Given the amount of free information out there in today’s society, it might seem like a simple process of eating less and moving more to lose fat. It’s just a case of reading a few articles, following a few people on Instagram and copying their workouts or diet plan and then seeing amazing results.
You’re right, the process is simple, but the execution is difficult.
Sticking to the plan is where everyone falls down. We start with the best intentions and are ready to achieve the body of our dreams…. until the first social outing… or the first box of donuts appear on the desk at work.
Knowing what to do and actually completing those tasks are two different things.
To really achieve that flat stomach you desire, or to finally lose that 10kgs you’ve been talking about for years, it requires consistency and sticking to the plan. You can calculate TDEE numbers and track your food until the cows come home, but until you consistently hit your numbers and create your energy deficit, you’ll be stuck wondering why “you just can’t lose weight”.
Everything I’ve ever wrote about or will write about means nothing without adherence.
The first step to adherence is truly knowing your ‘why’. Why do you want to achieve a certain goal? Not ‘what do you want to achieve’? But why? Setting out on your fat loss journey requires a lot of determination and planning.
If you don’t have a compelling reason to stick it out when you’re down in the dumps and can’t be bothered preparing your food, you are likely to opt for fast food or eat junk. You’ll take the easy option that can stall your progress and reignite bad habits that you worked so hard to break.
Willpower can only get you so far. Similar to the example above, you can only say no and resist temptation so many times before you eventually cave and give in to your urges. You need to create a set of strategies and build habits that can withstand any momentary lapses in willpower.
Did you ever play those fighting video games like Tekken or Mortal Kombat? Your health bar is like your willpower. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a bar above your character that shows how much health you have left until you lose the fight. Take too many hits and go deep into the red and you’re done.
Your willpower over the course of the day acts like this. You start out with a full bar. You’re determined, full of energy and can take on the world. It’s much easier to resist those office snacks at 9am than it is at 3pm… your willpower bar is full!
You’re also more likely to prepare a healthy, balanced breakfast when you’re fresh in the morning compared to preparing a healthy, balanced dinner when you’re exhausted at night.
Every decision you make over the course of the day, even those completely unrelated to your diet and nutrition, ‘wear’ you down. Your energy bar gets lower and lower until you eventually cave and give in to the takeaway shop down the street.
This is why it’s critical to eliminate as many decisions as you can to ‘save’ some of that willpower. If you’ve got food prepared at the office, that’s a decision gone. If you’ve got dinner already sorted at home, that’s another decision gone.
Preparation is key. It is much easier to stick to the plan and adhere to the changes in your routine when you have planned it all out. Plan and prepare your meals. Lock in your training sessions. Schedule regular breaks during the day to go for walks. Plan a weekly meet up with friends/family to go for a hike or bike ride.
Anything that you can do to make it easier to execute your plan is a good idea. When you try to wing it and make it up on the fly it just gives you one more potential reason for not doing what you’re supposed to do.
“I was too tired to cook tonight” – If you have already prepped your meal, you don’t eat the junk food.
“My trainer wasn’t available today” – If you have already planned your session, you don’t skip the gym.
“I don’t know why I’m not losing weight” – If you are tracking your food and progress, you can see patterns and make adjustments.
Regardless of the strategies you put in place to execute your fat loss goals, make sure you enjoy the process and do it in a way that promotes self-worth and makes you feel good about yourself; it shouldn’t make you stress about what foods you can and can’t eat, you shouldn’t have to eliminate entire food groups and stick to a crazy diet, you don’t have to starve yourself. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself:
“Could I do this forever?”
If the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t pursue that strategy.
Do you enjoy carbs and don’t want to eat high fat for the rest of your life? Don’t do keto.
Do you like lifting weights but hate high-intensity, sweaty cardio workouts? Don’t do HIIT.
Do you love eating breakfast and regular meals throughout the day? Don’t do intermittent fasting.
Figure out a plan of attack that can see you through the rest of your life in a healthy, balanced manner and give yourself the best possible chance of adhering to it.