I have been on a fairly intensive health kick for the past 3-4 weeks. Strict diet and calorie intake (although I did have one day that I fell of the wagon), little to no alcohol and I’ve been really motivated training-wise. This wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution. It was designed to be a lifestyle change, as I had allowed myself to slip into bad habits in the last 6 months or so.
I have not lost any weight on the scales (-0.2kg after my two week weigh in!) but I have seen massive improvement with how my body looks and how my clothes fit. There’s still a really long way to go, I want to drop my body fat % significantly, but I feel the visible changes that have occurred so far have been really positive and are serving to help keep up the motivation levels.
Plus I feel much, much stronger and just healthier generally.
It’s true though that diet is 70% of any weight loss program. Training is important yes, but if your diet isn’t right then you might gain strength but you won’t be seeing the changes you want. It seems obvious but I have only really now started to realised the significance of this. A few years ago, I was training A LOT but I pretty much ate anything I wanted. Most of it was healthy but I was just eating far too much. I still lost some weight solely on the basis of the amount of exercise I was doing (2-3 times a day where at least one of those sessions was high intensity), but I now wonder what I would have achieved if I had given any consideration to my diet and bothered to work on a calorie deficit.
I read somewhere that it takes 21 days for a new activity to become habit. Give or take a couple of weeks, I think that is probably a fair statement. For example, normally on a Wednesday I spend the last hour or so at work bemoaning (in my head at least) the fact that I have to get to a PT session that evening, I normally sit there thinking about how tired I am and how I don’t really feel like training and then I would start to consider cancelling.
When I started this new training program this year I promised myself I would make it to my training and stick to my diet for 21 days. I had one bad diet day and I have missed two training sessions (primarily due to the horrible weather we have had lately) but yesterday, 23 days into my new program, I realised that I didn’t have the usual 3 hours of dread preceding my PT session. When 5 o’clock came I simply got up from my desk, got changed and made my way over to the gym. I didn’t even consider the possibility of cancelling. Once I got to the gym I started to look forward to starting my session but strangely, when I was getting ready I neither anticipated or dreaded it. It was simply the next task on my list of things to do for the day.
It’s now part of my routine.
So if you are in a bit of a rutt and you are struggling to get motivated to change your habits, maybe a good way to start is by:
a) Setting yourself a clear- but realistic- goal to aim for (for me it is to drop x kg and y BF%) but I also had an interim goal to at least fit comfortably into my jeans (sans muffin-top!) by the 4 week mark which I can say I have now achieved 🙂
b) Making a promise to yourself that you will give it a fair try for a set time period (for me I was testing the 21 day theory and it seems to have worked).
c) Staying positive. I have not lost nearly as much weight as I expected to by now, but everyone’s body is different but as long as you recognise the positive results you ARE getting, you are making progress. If you aren’t seeing any positive changes then perhaps you just need to rethink the calorie intake, or look more closely at where the calories are coming from (online/App tools such as www.myfitnesspal.com or similar can be really helpful in this regard and the geek in me loves the fact that I can graph my progress and analyse the data!), or perhaps you need to look at whether you are really applying yourself as much as you can in your training.
The other benefit to all of this of course, is that once you start to feel good within yourself, it becomes a lot easier to cope with the unpleasant things in your life.
I feel like I’m getting the old Serene back, finally!
P.S. One final note on diet, don’t hate me, but I have to say it… WATER, WATER, WATER!