The Persuasion Diet

    Business Insider has an interesting article on how traditional dieting is becoming less popular. Now people are focusing on health and fitness, with weight management being a side benefit. That’s a big deal because dieting was always the wrong approach to health.

    Dieting is a bad idea because it treats weight as a function of what you do. The idea is that if you do less of the bad stuff – eating cake, for example – and more of the good stuff – let’s say eating salad – you will lose weight and be healthy. While that is technically true, it is a terrible system because it ignores the biggest challenge of weight management: Your mind. If you get your mind right, everything else happens easily. But if you try to overclock your brain and use willpower to force yourself to eat less, eventually your willpower will crap out, and you’ll be back where you started. That’s why traditional dieting rarely works in the long term.

    A smarter approach to fitness is to fix the brain first, and let the body follow. You might call it the Persuasion Diet. That’s what I wrote about in my book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. I teach you how to learn which foods to eat, manage cravings, create positive habits, and eliminate the need for willpower. In other words, I teach you how to persuade yourself to good health without doing anything unpleasant whatsoever.

    Because I’m known as a cartoonist – and not a doctor – none of you should be taking health-related advice from me. I wrote the health-related chapters in my book with the full knowledge I would be ignored and mocked for my lack of qualifications. But I didn’t mind that tradeoff because I counted on two things:

    1. I have no sense of shame, as I will demonstrate once again in this post. So I knew it wouldn’t bother me to be mocked. It didn’t.

    2. I figured science would catch up to me and validate my “mind first” approach to fitness. We’re almost there.

    Since publication of my book – which only has a few chapters on fitness – I have heard from readers all over the world that they have lost lots of weight and gotten back into exercise, all relatively effortlessly. So the idea of systems being better than goals – for all areas of your life – is spreading.

    Also, I have been documenting my own progress as I approach my 60th birthday next June. I achieved this level of fitness – the best of my life, by far – without any willpower or sacrifice at all. I simply developed systems to train my brain. My body followed. This photo is a day old. And I should note that I don’t have a personal chef or a personal trainer. This is just me eating whatever I want, whenever I want, as much as I want, and going to the gym for about 45 minutes a day. 

    You might say I hypnotized myself to identify and prefer healthy foods, disdain unhealthy foods, and stay active every day. That is essentially true. That’s how I can eat “whatever I want.” It’s because I only want healthy food these days. And you can do the same, by developing your own personal system as described in my book. (Your system would be different from mine, and from anyone else’s.)

    Regular readers of this blog have heard too much about my book already. The reason I’m revisiting it is because by now you also know about my writings on persuasion during this presidential election. As I have been saying since last year, Trump’s powers of persuasion would change more than politics. It would open a crack in the universe so people like me could explain to people like you how powerful persuasion can be, and how to use it to your benefit. That’s what I’m doing here. I’m persuading you to see fitness as a self-persuasion system, not a goal that you accomplish with willpower.

    You might like my book because it is filled with words that I tried to arrange in a sensible order.