You might be wondering:
- How much exercise will it take to reach my goals?
- How much food is normal and necessary to reach my goals?
Those are hard questions to answer, but in our experience coaching tens of thousands of people, we’ve noticed that the people who have achieved their body change goals – and kept a hold of them long term – have figured out a way to do something, no matter how small, that moves them forward towards their goals every single day.
It’s a process to reach this stage, of course.
That daily effort to do something is what we work up to over time.
Finding your direction
When it comes to food, it’s really easy for our perceptions to become skewed through the years – we forget what a reasonable portion actually is, perhaps, or we never really learned it.
Relearning those skills is partly what slow eating and eating to 80% full helps us do so we can better balance our nutrient needs AND support our exercise – and these skills take practice, so don’t worry – we have a whole year!
This might be one of those things that plays with your mind on this journey.
Sometimes we have an unconscious sense of an upper and lower limit around food (and exercise) that can be hard to let go of.
As you bring awareness to this, you may notice that these limits aren’t actually hard and fast rules.
You have room to adjust and be flexible.
You can experiment.
The cool thing is that if you use outcome based decision-making (we’ll show you how), you can assess what’s happening.
- Am I losing weight at a rate I’m comfortable with?
- How’s what I’m doing working for me right now?
If things aren’t headed in the right direction, then you know you have to change something.
Great news! Two things that you have direct control over is how much you’re moving and how much you’re eating.
How can you find a balance of the two that helps YOU move forward?
Getting lean is a destination
It’s a specific goal you are keen to reach.
Making your way towards that goal is similar to taking a road trip in a car.
Let’s say you’re driving cross-country.
You know approximately how long it’ll take and approximately which route you want to go.
So off you go on your trip… and at times while you’re on the road, there are parts of the journey that really stink.
You have to drive longer than you want, sometimes.
You have to keep driving on really sunny days where your car feels like a hot box.
Your radio breaks.
You really need a pee when you’re miles from the next rest stop.
Yet you keep going, even in those times where it’s not comfortable nor easy.
Straight up truth – it’s not going to be fun the whole way.
This road to your goals is going to test your stamina, for sure.
You might be hungry at times.
There’ll be days you don’t sleep well, want to blow off your workout and you might have to work very hard to stay focused.
That is the trade-off that you make.
To say yes to reaching your destination, you have to say no to some of the creature comforts of being at home in your PJs.
To say yes to achieving your goals, you have to say no to old habits, old coping mechanisms, skipping workouts and making food choices that don’t serve you. (Not all the time, mind you, but certainly more often.)
Here’s the good news though – that trade-off is for a limited period of time.
The ride is only this intense for a relatively short while.
Once you get there, you’ve done a bunch of the leg work.
You’ve put in some hard miles!
These focused times will have given you skills and stamina that you didn’t have before.
You’re more equipped now to live the life you’ve been working towards.
Life gets messy. Keep moving forward anyhow.
But, you might be wondering, how do you live WHILE on the road towards getting lean?
What about those times when you can’t “just drive”??
It’s a great question.
During the year you are going to have times where you have more responsibilities.
When stressors appear in abundance and you can’t be as single-minded as you’d like to be about reaching your goals.
There is going to be a natural retreat and flow with your commitment to fitness, to your habits and your fitness journey, just as there are with every other thing in your life.
These retreat and flows are 100% normal and necessary.
When you find yourself in the midst of an ebb, here’s a thing that will help:
think of your fitness and nutrition efforts as a dial.
There are times when you’ll be able to dial your efforts up (that’s the flow!), and times when you’ll need to dial them down (there’s the retreat).
To keep moving forward, you never want to turn the dial off completely.
While on the road cross-country, some days you’ll drive more miles, other days you’ll drive less.
Yet you never drive 0 miles on any day.
Even 0.5 of a mile is distance traveled towards your destination, and those little bits all add up.
There’s a big difference between tuning your dial to 3, 2, or even a 1, and turning the whole thing off.
The key is finding doable—and effective—actions to sit on those 1, 2 and 3 (and beyond) channels of your dial, so you always have an option that matches the energy, time and headspace you have available.
Take a look here for some more ideas.
Being lean is a journey that you are going to be on for life. Using your dials will help you make that a reality – starting today.
Staying lean is a lifelong journey
One thing that’s really important to get your head around is that your goals require you to make a lifelong commitment to living in a different way.
Once you reach your destination, you want to stay there!
The journey isn’t over.
Being fit, healthy and lean is something that has to become part of your everyday existence.
It’s part of those little everyday decisions that you make because being lean is an outcome of a lean lifestyle.
Our output reflects our input – what we eat, how we move, how we think, how we live.
Leanness emerges almost as a “side effect” of our lifestyle, mindset, and who we are.
That means we aren’t going to focus solely on the drive cross-country, but ALSO on how you’ll set up your camp when you get there.
What many people do is work hard to reach their goal then, upon getting there, go back to their old ways.
That’s like driving all that way, putting in all those road miles, getting to your destination and then… turning straight back around and driving all the way back to where you came from!
Maybe you’ve done this too? Most of us have.
Where things get mixed up is thinking that we have to white knuckle our way to change – reach our goals via unsustainable effort, like eating very low calories or doing enormous amounts of exercise.
On our driving cross-country analogy, this would be trying to do the whole journey in 1 single, unbroken trip.
That’s a pretty fast way to burn out and encourage yourself to give up and go home, wouldn’t you say?
Yet, what we learn is that doing things this way means we can’t wait for things to get “back to normal” and that’s where it all falls down.
The easiest way to lose all the improvements you make – decreased body fat, increased muscle, improved fitness, that new relationship to food, etc… – is to:
- NOT learn the art of maintenance that allows you to create a long lasting lean lifestyle.
- NOT internalize a new set of habits so you can do all the things you need to with ease.
- NOT create a support network of good people around you who lift you up when things get hard.