Introduction to The 4-Day Win by Martha Beck
We share a cultural belief that a combination of information and willpower should be enough to ensure compliance with any weight loss program. Eat less, move more, just do it! If this worked, we would all be thin already. Martha tell us that there is something amiss in our diet strategy.
The problem isn’t that we don’t know what to do, the problem is that we don’t do what we know. Why not? Contrary to conventional wisdom, the most compelling answer is not in our refrigerators, our restaurants, our mouths, our stomachs, our weak wills, or our basically vile and godless natures. It’s in our heads.
The 4-Day Win process is based on the premise that doing anything for 4 days is (a) achievable (a small chunk) (b) long enough to learn a new skill and (c) enough time to start the momentum of a new habit. Some exercises are forefield – conscious thoughts and behaviours that become daily practice and some are backfield – shifts to the way we think about things that only need to be learned once (like riding a bike).
Each new idea is practised for four days by setting a ridiculously easy small goal (turtle step), a small daily reward and then a larger reward for completing the 4 day block. It looks like this in my notebook.
Observing Famine Brain
Ridiculously Easy Goal : For the next 4 days I’ll watch my emotional and psychological responses to food limitations noticing where I show signs of famine brain
Daily reward : download calming music for meditation
4 Day reward : manicure with french polish
- Day 1 : 25 Dec √
- Day 2 : 26 Dec √
- Day 3 : 27 Dec
- Day 4 : 28 Dec
The Seven Stages of Change
Stage 1 = pre-contemplation (I have no intention of changing)
Stage 2 = contemplation (I’m thinking of change)
Stage 3 = preparation (I’m getting ready to change)
Stage 4 = action (I’m actually making the change)
Stage 5 = maintenance (I’m at my goal and holding steady)
Stage 6 = relapse (oops I fell off the wagon)
Stage 7 = lifestyle (my work here is done)
The problem with the traditional weight loss model is that is skips over the important first three stages and jumps straight to the action phase. Without the foundation of pre-contemplation, contemplation and preparation, the action phase will never stand the storms of circumstance.
While there is motivation and willpower galore, then all is well, but as soon as sickness, holidays, family, tragedy or work start competing for your attention, the healthy living commitment takes a back seat.
But I’m Way Up There in Stage 6 – Relapse!
That’s what I thought too … but you see you can’t be ready to change until all of you is in agreement with the idea of being skinny. If there is part of you that has no intention to change then you are right back at pre-contemplation. You must have no resistance to changing, in fact, you must have no resistance at all.
The presence of resistance to anything – your body’s signals, your appetite, your habits, getter fatter – indicates that you still in pre-contemplation. Resistance will seriously undermine your efforts to make permanent change because … I know you know this one … what you think about attracts more of the same, what you resist persists. Subconscious negative thoughts will make weight loss difficult and temporary.
Stage 1 = Pre-Contemplation
So we agree that most of us should maybe take a step back and admit that part of us on some level has no intention to change whatsoever. Even if you don’t agree, it doesn’t hurt to follow a program from the very beginning just to re-inforce all the good behaviours you’ve already got going. So Stage 1 it is then.
→ Related 4-Day Win Posts
→ photo : Migraine Chick