THE FOLLOWING PASSAGE is an excerpt from ‘The Keane Edge’ by Brian Keane.
Losing weight is a bit like baking a cake.
Yes, you read that right. I’m starting this book on “healthy eating” which is about baking a cake. As you will see in the chapters to come, this book is unlike anything you have read before. I’m not going to preach the fat burning abilities of some random food found deep in the Amazon jungle, or sell you a quick fix that drastically cuts your calorie intake by eliminating an entire food group. No, you won’t get that here. What you are going to achieve in the following pages is a mindset shift.
You’re probably going to hear some uncomfortable truths about the one factor that explains why you don’t look the way you want. I’ll give you a hint. When it comes to every diet or nutritional plan you’ve followed unsuccessfully over the years, what has been the common denominator? Were you too restrictive, then pressed the “f*ck it” button and rushed at everything in sight? May be. Have you eliminated whole food groups in your desire to lose weight, eg six weeks gluten-free, dairy-free? Yes, you might have.
But none of these is the common denominator. Want to know what it is? It’s you! Yes, you, or more specifically your mindset and approach to the diet or nutritional plan. But don’t worry, we’ll fix that. But first, back to my cake.
Surely cake is forbidden if you’re trying to lose weight or reduce body fat? Well, yes and no. Yes, in the sense that in the first part of the book you will see that calories matter and food portion size matters. Eating a whole cake is unlikely to support your weight loss goal.
Similarly, a slice a few times a week probably has the opposite effect. It gives you the psychological and metabolic boost you need to stick to your nutrition plan within a week, month or even a year. But that’s not why I mention the cake. The reason I mention this, besides the cake being delicious, is the baking element.
If you’ve ever baked a cake (or any other baked treat), you know you have to follow a recipe. You have to do things in the right order, following a step-by-step process to get a mouth-watering pastry. But you also need the list of ingredients.
Forget the flour and you have a bunch of porridge, forget the sugar and it tastes awful, forget the eggs and it won’t stick together – you get the idea. Developing the Keane Edge is exactly the same.
To lose weight you need the recipe and you need to follow a step by step process. In part one, we’ll cover this: how calories work, what you need to know about macros – the foods that make up your calories – and food choices and the order of priority or “fat loss pyramid” that comes by their side.
At this point you might be thinking, “Oh my God, not another clean eating diet book” or “To lose weight, eat fewer calories – I’ve been there, done” – oh no my friend, this is just the beginning.
Similar to baking a cake, you can know exactly how to do it, but it can still taste crap if you don’t know what ingredients to use. Which brings me to the meat and potatoes (pardon the pun) of this book – the ingredients, aka your mindset tools.
The educational side of the weight loss process breaks down into everything from calories, macros, and food choices to using the correct metrics to track your progress. Randomly following dietary advice without context or knowledge is a recipe for misery. You might reach your weight loss goal, but maybe not. You always want to be able to replicate what you do.
For example, if you lost 4 pounds to look your best for a wedding or other event, you want to be able to replicate that anytime in the future. I only use the word “diet” as an adjective.
It’s a skill you learn to use when you need it. You are dieting to lose weight for a future appointment. And unless you are morbidly obese or severely overweight and have been dieting with no results for over a year, you are wrong!
During our journey together you will learn the dieting skills, but our main focus will be on the nutrition side of things. This means finding a plan specific to your goal, then approaching it in the right way. Ingredients come next and first on that list is discipline.
THE INGREDIENT DISCIPLINE
When I say “discipline,” I’m not talking about grueling workouts in a gym, or even avoiding your favorite foods to achieve a weight loss goal. Far from there. What I mean by discipline is developing habits that support your end goal, so you don’t feel like you’re on a “diet”.
Being disciplined is about understanding how your daily actions and behaviors determine your success on your weight loss journey. If you tell me how you eat every day, I’ll tell you how much weight you’ll lose or what you’ll look like in a year. I will also bust the myth of motivation and the misconception that there are “motivated people”.
Spoiler alert, there are no “motivated people” – there are disciplined people: people with good daily habits or people who have educated themselves and conditioned their mindset to find a nutritional plan that suits them. We can remove this belief system that does not support discipline here and now because it is nonsense and only serves to get in the way of the correct mindset. More on that later.
So if discipline is one of our ingredients, what else is there? I’m glad you asked.
THE INGREDIENT OF FAILURE
Failure is next on the list. Yes, failure is an important ingredient in your journey. But wait, why is failure useful? Surely that’s a bad thing, right? No.
Failure is one of the most important ingredients in your weight loss journey because failure is not final: failure is feedback! Comments on what has gone wrong in the past. Comments on how you avoid self-sabotage in the future.
In this section, we’ll talk about the concept of ‘pressing the f*ck it button’. You all know what I’m talking about; you ate badly all day on Saturday, then you made a big fry on Sunday morning, so you say, “F*ck it, I’ll start my plan again tomorrow”.
Yes, you know the button. If it’s overused, or worse, worn out, we’ll figure out why and put a plan in place accordingly.
Failure also gives us the “reset” tool, where you don’t let one bad meal turn into two or a bad weekend turn into a bad week. We ‘reset’ after a potential slippage and get right back on the plane.
It fails as feedback and that brings me to the final ingredient in this recipe: mindset tools.
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THE MINDSET INGREDIENT
This book is ultimately a book of tools, and your mindset tools are the most important. We’ll go over philosophies like putting your ladder against the right wall, or in other words, finding the plan that fits your goals, one that includes the foods you love, and one that you can stick to. We’ll also go over the 0-1 principle explaining why starting a new diet is the hardest part, even though it’s usually when you’re most motivated (and why that’s normally the problem).
We’ll delve into the problem of waiting until Monday if you’re feeling motivated on Friday, and the unsupportive behavior of having a “last supper” — a ritual of gorging on your favorite foods because you’re starting a diet tomorrow. We will also dig deeper into your “why”. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to reduce your body fat? Why do you want to look a certain way? Knowing why you’re doing it can make the difference between diet success and diet failure.
You’ll see that it’s not the diet that’s the problem: it’s your attitude towards it that’s always been the problem. The honest truth is that most diets work if you stick to them. But why can’t you stick to your diet? Is it unsustainable? Is it eliminating your favorite foods? Do you feel like crap on it – lack of energy, shitty sleep, low libido?
We will discover these tangible and intangible elements as we delve deeper into the book, but for now, know that this book works with any diet. Although the last part gives you a nutrition plan to follow and some recipes with high-quality, nutrient-dense meals, in truth, any plan will work if you stick to it.
What tool do you need to help you with this job? Are you self-sabotage? Cool, read this section and use the tools there to help you. Do you lack motivation or have bad eating habits? Great, check out this chapter and pull out the tools you need.
My mission with this book is to make you realize that aside from some fundamental educational principles that everyone on a weight loss journey should know – like basic calorie intake – it’s not the diet itself. that determines your weight loss success: it’s your mindset towards what matters. Thinking that diet is the problem – or what I call “the diet mindset” – is not only wrong, it’s broken and flat out wrong. And it’s time to improve your thinking.
You can leave this “diet mindset” at the door. Now we go to the next level. The level that gets you exactly where you need to be and keeps you there until your goals change. Now we are talking about the Keane Edge.
HOW TO READ THIS BOOK
The first part of this book is intended for absolute beginners. If this is the first nutrition book you’ve read and you’re confused or don’t fully understand calories, macros, or how food choices affect your body composition, I recommend you read the first part in its entirety. If you already know the basics of nutrition like calories and macros, you can skip to the end of part one, where I’ve summarized the key takeaways, and then skip to part two, which talks about building mindset around nutrition.
Part three deals with nutrition itself and training, while part four looks at the critical but often misunderstood area of fat loss: sleep and stress.
The last part of the book gives you ‘The Plan’. It’s not the excruciating kind of “one and done” formula you may have come across in other diet books; I’m interested in mindset, nutrition, and how to effectively lose weight or reduce body fat over time. That being said, the plan will get you started if you’re feeling motivated right now.
“The Keane Edge” by Brian Keane is published by Gill Books. More info here.