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March 28, 2011

One Thing You Can Do this Week for Successful Fat Loss

Here we go! Another Monday and you are ready to roll! Clean meals prepped? Check. Gym bag packed? Obviously. Alarm set for 5am every morning? Of course. Best intentions for perfect eating this week? Yep!

We often have the best intentions come Monday and yet many of us fail to reach our fat loss goal every single week. We make our food, pack our meals, launder our workout gear and get mentally prepared for the most perfect week on our eating and exercise schedule, yet, by Friday, we are tired, hungry and give in to skipping workouts, hitting happy hour and riding out the weekend in hopes of another great fitness week “starting Monday.” This happens to all of us and I have been there often. So what gives? Why do so many of us end up not meeting our goals, getting frustrated and then giving up?  Well, of course the reasons are many and wide spread, but I would like to tackle one simple tactic that can perhaps get us off the diet merry-go-round and into real body change & improvement over time: baby steps–just like Dr. Leo Marvin said in “What About Bob?”–the reality that trying to change every single thing all at once about an unhealthy lifestyle does not and will not work in the long run.

I met with a nutrition client a few weeks ago, and we were discussing some simple swaps she might consider making in her current routine to facilitate her fat loss goals.  I asked her about her day and as I made suggestions throughout, she kept insisting that she would change this and change that in order to follow my most ideal plan.  Though she always ate lunch out at a restaurant, she swore she would start brining it to work everyday.  Um, nope, not going to work in the end.  The key was to understand the things she is currently doing, and try to improve upon those.  The idea of implementing a whole lifestyle and habit overhaul is unrealistic and unsustainable.

What people are missing is that it is not about finding the “right” program and then using every ounce of will power to stick to it.  It is about first adopting a single change that is EASY to implement.  Then, consistently do that one single new thing for a few weeks, until it gets ingrained and doesn’t take as much mental energy.  Here’s an example: I had a client who was eating a normal breakfast, then nothing all day long and then eating straight from 7pm-midnight every night.  Instead of insisting she’d better start eating 6 small, homemade meals a day and stop the binging cold-turkey (which, of course is the ideal scenario), I instead had her drink a single protein shake around noon–that was it.  By adding something easy first and not taking away any of the bad stuff, we were able to help balance her blood sugar mid-day so that perhaps the evening binges would start taking care of themselves.  Baby steps.

In terms of lasting change, it is a common mistake to try to change everything at once and “be perfect.”  Instead, set small goals–i.e. ONE single goal for the week and make it something that you can easily implement with not as much mental energy.  Here are some great goals, choose 1 from the list and commit to it. Don’t try to do everything all at once, which will most likely set you up for failure in the long run:

– Eat breakfast if you usually don’t–try something quick like a protein smoothie
– Go for a walk outside for 30-60 minutes at least twice this week (maybe on your lunch hour?)
– Change up one of your steady-state workouts and make it a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session alternating 1 minute of all-out effort with 1 minute of recovery
– Eat an apple mid-afternoon with a handful of almonds, even if you aren’t hungry, it will help curb indulgences at night
– Skip your afternoon diet soda this week
– Try working out on an empty stomach at least 1 morning a week
– Commit to taking your 3g of fish oil every day
– Get to bed by 10pm
– Drink at least 3 L of plain water each day
– Make a hot cup of green tea in the afternoon
– Do 1 Metabolic Effect workout each week (in addition to or instead of other workouts)
– Skip your usual Starbucks frappachino and try an Americano instead, adding 2 tbsp of half & half is better than indulging in a frappachino or mocha or latte

The key to this stuff is really to be in tune with yourself–your schedule, your likes and dislikes and to be honest with what changes you can actually make and then implement over the long haul.  Just because you want to make a change does not mean it will be easy or even possible for you, but in time, with practice and using baby steps, you can get there, just like Bill Murray :)

What single healthy step are you going to take this week? Me? I have been slacking on my lifting lately, so for me, it is 4 days this week instead of my usual/lately regimen of 2 days. Nothing else! If I can achieve that, I will feel successful! And small successes lead to bigger ones! Good luck :) Let me know what you think! ox Jill

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