It’s a new year so keep reading to learn how you can realize successful fat loss results in the next twelve months and beyond.
In college I wore a size zero in bottoms and an XS in tops. I had the body of Kate Moss, rail thin with long limbs except I was no model. I was an Asian nerd who ate a lot of rice and did a lot of cardio.
All of that exercise put me smack in the middle of the obese category. Yes, I was an obese skinny fat college student who struggled to find clothes that fit me.
Almost 20 years later and having gone through multiple fat loss journeys I’ve been able to easily maintain a body fat composition that falls into the athlete category. For most women their health goals are more fat loss related as oppose to just general weight loss.
We’d like to be able to eat more, have a higher metabolism and stay lean all at the same time.
Here I will share 4 steps that will help you succeed at your own fat loss journey.
What is your target?
On occasion I scan fitness forums to see if I can offer any advice for women asking for help. Those who catch my eye are the ones who have been putting in the hard workouts at the gym and eating a 1200 calorie diet for months at a time only to see no changes in the scale or in their appearances.
I feel their pain because I was there was once before.
When setting a goal it’s important to be clear about what exactly is your end result but it’s just as important to be clear about your starting point.
Often times we start with goals like wanting to lose some fat, some weight, or minimize the jiggle of some body part.
We don’t have specifics in mind which becomes a problem because without being specific it’s like hitting a moving target. We may or may not hit the bullseye.
To reach your goals you must ask specific questions and answer with details.
- What body fat percent do you want to reach?
- How many inches do you want to lose?
- What specific size clothing do you want to fit in?
Getting clear on your goals will help you to paint the picture of what you want so you know where to go.
The next step is to start with some accurate baseline measurements. These can include,
- Getting your body fat measured as accurately as possible with a DEXA scan.
- Taking measurements of specific body parts if you want to change their the size.
- Getting your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculated, a number that is very important for fat loss so that you know exactly how many calories to eat to get to your goal.
Baseline measurements are important because you’ll be able to see your starting point compared to the progress you are making as time goes on and you continue with your hard work.
There are many different ways to measure progress even if you cannot see change in the mirror.
Now what’s the fat loss action plan?
One of my favorite productivity books that really changed how much I got done is called “The 12-Week Year”.
The book challenged and showed you how to compress a year’s worth of goals into 12 weeks. It helped me get clear on what actions I needed to take to achieve my goals and created a sense of urgency to speed up the results.
In it there is a chapter called ‘Keeping Score’ which helps you get clear on the daily actions you must do in order to reach your goals.
Fat loss is a tricky goal because it’s dependent on a steady caloric deficit diet and an appropriate strength training workout while giving minimal feedback on whether you’re headed in the right direction.
It’s a journey about patience and trust that when you focus on the right behavior and habits the results will come. To help you stick with your goal you want to come up with an action plan that allows you to measure specific, tangible actions that you can perform on a daily basis.
When you are able to check off that you did those actions you will feel that you are making progress.
Start by identifying specific actions and what time you’re going to do them. Stating when you’re going to perform your action increases compliance.
So below are some examples of some specific actions you can measure that when done daily will produce fat loss results,
- Eat 30 grams of protein for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Do 1 hour of strength training at 5 PM on Mon, Wed, Fri
- Do 30 minutes of a HIIT workout at noon on Tue and Thurs
What are you using to track?
Now that you know exactly what you need part 2 of your effective fat loss action plan is tracking your actions?
James Clear, a productivity coach, highlighted an example used by comedian Jerry Seinfeld called the Calendar Method.
Each day an X is marked when a specific behavior is performed and over time you will see a chain of Xs that you don’t want to break.
This chain indicates your successful past behavior and it’ll serve as a reminder to help keep you consistent for future behavior.
You can also use an excel spreadsheet to create a list of specific behaviors you want to do and check it off when performed. There are plenty of apps that can help you do that too.
But whatever method you use make it as simple as possible. The goal is to track consistent behavior and the simpler it is to do the better the adherence.
Is someone joining you?
When fat loss is your goal the results can come slowly and it’s too easy to throw in the towel and say nothings working. During those times it’s even more important to stick to your action plan.
I find that the most successful people have an accountability partner of some sort. An accountability partner is a powerful way to make sure you follow through. No matter how organized or determined you are.
Publicly declares the importance of your goal and commitment by enlisting the help of an accountability partner.
It creates a sense of ownership and responsibility for bringing your goal to fruition. It also increases your chance of follow through.
There are many different ways to incorporate accountability into your life. You can do a weekly or even a daily check-in via phone, email or text. Some people find that when they make time to meet in person it increases the commitment and up the stakes.
An accountability partner can also help you work through some challenges that you may encounter along the way and brainstorm to help you figure it out how to solve it.
Most importantly your accountability partner can be the person who witnesses how far you have come from when you started. They can highlight the progress you’ve made and cheer you on.
Learn your BMI
Check your body mass index using this calculator you can find here. From there determine your body composition – muscle to fat ratio. It will help you know how to focus your workouts and eating habits.
Results in the fat loss journey are never linear but more like a wave where you might not see any results for a few weeks then see a big dip in body fat percentage.
It’s a goal that tests your patience. Even with the math and calculations stating that you should be there by now your body defies mathematics.
It will take longer than you expect but when you are tracking your actions day-to-day and consistently following through you can be confident that you’ll get there.
Having a fat loss goal is one of the best health goals you can make for your body. By following these 4 steps you can be sure that you will get there.
Now let’s hear from you. Share your story below.
Have you been on a fat loss journey before? What did you learn?