Summer is still here! You have time!
When I talk to people who want to lose fat, I see that many of them have great knowledge about nutrition and exercising, but still very few seem to achieve results with their fat loss plan.
If you’re constantly struggling with losing weight and following your routine, you might be doing something wrong. Let me show you how I manage to develop a plan that really works toward achieving my objectives and why is it necessary to have one.
1. Define Your Goal
Yeah, maybe you would say that this is a nonsense and you know what you want – to lose fat, to achieve your top form or just to maintain a good physical and mental health. Well, this is not your goal, because health, weight and form are very relative concepts.
You need to be more specific by defining your true goals, if not you’ll be doomed to failure. If you’ve already forgotten about your 2018 New Year’s resolutions, then the general goal setting might be the reason for your downfall or lack of motivation.
Of course, you need your general goal. This is your starting point, but then you should take it across the SMART method, as I have described in this article.
So, what do I mean?
SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time limited.
You should dress up your goals in these characteristics:
- Specific – Okay, you want to lose some weight. Do you want to change your body composition or to fit into smaller clothes’ size? Do you want to have a flat belly or more defined muscles?
- Measurable – I wouldn’t talk about fat loss in kilograms or pounds, because at the end its important how we look , not how much we weigh. So, think about body measurements and fitting into clothes. How much centimeters you want to lose from your thighs? How do you want to look in a beach wear? How much training sessions per week will get you closer to your goal?
- Achievable – How are you going to achieve your goals? Do you have enough time for working out or cooking your own meal? Do you know how to exercises for fat loss? Do you know how to eat for fat loss? And remember, if you have tried some diets and they had yo-yo effect, you should change your approach.
- Realistic – Well, 5 kilograms in a week is not a realistic goal. At least. Won’t be good for your health. Does your fat loss plan fit into your daily routine? If you start work at 7 am, waking up earlier for a morning workout, maybe not the best idea. You should be realistic about your schedule. Your colleague’s evening workout routine, for example, might work wonders for him or her, but if your job is too demanding, hitting the gym after work might not be for you.
- Time limited – When can you start applying your fat loss plan? Have you prepared everything that might be helpful? Do you have the resources to do it? You need to know that fat loss shouldn’t be rapid process in order to be healthy and sustainable. Plus, you should avoid losing more than 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) per week, because you don’t want to starve your body and slow down your metabolism.
Once you have defined your goals, don’t think of them as an unbreakable rule. You should stick to them, however, in the process you will find some gaps. These might be related to the duration of your workouts or meal prep techniques and you’ll have to redefine them in order to make them sustainable. Be flexible and don’t be afraid of changing the plan. Adjust it thousand times of necessary, just adhere to the SMART goal setting.
2. Put it in your weekly schedule
Once you have used the SMART method for your general goals, chunk them into actionable to-dos. Get yourself a weekly paper planner (or create one on your own!) and write down your smaller goals. Book time for yourself. Plan your workout or time for yourself as if you have a meeting with someone else.
You have to see that your time for a morning ritual, or workout, or even taking body measurements is already organized in advance. If you skip your smaller tasks, you’ll be aware that you won’t accomplish the weekly goal, so think of planning another time for your other obligations.
If you think you’re about to throw away your planner or keep it closed in your bag for the rest of your life, put the goals where you won’t miss them – on the fridge, on the mirror, above your bed, on your screensaver. It doesn’t matter what tools you’ll use, as long as they work for you!
3. Share it with your family and friends
This is how you’ll leave yourself no other option than achieving it! Just kidding. As might be expected, you’ll feel a little embarrassed of making a fuss around your fat loss journey and failing at it, but I want to make a different point.
In general, I believe that people are good and kind and they will show understanding to your mission. This always works! Once you explain the people around you why it is so important for you that this plan works this time, you’ll be amazed how supportive they will be. You might even find someone to motivate you more or someone who is trying to accomplish the same as you.
Every time you feel slightly saddened, you will have a colleague, a friend, a daughter or partner to cheer you back up. He or she will be there for a little help when the road to your desired body becomes “impassable”.
4. Turn it into a habit
Here comes the hard part. You should get your fat loss plan into action. And not only for a week or two but for the time you have planned for. People say you need about 21 days to make a new habit. Others try to prove the number of days is closer to 40, but we’ll stick to something in between - about 4 weeks.
If your goal is to lose fat, you should transform your daily routine into fat burning weapon. Including rich, balanced nutrition and daily physical activity. This won’t happen if you swim with the tide.
Try to change your lifestyle for 4 weeks by planning you training sessions, cooking strategies and possible hardships. First, you’re going to walk the road to your goals in your head, then you’ll try to maintain the new routine and finally, everything will come naturally.
The more habits related to your goals you develop, the more you multiply your success! But, please, remember that you have to start with one step at a time – in a word – create new habits one by one.
5. Develop a strategy for dealing with hardships.
Regardless of how perfect your plan and strategy for losing weight are, you will fail if you don’t schedule possible obstacles. You cannot control absolutely everything, thus you should think about plan B.
Losing motivation, getting sick, finding your car hit and missing the gym visit, having a headache, skipping lunch can happen to anyone. This is how life works – it surprises you and wants you unprepared.
Think about the things that would make it harder for you to remain true to your new mission and figure out ways to minimize their effects. For instance, if you don’t have time to have lunch, grab a handful raw nuts or a tablespoon tahini or even coconut oil. If you don’t have time to visit the gym, use every opportunity during the day to use the stairs, don’t call your colleagues, but go to their office.
These options might not be the BEST solution, but they’re better than nothing and show that you’re working hard for achieving your desired body.
6. Hold Yourself Accountable
A perfect way for you to become responsible for your actions is developing a tracking routine. Women are usually obsessed about their weight and jump on the scale every morning and every evening which is neither effective, nor motivating. The number on you scale doesn’t tell you much about your body fat.
Ditch the scale and track your progress once per week by taking body measurements with a tape measure and taking pictures. One week is absolutely enough to analyze how your fat loss is going and to figure out what you should change in order to improve your results next time.
7. Reward Yourself!
I know that is what you have waiting for – to know that you can reward yourself for your fitness and performance results! Think small for the big success. Break the final, big goal into smaller, achievable steps. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a huge fail.
Your final accomplishment should be always your focal point, but you should allow yourself to be happy and satisfied by every stage of completing it. If you don’t apply this approach, you’ll never be happy with your journey.
You shouldn’t be too rigorous to yourself, because the key to success is loving what you do. I’m not telling you to eat a whole chocolate cake or pizza for two every time you manage to complete a workout or stick to your nutrition plan for a week. Write down everything you’ve wanted recently. This could be a new bag, a new pair of shoes, new fitness outfit, a dinner in a fancy restaurant or even a trip.
I’m sure you’ll love the idea of having everything you want without feeling any guilt. This is how you’ll both satisfy your body and soul!
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