Apple are the sh*t.
They innovate. They advance. They set trends.
If you happen to disagree and don’t like their world-changing products such as the iPod, iPhone, iPad and Macintosh…
…You’d still have to acknowledge that they’re the most profitable retailers on the entire planet… because they are.
But what’s that got to do with weight loss?
Well, let me ask you some questions.
- What if Apple was in charge of your weight loss?
- What if Apple suddenly stopped trying to advance the tech world and put all their efforts into making the world slimmer?
- How would they do things differently from the way things are currently being done?
Now if you’re like most people, you’ll probably say something along the lines of:
“They’d develop some amazing piece of technology that helps people manage their caloric intake. Make exercise fun. And automate habit building.”
But here’s what most people don’t realise….
There are already very good FREE Apps that do all of these things. My Fitness Pal makes tracking your calories easy, Fitocracy turns exercise into a game and Lift helps you build new habits. You can even buy wrist watches that calculate your daily caloric expenditure.
We have more than enough technology to make the world slim, yet many of us aren’t.
So… I’ll ask you again. What would Apple do differently?
The answer is so simple it’s almost stupid:
Apple wouldn’t invent some totally new product, they’d just get us to take action and buy into their versions of the products that already exist… more than the competition does. They’d improve our weight loss motivation, not our diets and training equipment.
See, Apple understands something about people that so many other companies overlook. Humans are emotional creatures. If we don’t believe and buy-in to an idea, no matter how great that idea is, we won’t use it.
Apple aren’t just experts in designing world-changing products, they’re experts at COMMUNICATING the idea that the world can be changed.
When it comes to weight loss, or any goal, having the technology and information, while important, is not enough.
We can know everything in the world about nutrition and exercise, but if we’re not communicating with ourselves properly, not only will we fail, but in worst case scenarios, develop eating disorders along the way.
We live in an age inundated with how-tos on every conceivable subject. But forget that how we carry out our beloved how-tos makes all the difference to the likelihood of us seeing them through to completion.
So how would Apple communicate with us to help us lose more weight?
Apple’s Secret Training Manual
Apple are notoriously secretive about the specific way they create customer loyalty and get people to buy into their brand. So, in early 2012, business writer, Carmine Gallo spent a whole year finding just that out and wrote a book about it entitled ‘The Apple Experience: Secrets to Building Insanely Great Customer Loyalty.’
According to Gallo, everything in Apple is managed for maximum emotional impact. From the angles of the laptops on display to the unlimited time customers are given with them to play. They are masters of psychology.
In August later that year, the website Gizmodo managed to do something that even surprised Gallo. They got their hands on an employee training manual. The findings further confirmed Gallo’s observations. Here’s a quote from an article he wrote after reading it.
“It’s interesting that the internal Apple Store training manual for Apple Geniuses [store workers] spends as much time on communication as it does on process and technical knowledge.”
The most interesting part of the manual, to me, is the specific language workers are told to use when communicating with customers. Apple has their own language to steer customer thinking away from the negative.
Here is a list taken from the manual. The words on the left are forbidden, the ones on the right – Apple approved.
unfortunately > as it turns out
features > benefits
freezes > does not respond
crashes > unexpectedly quits
bug > condition
problem > issue
incompatible > does not work with
eliminate the problem > reduce the problem
I believe, that if people utilised this approach when it comes to losing weight, it would help them take more action, reduce stress of dieting and increase the likelihood of seeing it through to completion.
Although Apple’s use of this technique is innovative, as it turns out, they didn’t design it.
It’s called cognitive reframing. And it’s been used to treat mental illness and sell us things we don’t want for a very long time.
A Brief History of Cognitive Reframing
It’s been used, albeit unconsciously, by orators and politicians for thousands of years as a means of mass persuasion. That said, it didn’t become a formally recognised technique until the 1960’s where psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck showed its promise for the treatment of depression.
Thenceforward it became the seed that eventually germinated into CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), and eventually filtered through into the self-help world after the publication of Richard Bandler’s and John Grinder’s 1982 book ‘Reframing: Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the Transformation of Meaning’.
Put simply, cognitive reframing is the conscious decision to reinterpret a disempowering reality into a more empowering one. (That’s how it should be used anyway.)
The most classic example of this is probably the old cliche: ‘The glass is not half empty, but half full.”
But it can be found literally everywhere. The military call enemies targets or x-rays and instead of saying that an enemy was killed they’ll say a target was reduced. Even the name of this website, comfort pit, is a reframe survival expert Bear Gryll’s coined for comfort zone.
If you pay attention, you’ll see that it’s used a lot in slogans and taglines. Like Apple’s poster at the top of this post: ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication‘… or the US Navy’s: ‘It’s not a job. It’s an adventure.’
Apple’s use of the technique is unique because it’s simple and requires no imagination or improvisation. It’s cookie cutter reframing, but it still works incredibly well.
The reason this technique isn’t openly shared by the fitness magazines to help us with our weight loss goals is probably because it’s the very same technique they use to get us to buy their products.
“Melt away belly fat!”
“Shed excess fat from your gut!”
Let’s take advantage of this technique. I’ve never heard of anyone using CBT to lose weight more effectively, but if it’s good enough to help people recover from depression and making Apple more money, why shouldn’t it be.
Let’s make our own weight loss language.
How To Reduce Stress By Using Cognitive Reframing
Dieting is stressful.
Any prolonged caloric deficit is hard on our bodies and the hunger, lethargy and constant thoughts of food can make even the veteran dieter go crazy.
Dieting is stressful and it’s the stress, not the hunger that often sabotages people’s results.
By reframing common dieting terms, you’ll know exactly how to reduce stress when it inevitably occurs.
Instead of creating customer compliance, you’ll be improving your weight loss compliance.
This is not a way of deluding yourself from reality. I hand picked all of these terms from the vocabularies of professional athletes and nutrition writers. Remember, the point of this technique is not to make your nutrition language ‘pretty’, but to stop self-sabotaging thoughts when dieting.
Counting calories > Meal planning
Binge day > Controlled refeed
A diet > An eating plan
It’s a heavy weight > It’s high intensity
Weight lifting > Resistance training
Losing weight > Metabolising body fat
Plateau > Unresponsive metabolism
Slow metabolism > Thrifty metabolism
I’m fat > I have body fat
Craving > Increased Appetite
Eating something bad > Flexible eating
When my dad lost 50lbs last year people always used to ask him:
“What diet are you on?”
His response was always the same.
“It’s not really a diet. It’s an eating plan.”
Start experimenting with reframes.
Use mine or design your own – it doesn’t matter.
Just take a leaf out of Apple’s book and create your own weight loss language.
Don’t just learn about diets, learn how to reduce stress. Learn how to prime your mind for success.
In a world where obesity is on the rise. Something has to change. And it can.
What would Apple say?
Will you be using any reframes? Do you have any of your own that you already use? Share your ideas below.
And for more original lifehack tips for achieving your goals, jump on my email list.