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Ted Talk 156: The Simple 4-Stage Process to Losing Fat and Keeping It Off Effortlessly (Once You Know This, You’ll Never Give Up Again)

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Ted Talk 156: The Simple 4-Stage Process to Losing Fat and Keeping It Off Effortlessly (Once You Know This, You’ll Never Give Up Again)

Losing fat and keeping it off can be effortless. But most people never make it there. They quit before they have a breakthrough. Why is the happening?

Well, keeping a lean body is about much more than incorporating a bunch of healthy habits here and there; it’s about mindset, thought framing, and above all things, thinking of it as a long and tedious journey.

Quick fixes and miraculously rapid approaches last, at most, the same time it took them to work. They might work in the short term, but they require habits impossible to maintain in the long run.

That is why most people quit before time or gain the weight they lost in a couple of months.

In today’s Ted Talk episode, Ted shares the 4-step process that will help you lose fat, keep it off, maintain a lean body for as long as you want, and virtually master any other skill you can think of.

He explains why most people lose their battle against fat loss and why many regain the weight they lose in no time. He also explains the four stages of mastering any skill, how they can help you lose weight and never gain it back, why those who work with him find it so easy to keep on track, and so much more. Listen now!


You’ll learn:

  • What are the things you need to change if you want to lose weight and keep it off
  • Are thousands of repetitions enough to create a significant change in your life?
  • Stage #1: Even if you think you are doing the right thing, you probably aren’t
  • Stage #2: What can you do once you understand why things weren’t working
  • Stage #3: How can your conscious choices improve?
  • Stage #4: Is it possible to make effortlessly good choices?
  • What is the main reason for Ted’s program’s success?
  • Is it possible to “be on the phone while driving” in your fat loss journey?
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

469: The Ultimate Secret to Fat Loss with Ted Ryce 

495: The Only 7 Science-Based Weight Loss Strategies You Need To Know with Ted Ryce 

502: Why You Keep Gaining Back The Weight You Lost (And How To Stop) 


Links Mentioned:  

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If you’re ready to have the body you deserve, look and feel younger, and say goodbye to time-consuming workouts and crazy diets, we can help you.  

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Podcast Transcription: The Simple 4-Stage Process to Losing Fat and Keeping It Off Effortlessly (Once You Know This, You'll Never Give Up Again)

Ted Ryce: In today’s Ted talk, I’m going to be discussing the simple 4-Stage process of losing fat and keeping it off effortlessly. And I want to suggest to you that once you understand what I’m going to teach you in today’s episode, you’re never going to give up on yourself again.  

You’re never going to get to the point where maybe you’re planning on setting some new year’s resolutions and then you stick with it for a month or maybe two months or maybe even three and then you give up, that’s the promise here. So, let’s see if I can deliver.  

So, what’s up, my friend? Welcome back to the Legendary Life podcast. I’m your host Ted rice, coach to entrepreneurs, executives, and other high-performing professionals. And when people join my coaching program, as you may have heard from the many success stories that we’ve shared with you over the years, they crush it. 

They overcome limitations that they had in the past. They were able to achieve a greater transformation, not just externally by losing weight, but also internally, they shift not just their habits, but they shift their identity. And I want to talk a little bit about how that happens, because I want to suggest to you, if you’re looking to change your body, if you’re looking to get healthier, lose fat, which is presumably why you listen to this show, you’re making a mistake.  

You think that you need to go on a diet and go on an exercise regimen. And of course, losing fat will involve changing what you’re doing in terms of what you choose to eat and how much you exercise in the types of exercises you do. We’re doing this in my coaching program and beyond the coaching program, if you want to lose fat and keep it off for good, you have to think of it differently. 

And today I’m going to be talking about how I think of it and how I coach my clients to success. And so let me talk about the four stages. There are four stages of mastering any skill. And I want to tell you, this it’s a long and tedious journey. Now, I shortened how long the journey is in my coaching program and we give superior strategies and people say it’s the easiest program they’ve ever done, and the best results they’ve ever gotten. 

That said, though, I can’t take away the fact that you’re mastering a skill here. You’re learning new knowledge and you’re mastering skills and what we teach is the fundamentals and how to apply the principles of fat loss to your own life. It’s a hard thing to do at least upfront, but there are four stages that you’ll go through. There is unconscious incompetence. 

In other words, you don’t know what you don’t know, then there’s conscious incompetence, “Oh my gosh, I was doing all these things wrong.” Then there’s conscious competence like, “Okay, I know what I’m doing and I’m practicing it. I’m becoming more competent at it.” And there there’s unconscious competence where you don’t think about what you’re doing anymore. It just happens, it becomes who you are.  

So, before we dive into those four stages, I want to rewind a little bit and talk about this idea. Now you may have heard of the 10,000-Hour Rule, which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell, I forget in which book I never read it. There was something about that idea that I didn’t like. It’s like, okay, well, 10,000 hours, but what if you’re practicing the wrong things? And that idea was based on research done by Andrew Erickson. And eventually, it was debunked. 

And the biggest flaw is this, it’s what I mentioned. The 10,000-hour rule focuses on the amount of time spent practicing and not the quality of the practice, because not all practice is equally helpful or leads to great results. So, the number of hours is arbitrary. What matters is what are you practicing and how are you practicing it.  

And so, what most people do when it comes to fat loss is they don’t even practice—They practice following someone else’s workout, not a workout that’s designed for them, not understanding the principles of what even delivers results with any workout. And the same thing is true with nutrition, “Oh, let me cut the carbs.” So, you become highly skilled at cutting carbs, but then you get off track when you want to eat some bread or it’s the holidays, or you go on vacation and you feel like you messed everything up.  

Again, focusing on the principles is the way to get out of that. So, getting good at a low-carb diet, which I got good at, I spent probably around... I don’t know, about 10,000 hours. Well, oh, I did. You know, now that I think about it, I was over 10 years. I spent over 10 years following low-carb diets. So, I got good at something terrible, right? I don’t want to call it terrible.  

I got good at doing a low-carb diet, which had negative side effects on my life. For example, I trained Jiu-jitsu hard during that time and I was exhausted all the time. Well, of course, because I’m doing high-intensity exercise and not eating any carbs, but that’s what I believed I needed to do to lose fat.  

So, I got good at something that wasn’t worth getting good at. I was good at visually identifying what I thought was a carbohydrate and not eating it. So, that’s important because you don’t want to get good at the wrong things. And most people, that’s what they do. You get good at following someone else’s workout or someone else’s diet instead of learning the principles and applying them to your life.  

But even if we give you the right strategies and the strategies that we teach in our coaching program and my coaching program—but you know it’s not just me, it’s my business partner, Gisele, and it’s our assistant coach, Stephan, our rockstar assistant coach. We teach how to think differently about food and you’ve heard me talk about it before and it shows up like this, “Hey, what sources of protein do you eat?”  

“Oh yeah, I love protein so I’ll eat a steak. And I like cheese, and beans are a good source of protein.” And then we look up steak, cheese, and beans in my fitness Pal, and cheese is mostly fat, beans are mostly carbohydrates and most cuts of steak are about 50% fat, 50% protein. 

So, people get good at what they think is a good skill, but they’re missing some crucial information and what my clients and what I’ve gotten good at too, personally, is discerning like, “Okay, well, I know that cheese is not a good source of protein, it’s delicious it’s fantastic. It goes well with honey and preserves, but it’s not a good source of protein, right?”  

And as far as exercise is concerned, we teach the basics. For example, one set is the difference between building muscle/maintaining muscle and losing muscle. And then we teach how to do those one set, so good form, working to muscular failure, trying to add more reps, weight, or another set over time. Those are the skills worth getting good at.  

But again, even though we teach the best strategies around when it comes to body transformation because it goes beyond just what I said. I just stuck with the things that I think would resonate with you the most, the nutrition and the diet, and the exercise part. For our clients, it’s still not easy for them. They go through this four-stage process.  

So, I want to break it down for you when our clients first join our coaching group, they’re in a stage of unconscious incompetence. They’re doing some things right. For sure, every single client who joins they’re doing some things right. But then when we have the conversation about like what I said with protein, what do you eat for protein? “Oh, well cheese, I like rib-eye steak.” That’s a protein, right?  

And then we look up the percentage of calories coming from fat versus protein, and then we contrast that with like egg whites or chicken breast and people always have this, “Oh wow,” their eyes widen, they have this aha moment. They go from that first phase, which is unconscious incompetence to number two, which is conscious incompetence. They start to realize, oh man, I’ve been doing this all wrong.  

Another thing is that clients will come from like doing CrossFit orange theory or Pilates. And they wonder why they haven’t been getting the results they want. Even though they’re working hard in the gym or their exercise program or with their trainer. And then I put them on a workout that fits their schedule, that focuses on the fundamental things that deliver results and boom, they go from that unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence, “Oh man, I was doing everything wrong.” And after some practice, they start to enter the third stage, which is conscious competence.  

Stay with me folks, I know this is maybe not like, oh right, you eat some protein and you know, do five sets of five. I know this is a little harder to wrap your head around or a little less entertaining to talk about, but I want to tell you, this is what you’re missing, this understanding of how to learn and the challenges that you face while learning. So, we get into that third stage of conscious competence. You start to understand it. You start to know how to do this stuff, but it takes concentration.  

And I’ll tell you something, I’ve done this: I’ve gotten into the stage myself with writing on the internet. So, I went through a writing course. And when I was in Brazil, I joined the writing course and it was an amazing writing course. It’s called Ship 30, if you’re into writing on the internet in any way, if you write emails and want to get amazingly good at doing it or creating content online at all, you’ve got to check out Ship 30. 

The guys are on Twitter, but you can Google it, it’s fantastic. So, I was in the zone with writing, but it was taking a lot of mental effort to do it. And then I went from Brazil to Lisbon-Portugal and I lost my groove, right? And so, when you’re in the conscious competence phase, you can get knocked off. It takes effort, it takes a lot of conscious involvement in executing the new skill, and it’s frustrating.  

My clients get frustrated, “Oh gosh, you know, I was tracking my macros and then I went out to eat and I didn’t know what to put. I was in the gym and the machine was being used that I was supposed to do so, I ended up doing a different one, but I wasn’t sure what to do or how to…” you know, it takes effort. 

But what I want to tell you is this is the most crucial time when you’re experiencing frustration because you’re getting challenges because you’re learning something new and learning is something new. It’s always never free of frustration. Like, I’m getting back into the zone with writing and creating content on Twitter, super frustrated right now, folks, I’m so frustrated. 

But I know to get back to that point, I was in Brazil, I have to keep pushing through. And this is the crucial phase because if you want to get to the fourth stage, the unconscious competence—like where I am with my body, people think that there’s something special about my metabolism.  

I remember a client, I’m like, “Well, you saw my before-and-after photo? I was fat when I was 37 and now, I’m lean in my 40s. What do you think was to do with that? If you think that age is working against you, how can someone in like seven years get in better shape if their metabolism is broken or their age is working against them?” They’re like, “I don’t know, but I just thought.” It’s like, no, here’s the truth folks, it’s effortless for me to stay at a certain level of leanness because I’ve just mastered the habits. They’re effortless for me, but it took a long time to get there. And I want to talk about a client who’s working with me right now, Lisa. 

Lisa had success with the whole 30 if you know that diet. And she came she’s worked with me in the past, like many years ago and she came back to work with me again. And what’s fascinating about Lisa’s situation, is her story—and I can’t wait to get her on the podcast to share her success story because she’s just amazing. 

She had lost weight very quickly in the past with the whole 30 and she’s done excellently. Now she’s lost over 20 pounds with me in about six months’ time, which, actually, for our program, that’s not a lot of weight, we get way better results if we’re just talking about the numbers. 

But what’s more important than the numbers is that Lisa feels like now she’s getting to this unconscious competence phase. It’s where if, for example, I had a client recently, shout out to you, Chris, if you’re listening. Chris, when he first joined my coaching program, Chris is almost down like it was 15 pounds in two months as well. Something like that, 15 pounds in two to two and a half months, he said, “You know, I force myself to start flossing my teeth before I went to bed and now I can’t go to bed unless I floss my teeth,” but he didn’t start that way. 

He had to train it into his habits. He had to train himself to be that way. But now he can’t even go to bed until he flosses his teeth, so is this resonating? Are you starting to see where these stories match your stories and your challenges, and how you might be giving up at the most crucial phase, this conscious competence phase, where it’s taking the mental effort to learn or apply the skills?  

And that’s when you need flexibility, folks. So, you may break down because “Oh, well work got busier and I couldn’t do my hour-long workout, so I just skipped it.” It’s like, well you need to know how to adjust your workout to fit your new schedule. And then you need to know how to lengthen your workout when you have more time, but you don’t stop. You can never stop because if you stop, that’s the only way you fail. 

And so many people fail and it’s because they lack the true skills, the flexibility, the knowledge of how to make your workouts. I get clients who do 10-minute or 15-minute workouts and some do 90-minute workouts everywhere in between. And if they get into a situation, they know how to change it. But folks, it takes time to learn that. That’s the real skill you’re missing. That’s why it’s so hard to put fitness on autopilot and why it’s easier for me because it’s my job, right?  

But even for me, it took quite a bit of learning in trial and error to get to that conscious competence phase. I had a lot of the wrong information. I thought, you know, I believed all sorts of ridiculous things like, “Oh, I can’t walk too much. I can’t do cardio or too much of anything in between my weight workouts because it’ll eat up my muscle,” right? Or, “Woo, carbs make you fat,” just the ridiculous things I believed.  

But even when I learned the right information, it still took some time. And let me tell you just a little bit more—and I’m sharing these stories because I want to present some examples so that you can start to see your challenges so that you can see your own story in the stories that I’m sharing, that’s why I’m sharing this stuff. So, I hope it’s working, I can’t always guarantee, but I’m doing my best here, folks.  

So, one of the things that became challenging for me with this conscious competence in turning it into unconscious competence is when I started travelling a lot, I had to find a solution to that. I mean, I was bouncing around everywhere. And even recently, this year in 2022, I was in Orlando, then I went to Texas, and then I went to Columbia and then I went to Portugal after stopping in Miami. 

And then I went back to Texas and then I went back to Portugal, and then I went to Brazil and now I’m back in Portugal. I mean, that’s insane, right? I mean, it’s been fun, but it’s been frustrating as well, and there’s a tangent that I won’t go off on about how that has affected my productivity and knocked me off my writing flow. 

But to make it more relevant to what we’re talking about and to you, I had to learn how to adjust my workouts in every new place so that I would still not just maintain my muscle mass, but continue to get better results, and you know what, it’s working. If you’ve seen any of my shameless, recent shirtless selfies on social media, you can see I’m getting leaner again. I’m getting more muscular again. 

I don’t have the veins on my abs for those of you who, you know, remember that time when I was in Columbia back in 2020, but I do have the veins coming out on my biceps, so they’re coming back. And here’s the thing: I’m doing it, living in Lisbon and eating, you know, eating desserts and pastel de nata, very famous Portuguese pastry and trying the delicious food that they have here, so much good food in Lisbon. It’s a place you have to go.  

But I had to work hard to like, okay, what do I need to learn and adjust? What do I need to learn here and do so that no matter where I am in the world, I can still keep getting results even if the gyms change or even if I can’t get to a gym, I figured it out and now it’s unconscious, it takes very little mental effort, but while we’re in that conscious competence phase, we want to give up because it’s a little frustrating. 

And I’ll tell you one of the... If I’m honest with you, can I be honest with you? One of the things that I help, you know, I pride myself on my 23 years of experience and the strategies and all of that is true, I believe. But if I’m honest with you, one of the things that I help my clients with the most is I don’t let them give up. They feel committed after they join the program, they get to a point where they’re frustrated because they don’t know they’re facing a challenge, and they don’t understand.  

And what I do is help guide them through that challenge. Because I have an answer where I know how to overcome any obstacle. I mean, that’s what, you know, if you’ve been in your business or doing what you do for two decades or more, you just... Okay, well here’s what you do, that’s not a problem, you just do this.  

And so what are you taking away from what I’m sharing with you today? Because, my goal is to help you understand that there’s a process to learning skills and it takes time it has some points, especially when you’re starting to get good, that’s when it gets frustrating. Some people are frustrated at the beginning, but it’s almost when you’re getting a little bit good where it’s the most frustrating and that’s the critical point.  

That’s where you’re creating the most learning and if you give up there, it’s because you don’t understand, you need to push through to make it automatic. So, apart from that process, the strategies need to change as well. If you have rigid strategies like, oh, you must do this 60-minute workout and then you get into a situation where you can’t do the 60-minute workout or you can’t eat low-carb or you can’t eat keto or you can’t follow the whole 30. 

There need to be flexible strategies or else you’re going to give up because there is no answer to that, to some of the problems, or the solutions are so challenging, it’s just not even worth doing, you just would rather give up. And if that keeps happening over and over it’s because, one, you don’t understand this process or two, your strategies just aren’t flexible enough for you.  

And if you want to take it to that level, that effortless level where it just becomes part of your identity, there takes a certain amount of effort that needs to happen. And when I say effort, I’m not talking about, “Oh yeah, you have to go to the gym and crush it bro or hey, you have to eat this strict diet.” No, it’s learning the right information, learning the better strategies and applying them. 

And it’s tricky because if you want to be able to do what I do, where I’m eating caramel pancakes and—which I had the other day, they were delicious. They weren’t quite as crazy as like caramel pancakes that you get in America, it’s less indulgent, therefore, less calories. But it is frustrating because it’s a little bit more complex. 

 However, if you push through, and when my clients push through, it becomes effortless for them. And I want to say one more thing, this doesn’t happen in just a couple of months. It’s very rare for this to happen in just a couple of months. I’m not going to say it never happens, but my most successful transformations, they work with me for the better part of a year. So, that’s what you’re looking at, folks. And I know, oh, man, a year, I just want to, you know, crush it and do a 12-week transformation program. 

But the problem is that this is a dirty secret in the body transformation business. Is that a lot of people? Yeah, sure, we get there before and after photos and slap them up on social media and you think we’re all amazing. But the reality is, that person two years from now, they fall back into old habits and they gain the weight back.  

So, sticking with the process until it becomes automatic and it takes the better part of a year to do that. Even if you’re already quite lean, like my client, Trevor, you probably heard his testimonial recently which is interviewed on the show. Trevor crushed it in four months. But the success, the fast success was, in fact, he went from 17 and a half per cent body fat to like 12-point half per cent body fat in two months.  

But then he was like, “Okay, well I did this, but I’m not confident of my ability to keep it up,” so he ended up working with me. He’s working with me for 12 months, total doing our accountability, which we offer to our clients after they go through our initial offer. Trevor doesn’t need to talk to me every week, for example. He was a one-on-one client, he doesn’t need to talk with me every week, once a month is good.  

But I asked him, I was like, “Are you glad you signed up for the accountability? He said, “Yeah, because I come up to these situations and, I don’t know what to do,” or I’ll even say this, Trevor got to a point where he thought—he’s like, “Oh, I don’t want to get any bigger. I feel like I’m getting a little bit too, putting on too much muscle here.” 

And then he got a DEXA Scan and that showed, he didn’t put on any muscle at all. He got a little bit leaner, and he lost some body fat, but it gave him the impression that he was still gaining muscle. And then he was like, “Oh, so what do we do now?” And so, we have those conversations. 

So, again, I think I’ve talked about this for as long as I want to, but I want to ask you, what is coming up for you in this conversation today about the learning process, about these strategies, about the point where you want to give up, but you need to push through to get to that point of where, you know, like you drive your car and you can probably drive your car and have a phone conversation with your spouse while you’re driving home from work, and you don’t even think about it, you just end up at home and you get out of the car, take the keys out, and you’re still talking on the phone?  

But I want you to go back to when you first started learning to drive a car, I don’t know if you remember that. But I remember when I first started driving, I like almost didn’t get my license, right? Because I made some mistakes and probably, if I’m being honest, maybe she shouldn’t have given me my license, but eventually, I learned, and now I can drive in and talk on the phone too. And you can get to that level of mastery with your health, with your body, but you need the right strategies and you need to understand how the learning happens.  

And there’s one more thing I think is worth mentioning, especially with the driving example, because if you’re an American, everyone, you know, of course, some people can’t afford cars and they need to take public transportation. I’m not talking about those people, I’m talking about those of us who are blessed financially and were born into families where, you know, maybe you got a car, maybe oyur parents bought you a car. 

Maybe you did well enough financially, as I did. I bought my first car when I was 22. So, I was in a good position financially. Well, at least good enough to buy a used car for a couple of thousand bucks. Like, driving a car, learning how to drive, that’s something that in society we expect you to do in the states. And if someone would tell you in American society, “Oh, I don’t know how to drive a car.” We think it’s weird, right?  

Are you with me on that? You’d be like, well, okay, that’s a little weird. I mean, who doesn’t know how to drive? American public transportation sucks in most cities—at least the ones that I’ve been in. So, you need to know how to drive and everything’s so spaced out. So, you need to know how to drive. That’s weird that you don’t know how to drive. 

But if you’re overweight or in poor health—well, 70% of people in the states are overweight and in poor health, right? Pre-diabetic, overweight or obese and 70% that’s being nice. It’s more like 80 or perhaps even 90% of people, the 70% just going by BMI. So, people are super unhealthy, so it’s normalized. It’s like, oh, you’re fat, well, I’m fat too, I’m not as fat as you thought. Oh, you’ve got diabetes. I only have prediabetes.  

So, it’s normalized in our society and there’s not a big pressure. There’s a big pressure to learn how to drive a car because it’s part of the economy like you have to drive to work. Better to drive to work than take the bus because that’s going to take you longer etc. I don’t need to explain it to you, you live it. 

But when it comes to getting in shape, there’s no societal pressure to do it. And your parents certainly didn’t make you do it like they made you brush your teeth, but it should be, and in the future, it will be—I think, at least. It will be like, well, you have to drive a car, you have to brush your teeth, you have to take care of yourself, right? You have to take a shower; you can’t go to work smelling.  

Although, you know, like here in Lisbon, there were some other European countries, I won’t name names, but people don’t, you know, value deodorant in showers, the same way as we do in the states and other countries I’ve been to, but taking care of your health, it’s not that societal pressure. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s so easy to give up, right? 

We say there’s a lot of pressure in the media to look a certain way, but the reality is not really, right? You may say that and I’m not trying to say you don’t feel that there’s a lot of pressure, but then you’re hanging out with Bob and Kathy and everybody’s overweight, right? Everybody’s out of shape, everybody’s overweight, you don’t see those.  

And even now we’re getting overweight models and you know, I’m not going to get into my thoughts about that, but the reality is that’s what’s happening. So, there’s not that level of pressure. So, it takes a lot of effort, it takes quite a bit more effort to get in good shape than it would to, you know, brush your teeth, take showers every day, learns how to drive a car.  

All right, so that is it for me and I want to ask you, what is the big takeaway for you here? Do you understand the process a little bit better? What are your obstacles to achieving better health in a better body and, feeling better, liking what you see in the mirror better? Are you understanding it a little bit better? I hope so. I did my best, okay? So, listen, that is it for me today. I hope you enjoyed today’s Ted Talk, and I’ll speak to you on Monday. 

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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