Fresh off the stuffed ‘Thanksgiving Weekend Feeling’ (Canadians anyway…), and looking to drop a few lbs before Christmas?
Felt frustrated recently with your fitness progress?
Confused about what diet or exercise program to start?
Diving deep in the contractions of the online fitness and nutrition world?
Doing more homework on getting fit and dropping a few pounds than you likely need to?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret to weight loss success (and fitness success):
Get Started “Doing”
I know a lot of people who spend hours, if not days online researching fitness products.
I know others who poll their friends, ‘how do you feel about P90.x?’
I answer questions on Quora, all the time, ‘what the best fitness program for Y?’ or ‘what’s the best way to accomplish Z?’
It’s in our nature to research something we want to undertake, extensively, before we take action.
Especially certain types of us. We want to make informed decisions and hopefully not end up back tracking.
All that time you’re spending researching, could be put to better use by doing.
Focus on Coulds not Shoulds
I’ve had plenty of clients get fixated on ‘shoulds’ rather than ‘coulds.’ The ‘ideal thing’ to do, rather than any little thing they could be doing that moves them in the right direction.
The problem with shoulds is that they take up valuable cognitive resources. You spend too much time thinking about them.
You get stuck in limbo, rather than taking action on your coulds right now. Planning is great, if not absolutely necessary, but it can be done on the fly.
You don’t have to plan everything out from the get go because all plans will fail to account for new variables, as the pop up. Plans need to change to be good plans by design.
Don’t forget that we tend to learn best by doing. Part of that process means eliminating what doesn’t work for us as we experience them.
What works on paper or the internet, doesn’t always work for us. It’s theoretical knowledge vs practical knowledge. Or knowledge of vs knowledge how.
That means the more self-experimentation you can do, the more likely you’ll see success. Do a lot of little mini-experiments.
If it doesn’t seem feasible right now, don’t start with it. You can revisit it later or try it later. Get started with something approachable and simple.
If you want a plan, plan to get started.
You can pick up what you need to know for the first week if you did nothing but practice one lift.
By week two, you can pick up a second exercise (lift).
By week 8, you have eight solid exercises in your repertoire, or a couple of great nutrition habits downpack.
The best way to learn about something is to do it, learning as you go through a process.
Plan yes, but plan quickly, plan smart, and maybe even a little dirty. Pick one of a couple of things you know that are approachable to start right now.
Substituting one of your favourite foods for a tolerable but better spectrum food.
Doing a quick 10 minute workout right now instead of nothing.
These are quick and dirty plans. They are smart too, because they play to how behaviors really change. A little at a time.
You’re going to have to adjust as you go anyway, so it’s better to get started and to see what you’re made of. Then tweak your approach as you go.
Weight loss is a snowball effect, you start small, get on a roll and sooner or later you’ve got a huge snowball of success.
Don’t overcomplicate the journey.
Get a Mentor
Feedback on your path is really important. If you can, find a guide, mentor or hire a coach.
Having an external pair of objective eyes that can help you break down big complicated objectives into small manageable chunks is invaluable.
Those are the little things you can get started with right now.
Someone who knows how this stuff works, has been there, done that.
Someone who can guide you through a process that requires the least amount of time, by focusing on improving your limiting factors.
Books and information on the internet can only show you a generalist point of view; A coach shows you the specifics and applicability.
Knowledge is great. Practical knowledge is better.
Measure What’s Important
If you can’t find a coach, mentor or some kind of guide to do this for you.
You’re going to have to figure out how to track and measure the important things.
Why because it’s feedback and it’s free. Measuring progress helps you determine what’s working and what isn’t.
The best plan doesn’t matter if you can’t figure out what works and what doesn’t. Track your progress, and learn from your mistakes as well as your successes.
Short and sweet:
If you want to make progress losing weight, focus on improving one thing right now:
- Make one solid change to your eating patterns.
- Add a workout, even if it’s small.
- Develop mastery over one good movement
- Change a small aspect of your mindset and your approach.
- Do one small thing right now that moves the needle just a bit
Then get started on that one thing right now, don’t wait for tomorrow.
Also published on Medium.