05 May Weight Loss And The Law Of Least Effort
What is the law of least effort and how can it be applied to weight loss? In this article we’ll explore how you can use this behavioural trait to your advantage when losing weight.
The law of least effort states that an organism will typically choose the course of action that requires the smallest amount of effort or energy expenditure. It’s also called the law of least action.
It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective; conserving energy was important for our survival. Hunting and gathering was energy-intensive business. We required a lot more energy to acquire food than we do these days. Evolving to be ‘lazy’ worked in our favour. It meant we were more likely to rest and save our energy when we weren’t carrying out essential tasks like acquiring food.
Unfortunately, this evolutionary trait has not served us well in our modern world. We have an endless supply of readily available food at our fingertips. Choosing the quick and easy option is often not what supports our health, wellbeing and weight. Throwing a pizza in the oven is less effort than preparing a healthy dinner from scratch. Jumping in the car to pop to the shop is less effort than walking. You get the picture.
WEIGHT LOSS AND THE LAW OF LEAST EFFORT
The law of least effort was popularised in Deepak Chopra’s book ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’. Chopra says of the law ‘nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease and abandoned carefreeness’.
Wouldn’t it be nice to lose weight, and maintain a weight you’re happy at, with ‘effortless ease’?
It reality, this has not been the experience for most of the clients who come to work with us. Losing or maintaining their weight has been neither effortless nor easy. But that’s not to say that weight loss has to be a struggle. There are many things you can do to make losing weight, or maintaining the weight you’re happy at, easier.
MINIMAL EFFORT DIETS
When we work with you as a client, it’s our job to make your plan work around you and your lifestyle. We believe that you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold in order to get the results you desire. If something feels like too much hard work, we are unlikely to sustain it long term. Below we’ll share with you some of the top tips we’ve discovered for reducing the effort involved in healthy eating and weight loss.
Our clinic offers a range of dietary strategies for weight loss, but regardless of which approach our client chooses, we will always do what we can to make following it as effortless as possible.
One of our most popular dietary approaches is Essential Diet, a protein based, ketogenic meal replacement diet. Our clients achieve some fantastic results on this dietary plan. One of the reasons that this approach is so popular is because it’s very easy to stick to. Our clients have their protein foods provided for them, they just add vegetables and olive oil. Meals take minimal effort to prepare. Add to that the fact they taste surprisingly good and they’re filling and satisfying, and our client’s compliance is fantastic. Largely because it’s easy.
If our clients prefer a whole food plan, we’ll also make that as easy as possibly to stick to. Many of us are put off by recipes with long list of ingredients. Our clients often want tasty, satisfying and quick to prepare meals. So that’s what we provide.
If you’re trying to lose weight and you don’t love spending hours in the kitchen, it’s worth considering the practical ways you can reduce the effort involved in healthy eating.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLES
Beyond easy to follow diets, we support our clients in developing a range of healthy habits that will support their short and long term health and weight management. Here are a few examples of conversations we’ve had with clients to identify strategies that make healthy habits less effort (or unsupportive habits more effort):
One of our clients wasn’t sticking to her supplements protocol because she found opening multiple bottles each day a bore. Due to several nutrient deficiencies we had identified, this client was on a number of different supplements. We suggested that she consider purchasing a pill box and dishing out all of her supplements once a week. Having to open just one pot per day, as opposed to several, reduced the effort and meant she easily got into the habit of taking her supplements daily.
Another client had stopped going to the gym regularly. He’d recently moved house and his drive to the gym was around half an hour, whereas it had previously been much closer. On exploring the options our client realised that he could order some weights and workout at home instead. This cut out the effort of the commute and ensured he got back into regular exercise again.
One client found herself tempted by the chocolatey snacks she kept in a cupboard for her children. When we discussed this she had a lightbulb moment: “These snacks are no good for my kids either. If I don’t want them to develop the same bad habits I did, they need to go. I’m getting rid of them!” (One very rewarding aspect of our work is seeing the ways that our clients go on to support others in becoming healthier. Especially when it comes to children). Having to leave the house to get chocolate is much more effort than going to the kitchen cupboard. And so the need to rely on willpower to resist those snacks vanished.
In order to make the law of least effort work for us, we want to make healthy habit less effort and unsupportive habits more effort.
7 WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT WITH MINIMAL EFFORT
How can you structure your life and your environment in a way that makes healthy habits easy? Here are a few practical ideas:
Consider a recipe box delivery such as Mindful Chef or Green Chef. You can choose your recipes and the ingredients are portioned for you and delivered to your door. Mindful Chef also make some of the healthiest frozen ready meals I’ve found.
Batch cook healthy meals and freeze them in portions. These are great for when you’re in need of an effortless dinner. (If you have a friendly local chef willing batch cook healthy meals for you, even less effort is required).
Subscribe to an organic vegetable delivery box. We recommend Riverford. It reduces trips to the supermarket and deciding what veg to buy.
Pre-prepare smoothie ingredients and freeze them in bags for a quick, easy and healthy breakfast.
Consider how you can make exercise less effort. If working out at home is easier than travelling to a gym, do that. But if the energy of an in-person class lifts you up and makes things feel like less effort, that might suit you better.
It might feel like an effort to go for a walk by yourself, but less so if you’re meeting a good friend for a catch up and a walk together.
Remove the unhealthy snacks from your cupboards making it more effort to acquire them. If you live with someone who insists on having unhealthy foods in the house that are likely to tempt you, find a way to make it more of an effort for you to access them.
There are countless examples. The key is to find the strategies that are going to work best and have the biggest impact for you.
WORK WITH US
If you’re ready to overcome your weight challenges, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term, we can help. We are a team of qualified nutritionists who are trained in behavioural coaching. Not only can we identify the optimal health, diet and lifestyle strategy for you, we can also support you in developing healthy habits that stick for good. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a member of our team and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.