(Image credit: VeganLiftz)
You might expect a post like this to be filled with the typical "you're eating too much," "your workouts aren't effective," "you aren't taking the right supplements." But honestly, in my 7 years of experience as a trainer, those have not been the true reasons for stalled (or never started) weight loss.
In this post, I'm going to outline the biggest underlying culprits preventing you from reaching your health and fitness goals, I'm going to give you some basic tools you can start using today to begin making some real progress, and you're going to learn how to go from baby steps to lifestyle change in 7 short days. Ready? Let's get into it.
Losing weight and keeping it off takes dedication, patience, hard work, tenacity, and resilience. If your only reason for wanting to achieve your weight loss goals is because you have some Insta-model envy, you may find yourself slipping up every time it's a holiday, birthday, or... you know... weekend.
Starter fix: Dig deep and figure out the true why behind your goals. Try to take this beyond aesthetics and figure out what value you are placing on your end goal. What will it afford you? How will it change you? What do you stand to lose if you don't achieve it?
Girl friend, you know I love you, and I don't do the "tough love" thing often, but don't fool yourself into thinking you have less time than everybody else. I guarantee there are people less busy than you who are making more excuses. Just like there are people more busy than you, getting their goals accomplished. So now the question is... how will you leverage the time you do have?
Starter Fix: Map out your entire day tomorrow in a planner, notebook, calendar, your phone, whatever is easiest for you. Write down everything you will do from the moment you get up until the moment you go to bed. Plan meal times, project times, transit times, self care times, email times, meeting times, workout times, E-VER-Y-THING. Suddenly you might realize a) how much free time you actually have to work on your goals, or b) how much more productive you can be when you have a plan in place.
NOTE: Give yourself strict deadlines for every activity. Have you ever noticed it takes as long to finish a project as you give yourself? Set aside 2 hours to finish a project, it will take you 2 hours. Give yourself 20 minutes, it will take you 20 minutes.
If your energy is in the dumps, it's hard to find the motivation to do anything "extra" beyond the bare minimum of what is required of us to be semi-functional adults. Workouts, in particular, are extremely hard to rev yourself up for if there's nothing left in the tank.
Starter Fix: Prioritize 7+ hours of sleep. Now, I already here some of you gasping, saying there's no way!! But seriously, this needs to become a priority you are highly committed to if you hope to accomplish any fitness goal. Everything suffers if you aren't getting the proper amount of rest, especially your waistline.
Sleep is when our bodies repair muscles that we tear down in the gym, it's when we release the hormones that helps us lose weight, and it helps us regulate our hunger hormones during the day. People who lose even one hour of sleep have been shown to consumer 200 more calories the following day than those who got 7+ hours!
I contend that the #1 thing missing from majority of weight loss plans out there, and the reason that long term success rates of diets are so low, is we aren't addressing the mental shift required to make healthy eating and fitness a lifestyle change. You have to be ready to change the way you think about food, fitness, and yourself if you're going to have any longevity in your weight loss endeavors.
Starter Fix: Become more mindful as unhealthy habits arise. We often exist in a very reactionary state where we are constantly just responding to the onslaught of input our life brings us. Slooooow dooooown. Pay attention to when you struggle with cravings the most. Is it after a stressful meeting? When you're bored waiting for your husband to get home? When you get home from work and are ravenous because you skipped lunch again?
Take note of what unhealthy habits are triggered by emotions (like stress, anger, lack of control, joy, excitement, anxiety, etc.) and what actions are triggered simply by habits (Like eating ice cream as you watch your favorite show each night. Or like coming home and immediately sitting on the couch instead of hitting the gym.) Only once you have an awareness of where your less-than-healthy choices come from can you begin to change them at their core.
If you try a new diet every 2 weeks and have picked up 1800 rules for yourself and your eating habits along the way (I only eat eggs for breakfast, fruit only before lunch time, no grains on Thursdays, halt all food by 5:26 pm)... you may be overcomplicating things, and stalling your weight loss in the process.
Starter Fix: Pick a simple, sound plan... and stick to it for 4-6 weeks MINIMUM. Your body needs a chance to register what you're doing and respond accordingly. If you constantly are freaking it out with high calories, low calories, mass protein, no carbs, high carbs, high fat, low fat, it will stall you out and prevent you from seeing results even as you constantly put in the hard work to lose weight.
What is a "sound plan"? One that focuses on whole, unprocessed foods, proper portions, nutrient density, and ample hydration. Yeah guys... it's THAT simple. Want to make it even simpler? Download today's freebie, your simplified nutrition guide below!
I could get the best workout plan in the world handed to me by the most successful trainer out there. But guess what, if I hate doing the workouts... I will. not. do. them. At least not for longer than a few, short weeks. After which I will end up right back where I started. And so will you.
It's easy to jump on the latest fitness trends and programs, and if you find joy in that.. more power to you! But truthfully, what matters more than doing the "best" program or the most popular program, is doing the program that fits you.
Starter Fix: Experiment with as many different workouts as you can find. Try HIIT, running, biking, strength training, olympic lifting (with help of a certified professional), kick boxing, krav maga, acroyoga, regular yoga, dance, zumba, pilates, spin, hiking, swimming, surfing, plyometrics, trampoline-ing, rock-climbing, the list goes ON and ON! There's no need to slave away in the gym if you hate it, when you can find ways to move your body, burn calories, and reach your goals doing workouts you thoroughly enjoy and will continue doing.
Ever go through months of intense training and dieting with little to no results, and then you go on vacation and weight just falls off without you trying or thinking about it?
This is the power of stress my friends. Cortisol (a hormone released when we are stressed out, over worked, and undernourished) is known to cause retention of fat, namely belly fat.
So instead of waiting for your next reprieve from your hectic schedule, weave a self-care/de-stress practice into your daily life to put your body in a state where it is ready and willing to drop those unwanted pounds.
Starter Fix: Schedule in self-care like you would schedule in a workout or meeting with your boss. Make time to take a bath, journal, go for a walk, listen to music, play with your dog, meditate, get a massage, read, or anything else that leaves you feeling mentally and physically rejuvenated.
"What's with the "Starter" Fix?"
I say "Starter Fix" because it's something you can do today to begin chipping away at the barrier between you and your goals.
In these 7 days you'll:
Finish your week with a free coaching call with me ($100 value) to troubleshoot any struggles you had during the program and to help you prevent yourself from falling back into old unhealthy habits after the excitement of the program has worn off.
Learn more about my 7 Day Starter Program and sign up here.