Marginal Gains, Hypnosis, and Weight Loss (or “How I Quit Biscuits”)

In 2010, no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France.In 2012, Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France and went on to lead the British cycling team to winning 70% of the cycling gold medals in the 2012 Olympic Games. In 2013, Team Sky repeated their success at the Tour de France, this time with cyclist Chris Froome.
What was behind this incredible turn around?
According to the team coach, Dave Brailsford, it was the science of marginal gains.

So, what are marginal gains?

Brailsford defined marginal gains as “looking for a 1% improvement in everything that you do”. He believed that these tiny, marginal changes would lead to equally tiny improvements but that, when combined together, many tiny changes would lead to a overall remarkable change.
It’s a compelling theory. Many of us search endlessly for a “silver bullet” – one change, one opportunity, or one moment that will “see us right”. Others try to implement huge changes in their habits, behaviours, and lifestyle and find themselves slipping backwards after a few weeks or months.
By comparison, marginal changes are far easier to achieve and far easier to maintain.
The reality is that whilst we may think that our lives change direction on the basis of a small number of pivotal moments, this is “movie science” at best. In reality, our lives are governed by the series of tiny decisions that we are constantly making (consciously and subconsciously) throughout the day.
The longer that we can maintain good habits, and be 1% better than we were before, the greater these gains also become. This graphic (from The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson) shows how a 1% improvement (or 1% decline) can compound over time.
Marginal Gains Graph

So, how does this help me to lose weight?

If we apply marginal gains to weight loss, what it tells us is that you don’t necessarily need to make enormous changes to your diet in order to lose weight. Instead, small marginal changes that you stick to, can yield fantastic results over time.
I’ve been putting this to the test with my new #hypnodiet plan.
Instead of trying to create radical changes, my #hypnodiet aims to make small changes in diet and exercise regime that are easy to stick to. The effects may not be immediate but, as soon as I am sure that the changes have achieved some permanence, I can make the next set of marginal changes. These changes compound with the previous changes. In theory this process can be repeated as many times as I like, with each change compounding on top of the other until what is created is a significant difference. In short, I should lose weight, simply through self-hypnosis.
To date, I’ve been able to eliminate a number of real “weakness” foods for me including
  • Biscuits
  • Chocolate
  • Crisps
  • Sugar in tea
Thanks to some crafty hypnosis, I’ve left myself the option to indulge (if I want to) during the evenings and weekends. After all, I’m only looking for a 1% improvement!
I’m a few weeks away from a weigh in, but you will be able to track my progress here and I’ll post an update when I get to my next weigh in.