The new year 2017, is just beginning. The new year is when you should be reevaluating your current path and if you don’t like where that path going, it’s a good time to redirect yourself onto a “better” path. That may mean letting go of some unproductive, habits and replacing them with productive and life enhancing habits.
Have you ever said something like this….?
“This year I’m going to lose weight and get into shape…..and I mean it this time!”
“This year things will be different!”
Losing fat, eating healthier, starting an exercise regimen (that you’ll stick to), becoming more productive and feeling better may be a few of the resolutions at the top of your 2017 list. Unfortunately, year after year, most people don’t achieve their new years resolutions. There are 7 common mistakes we make when taking actions towards our dreams. These mistakes actually drive us right back to square one. Personally, I have made many of the mistakes listed in this blog, but once I took the suggestions I’ve included I began achieving my goals and enjoying the process along the way.
Mistake 1: Trying To Run A Marathon Like A Sprint.
Losing weight is different from losing fat. It’s definitely pretty easy to lose “weight.” You can cut off your left leg, and you will lose “weight.” You can eat 500 calories day for three weeks or eat cardboard tasting meals and you will lose “weight” (you’ll lose your mind too.) This is why many “diet” programs charge you loads of money with money back guarantees (okay, they probably won’t charge you if they cut off your left leg). You will lose weight fast by doing these things. However, when you lose weight fast, I guarantee you, that you WILL gain it back again and that “weight” will bring a few extra FAT pounds with it.
Our bodies are designed NOT to lose weight. There are all sorts of mechanisms programed into your brain (I will go deeper into this concept in future blogs) that are there just too keep you from losing weight “fast.” Your mind and body recognize losing weight fast as an emergency, or a very significant danger to your survival. What you really want to lose is fat, keep your left leg. The best way to lose fat and keep it off is to NOT set off the triggers that tell your brain to put the “weight” back on.
Losing fat is like a marathon, it’s slow and steady; and, it may require some course adjustments along the way. Losing fat slowly is not as sexy as the sprint to lose weight. Losing fat takes time and requires that you change habits slowly and one at a time. However, done right, you won’t gain that a fat back again. Small consistent steps are key.
Mistake 2: Unrealistic Expectations
On January 2nd, many people dramatically change their eating habits, and at first it works. However, after a couple of days, maybe even a couple of weeks you start to crave ice cream, chips, pizza or whatever it is that you promised yourself you would never even think about again. Then you start to feel deprived, angry, hungry and overwhelmed. You may be one who actually hangs on through the cravings and hit your goal weight. The problem is, once you hit your goal weight, you go back to your old habits of eating and the weight creeps back on.
Try the 90-10 rule. Ninety percent of the time you are “on” your plan and ten percent of the time is “play time” where you can eat “off” your plan. I don’t like to call this “cheat time,” because it’s not cheating; it’s just being a human. Personally, I will NEVER regret eating my dad’s homemade pumpkin cobbler and home made vanilla ice cream during the holidays or sharing some sweet potato fries with my kids. I have planned for these times in my food plan because I have accepted that I am a human.
Mistake 3: Big Goals and No Tracking
We make resolutions because we know they will improve the quality of our lives. However, declaring your goals is the easy part.
I have to admit that I have done this in the past. I set a big goal. I wrote it down. I told the world about my big goal. I was determined to achieve my big goal. But, then……nothing happened. Well maybe a few things happened but the progress stopped fairly early. I moved on, until I read my goals the next year and remembered that I didn’t achieve the big goal I had set for myself.
This doesn’t happen anymore in my life. I discovered the missing link. Breaking down my big goal into smaller goals allowed me to feel successful along the way to my big goal. Breaking down also allowed me to track my progress toward my big goal.
Setting big goals is what we need to do to move our lives forward. But where do you start if you want to lose 50 pounds? How long should it REALISTICALLY take you to lose 50 pounds? What are the steps that move you closer every week to losing 50 pounds?
If you lost one pound per week it should take 50 weeks to lose 50 pounds. You may lose it faster than this, but you are setting yourself up for success by allowing human time in your goals setting time line. Human time is not linear, only book time is linear. I mean, are you never going to go out and get a glass of wine with your friends again?
Let’s assume that you will lose around five pounds in the first couple of weeks just by reducing the inflammation in your body because your eating is cleaned up. I would set your self up to lose one pound per week and on top of that, give yourself the extra two weeks, and make it a full year. Next you want to set a 10 pound goal for every 10 weeks. And that takes you right to the middle of December to lose 50 pounds OF (mostly) FAT. You may be thinking to yourself, “A whole year to lose 50 pounds? I could lose that in a few months if I double down.” Yes you could, however; you’ll be miserable, your friends won’t want to hang around you any more and by January of the next year, you will be pissed off that you are the six pounds heavier than you were last year when you set the goal.
At Mo-Mentum Fitness, almost every person who has lost a significant amount of fat and kept it off, did it slowly over time. They changed their habits one at a time, they set smaller goals along the way and they enjoyed themselves along the way. (Just a side note….many of our people started their path to losing significant amounts of weight through our challenges–just saying!)
When you break down your goals you start to have small successes, which are keys to long-term success. Instead of thinking “I’m only 1/10th of the way to my goal,” you’ve shifted your mindset and have already completed one goal; losing 10 pounds.
Mistake 4: Trying To Do It Alone
Humans have been tribal beings for thousands of years. We need a tribe to support us in our endeavors. It’s in our DNA. Setting a goal to lose fat and get healthier is hard enough to do it by yourself, let alone being surrounded by friends or co-workers that are constantly tempting you to break your new habits. There are numerous studies showing people who have solid support systems reach their goals at dramatically higher rates than those who try to achieve goals alone. This is especially true when those goals are health and fitness related.
Share your goals with your friends and family so you have support and accountability is vital. If you’re going to join a gym, make sure that it’s a friendly and fun and that you’re not treated like just another number. Even better, find a workout buddy or small group to people to train with every week. This way, you will receive the support and accountability you need on the day’s you want to quit!
Mistake 5: Staring With The Wrong Exercise Program
This kind of ties back into #1 – most people go from doing barely anything to trying to do advanced workouts in a day. And this is a sure fire way to either injure yourself or be so sore that it takes you a week before you’re able to do your next workout.
The best thing you can do before you get started is to get an assessment done by a qualified personal trainer. This way you know which exercises are appropriate for your starting point. Your goal may be to do 10 unassisted pull-ups but training with pull-ups everyday will not get you there, it will only destroy your shoulders. The idea of exercising is not to just make you feel tired and sore – it’s to systematically build your joints and muscles and more specifically, your cardiovascular, endocrine, neurological and muscular systems slowly so become strong and efficient enough to take you to your goals.
Mistake 6: Focusing Only On “Cardio”
One of the biggest myths in fitness is that if you want to lose weight you should focus on cardiovascular exercise. Yes you will lose weight if you do cardio exercise, but again you won’t keep the weight off and remember, your goal is to lose FAT. This is also a great way to tell the difference between a personal trainer who knows what they are talking about and one who does not.
If you really want to maximize fat loss, a mixture of resistance training and metabolic (interval) training is very effective and time savvy. Jumping on the treadmill or bike for an hour will not change your body enough to make an effective difference. It also takes up much more of your time. So if you live a busy lifestyle – then prioritize your resistance training over cardio.
Lean muscle mass raises your metabolism, which is what helps you keep the weight off. Muscle looks better on your body, it helps you to move more efficiently (also keeping you metabolism higher), and it releases and required hormones necessary help you keep fat off your body.
Fat is fluffy. Muscle is lean. And girls…..building muscles will not make you “bigger.” What makes you “bigger” is not building muscle or building muscle and not paying attention to what you put in your mouth AND not working with a professional trainer (A GOOD ONE) will help you build muscle and keep your fluffy fat on board too. Here’s the truth again, FAT IS FLUFFY, MUSCLE IS LEAN.
Mistake 7: Comparing Yourself With Others
I hear this question often, “Why is it taking me so long to lose weight? My friend lost her weight in just a few months.” It SEEMS like your friend lost all of her fat in just a short time. But you weren’t there when she was struggling through her weight loss, on the days she didn’t want to exercise but showed up to her training session anyways, on the day she told her friends she was going to pass on margaritas and chips and salsa because she had “splurged” two other times this week already. You watched her journey on Facebook; you watched the “magical” version of her journey.
Come on now! We ALL know that we show mostly the best parts of our lives on Social Media. Nobody wants to see ALL of your “rough days,” and you certainly don’t want to show them off. It is much easier to “watch” someone’s journey though a bunch of pictures posted on social media then it is to actually endure that journey.
And don’t even think about comparing your weight loss with the people who lose weight on reality weight loss shows. These shows are anything but real. Did you know that some of these shows wait for several weeks between weigh ins, making sure that the contestants have lost enough weight? It’s also easier to lose weight when you are not submerged in your everyday life and stresses, and when you know there are more than a million people watching you!
It took me several years to finally reach several goals I had set for myself. I make many of the seven mistakes listed above. But when I took the opposite actions, the suggestions I’ve given you here, everything changed.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been struggling with the same resolution for years. Today, is the day to get your mind right. Take action right now and ask yourself everyday, “In one year, how will I feel if I don’t reach my goals.” Then take action. The choice is always yours.