To be healthy, you must become an architect

No, I don’t mean that you need to go to university and get a degree in architecture and start drawing buildings – what I mean is that you need to design things so that they only work the way you want them to.

Let me explain. In Canada and most countries, the $1 coin is in use and there are no issues with it. We all use them, they are cheaper to make than paper bills, they last longer, they remain in circulation longer, they work in vending machines, etc. The United States has failed at introducing the $1 coin since 1971 in spite of several attempts and millions spent on marketing, etc. Why? They never changed the architecture. In Canada we stopped making the $1 bills. We created an architecture that permitted the $1 coin to be used and the bills went away. Simple.

People are creatures of habit. If people always do something a certain way and you introduce a new way but leave the old way intact, very few people will change. The new way has to be much better, easier and faster, or it is ignored.

This is true of health and fitness. If your habit is to eat low quality fast food and you have no healthy food in your home then your architecture is unhealthy. If you go out and buy some healthy food and put it in your fridge and cupboards beside the usual tasty but empty foods, you will fail. The old habits will win and you will eat what you have always eaten. Now, if you get rid of all the low quality food and stock your home with only healthy food – you will change. You won’t have a choice.

That is why it is so hard to stay on track this time of year – I have said if before, but let me repeat it – environment is stronger than willpower. If you go to work and someone fills the staff room with your favourite Christmas goodies – it is very likely that you will indulge. So how can you change that particular architecture? Don’t go in the staff room. Bring healthy food with you. Establish a bet with someone like promising to only have Christmas treats one or two days a week. Break your promise and you have to donate $2,000 to charity (write the cheque, but don’t put a date on it, leave it with your friend or a co-worker). Now you have an architecture in place that is stronger than your willpower.

Goodies brought to your home as a gift or leftover from a party? Have some then take the leftovers freeze them, throw them out, or give them away. Out of the house, out of your mouth, off your hips. Simple. You cannot eat what you do not have in front of you.

Boot camps, personal trainers, workout buddies, and classes are all architecture. If you pay for a three-day a week boot camp where your trainer expects you and calls you if you don’t show up, then you have accountability and a place to be where you will work out and get fit – because that is all the architecture is set up to do. It works because it is simple and designed that when you get to the class or the gym – your architecture is clear: work out. This is why most people fail to work out at home. There are too many other options like TV, e-mail, kids, food, ironing, bills, yard work, laundry, phone, etc.

When I train for a big race my coach sets out my weekly training plans in advance, and all I have to do is follow it. It prevents me from training to my mood or energy levels or convenience. I do what needs to be done because it is spelled out for me.

So what could you create architecture to achieve in your life?

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

Just Posted

WATCH: Lacombe and Red Deer Chambers prepare members for cannabis legalization

Luncheon speaker educates businesses on marijuana policies

Crime statistics released for final quarter of 2017

December of 2017 showed no hike in break and enters and a notable drop in theft of vehicles compared to December of 2016

UPDATE: Highway 2 lanes were closed due to milk truck fire near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

James Barker Band is ‘Game On’

Country group heads to Red Deer this month

UPDATED: Red Deer will officially be the home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo

CFR has potential to bring in an economic impact of $20-30 million

WATCH: Red Deer Entertainment Awards honours Red Deer’s burgeoning talent

The awards looks to become more inclusive of the entire entertainment scene in year three

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Court application halts release of bread price-fixing documents

Bread price-fixing documents won’t be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

11-time Grammy winner Pharrell and his hip hop-rock band N.E.R.D. will headline the halftime show at the 2018 NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles

Heritage Minister wants zero tolerance for harassment in entertainment industry

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly had two meetings to discuss harassment in the film, TV and theatre worlds

Newly freed Diab wants reforms to Canada’s ‘lousy’ extradition law

French authorities dropped terrorism charges against Hassan Diab who was suspected of taking part in an attack in Paris in 1980

Russia probes come up against claims of executive privilege

The argument was laid bare this week during Steve Bannon’s interview with the House Intelligence Committee.

Most Read