In over 25 years of running health and fitness clubs, we’ve gained a greater understanding of the factors that have the most impact on your success.
Be prepared to unlearn what you think you know
The media and society at large have done such a good job at telling us how we need to change if we want to succeed with weight management. We all think we know what we need to do, but as a society, we are failing to achieve at an ever-increasing weight.
Overweight people are told by their doctor to eat less and exercise more, to which they reply, “Hey, I know this!”
Skinny guys wanting to bulk up are told to eat more and lift heavy, to which they reply, “Hey, I know this!”
We’ve said and heard “I know!”, so many times that we’ve convinced ourselves that we really do know. Until we’ve proved to ourselves that we can succeed and achieve, it is possible that we don’t really “know” and have in fact shut off our minds to learning.
There will be high’s and low’s
In any journey such as the one you are about to commence there will always be times when everything seems to be working and habits and easily formed and adhered to, but there will also be more challenging times, when the general stress of life can try to derail you. If you accept that these times are going to occur before you start, then they will not stop you from continuing.
It may surprise you, but we would actually encourage you to relax your efforts from time to time. No one can successfully function at 100% all the time without some burnout.
It is important to realise that everyone will have different goals, some more aggressive that others. Take the example of an elite athlete and an amateur athlete. The goal for the elite may be a key track meet, such a s a World championships, there training will be hard and intense, but it will still be periodised. Periodisation simply accounts for the fact that to achieve the goal the athlete must plan for both periods of intense effort and focus, but also times of relaxation and rest. The goal for an amateur athlete is more likely to be a hobby, pursed outside of work or family life and may not have to same significance of a World Championship. The intensity of training and focus by the amateur is likely to be far less that the elite simply because the goal if different.
The same applies to weight management. If the goal is big, you may need more periodisation and a greater focus, than someone who only has a few pounds to lose.
Ultimately, it is ok to build in some flexibility into your journey. As long as you continue to see small incremental improvements towards you goal, then you should be encouraged to carry on without putting too much pressure on yourself.
Set a goal and measure your progress
You have probably heard the following analogy; when starting a journey from A to B, you would not simply hop in the car and start driving without any considerations for your route. You would most likely refer to a map or more likely now a sat nav. This would plot a course and tell you how long you should expect the journey to take. If the journey is long, you may well factor in a number of stops. Well your journey with Active Nutrition is the same.
Establish you starting position
Every journey has a beginning and an end, point A and point B. With weight management, the tendency is simply to focus on the goal, the end or point B. However, before starting a journey you need to establish where you currently are, where is point A, where are you beginning from. It is only by knowing where you are starting, that you can accurately establish your real progress on your journey.
To establish point A, or the beginning of your weight management journey, you need to carry out an assessment. As we have already established, the bathroom scales are neither an accurate assessment of where you are starting from nor your progress. A better assessment of your current position would be one or all of the following; a body composition test, a photo of you now, key body circumference measurements and blood work to indicate markers of health.
Determine where you are going
You need to set clear goals that are easy to measure. This is your point B, the end of your journey. If the journey is long then they may be intermediate goals along the route.
Draw the map
Once you have your points A and B, your starting point and your goal, you need to draw a map to get you there. Active Nutrition is designed to help you lay out your map and this map should lead to long term success and sustainable results.
Take the direct route
If you plug your points A and B into any modern sat nav, you will likely be offered one of several route options. You may want to take the scenic route because you have plenty of time and your goal is not very time critical. However in our experience this is generally not the case with Weight management. Why would you want to take the scenic route to a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Our Active Coach programme helps you to take the most direct route to point B, your goal. We try to keep you focused on the changes you can make that will have the greatest impact and lead you to sustainable progress.
Keep and eye on the dashboard
On a journey, the dashboard in your car will give you feedback on the most important parameters that you need to monitor, such as fuel level, engine temperature and oil level. On your nutrition journey you also need to keep and eye on your dashboard. This will include monitoring your nutrition timing, energy levels, relaxation periods, sleep pattern and stress levels.
Don’t use a detour unless you have to
You have a map, with a clearly marked route between A and B. Don’t be tempted to take a detour or a shortcut unless you really have to. A detour or a short cut could be the sexy new exercise programme that all the celebs are raving about or the latest fad diet that the magazines are writing about. Stick to the map and it will get you from A to B.
Progress will slow up
It is quite possible that at the start, you will experience some rapid improvements and progress towards your goal. Unfortunately this will not continue. Sorry, but this is the truth. If your initial goal is to 1% body fat every week and your starting body fat is 20%, you would be down to 0% body fat in under half a year, or in fact dead! This is not a great goal and is in fact more difficult that you might believe. So clearly it is unrealistic and you can see that as body fat reduces, the body will work harder to retain what is left.
To maintain progress, the body needs to be challenged if it is to adapt and progress. This will all be built into your plan. It is especially important not to let areas like your exercise plan become stagnant. What you undertake at the start will not continue to overload your body as you progress.
If you once again consider an analogy such as an elite athlete, the differences require to be the best are often the very small improvements in technique or fitness, that take the greatest effort to master and achieve.
Start basic and then fine-tune the programme
As a guide, there are general changes that most people struggling with both their weight and associated health issues can address. As a society, we have been very misled by the media, the medical profession and the government.
There are a number of simple habits that everybody should be trying to follow. As a starting point, you need to ensure that these are all in place, before progressing onto more individualization of the programme. These habits will be covered in detail later in the programme, however if you can adopt all of these, you will start to experience immediate progress.
Measure what motivates you
Everyone will have different goals and some may have associated health complications. If there are specific markers of progress that are going to motivate you then you should be measuring these. The frequency with which these are review will depend on the specific marker.
If you are measuring you cholesterol levels, it may be realistic to review this on a quarterly level. However if you are keen to monitor your body composition, it may be worth reviewing this on a monthly basis, which may allow you to address any plateaus in progress.
If cholesterol is of no real interest and more cosmetic measures such as body girth measurements are more motivating, then measure and monitor these. However, don’t forget that real fat loss or muscle gain, start from the inside out. Get healthy first and the goal will come.
Learn to live with the new you
If a goal is really to have power, you need to try to understand what impact this will have on your life. You need to try to think forward to the new you at your target weight and imagine how your life will be different. When you reach your new weight, what will change? At you new target weight, will you be more self-confident, more empowered and more courageous? Will it allow you to join in with activities and sport that you are currently excluded from? Will it change the relationships you have with friends, family or your partner?
Take time each week to envision how the new you will be different. You can achieve this with visualization techniques, NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming, relaxation and coaching support.
As you progress along your journey to improved dietary habits, keep these tips in mind and refer back to them if necessary. You will have hurdles to overcome, but the goal is totally achievable and the impact it will have on your life will make the determination all the more worthwhile.
Our Active Coach programme provides a very high level of support to help you improve your nutritional habits. Every client is assigned their own dedicated accountability coach who is a qualified and on hand to provide weekly support. We utilize the world class Precision Nutrition platform to guide and support each of our clients. It provides daily support and advice to help educate our clients about the steps to create lasting change and results.