The first thirty days of rebooting your body is arguably the hardest. You’re dealing with a lot of crap, which I spent enough time detailing in Reboot Stage 1: Welcome to Rehab — no need to rehash it.
What I didn’t completely talk about in that post is how to make it through the first thirty days without killing yourself or your family members, or worse, falling off the wagon. That’s what this article is for.
If you want to be a Reboot success story and not a miserable failure, keep reading.
Prepare for it to suck.
Whenever you’re entering a hostile situation, reminding yourself that it’s going to suck badly is one of the main keys to success. It’s acceptance of your fate. And when that fate is realized, you’re not caught off guard.
Avoid the fake hype. “I’m amazing and I can do this” is going to leave you flat on your face in a pile of your own saliva. It needs to be more like, “I could possibly hate my life for 30 days and I’m okay with that.”
It’s just 30 days. And if you accept the fact that those 30 days could possibly be the worst 30 days you’ve experienced in a long time then you’re more likely to stay on course. The reality is that it’s going to be 30 days of highs and lows, but preparing for the worst is better than pretending that “it’s all gonna work out fine.”
What I’m also doing right now is foreshadowing a storyline that is darker and more painful than what you will probably experience. This way, when you actually go through it you will undoubtedly come out the other side exclaiming, that wasn’t so bad!
Commit to going cold turkey.
There’s two types of thinking in these programs: let’s do this shit and let’s ease into it. I’ve gotta tell you, I see a much higher failure rate in those that ease into it. One of the reasons is because most overweight people are dealing with some level of addiction and you simply can’t ease out of addiction.
It’s no surprise that a study showed smokers who quit cold turkey were twice as likely to abstain for at least 30 days.
AA doesn’t tell alcoholics to cut down to two drinks a day. You either stop or you don’t get your chip. Reboot is a cold turkey protocol. Quit whining and just get it over with. You can do anything for 30 days.
Go to war with extinction bursts.
An extinction burst is a psychological phenomenon tied to operant conditioning that happens when you quit something cold turkey. Through extinction bursts, your brain makes last ditch efforts — which manifest as strong emotional desire — to return to your old habits.
We don’t have to go through the science of it here — read the post I linked to if you want that information. Just know what extinction bursts are and prepare to fight them. They come and go and are severely persuasive.
Strength comes through fighting off each extinction burst. As you continue to fight them off, they die off, manifesting less and less. Generally, the more emotional appeal an extinction burst leads you to feel, the stronger you’ll get by ignoring it.
Log everything that goes in your mouth.
If you only adhere to one recommendation in this article, make it this one. Keeping a written or media-driven food log will keep you accountable. There’s just something about having to write down or photograph bad behavior before you engage in it that completely turns you off to the idea of going through with it.
If you have a smart phone, snap a quick pic or use Instagram for everything you eat. The benefit of Instagram is that it becomes public — the ultimate accountability tool, especially if you’ve told people what you’re up to (this can help a lot so people aren’t tempting you with things all the time or giving you chocolate and candy as gifts, etc.).
You can also start a blog about your journey. That’s something I did in the beginning. Though it’s no longer around, it helped me succeed (and therefore did its job).
At the minimum, keep a written food diary.
This one step will double your chance of success. If you skip this recommendation, be prepared to fail.
Recruit a rock.
Going to war singlehandedly — without a support system — is pretty sketchy. I teach a Total Body Reboot program in my community for just this reason. The whole point of joining the program is to have a support network, weekly meetings and workouts, and personalized guidance.
While the information is pretty straightforward (it’s all here on this site), putting it into practice is not. Some methods work better than others and some people respond differently to each approach. During the process, adjustments have to be made and it helps to have an experienced person there to offer suggestions for those adjustments.
Beyond that, a support system is crucial for getting through the low points of the process, especially in the first 30 days. At minimum, you need a great friend who will slap you when you start thinking about giving up. If that’s not available, email me and I’ll do my best to help you out.
You could also go the Tom Hanks route and befriend a beach ball. But I’d only recommend that in the most desperate situations.
Look, I’m not saying that you can’t go it alone and be successful. I did it alone. But, it probably would have been ten times easier if I had access to a group program like the one I’m leading now in Atlanta. It would have been easier if my wife had gone through it with me. It would have been easier if I had found someone to slap me around when I slipped.
Lesson learned: If you can make it easier, make it easier.
Be a student of the game.
You’re at war. Every waking minute needs to be devoted to conquering your enemy. Yes, you need to Sun Tzu this shit.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself,
you will succumb in every battle.”
The more you read about how food interacts with your body, the more motivated you will be to make the right decisions. It starts to disgust you. It changes your paradigm. It doesn’t just help you succeed, it changes the way you think about the process. This is how a lifestyle is created.
Beyond that, reading and studying sharpens your sword for your next battle with extinction bursts. Reading and studying arms you for those situations where you need to defend your choices — such as when friends and relatives tell you that you’re crazy.
I’ll be creating a recommended reading list in the future. For now, check out a book like Why We Get Fat or Wheat Belly — both are great starter books to build a foundation of knowledge for how certain foods interact with the body.
Do you have any success tips for the first 30 days? If so, share them in the comments below!