Weight Loss and Pitchers?
Last week I was working with a patient–I’ll call her Kimberly.
She was a 54 year old, woman recovering from a total knee replacement. I have worked with her 8 times over the past 3 weeks. She owns a successful real estate agency that employs over 20 people, and every time I saw her she was well dressed and made up, even though she was only 3 weeks past her surgery and hadn’t returned to work yet. She projected a sharp, professional image, but she was moderately overweight.–not obese by any measure, but heavy for her height and frame.
As I always do with my patients, I got to know her pretty well during the course of her treatment. The first time I meet a patient after surgery, they are often understandably reserved, cautious, and a little bit suspicious.
I usually break the ice with an abrupt question like, “So….what do you like to do for fun?” Not that the response matters medically, but it gives me a pretty clear picture of where the patient is mentally, and I use the information to build trust and rapport. Once I know what the patient typically does “for fun”, I can direct our treatment toward that activity.
Over the past few weeks I have learned that she is a divorced mother of 2 grown children, and a devout Christian, who is deeply involved with her church.
An unsual question.
Friday was our last session together, and as we were going through her final discharge instruction she paused, took a deep breath and said, “Randy, can I ask you a question?”
I looked up from her knee and my paperwork, took off my glasses, and replied, “Sure, what’s up?”
She took another breath and started talking in a tone that resembled a church confession. “As you can see, I am overweight. I have always been that way, and I hate it. I hate being fat. Not so much because of the way I look, but to me, my weight is a reflection of weakness–a flaw in my character. I have always been in total control of every part of my life except for food. I’ve tried every diet out there, and nothing has worked, because I always stop doing it and start eating. How is it that I can conquer every area except my weight. I don’t want to be fat any more.”
At first I was like, “uuuhhh.”
Then I paused, organized my thoughts, and said, “You know this is really no different than the stuff I do in training pitchers.
It’s all behavior modification.
Would you like to hear about that?”
“Absolutely”, she replied.
“Ok, well, it starts with mindset.
If you’re going to succeed at this you have to reject the idea that achieving your goal of losing weight is impossible–no matter what has happened in the past. You can do anything you set your mind to. You’ve already proven it in every area of your life, and your not too far away from success in this one. It only takes two subtle adjustments to change the word victim to victor and worrier towarrior. You only need to make a few subtle adjustments to change your behavior in any area of your life. This one is no exception. You just need to believe 100% that it’s possible. Then just execute our tried and true process,and watch the magic happen.,
Next you need to make an honest, accurate assessment of where you are right now.
For our pitchers that means conducting a head to toe physical assessment and a video analysis.
For you that means stepping on a scale, taking a private selfie in your bathing suit and looking it right in the eye and saying, ‘OK. This is where we start’.
Then you have to start objectively measuring everything.
At the ARMory, we measure, count and record everything from exercise reps per second to radar gun readings, to percentage and location of targets hit or missed. It’s vital.
In my view, weight loss is nothing more than a math equation.In my view, weight loss is nothing more than a math equation.
In my view, weight loss is nothing more than a math equation.
All these fad diets claim to have solved the mystery of the human body, yet people fail on fits time and time again. You have to make sure you burn off more calories than you eat. Since you can’t really engage in vigorous exercise yet, you’ll have to attack it from the intake side of the equation. Set a daily goal of around 1800 calories per day. Count and record every single calorie that goes into your mouth. Make sure all the calories you consume are food. No liquid calories! That’s a waste. If it’s not zero calories, don’t drink it.
It’s like pitcher running long distances.
It’s a total waste of time and energy.
Also, get on that scale and measure your progress at least twice per day. Awareness is often curative.
Be constantly aware of exactly where you are at all times.
Next, warm up before you eat.
That’s right! Warm up!
Whenever one of our pitchers is about to begin a game, a bullpen, or a workout we insist that he engage in a total body dynamic warm up.
We insist on it.
It’s crucial to his performance and his health and safety.
We ask our guys to recruit every muscle fiber in their bodies to deliver the baseball, and you can’t recruit what isn’t awake.
So warm up before you eat.
It doesn’t have to be major workout, just a warm up.
As it turns out, the onset of even light exercise triggers the opening of digestive ports called glucose uptake channels. When your body thinks you’re about to exercise, it starts grabbing for energy sources. The first pace it looks is the sugar in your blood. Your body opens all the channels to uptake glucose from the food you ingest before you convert any of that food to fat for storage.
About two years ago, I lost 30 pounds, and I’ve been able to keep it off. Whenever I go out to eat with my family, I order my food, then I steal away to the men’s room where I sneak into the handicapped stall and do 40 air squats and 40 wall pushups. This opens my glucose uptake channels just before my food arrives, and I eat whatever I want without gaining a pound. You should try it. (I modeled for this picture!)-———>
Celebrate your successes. Ignore your failures.
I’ve written about this in three different blog posts.
One of the keys to the success of our pitchers is our understanding of how learning occurs and how motor and cognitive learning occur. And it’s no different for habit forming or behavior modification.
In your nervous system there are trillions of cells migrating around called ogliodnedricytes and Schwann cells. Whenever a neural impulse is fired, these cells rush to the smoking hot nerve and wrap themselves around the axon secreting a milky white substance called myelin.
Each time the nerve is fired, it receives a layer of myelin.
This myelin serves as an insulator of the wire.
If you know anything about electrical physics, you know that impulses moving down insulated wires travel faster and with less resistance than those traveling on non-insulated wire. The more layers of myelin deposited onto a nerve (or a series of nerve-muscle connections) the less resistance is offered by that pathway. Since electrical impulses will always follow the path of least resistance, the circuit with the most myelin is the one that will most likely be repeated. Keep in mind: your body doesn’t differentiate between right or wrong patterns or behaviors. The circuit you fire the most, receives the most myelin–period.
Myelin is at the core of all learning (motor and cognitive), and it is the central component in habit forming. With the exception of some horrible diseases and the effects of aging, nerves cannot be demyelinated. Once the myelin is on the nerve, it is there to stay. Habits cannot be removed, only replaced by more powerful habits. Therefore we must strive to repeatedly perform correct movement patterns and behaviors as many times as possible.
Emotion is the throttle!
The limbic system of the brain is responsible for processing all our humanemotions. Any emotion you can think of, (love, hate, joy, fear, anger…), runs through the limbic system.
It has been known for many years that every time a nerve is fired it becomes much easier to fire that nerve again. We now know that the increased propensity to fire is due to the layer upon layer of myelin deposited by the Schwann cells and ogliodendroytes.
Adding emotion puts the process in hyperdrive, exponentially increasing the rate of myelination that accelerates learning and habit forming.
Think about this. The same process at work in motor learning is present in memory formation. Don’t you more readily remember items and experiences with strong emotional attachments?
I once knew a lady who barely graduated from high school with a G.E.D. She hated reading and avoided it at all cost…until her 5 year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. This uneducated, simple woman began to devour every bit of information she could read about her daughter’s disease to the point that she often knew more about the treatment than the doctors did. She learned fast because she had an emotional attachment to the information.
We use this science every day at The ARMory. Any time one of our pitchers breaks a personal radar gun record, or hits a target, or breaks a personal best on a motor building exercise, everyone in the building has a ridiculously pumped up, over the top celebration that packs the myelin onto that circuit. That’s how we use emotion as the throttle for learning.
But you have to be careful.
Just as the body doesn’t differentiate between right or wrong patterns or behaviors, the limbic system doesn’t differentiate between positive or negative emotion.
If you make a pitch or a bad food decision and you express, anger, disgust, self-loathing or any other negative emotion, that pattern or behavior gets a flush of myelin too. So when you aren’t happy with your results, ignore them. Don’t give neurologic circuits, patterns or behaviors that produce bad outcomes any additional emotional juice.
Whenever you walk past the refrigerator and make a decision not to dig into that bowl of ice cream, throw your hands up in the air and celebrate like you just won the lottery!
And when you stumble, become completely devoid of all emotion.
And finally, find a higher why.
“Twelve Step” programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narconon are intentionally not linked to any religion, but they are deeply spiritual. When a person links habit forming to a higher calling, the emotional/spiritual input puts the myelination process on steroids! So find a higher why. Lose the weight for God, or your kids, or for someone you have a deep connection with. When you have a big enough “why”, the “how” takes care of itself.
You can do it!
I know you can!”
By the time I finished, Kimberly had a single tear rolling down her cheek.
She thanked me, hugged me, and promised keep me posted on her progress. I’m betting she’ll finally slay her last dragon.
If you would like to visit The ARMory and feel the energy of “myelination nation” first hand, give us a call at 1-866-STRIKE3.
The best way to engage is to come to one of our amazing Rocket Launchers Training Camps. We have 2 left this summer. August 2nd and 3rd and August 23rd and 24th. It’s a two-day myelin farming expedition. It will change your life, I promise.
Check out the video at www.armorypitching.com to learn more.
We can’t wait to see you there.
If you can’t get down to Tampa, you can find our entire process laid out in clear, easy to understand terms in our book and video trilogy, Engineering the Superhuman Pitching Machine.
Until next time,
Randy Sullivan, MPT
CEO, The ARMory Power Pitching Academy
Sullivan Rehab Services.