A member at my fitness club came into my office some time ago for some advice. The mother of two was 46 years old and her name was Linda. For over one year she had been with us. She came to the club to exercise and train on a periodic basis. On this day she had a sparkle in her eye and an enthusiasm that I hadn’t seen out of her before.
“I want to enter a 12 Week Before and After weight loss competition. I could win prizes and money or even get my picture in the paper.”
This is what I need to lose,” she said as she grasped at her stomach. “Is this idea of mine any good?”
I wouldn’t call Linda “obese,” as she had the moderate amount of fat most women her age tend to have. She had the abdominal fat and the thigh and hip fat that most women in their forties struggle to lose.
“This is a great idea,” I said. You can get motivated with competitions. You can use that deadline and dangle a “prize” such as the money you mentioned which will keep you motivated and more focused than ever before.”
Linda wanted to get going. “Will you work with me so I can get started? I need to get my body fat measured with this enrollment kit.”
“I can help with that,” I said as I pulled out my fat calipers which are used to measure the amount of body fat on the body.
After I finished the test, I read back the measurements to her. “Twenty-seven percent is the amount. You have room for improvement but you’re quite average for someone your age.”
She didn’t like being “average.” She grabbed her belly fat and gave it a squeeze. “I want to get this down to 17% as I hear it’s a good level to be at.”
I told her that 17% was a very good goal buy that it would take plenty of work to reach that level as people generally lose around a half a percent of fat in a week. She had a goal to lose 10 percent in 12 weeks which I thought was too much too quickly.
She smiled and said, “I’m confident that I can do this. I work very hard and am very competitive.”
She came to the gym each day and worked out like a machine. She never missed a day at the gym and trained very hard to lose the weight. When I went out to walk through the gym she was there pumping iron as hard as possible. She told me she had a very strict diet without any cheating at all. I believed what she said and the results started to come quite quickly.
She would come into my office each week and have her body fat measured. Each week the fat went down. With each measurement she lost about 3 quarters of a percent which is above the average by quite a bit. Twice she lost one whole percent in one full week.
Some people might think that she was working too hard. She calculated and weighed herself and her lean body mass showed she wasn’t losing any muscle with just fat being lost. She had exceptional results for her efforts.
She had more success as the weeks went on and she kept going for the entire twelve weeks at the same intensity.
On day seven of the last week came in and had a measurement of her body fat and her final weight in. She had on jeans that used to be tight and they were literally falling off of her.
“See, see, see”, she said over and over again. She pulled at the waistband which was several sizes too large now.
I took the body fat measurement and was quite impressed. She had lost more than just fat, she was quite ripped.
On the last week she went down form 18% fat to 17% and that brought her total to an amazing 10% fat loss in just three months. I was impressed by this because very few people can lose this much in three months.
“I just measured your body fat,” I said,” No need to thank me.”
She thanked me again and then went to have her “after” pictures taken of her dramatic weight loss.
After that something weird happened. She never came back to the gym. I began to get quite concerned and I called her but she didn’t pick up the phone. I left her messages on several occasions. There were never any return calls.
After four months’ time I saw Linda again. She had a sullen looking face and no more happiness to her at all. She let out a big sigh when I asked her what she had been up to.
“I didn’t win the contest and I stopped working out after.”
“You’re a winner to me, it doesn’t matter where you placed,” I said. “Why did you stop your training?”
“I don’t really know how it happened. I messed up my diet and then lost my motivation. My weight is back to where it was before. I don’t want to know what my body fat is.”
“I am glad to see you back in the gym. Make yourself some new goal and then think for the long term. Having goals for twelve weeks in important but you can’t just have goals for twelve weeks. Fitness is for the rest of your life.”
She finished her workout but she looked quite defeated. She never again got into the condition she was in before the contest. She stayed with the club for some time but her workouts were sporadic again and into the same old patterns.
The thing about it is that Linda’s isn’t a unique case. I have seen this happen with both women and men of all ages. It happens with beginners and even professionals such as bodybuilders. Millions who “decide on a diet” quickly end the diet and then they gain back all the weight that they lost in the first place.
Something causes the drop of motivation and enthusiasm in these people. They succeed well in the short-term but they can’t sustain it. In the long- term about 95 out of 100 people fail to keep the weight loss going. Why do people reach goals but then they can’t seem to sustain them?
The answer can be stated this way: You need health and fitness for life and not just a few weeks.
If you do this you avoid the on and off routine and the up and down moments. Once you get into shape you can stay there. As you get into shape you can keep working out and get into better shape than before. This takes a different mindset than what you have had before. Here are seven tips that can help you succeed with weight loss.
These guidelines aren’t the quick fixes that people are used to. These quick fixes are part of the diet and fitness industry and they just don’t work in the long-term. It will take discipline, patience and the type of dedication that make you a part of the minority. You want to get those great results and then keep them.
Don’t Go On Diets
You don’t need to go on any diet because at some point you will need to go off the diet. Most diets by their nature just fail to deliver the results that you need. A diet by its definition is a temporary change in your diet that’s drastic. You change your eating behavior and your caloric intake and this isn’t maintainable. If you get to the goal you want you “go off” the diet and return to the way you ate before. This just starts your problems all over again. You can’t think of fitness and health as temporary or some sort of diet. You need to treat it as a lifestyle change where you incorporate good eating habits right from the start. This is something you do each day of your life without fail.
Eat Health Foods on a Consistent Basis
You need to eat healthy on a regular basis and eat those foods during the year. You need different healthy foods so you get all the nutrition that your body requires. You need to keep this up each and every month. When you want to lose fat you don’t need to make dietary changes you just exercise more and eat less of those healthy foods you were consuming before.
A Plan to Ease into Maintenance
You need a plan at times when your diet is going to be stricter such as training for a competition if you’re a bodybuilder. You will need a stricter regiment than the rest of the year when training for events. You need to follow a specific program like the one by Kyle Leon. You must plan ahead and have a transition into maintenance when you have a strict regiment to follow. When you don’t have a plan to transition you could have a big binge and then fall quickly off the wagon.
Change Behaviors a Few at a Time
Work on changing habits and behaviors a few at a time. Don’t make a ton of changes at once as this is unrealistic. It will take about 21 days of effort to replace the old habits with ones that are positive. Once you master each one of your habits it will become a part of your daily routine and then you can concentrate on the next one. With this method you can learn about 17 new good habits each year. This would have a big impact on your life and your health. You’ll get better results than if you try to change everything all at once. This is also easier for a beginner to start making positive changes toward better health and well-being.
Goals that Are Life Long
You need to make goals a habit that you keep for life. Your goal setting isn’t just something you do once or twice. Once you have that one goal you can transition and work on the next goal. When you have other goals to work towardsyou’ll have direction and those new goals will keep you going. Without more goals you’ll quickly fall back into your old patterns and go backwards instead of forwards. Once you have a goal done in the short term make sure you set another one and keep setting them so you don’t stop.
Realistic Time Frame for Goals
Make sure you set some deadlines for your weight loss and fitness goals. You need big goals to work towards but they must have a realistic time frame so you can achieve them. Time is a factor that can keep us from reaching our goals such as getting into shape. When the time frame is unrealistic then we might put too much pressure on ourselves and make reaching the goal far too difficult to achieve and we end up failing trying to reach it too fast. We want to give ourselves more time to meet our goals when it comes to things such as weight loss or getting in shape for the summer months.
Extend your Perspective on Time
If you want to be successful you need to extend your perspective on time for the long-term. Like a company that has a long-term business plan you need to have long-term fitness goals. If you want a high-level of fitness you need those goals to keep yourself motivated. Think of the consequences long-term of using some radical approach to weight loss such as pills or other aids that aren’t the best solution. The people that had fitness but then lost it probably didn’t look towards the long-term. You can set goals that go long into the future too. When you get old you don’t want to regret not caring about your health when you were younger.