It’s December. The season of giving, the season of frantic holiday shopping and commitments, lunches with friends, and yes, the season of endless food appearing at your office. We could save this mini series on fat loss for the new Year, but we thought we would give you a head start to help you reach your goals.
And yes, this was actually my lunch in a sea of pies, so I really do get it.
I recently had lunch with a very good friend of mine, Paige, who shared that she was up 8 lbs from this time last year and that the doctor had advised her to get the 8 lbs off as soon as possible to avoid some very common health problems that affect many of us and have affected others in her family. All of this while I bob my head up and down as I too have had obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and chronic back pain debilitate members of my family.
She shared with me a time in her life before we met, that the weight came off easily and quickly and described step by step her process for achieving that weight loss. Which leads me to the two reasons you’re not burning fat. Either your program isn’t designed well, or your adherence to the program is well, less than optimal. We’re going to talk about the golden rules for fat loss that makes a program successful in another mini lesson. Today we’re going to focus on what we call the report card factor – your adherence to your program.
Paige focused on the process, not the end result to achieve her goal. Focusing solely on the end result will absolutely flat line your results. What do we mean by focusing on the end result? Let’s break this down.
The first question is outcome based. It answers either what happened or didn’t happen. The second and third questions are behavior based, answering the question of what you DID or DID not do.
Every success or failure is the result of a series of actions, moment by moment, day by day that mesh together to predict success or failure of your desired outcome. What you DID or DID NOT do.
While we like to think of weight loss as this mysterious unattainable goal, the formula is no different. Yes, there are some basic fat loss principles that we should adhere to, but in the end, the success of a program depends on the consistency of actions over and over and over throughout a day, a week, a month, over years that ultimately determine your OUTCOME. Just like hooping skills – it’s all about practice and passion!
Here’s an example. If you had a set of directions for making a hoop and you followed only 30% of the instructions, who’s fault is it when the hoop comes apart? Is it faulty instructions or you?
Shift your focus from the outcome based to behavior based. When we think about tracking fat loss, what do we normally do? We record our weight on a daily or weekly basis, and determine the success or failure from this magic number. Instead, we need to be focusing on what percentage of the day we are making the choices that will ultimately help us reach our goals.
Aim for 80 percent compliance over a 30 day period. 80 percent in report card land is a B, so we’re not even asking for perfect compliance here, just above average. Then and only then, after you reach 80 percent compliance over a thirty day period, should you focus on the OBJECTIVE marker – the number on the scale, the measurements, your body fat percentage. THEN you can see whether tweaks in your weight loss program design are needed.
Here’s how it works:
1) Each time you eat a meal that follows the guidelines of your specific fat loss program, put an “x” in the box.
2) Each time you eat a non compliant meal, put an O in the box. There’s some grey area here in terms of what you define as non compliant, based on your program. But most of us know a “miss” when we eat it.
At the end of each week, evaluate your success. Simply tally up the total meals scheduled for the week and subtract the boxes that contain a O. What’s your percentage of compliance?
In the example above, we used 4 meals a day times 7 days in the week. Out of 28 possible meals, we were compliant with 20. 20/28 is .71 or 71%. So we were complaint 71 percent of the time. Not bad, but could be better. And let’s get real. We all start somewhere, right? If your starting point is 40% adherence, then aim for 50 or 60% the following week. Set yourself up for success, not failure. Trying to go from 40% to 80 or 90% may be too much of a change.
And if you’re in that group that’s averaging 40% compliance, continue what you’re doing and pick ONE meal for the next week or two weeks to focus on. Don’t try to do a complete overhaul, get frustrated and quit.
I will share with you that my compliance is probably at an all time low. After my dad died suddenly late this summer, my coping mechanism was late night tv and eating. So many things changed in my life all at once, that was how I dealt with the stress. Could I have picked something better? Of course, but I’m not going to beat mysef up, and I can now focus on that one time frame of the day that’s throwing off my results. And to be fair, I gained some pretty mad quad hooping and juggling skills while dealing with grief.
Let us know how this helps you! We will be back with another mini lesson to help you through the holidays and beyond.
About the Author
Leigh Little is a certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Precision Nutrition Certified. She is a hoop dance performer and regular Canyon Hoops contributor with blog articles and videos and is the creator of Canyon Hoops Hoop Fitness DVD. To work with Leigh one on one for hoop fitness, dance, or weight loss contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org