Light Bulbs & The Matrix

I often say that teaching Happy Calories Don’t Count is like pulling you out of the Matrix. Only unlike the movie, the Matrix we’re dealing with can pull you right back in – and often does!!

One of the basic tenants of learning theory is to teach by building on frameworks and concepts that people already know. And it is very challenging to teach a concept for which there is no frame of reference.

I remember the light bulb that went off in my 14 year old brain when I really understood that the French speak differently than we do. It’s not just a matter of replacing English words with French words – the sentences are different. I was taking my first test in French class, conjugating verbs and creating sentences just like I had been taught, when for some strange reason I “checked” my work by translating it back to English. I saw sentences like “thes trees talls ares beautifuls” or “thes cars reds gos fasts.”  I feared that my answers couldn’t possibly be right because they didn’t make any sense at all. While I did have a reference point for learning French vocabulary – I already spoke English,  I had yet to have a reference point to understand the sentence structure was different. Amazingly, once I really understood the concept that sentence structures could be different and how they worked, it was much easier to learn other foreign languages.

I had a similar experience with math. I was very good at learning and repeating rules and patterns to solve equations, but until that moment in which my mind opened up and I understood a new concept, repeating rules and patterns had no real meaning or practical application.

With Happy Calories Don’t Count, I teach a paradigm that demands a new concept. Most people in our culture do have a frame of reference – the traditional diet exercise model for weight-loss. But to really be able to integrate and apply the ideas of Happy Calories Don’t Count, you need a “light bulb moment.”

The simplest – but most difficult – way to experience a “light bulb moment” with respect to your body is to fully recognize that the traditional diet and exercise model for weight-loss is flawed and ultimately doesn’t work.

It’s simple because we all already know that it doesn’t work – 97% of all people who lose weight through diet and exercise regain it. And most of us have had at least one experience that contradicts conventional diet and exercise wisdom. (I followed and diet and exercise program to the letter, with no results – yet lost seven pounds after a month of eating nothing but fast food and not working out.)

However, it’s difficult to experience this “light bulb moment” because:

1) All the marketing campaigns we are inundated with are based on this diet and exercise model.

2) This traditional model is reinforced by news broadcasts or talk shows touting the latest diet or exercise information, conversations you have with friends and colleagues, and posts on Facebook.

3) Our culture doesn’t offer an alternative concept for us to learn.

Happy Calories Don’t Count is the new concept. When you get to a place where you can leave “diet and exercise” behind for good and experience Happy Calories Don’t Count with fresh eyes, you will be free from the Matrix.