Behavior and habits is the name of the game. It’s all about what you do consistently that determines where you end up. For someone that wants to make change in their body, everything begins with small steps, not big steps. Seldom does an extreme diet ever get you to where you want to be permanently. Sure, there’s always a quick fix for temporary change, but for weight loss to be permanent, everything will depending on what do consistently.
So many people search for that one secret or dramatic solution to get them to their targeted goal body fat percentage – but it’s rarely ever realized because the band-aid fix eventually have to come off. Patch jobs that give a quick boost to your weight loss goal quickly revert back because the band aid has to come off.
Taking the band aid metaphor further. The “wound” that’s covered needs to scab and go through the healing process.
Think of the wound as the fat you want to lose. You can put some neosphorin, take some drugs to minimize pain, but eventually your body has to figure out how to deal what caused it.
In the case of fat loss, it’s the habits that have accumulated undesired fat gain.
Gaining an ounce of body fat a day results in less than half a pound a week. Mulitpled over a year, that’s over 20lbs of fat gain.
It’s the little things you do on a regular basis that make an impact on which direction you face, and where you ultimately end up.
So with that in mind, let’s list the 7 habits that make weight loss effective and permanent.
1.) Be Proactive
In other words, take initiative and do something.
For any weight loss goal to be effective, everything starts with you deciding on something. Making a choice that will move you in the direction of losing body fat.
Showing up to the gym for a class or training session. Signing up for a Gym membership, buying tupperware to plan meals or going for an out of the ordinary walk moves you in that direction.
Making a choice to take action that leads you to change. No matter how small, having purpose and deciding to make a step forward leads you where to go. A demanding business and family life will always find a way to stifle our efforts, but those demands will always be there. I can go on for days for how life gets in our way, and sure we can call them excuses, but I don’t see it like that.
It’s so easy to get caught up in deciding “this or that,” but there is always a better 3rd alternative. Be creative and think critically on how to make your life situation fit with your fitness goal. Rarely will it ever be optimal, but it’s a loser game to sacrifice your workout for work or family time. I get that it’s never easy, but understand there is always a better and creative way out there to be proactive.
The other day, I was low on steps (FitBit tracker) and thought about going for a run. It was 630pm and we were getting back from running errands. All I could think about was spending time with my 7 year old son and how he needed to a training session. Instead of taking him for a workout in the garage I decided he should go on a run with me. The run I do in our neighborhood is a 3 mile loop. I know that was bit much for his current fitness level, but I took him anyway. Sure we walked most of the time and at some points I had to carry him on my shoulders, but we got it done. He got a workout, I got a workout – it was win-win.
To top it off, I devised a creative way on how to get my son to drag his feet less. I told him to walk like ninja. #dadwinning
I have been putting off this article you’re reading for the past week and as much as I wanted to not do cardio and finish this article instead, I decided to draft parts of this article while I was on the treadmill.
2.) Begin with the End in Mind
I hate to say it, but “let’s see what happens” is a terrible weight loss strategy most of the time.
I’m the worst offender, but beginning with the end in mind is just what sounds like: SET GOALS.
Everyone is scared to fail, so by not setting goals we give ourselves the illusion of not falling. In truth, all it does is cause us to run around in circles to almost no where.
This advice is for myself: set small goals
A specific start and end period with a specific target. Pick a modest weight loss target and set daily behavior goals that will move you closer to that target.
I believe in big important goals to be major drivers in all your behaviors – but this can often be daunting and intimidating. Also, you just might not have one that’s important enough yet.
For the sake of this article, I’ll share with you my big fitness goal: to compete in a powerlifitng meet at 85kg or 181lbs. I have a ton of reasons that are driving me to achieve this, but I’ll save that for another blog post.
I’m currently 201lbs and my short term goal is to get down to 192lbs by August 1st. That’s less than 1 pound a week.
My behavior goals are as follows:
-Track my calories everyday in my fitness pal
-Do 90 minutes of cardio a week
-Weight train everyday with only 20 minutes dedicated to Squat, Bench or Deadlift
-Sweet treats no more than 2 days in a week
There’s more to it, but that’s more than enough to help set my path.
Set short term attainable goal followed by 3 or 4 behavior goals. If possible, set a big overarching goal with at least 3 major reasons why you want to get there.
3.) Put first things first
“If everything is important, nothing is.” -Patrick Lencioni
The 4 quadrants in 7 habits of highly effective people
1. Urgent and important
2. Important not urgent
3. Urgent not important
4. Not urgent not important
So much of our busy lives is spent in quadrant 1 or in urgent mode. We have to wait until we get too fat before we make it a weight loss priority.
We either have to feel terrible about ourselves to a point of not fitting into our clothes properly or we need to wait for our doctor to tell us we’re pre-diabetic.
….quick detour into personal psychology
This is a difficult habit to articulate because although we will make bad decisions from time to time, this doesn’t give us a license to be cruel to ourselves. When I write the second part to this article, I’ll dig deeper into it , but for now, lets just say the better you feel about yourself the better you will do in everything including a fitness program. So keep that in mind.
..back to the main topic
Quadrant 2 is where the bread and butter is. It’s how you keep your life balanced with weight loss. Focus on doing the small things before they become urgent. It’s like paying your electricity bill before they shut it off.
The situation goes from important not urgent to urgent and important.
In the case of weight loss, what should be the first thing you put first?
I think your already know the answer
I might get alot flack for this, but..
If you’re at all over fat by 25lbs or more, you do not eat healthy. There, I said it. So many people will say they “just need to exercise,” but in truth, the reason why most healthy (no pre-exsisting medical conditions) get over weight in the first place is because they consistently eat more than they burn. The list of excuses is long:
-The lack of enough physical activity
-High calorie food choices
-Too many hours working
-Not enough time plan prepare meals
-Too much travel time
I’m sure you could ad to the list, but you might say,
“But Ryan, I really don’t have enough time to prepare my meals and exercise.”
My response to you is, join the club, it’s difficult for most people. My best friend often says,
“It’s easy for you to say, you work in a gym.”
And I totally get that. I do have a lifestyle that makes it easier for me to exercise.
But saying stuff like that violates the first habit, be proactive. Some people don’t have kids, some people don’t have long work hours, some people have active lifestyles, some people have better genetics – there’s a ton of real world reason for why you can’t achieve something.
But what does that do? That’s putting the problem on something that’s totally outside of your control. I have clients that work in offices where their clients and co-workers bring sweet treats to sabotage their dieting efforts.
Let’s be real about things, a lot of that stuff is out of your control. You can only refuse eating it, or just eat less of it. You can do extra cardio, or you can eat when you’re suppose to so that when junk food crosses your path you’ll have self control.
Putting first things first, means just that. Take the time to plan ahead, put your nutrition first and do the best to diet around your obstacles. Hell, I just went to a kids birthday party yesterday and my kids came home with goodie bags. Did I eat some treats, hell yeah I did. Did I log it into my fitness pal? Yes I did.
I did the best could with my situation and that’s all I can ask of you. Do the best you can for your situation.
Did you like this article? Share it on facebook and twitter. In the next article I’ll be writing about the next 4 habits.
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