Got Fat Loss?
Like much of the civilized world right now you want to know about fat loss. It’s the very edge of 2013. You are probably thinking up some new years resolutions. If you’re like most people, you also are making the wrong resolutions. Or your resolutions are poorly formed. Here are some ideas to help you make better resolutions.
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.
The definition of “resolution” implies a firm determination and decision. Many people tend to think of it in black/white terms. Either/Or. Fat Loss or … Fat Gain? That’s the catch here. If it’s total opposites, the only failure option available is to gain fat. Don’t get stuck in that trap.
Let’s begin by thinking of a Resolution as a Goal. A goal is a target. You either hit it or miss it. That simple. First of all a goal should be easily defined. Easily written down. Studies have been cited that people who write down a goal are more likely to achieve success than those that do not. Even if they never ever read that goal again. If they read that goal over and over and over they are even more likely to succeed. Your fat loss goal deserves the best chance of success. Write it down.
Fat Loss Goal? Write it down
Your goal has to be measurable, controllable, and achievable, with a starting point and an ending point. It must be a statement of fact as though it were true. Not a wish. Not a desire. Not a want.
I want to be a size 6. That’s not a goal. That’s a dream.
I am a size 8. I will be a size 6 in 10 weeks with carefully controlled nutrition and exercise. Now that’s a goal. It’s defined. It points to the process. It has a starting and ending point. It’s achievable in the time given for many people. It’s even measurable.
Measure your fat loss goals and succeed
There are at least a few ways to track your goal achievement. One way is to set a group of subgoals. Break down your fat loss milestones into smaller and smaller parts. It’s easier to do a little thing several times a day and see if it works than to do one thing every six months or so and just not know. I have a screenshot above from my PolarPersonalTrainer.com Web App. It syncs with my Polar FT60 Heart Rate Monitor Watch that I wear for most workouts. I can track to be sure I’m not coasting in my workouts. I can also see if I might be overtraining. I highly recommend one of the many different heart rate and fitness tracking apps.
Some people can handle daily or weekly weight checks. Others can’t. For body composition goals I don’t recommend weight-based goal numbers. As you work out your muscles might grow a bit, and muscles weigh more than fat. They also can store water better than fat. Your intestinal contents, what you eat on a daily basis, can also hold varying amounts of water. Weight isn’t always the best way to measure fat loss.
You an get a bodyfat percentage measurement on a regular basis from health departments, fitness facilities, trainers, and several others. It’s a good way to measure your fat loss, and in general it adjusts itself to the amount of muscle you have. You can also just go by how your clothes feel. Count the empty holes in your belt. When your pants fall off. Clothing sizes can vary quite a bit from the different manufacturers. One company can have you at a size 32″ pants and another at a size 36″ pants.
You can also track yourself with a diary or journal. Keep track of your daily accomplishments. Keep track of every single food item that goes into your mouth. Weigh it, measure it, note it. Keep track of how you feel when you wake, when you train, in the evening. Keep track of every ounce of weight you lift or push or pull. Keep track of every minute you do cardio of any type. Look back on previous results to compare and establish progress. You can eliminate a lot of fat loss excuses this way.
Reward your fat loss goal accomplishments
Some diet plans include cheat days. I’ve seen some pretty good math to show how you can totally sabotage your entire fat loss nutrition plan in a single meal. Just avoid it. After a while, if you think about it, it just seems desperate. Instead find things that you love to do. Things with your family. Things you love to wear. Things you consider luxurious otherwise. Go ahead and reward yourself. Just not with food. It’s like rewarding a thief for not stealing things for a year by allowing them free reign in a jewelry store.
One of my favorite rewards is a hike in the mountains with my family. I like to try a running event, like a half marathon in beautiful canyons. I know people who like to buy a clothing one size too small and work their way into a perfect fit. Do what works for you. Just don’t use food as your reward for fat loss success.
Take Fat Loss Goal Setting to the next level
When you first start setting goals, they should be easy enough you can hardly fail. Set microgoals that are easy and well defined and well measured. Here’s an example of one of these daily sets of microgoals.
Today I will wake at 5:00 AM, take my vitamins with a large glass of water. I will do 10:00 minutes on an elliptical at Level 4 as a warmup. I will do full Back Squats with 135 lb for 30 total reps in 15 minutes. I will do Leg Extensions with 60 lb for 50 total reps in 15 minutes. I will get on a treadmill and do 30:00 minutes at 6.0 mph and 3% incline. I will eat a high-protein, moderate carb, moderate fat meal. I will take a very hot shower and get ready for work.
Each of these little microgoals are an element of this daily goal. Each of these little chunks of action are simple enough to do, one after the other, to achieve this part of a larger fat loss goal. Aside from the weights and reps involved, which could easily be adjusted for anyone, these microgoals would be very difficult to fail at. When you first start, you need lots of success. As you become an expert at setting goals, you can make more and more advanced goals, with a higher probability of failure and it will not deter you from keeping on the path you set out on in the first place.
Fat Loss Goal Failure?
Yes. Sometimes it happens. You fail. Say that for some reason or other at the end of the 10 weeks you’re not a size 6. Now what? For one thing, if you’ve been keeping accurate measurements and a diary or journal, you probably would have noticed this a while ago and made some microgoal corrections. For myself I have recently had an issue that when I looked back on training journals from two years ago suddenly made sense and I was able to address it and possibly avoid a year of setbacks. Refer to your journals frequently.
You can also evaluate your goal and see if it was realistic. For some people 3 pounds of fat loss a week is possible. For others that might take six weeks. You find out what you can do or get away with by evaluating your failures.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas Edison
I think people probably need to fail to figure out their own success. Don’t let it get to you. Re-evaluate. Set a new goal based on your failure. At 185 lb and over 50 years of age I will never run a 4:00 minute mile. It would be silly to set a goal based on that. I will never have a 28″ waist. I will never do a triple-axel. But that doesn’t detract from any goals I set, so long as I avoid those exact goals. I can set a goal based on a 7:00 mile. I can set a goal based on a 32″ waist. I can set a goal based on a waltz jump combo. Find what you can do and focus on that. Not on what you can’t do.
I want you to explore the full range of setting goals and making achievements in your own fat loss program. This article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning to set goals. If you can, read books on goals. Listen to audio books on goals. If you can afford it, hire a trainer who has success with goals. Hire a life coach. You can get quite inexpensive online and phone life coaching. Some people are strong enough to do it on their own, some need help. If you want success, do what works for you. It’s your future. What’s it worth?