Fitness vlogger Mario Tomic has made several videos about the practical changes he made to his diet and lifestyle in order to lose 50 pounds, shred his abs, and maintain 10 to 15 percent body fat. In the most recent video on his YouTube channel, Tomic shares the mental side of that journey, and the “epiphanies” which have helped him achieve—and sustain—his lean physique.

Tomic describes his mindset shift as installing a new mental operating system. In other words, rather than approaching his body transformation with the idea that he would diet, exercise, and then go back to normal once he lost the weight, he knew he had to think about what how he would be able to keep the weight off in the long term. “It wasn’t enough to make a simple, incremental improvement,” he says. “It had to be a complete overhaul of how I think about fitness, to really make it a part of who I am… [I made] a lifelong commitment to being the fittest and healthiest person that I can be, no matter what.”

Another realization was that this new lifestyle would involve a the self-discipline of learning to say no. “A lot of getting lean is inaction, it’s what you don’t do,” he says, describing the “delayed gratification” of saying no to that dessert or extra drink in order to stay on track with the results you want.

Tomic adds that accepting that inconvenience and discomfort would be big parts of the journey helped him. “Most people would love to have the results, but aren’t willing to do anything hard to get there,” he says. “The truth is, hard work and time are required no matter shortcuts or hacks you have, or how healthy you are, you have to apply yourself. Fitness is honest: use it or lose it.”

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