We are a society of instant gratification. Advances in technology have programmed us to expect instant results with everything: information, communication, food, travel…you name it. We want what we want and we want it now.
Sure, you may like to think you’re patient, but think about the last time you were put on hold for more than 30 seconds – how much did you like that? What about being stuck in a traffic jam? Or waiting more than 20 minutes at a restaurant for your meal?
What I’m saying is, we’ve become a bunch of impatient assholes.
We get weary when we don’t see the payoff we expect within the time frame we want, and this is why most people fail at their fitness and weight loss goals. They don’t have the patience to stick with a plan long enough to see results.
Here’s the thing – once you pass that first hurdle and begin to notice changes in your body, staying with a diet and workout program is easy. It isn’t hard to get in the “zone” because you realize that your efforts are paying off. It becomes easy to resist temptations and complete each workout because you feel good, look better, and are hungry for more progress.
So the big question is: How do you reach your zone?
Simple. There are four keys: commitment, planning, measuring results, and record keeping.
If you’re like me, commitment is the c-word – but fear not! This is short-term…let’s say two weeks. Make a two-week commitment and turn it into a goal. For example, “for two weeks, I am going to commit to my diet and training routine.” Easy enough, right? Now write it down and post it in a place where you will see it a LOT. Tape a sign to your refrigerator door, stick a post-it to your computer monitor… whatever. You know that your ability to commit to two weeks of a diet and fitness routine has nothing to do with your ability and everything to do with your discipline. Think about what you want to accomplish, why you want it, and how badly you want it. Then make a promise to yourself to stick to your goal. Refuse to waver. Visualize the results you want and get excited about the inevitable payoff you will receive because of your commitment and discipline.
Okay, so you’re pumped up and ready to commit. It’s about time, fatass. Just kidding – that’s actually the toughest part. Now you need to create a blueprint for your commitment; this is the time when you map out your diet and fitness program. There are endless products and tons of information available on different diet plans and workout routines… but brace yourself for what I am about to say: most of it is overly hyped, brilliantly marketed, bullshit. Your fat is not going to vibrate off. You cannot “eat anything you want!” and lose weight. There isn’t a pill that’s going to make you look like Jessica Biel.
I know, I know. You’re crushed.
Well get over it. To lose weight, you’re going to have to eat fewer calories than you burn. Crazy, huh? But if you don’t want be skinnyfat, you’ll have to workout as well. This means you will need to create a training plan. Although diet is about 80% of the equation when it comes to body composition, the training aspect will certainly help to speed things up and create a sexy shape to your body.
This is a critical step because it will help you stay motivated beyond those first two weeks. Take body circumference and fat measurements, weigh yourself, and/or take progress photos. You need something tangible that will help you see progress, especially in the beginning. I think progress photos are the best option and I’m not a big fan of using the scale unless you have a substantial amount of weight to lose. With the scale, it becomes too easy to start obsessing. When losing fat and gaining muscle, you may be losing size but not weight… and that can become a mindf*&$ when you weigh yourself. I know nobody likes to have near-naked pictures taken of themselves when they aren’t super happy with the way their bodies look, but put your big girl panties on and do it. Nobody else will ever have to see them if you take them yourself and it will give you an opportunity to notice changes you wouldn’t otherwise.
The last key is record keeping – and there are three things you’ll want to record. First, it is vital that you keep track of everything you eat. From morning coffee with cream to the mini snickers from the candy dish at the doctor’s office (what?! I would never…), you need to track the macro-nutrients of everything you put in your body, at least in the beginning. I know it sounds like a pain, but if you track your food as you go, it really isn’t. There are some cool apps that make this incredibly easy, like My Fitness Pal and Serious Nutrition Tracker. I’m old school when it comes to this as I prefer a little journal that I can write in.
You will also need to record your training routines to keep track of both cardio and weight training. Record exercise types and times for your cardio - and exercise type, weight, number of reps, and number of sets for weight training. I track this in the same journal that I track my food in, but if you’re an anti-paper, tree-hugging hippie, there are some awesome apps available for this as well.
Finally, you will absolutely want to record your results. Write down weight loss, measurement changes, or keep a file where you can view your weekly progress photos side-by-side. If you’re feeling ballsy, register for an account on Bodybuilding.com’s online community, Bodyspace, and share your results with others. If you thrive on camaraderie, this is a great place to check out.
There you have it.
I told you it was pretty simple. We all have the tools at our disposal to lose weight and feel better about ourselves, but what separates the winners from the losers in the hot-body-battle is discipline and hunger for results. You can’t be complacent. You can’t be someone who settles. You have to decide what you want and make the necessary changes to achieve those results. Remember, anything worth having is worth working hard for. The question you need to ask yourself is: am I willing to put in the work?
Winner or loser – ultimately, it’s your choice.