The curse of February 1st: Seven tips to not fail at fat loss in 2018
It’s January 1st, 2017.
You’re confident this year will be the year.
The year when you take charge of your health,
The year that you shed that extra 30lbs that has been slowly creeping onto your scale since your wedding day.
This is the year it will be different.
Or so you thought.
Was it different?
Did you get fired up in January to start working out and then quit by February 1st?
Did you diet religiously and then slowly return to your old ways of eating?
Did you start to see losses in body fat for a bit…
And then it all just stopped?
Well, you are not alone.
Every new year, millions of people decide that this will be the year that they get in shape, lose fat and start feeling good again.
So, this January 2018, don’t let this be you.
Make the choice to do things right…once and for all.
Here are 7 tips to not fail at fat loss in 2018.
1. Pick activities you like
Think back to your childhood – what activities did you enjoy?
What do you like to do today?
What things did you experience success with in the past?
What was it about those things that allowed you to be successful?
These are all questions you can ask when picking out activities to get back in shape.
I think so many times, people assume that health and fitness needs to happen in a fitness centre.
That’s not the case at all.
Did you love playing hockey as a kid?
Then dust off the skates and head to the outdoor.
Did you play high school volleyball?
Then join a women’s league and get busy.
Do stuff you like,
do stuff you’re good at,
do stuff you can see yourself doing for life.
2. Less is more
Again, you don’t need to be in a gym
if you do decide to hit the gym, think what’s realistic for you…
then take away a bit…
then do that.
For example, if you are confident you can exercise 3 times per week for 45 minutes.
Try three times per week for 30 minutes.
You’ll see why in the next point.
Since we’re on the topic of workouts, let’s talk about knock-down, drag-out, ass-kicking workouts…
Don’t do them.
Seriously, when starting back up, brutal workouts are a great way to:
i. Run yourself into the ground,
ii. Make you hate your life,
iii. Get injured,
iv. And not be successful.
Have more lower-intensity workouts.
Like foam rolling, stretching, yoga, walks with family and easier weight training sessions.
Hard workouts are okay once and while, but consistency trumps intensity any day of the week.
Focus on being consistent, then ramp up from there.
Your road to health and fitness will be paved with habits you acquire and actions you take every day.
Getting in shape, losing fat and getting control of your eating requires sound nutritional habits.
These habits might include eating slowly, eating 5 servings of vegetables per day, eating lean protein, etc.
Focus on one habit, not eighteen.
Once your one habit is mastered, move on to the next one.
Research on the success rate of habit formation indicates the following:
If you attempt one habit, you will have a 85% success rate.
If you attempt two habits, your success rate drops below 35%.
If you attempt three habits, your success rate drops below 5%.
Pick the habit that you think will have the greatest impact on your outcome and get to work.
3. Be confident
Success breeds success
There is nothing more defeating than setting a goal that you cannot accomplish.
So, set goals that you are super, super confident you can achieve.
Let’s take eating lean protein at 3 meals per day as an example.
Ask yourself the following magic question:
How confident am I that I can do this habit?
If you are not a 9 or 10, then scale back the habit until you are.
So, in our example, that may mean eating lean protein at 2 meals per day.
Again, success breeds success. So, build a success snowball.
4. Put your workouts in your calendar….right now….like, today!
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Make an appointment with yourself (or a coach) to exercise a few times each week.
It helps if it is at the same time and same days each week.
Fire up that iCal and schedule your success…today!
5. Focus on behaviours not outcomes
losing 30lbs of fat,
losing inches off your waist
and decreasing blood pressure
We cannot always control the outcome.
There are so many variables outside of our sphere of influence that can alter the outcome.
So, instead focus on behaviours.
We can always control how we act, behave and respond.
Every outcome can be broken down into a set of skills you need to master.
Every skill can be broken down into habits and daily actions you can take to reach that outcome.
Daily actions are within your control.
For example, to lose fat and keep it off (outcome), one of the skills necessary is appetite and hunger awareness.
Appetite and hunger awareness can be broken down into the daily action steps of eating slowly and eating until 80% full.
So, to lose fat (outcome), you would focus on eating slowly and eating until 80% full (daily actions).
6. Shape the path
In this book, the Health brothers liken habit change to riding an elephant down a path.
Your analytical brain is the rider.
This is the part of your brain that responds to things like numbers, data and facts.
Ie. This cupcake has 670 Calories.
Your emotional brain is the elephant.
The emotional brain responds to gut-level instincts.
For example, I am sad and when I’m sad, I like to eat cupcakes…give me that damn cupcake!
And the path is your environment.
Environment includes the food in your house, your friends and the danties in the lunchroom at work.
According to this analogy, the path can guide the elephant without the elephant getting too pissed off and going the other way.
So, shape your path by doing any or all of the following:
A. Clean out your kitchen by removing any red-light foods (foods that you don’t feel you can control yourself around)
B. Stock up your kitchen with green light foods (foods that are delicious and nutritious and that you feel you can comfortably eat)
C. Get new friends and make workout dates with them
D. For meetings, go for walks or a workout instead of coffee
E. Take your friends with you to yoga
F. Use triggers
-Lay out your gym clothes the night before
-Running shoes by the door
-Fish oil on the counter
-Reminder on your phone to eat slow
Again, if you want to read more about how to shape the path, check out the book, Switch by Chip and Dan Heath.
7. Crucial conversations
This builds on environment.
The aid of a supportive spouse is not required but it is a substantial asset.
The reality is that when you are eating together,
spending free time together,
And coordinating schedules,
you need your spouse to have an understanding of how this will impact their life.
If they understand how they can help,
they don’t have to guess or tip-toe around the issue.
You told them what’s up and then it is up to them to choose what they do.
An awesome book for this is Crucial Conversations.
These are some of the exact strategies we use to coach our clients to get fat loss that sticks.
Quick fixes lead to quick regaining of fat….and then some.
When you change the way you live,
they way you see yourself,
and the environment around you to be more conducive to health and fitness, that’s when you win.
That is when fat loss and getting in shape lasts for the whole year…and even longer.