different depending on the context of the situation.

Did you hire a coach to help you achieve your fitness goals? They should be on your list of people to listen to.

You know who isn’t on your list? The guy behind the deli counter who is telling you all about the newest plan he’s on that lets you eat as many cookies and raw bacon slices as you want while only working out once a month.

Are you putting your work out there for people? Perfect. Then you may want to listen to the feedback from the people who’ve invested their money in you by buying your product.

You know who doesn’t get a say? YouTube comment trolls and people who haven’t spent a dime supporting your work.

It’s hard to focus on anything but the one negative comment amongst a sea of positive praise and feedback, but you can strive towards this ideal and refine your approach over time.

At the end of the day, you make the final calls. It’s your job to filter all the feedback you receive, choose to accept, ignore, an then decide on a course of action. You are the gate keeper through which all fucks must pass – take this job seriously.

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There’s Only One Choice

To quote my friend Julien Smith, those who don’t give a fuck change the world. The rest do not.

But what if you’re setting your sights a bit lower? What if you don’t want to change the world, but just your world?

Then, oddly enough, after rallying for hoarding all the fucks and not giving any, giving them is exactly what needs to happen.

Give them to yourself. Give yourself permission to fail horribly, succeed wildly and everything in between.

Give them to those you serve. Your clients, community, friends and loved ones and protect them fiercely. This will fill you with more energy than you’ve ever had before.

The feeling of lightness that you experience once you realise how simple this can all be if you allow it is almost unbearable at first, then it transforms into something incredibly freeing.

We’re here for a brief moment in time. Don’t become so buried beneath the weight of the fucks that other people hoist upon your shoulders that you become a passive observer instead of an active participant in your own life.

Further Resources

Julien Smith – The Complete Guide To Not Giving A Fuck

Mark Manson – Fuck Yes or  No

Johnny B. Truant – The Universe Doesn’t Give A Flying Fuck About You

6 Tips From The Hulk to Help You Smash Diet Anxiety For Good

Dietary debauchery.

Accidental calorie overload.

Hand-to-mouth malfunction.

These all fall under the umbrella of Hulking Out, that moment where you throw your metaphorical papers into the air, say to hell with it and go on an unexpected roaring rampage of food.

That time when you ate half the birthday cake (and it wasn’t even your birthday)? That’s Hulking Out.

When you intend to eat just one serving of ice cream, but before you know it your head is stuck in the container because you tried to lick the last drop out of the corner? The Hulk strikes again.

You didn’t mean to, he just came out.

Instead of throwing in the towel and resigning yourself to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and constant setbacks, it’s time to fight fire with fire and learn what Earth’s mightiest hero himself can teach you about overcoming diet anxiety once and for all.

1. Use A Less Severe Deficit

Let’s face it: when we’re hungry, our proclivity for making food related blunders increases by a bajillion percent. Dieting isn’t something that our bodies necessarily enjoy – we’re tapping into fat stores that it has grown accustomed to having – so the bigger the energy deficit we create, and the longer we do so, the more inclined our bodies are to sound the “FEED ME!” alarm.

This is why crash diets don’t work in the long run. They impose severe calorie restrictions in an all-out blitz on the fluff, with your body using all the tricks in the book to try and get you to eat more. Once the diet is over, the sense of freedom can be overwhelming and the the Hulking Out process begins, often leading right back to where you were (or worse) over the course of uncontrolled weeks or months.

To combat this, more is more.

To start, begin with a conservative deficit of anywhere between 500 and 700 calories, holding this level steady for as long as you can before adjusting variables. When the time comes, think of adding more activity instead of cutting calories further – save that as an option of last resort. When doing so, adjust downward slowly in the neighborhood of 100-150 calories, letting your results dictate when to make this executive decision.

The goal of a diet is to eat as much food as you can while still making sustainable progress, not cutting as many calories as possible in a mad dash for the fat loss finish line. Eating more calories, while still remaining in an overall weekly deficit, leads to more compliance and less Hulking Out, allowing you to enjoy the process as much as possible along the way.

2. Hug It Out

You’re human. You’re going to slip up at some point – let’s just hope your mistake don’t involve busting out of your shirt and causing millions of dollars of damage to an unsuspecting city. It’s not what happens that will define you, but how you respond.

A typical Hulking Out scenario looks something like this:

  1. Person eats something they didn’t intend to or a larger quantity of something than planned.
  2. Person beats themselves up mentally about it (I knew better, why am I so stupid, it’s always going to be like this, etc)
  3. Person punishes themselves physically on top of this, restricting food severely or super charging their activity as a way to try and recover.
  4. They can’t sustain this level of restriction and deprivation and the Hulk comes out. The cycle continues, becoming harder to break the more it happens.

So, what’s the answer? Chill out!

I know, it’s hard to do in the moment, especially with so many emotions running through you head at the time. I’ve been there many times myself. Nothing positive comes from wearing yourself out physically and mentally as a form of punishment. In fact, it just increases the likelihood of it occurring again as you constantly reinforce this pattern.

Instead, get in the habit of being more forgiving of yourself. looking to find the lessons in each setback so that you can act differently the next time.

Ok, so you goofed up. You made a minor error on one of the thousands of days that you’ll likely live; a dribble in the bucket of life that won’t mean a thing to your results in the grand scheme of things. This is a lifestyle, baby. Keeping a long term perspective instead of boxing yourself rigid and sometimes unrealistic short-term deadlines will go along way towards keeping the Hulk at bay.

3. Don’t Demonize ANY Food

When we restrict ourselves, putting certain foods onto an untouchable pedestal, it’s only natural for us to want them more than ever before.

Want to ensure that you’ll Hulk Out in a remarkably horrible fashion? Tell yourself that a food you love is completely off or restrict it severely. The naughtier you make the food, the higher the chances of you losing your damn mind when you actually decide to indulge because you’ve hyped it up so much.

The apple pie that was an occasional thought before might as well sprout legs and embark on the epic journey directly for your mouth.

The only foods that are “bad” are those that you can’t tolerate, can’t control once you start, or hate the taste of. Approach your diet with the mindset that there are no off-limit foods and that everything is on the table. Once you know that you can have anything you want, the desire to actually have it diminishes.

Yeah, it’s pretty Zen.

4. Don’t Eat Horrible Food

This belief is deeply embedded in my soul, more a part of me than Wolverine’s Adamantium.

Have you ever wanted to have something but thought it was too unhealthy, fattening or whatever reason you used to justify not smashing it into your face, only to get upset when the lame substitute you settled on left you feeling cold and unsatisfied?

On top of wasting calories on something that sucked, a common response is to end up getting your hand on what you originally wanted in the first place and devouring it with reckless abandon, almost as if to spite your sub par treat. This is called Reverse Hulking Out and it happens to the best of us.

Don’t settle for mediocre food. If you want some chips, then portion them out (the epitome of strength) and have some. Make sure they’re the kind that you really want and enjoy every last bite of it. Don’t try to compromise and choke down some veggie chips because it sounds like a good idea.

As an example, if I’m going to eat a cinnamon roll, you can bet all your money that it’ll be a Cinnabon. I’ve been burned far too many times with other copycats and know that they just won’t compare, so why bother?

Friends don’t let friends waste calories.

5. Have A Release Valve

I call these the “break glass in case of emergency” foods. For some, it’s a single doughnut, a little Skinny Cow ice cream, or a nice glass of wine before bed. Whatever your thing is, the goal is to incorporate it into your diet often enough so that it doesn’t interfere with your results yet helps keep you sane and compliance.

When you feel the Hulk pressure building, have your emergency food. You’ll likely find that this alone takes the edge off to the point where you’re ready to jump back into the game again, often for days or weeks on end without need anything release. You decide the frequency that works best for you.

6. Own It

Owning your decisions fully is empowering and brings a certain sense of calm to you life, fitness or not. Instead of things happening to you, you’re in the driver’s seat. You control how you act and respond to the reality of things, no longer being a victim of your circumstances. The optimal choice may not be available in every scenario, but believing that you’re capable of making the best decision given your situating and trusting yourself to do so is key.

“That’s my secret, Captain, I’m always angry.” – Dr. Banner

The more in control you feel, the less anxiety you’ll potentially have about any situation because you know you have it under control. As you prove this to yourself through your actions, small and Hulk-sized, it will feel less like a cheesy Hallmark feel-good statement and more of an ingrained belief that makes you feel unstoppable.

What are some ways that you keep yourself from Hulking out or help keep diet anxiety to a minimum? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.