We live in a great age of television. Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, anything on Netflix…it’s a TV junkies dream. As a child of the 90s however, today’s television doesn’t hold a candle the all the classic shows that I grew up with; none greater of course, than Seinfeld.
I didn’t really get into Seinfeld until high school, and by then all that was on TV were reruns. What I remembered of the show from when I was a kid was I thought it was weird, and I didn’t really understand what was going on.
As I grew older though, I gained an appreciation for the simplistic, yet smart humor the show was built on. Being able to take normal, non-funny, everyday situations, like waiting in a Chinese restaurant, or a trip to the car dealership, and turn them into hilarious and relatable television that has stood the test of time is a great credit to the genius of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld.
There aren’t matter shows where you can laugh harder the 20th time you’ve seen an episode than you did the first, or without even thinking about it recite the next line before the actor does, but Seinfeld is that show.
What also makes Seinfeld such a giant of television history is its relatability. Almost everyone knows someone as narcissistic as Jerry (maybe it’s ourselves), or someone as self-loathing as George. We all have that goofy, eccentric friend, like Kramer who’s always coming up with crazy ideas, or someone with the temper of Elaine.
Even though the tagline of the series was “A show about nothing.”, it’s really a show about everything. There’s something in nearly every episode that you can relate to in one way or another; a situation or instance where you laugh and say to yourself, “Oh yeah, I know how that is.”
The relatability doesn’t end with direct comparisons either. You don’t ever have had to have your car stolen by your mechanic, or broken up with the woman you’re dating because you thought her breasts were fake to understand the message, and be able to relate it to something in your life.
And this includes fat loss.
In this episode, George realizes he has a 3-month severance package from the New York Yankees. Instead of living an active lifestyle like he planned, George becomes extremely lazy, never changing out of his pajamas and refusing to go to Jerry’s apartment because it’s too much work.
However, in an attempt to help Jerry with his very busy girlfriend, George and him team up, because the two of them, “Working together, at full capacity, could do the job of one normal man.”
As they usually do though, George’s plan backfires, as on his way up to his apartment, he drops one of Jerry’s girlfriend’s party invitations on the stairs. When he comes back down, he slips on the invitation, sending him to the hospital where the doctor informs him he may never walk again; thus ending the Summer of George.
Like George’s plan for his summer, our fat loss plans never seem to go the way we want them to either. Things come up that screw with our diet, we get sick so we can’t workout, or we hit a plateau and can’t seem to make progress no matter what we do.
The important thing to remember is to roll with the punches. One day, or even a week, will not break, or make, your plan. It’s what you do over months and years that make the difference. Knowing that things will not always to according to plan will help you take those moments in stride.
Jerry: “So, has the summer of George begun? Or are you still decomposing?”
In probably the most famous Seinfeld episode ever, the gang enters into a contest to see who could go the longest without masturbating; a concept pretty edgy for its time.
Each one of them eventually has to drop out because they can’t resist the temptation, leaving George as the winner; although he later admits that he cheated.
There are actually two lessons in this episode. The first being that in order to reach your goal, you sometimes need to deny yourself the things you love.
Now even though everyone in the groups goal was to last the longest without, as Marla put it, “gratifying themselves,” the lesson still applies. Fat loss is not difficult but it does require sacrifice. You can’t continue to do things exactly the way you have been and expect to see different results.
The second lesson from this episode is one of accountability. By themselves, Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer wouldn’t have been able last very long. But by going in on it together, they created accountability for each other.
Fat loss accountability can come in many forms, from working out with a partner, to hiring a coach. The key is creating that accountability so you’re not going it alone.
Jerry: “Are you still Master of your Domain?”
In this classic episode, Jerry’s girlfriend Sandy doesn’t find his jokes funny, but her roommate Laura does. Jerry tells George that he intends to “switch” roommates and start dating Laura.
George declares this impossible, but after many hours of deliberation, they devise a plan to make it happen; Jerry is going to suggest a ménage a trois, or threesome, hoping that Sandy is so disgusted she breaks up with him, but Laura is so flattered that she starts dating him.
Jerry’s plan backfires however, when both Sandy and Laura are into the ménage. George thinks this is great, but Jerry won’t go through with it because he’s “not an orgy guy”.
Jerry’s attempt to switch roommates shortly after he started dating Sandy can teach us something about program hoping; or changing programs just for the sake of change.
Jerry thought he’d be better off by trying to date Laura instead of Sandy. What actually happened though, had him in a worse (or better depending how you look at it I guess) position than when he started.
Program hoping puts you on the fast track to getting nowhere. While it may seem like a good idea, it rarely is. In order to make progress, you need to stick with something, not just for days or weeks, but months, and sometimes even years. And if your program is working, then there’s no reason to switch it…even if there’s something out there that seems better.
George: “Do you ever just get down on your knees and thank God that you know me and have access to my dementia?”
In this episode, Jerry runs into an old friend from school, Diane, who asks him about George. Knowing George likes to lie about his profession to make him seem better than he actually is, Jerry informs her that he’s working as a marine biologist. Intrigued by this, she tells Jerry she’s going to give George a call.
After Jerry tells George this however, he gets upset, because he prefers to lie about being an architect.
While walking along the beach on a date, George and Diane come across a group of people surrounding a beached whale. A person in the crowd exclaims, “Is anyone here a marine biologist?!” Diane of course volunteers George to help.
By sheer luck, George manages to save the whale, but confesses to Diane that he’s not a marine biologist. She promptly breaks up with him.
The lesson in this episode is that it doesn’t pay to try and be something you’re not. It may work in the short-term, but in the long-term it’s going to backfire.
George was fine pretending to be a marine biologist, until he actually had to be a marine biologist. Then he couldn’t keep lying about it.
The same can be said about fitness. If you hate cardio, you’re probably not going to last very long on a plan that requires a ton of cardio. Same can be said for diet. If you love carbs, a super low-carb plan probably doesn’t make sense long-term.
Don’t lie to yourself (or others). Don’t try to be something you’re not, and follow a plan that makes you miserable. Find something your comfortable with. Be an architect.
George: “Why couldn’t you make me an architect? You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect.”
This episode starts out with Jerry waiting with George and Elaine at the diner to meet a reporter who wants to interview him. Elaine notices a woman eavesdropping on their conversation and as a prank, starts speaking to George and Jerry as if they’re a gay couple.
When Jerry later meets up with the reporter after missing her at the diner, he realizes she’s the woman who was eavesdropping. She identifies him and George as the gay couple from the coffee shop. They of course deny being gay, conditioning this with, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
Jerry manages to convince the reporter that he’s not gay, even getting her to go out with him. George on the other hand, uses his fake sexual orientation to try and break up with his girlfriend.
George tries to act gay with Jerry in front of his girlfriend but Jerry doesn’t play along, and she isn’t convinced. The reporter however sees this and breaks up with Jerry, thinking he and George used her to cover up the fact that they were lovers.
The phrase, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” doesn’t just apply to sexual orientation, but fitness preferences as well.
There are many different ways to achieve your fat loss goals. Some people like low carb, while others hate it. Some people want to run 5 miles a day, while others would rather strength train 5 days a week.
There are a lot of different ways to skin the proverbial fat loss cat. There’s nothing wrong with any one approach, as long as it’s safe and works for you.
George (to the reporter): “Look, you wanna have sex right now? Do want to have sex with me right now? Let’s go! C’mon, let’s go baby! C’mon!”
The great thing about a show like Seinfeld is its message and themes can be applied to many different areas in life, including fitness. So the next time you’re setting goals for yourself, or trying to find a new program, think, “What would Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine do?”
And the next time you get frustrated with a lack of progress, take a cue from Frank Constanza. “Serenity now!”
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