Step Two- The What and When: What do you want to accomplish and when do you want to accomplish it by?
So we already figured out the obvious: you want to look better and maximize your attractiveness! So, now we need to establish what objective goal(s) need to be accomplished in order to realize this subjective dream.
Well, from a logistics standpoint and keeping things as cost effective as possible, there are three major ways I track “look better” progress with my clients, in order of importance from least to most important:
1.) Scale Weight: This is by far the least important goal, but it gives a number that’s worth tracking. Though body fat percentage would be a much better method of tracking progress, it is simply too inaccurate on a small scale and too costly on a large scale. The key is to taking your initial weight before you start and then not weighing more than every 2 weeks. I have found most people to do better with tracking their weight every month. There are simply too many variables for controlling your body weight and the natural fluctuations based on diet (and for women, their menstrual cycle), means the less frequently you do this the better. If the scale is just too de-motivating for you in general, then just skip this one altogether if you must, because the next two markers are far more important.
2.) Dress/Pant Size: This is probably the most simple and effective unused method of tracking whether or not you look better. I think it’s safe to say that if you are dropping dress and/or pant sizes that you will be looking better, right? Your best bet is to also select one dress or one pair of pants that you really want to get into since that is the true end goal in mind. I tell my clients to assess how they are fitting in their preferred dress/pant size tracker on a weekly or bi-weekly basis since our clients that follow our program exactly as outlined typically lose a dress and/or pant size every month (until they get to their ideal dimensions). For those of you who would want to argue that every outfitter has different sizes, well that’s a mute point if you use the same pant or dress size to track. There’s nothing more powerful literally being able to feel yourself comfortably get into clothes that use to almost rip when you put them on.
3.) Digital Pictures: Pictures don’t lie, that’s the bottom line. If you want to look better, what better way is there to assess this than pictures? I cannot begin to tell you how important this is. Taking a before picture is essentially you telling the whole world that you are ready to change and that you are ready to do whatever it takes to make those changes. They key is take pictures wearing exactly what you want to look your best in. Now, don’t be sending me naked pictures of yourself, ha (though you can keep these for yourself to track if you’d like). Maybe it’s taking pictures of you in the dress or pair of pants that you are using to track your dress or pant size. Or maybe it’s a sleeveless shirt and tank top that you want to wear during the summer. And if you want to see your abs, then you best believe that you need to take pictures of your abs to track how much more definition you get. Take a front, side, and rear view picture and be sure to note the exact conditions in which the picture was taken (lighting, distance from camera, time of day/week, etc.) to be as accurate as possible in your assessment. The clients whom I’ve transformed that failed to take before pictures in the past have nothing but regret about it. Your before pictures will become your trophy and they are an absolute must if you really are serious about getting results that count. I tell my clients to take new pictures either bi-weekly or monthly until they reach their goal(s).
Step Three- Planning and Preparing for Roadblocks: What are the big obstacles that will prevent you from having the success you desire? What’s contributed most to past failures?
Now that we know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to plan and prepare for any obstacles that might get in your way of getting the job done based on your own personal schedule.
In general, the number one thing I hear is that people are too busy and tired and don’t have enough time to get their workouts in or make their meals. Well, I don’t care how busy you think you are, there is always hidden time throughout the day and week that can be freed up if your re-prioritize. Again, think back to why you wanted to do this in the first place and then examine what’s most important to you. Make your workouts and your meal times just like work appointments. Either you make the appointment or you don’t. And if you want to keep your job (or get your dream body) then you better make that appointment.
Another big obstacle is alcohol. People like to drink and unfortunately alcohol is about as detrimental to burning fat as it gets. Again, what’s more important to you, looking good or getting hammered. The choice is yours. Remember, once you achieve your goal(s), alcohol can be added back in with moderation. But know this, lean people just don’t get wasted unless they are genetic freaks. Low to zero alcohol consumption is needed if you want to look your best year round and that’s a fact.
Lastly, many people deal with boredom eating or emotional eating. Boredom eating means just that, eating to fill up dead time when you have nothing better to do. The best way to deal with this is, you guessed it, to do something! Find an active hobby to keep your mind off of eating when boredom strikes and you can beat this trend. Emotional eating describes the use of food to cope with stress or to reward for accomplishment. Food is not unlike drugs or alcohol in this regard, it can be very addictive. There is no quick fix for emotional eating other than avoiding trigger situations (bars, parties, etc.) and trigger foods (starches, sugars, fast food, etc.) in the short term to break bad habits.
At the end of the day, whether your roadblocks are very individual or if they fall in line with the general roadblocks my clients encounter on a regular basis, the key is to be honest about them and to plan and prepare for them. And that’s where social support and accountability come into play. The clients who have had the most success with me have undergone their transformation with the support of other friends or family members. This is so critical, especially since most of the poor food and drinking choices that sabotage one’s progress occur on the weekend, when most people hang out with their friend and family. If they are committed with you and your goal to get fit and look better, you can put yourself in a much better position to realize the success your desire and deserve. The last thing anybody needs is sabotage or peer pressure from those closest to you, so get them on board and get them on board early.