It's February, how are you doing with that New Year's Resolution? If your answer is "Amazing Jen!" then great job and feel free to skip this post! If on the other hand you're feeling a little underwhelmed by your progress thus far then read on and hopefully I can help.
I've been at this whole personal training/nutritional coaching thing for a while and I've noticed some patterns. Clients come to me hoping to lose some weight and they tell me their diet is actually "pretty good" or "healthy" however they're not seeing the progress they had hoped to see. I start asking questions about their daily eating habits and clients will admit they eat well "most of the time" but they get too busy on the weekends or maybe they occasionally snack after dinner on weeknights. It can be really hard to get a sense for how often they're actually making choices that move them toward their goals. I don't know what the heck "eating pretty well" means. If you feel like you're doing the right things to lose weight, but you aren't seeing progress it's time to take an HONEST look at your consistency and here's how you're going to do that.
First of all, you'll need to chose some metric for measuring your consistency. It's easiest to chose a specific habit to track so things are crystal clear, you either did it or you didn't. I ate "well" or "healthy" today is too broad. Here are a few ideas of habits to track, chose one that you think you can sustain and track easily.
- Calories - have a calorie goal and allow yourself a little bit of leeway 100cals over or under
- Protein - either protein with every meal or grams of protein per day
- Vegetables - choose a # of servings of vegetables to consume each day
- Eat to 80% Full
- Follow this portion control guide for each meal
These are just a few ideas, but you can apply the method I'm about to explain for any habit that you're trying to practice regularly.
The next step is to get a calendar, a black marker and a red marker. At the end of the day or the next morning put a big red X across the day if you successfully practiced the habit or a black 0 if you didn't. At the end of a month you'll have a clear idea if you've actually been as consistent as you thought you were. Shoot for at least 80% X's. If the month has 30 days, that would mean you'd try to get 24 X's and you'd have room to get six 0's.
Why does this simple method work? It forces you to assess your habits on a daily and monthly basis. If you have 15 0's and you're not seeing results then you know you could improve your consistency. If you're an X champion, maybe it's time to add another habit and track that one for a while. I've also noticed that my clients succumb to an "All or Nothing" mentality. If they can't be perfect then they go completely off the wagon and sabotage any hope of progress. Knowing you can have a few 0's and still be consistent over the course of a month gives you a little room for error without feeling like you've ruined everything.
This method isn't without flaws. Some people may get discouraged if they start wracking up the 0's and then give up. If that's the case then I suggest you try the "Two Day Rule". Regardless of whether you get a 0 try not to get two 0's in a row. That means you'll hit your habit AT LEAST 3 days which may not be perfect but sure as hell is better than nothing. I've got my own calendar going this month for tracking my calories. I hope to hit 90% consistency so here's an example of what that might look like.
I've struggled in the past to be consistent on the weekends. Using a calendar has helped me still have a few days to really indulge if I want to while practicing more moderation the rest of the days. It also allows you to plan around special events so that you can enjoy yourself without worrying about sabotaging your progress.
There are tons of habit calendars available for purchase or you can use a regular wall calendar if you want to get started tracking your consistency. It's the middle of the month but don't be afraid to start now, you can always track over 30 days rather than keeping it within the confines of a specific month. Give it a try and share your thoughts!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
What my clients are saying about me:
"Now that I've worked with Jen I see the value of having a trainer. She helps keep me on track and focused. I'm a busy mom and it's nice to have someone I trust give me my work outs. No more researching workouts in magazines or instagram. I get my own personalized program that works with my schedule and helps me achieve my goals faster."