The holiday season being in full swing means that I suddenly become the most hated man in my area code.
Because nothing is worse than hearing your trainer harp at you for the 76th time, “Look, just exercise a little restraint here and you’ll be fine. Just make sure you drink your water, cut down on…”
I have briefly contemplated taking the months of December and January off each year to go snowboarding and leaving one of those cardboard cutouts of myself and a tape recorder on auto loop in my stead:
“Drink your water.”
“Avoid foods that raise your blood sugar.”
“Stay away from the dessert tray if you don’t think you will be able to control yourself.”
“Minimize your alcohol consumption.”
“That’s good. Now perform 5 more reps.”
…and so forth.
Today I had an encounter with a client I have been working with for two months now (with limited success). Of course, adherence to a lifestyle that creates fat burning in the body is tough for everyone this time of year, and I certainly understand that. But in the midst of conversation, I was reminded of something that I often repeat to my clients at the beginning of their programs:
Often times when we’re faced with a multi-tiered task (such as learning a new language, installing a new computer, or starting a business), we set ourselves up for failure not because we don’t have a plan but because the task seems so huge and overwhelming that subconsciously, we feel there is no way to complete all the little steps that ultimately lead to success. The end of the road seems so long and far away, we feel there’s no way to succeed, so we choose (subconsciously) to fail.
Modifying lifestyle and diet to reflect fat burning can be this way as well. Indeed, in most overfat individuals, nearly a complete overhaul of their lifestyle and diet is required to bring them back to health, not just fat burning. The laundry list of “things to do” is immense, and one gets the idea that “there’s no way I can be this good all the time.”
This is the perfection paradigm at work: Unless I am perfect, I cannot succeed.
Luckily for us, things don’t work this way. We can make mistakes – huge ones – and still succeed. We can take liberties here and there and still arrive at our goals in one piece (although this is probably not the preferred approach). What is important to the achievement of our goals (in life, not just in fat loss) is to do something rather than nothing.
In other words (to paraphrase a show I never watched growing up) , execution is half the battle.
It’s ok if you love starchy carbs and just can’t eliminate them from your diet no matter what you do. There are many ways to coexist with this health paradox. So long as you take one step in the right direction each day, you will ultimately succeed. There are many steps one can take to improve diet and to create a fat loss environment in the body – choose one and do it.
For example, you could:
- Increase your daily water intake to 64 – 128oz.
- Strength train twice a week, the right way.
- Decrease or eliminate sugary drinks from your diet.
- Increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Stop wasting time doing endless cardio – and do it the right way (if you must do it).
- Increase protein and fat consumption.
- Decrease or eliminate just pasta from your diet.
- Substitute whatever starches you do eat with their whole grain equivalent, i.e., whole wheat bread instead of white. (My friend Nikita did only this and he ended up losing over 10 pounds!)
Jay Abraham is fond of saying, “An improvement in any one of these factors will take you linear. But an improve in all these factors and you go exponential!” Truer words were never spoken. Each one of those listed factors will help you in losing a little bit of fat. Doing them in combination will optimize your results.
Don’t worry if you can’t do it perfectly; just execute. Do something.
Addendum: I ended up spending an extra 30 minutes gently refreshing my client’s memory vis a vis proper nutritional hygiene, exercise, etc. Hey, I may be the most hated man in the 212/917/201 area codes, but I’m still a nice guy.