We’ve all seen the “one weird trick to” lose 20 pounds, look like a fitness model, or something else on Facebook. I have the audacity to write the definitive one weird trick article, and you won’t have to battle pop up ads or strange porn ads to get the content! Before we get the real one weird trick to effortless losing weight and keeping it off, I want to talk about how these tricks work.
The same phenomenon that allows consumers to believe a tea will help you lose a pound a day is the same phenomenon that made Bernie Madoff possible. It’s called irrational greed. Irrational greed is something all humans have. It’s when our brains see the combo of (A) enticing reward + (B) low cost (cheap and/or easy and/or fast) our emotional brain takes over and we buy.
Madoff promised investors returns of 20+% per year without any down years. Madoff’s explanation of the mechanics of how he delivered these results didn’t make logical sense, but he had the right address, a legit looking office, and there were testimonials from his other happy clients. This combination allowed his victims to suspend their better judgment (seems too good to be true) and handover their life savings.
Marketers understand this and exploit it by offering a pill that can melt away 10 pounds, exercise that requires no sweat, a diet that allows you to eat whatever you want, etc. Rationally, we know these promises are too good to be true, however the rational brain rarely runs the show. These cognitive blind spots allow unscrupulous marketers to sell billions of dollars of products and diets that could not possibly work.
Sexy, irrational claims with a veil of legitimacy bypass our thinking brain and hijack our judgment and wallet.
So, What’s The Real One Weird Trick?
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably figured it out: there is no trick (weird or not) for effortless and lasting weight loss. Like everything else in life that is worthwhile, your weight, fitness and health take time, effort and consistency. No one builds a great business with one trick, just as no one builds a great family life with one trick.
When it comes to a lifetime of weight loss, fitness and health it’s not a question of diet or exercise or sleep or accountability or drinking water or any other one thing. It’s all of these things.
“There are no silver bullets for this, only lead bullets.” -Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things