I have to be honest with you, I have made every mistake on my way to knowing what works. I'm sharing some of those mistakes with you today in hopes of helping you to have sustainable success with your goal.
Let's dive in.
Mistake #1: I used to jump from program to program.
Be patient my friend. The name of this game is recommitment. Give your program a chance! Adherence is the only way to know with certainty if a program is effective or not. Anything less than 90% consistency is not adherence and sure to create mediocre results.
Mistake #2: I used to think that carbs were bad.
Gotta give the devil his due here, you may have intolerances to certain types of carbohydrates that cause bloating, poor digestion, or other symptoms. If you feel that carbs may actually be bad for you but aren't sure, learning is as simple as booking a food allergy test with your favourite naturopath.
Last thing, can we please stop with the carb bashing? Carbs are a macronutrient and provide glucose to the body. Maybe you're like I used to be and have a bad relationship with carbs. I used to over eat chips, breads and pastries so I was fatter because of that, not because of the carbs.
Mistake #3: I used to ignore my nutrition.
My body in the image above was the result of the following daily routine
- work as a personal trainer on my feet for 8 hours
- train 45mins weight lifting
- train 90mins brazilian jiu jitsu
- jog 30mins
- eat 1200 cals of whatever I wanted.
As you might guess, this was not a sustainable approach. I loved all the ways that I was training but it was just too much. Eventually I got an injury and had to rest. And since I was training and dieting in excess when I stopped I very quickly gained 15 pounds Learning how to easily create a perfectly balanced plate is the first lesson in my free 3 day fast start guide and something I wish I had known about back then.
Mistake #4: I used to think that drinking water was dumb.
Remember at the top of the article when I said I've made every mistake? Well this is possibly the most embarrassing one. I seriously didn't believe that drinking water was important to how well my body could perform. It took preparing to complete my first marathon to force me to into noticing how important hydration is to my performance. And the better my body can perform on a run the better it can burn fat too (bodily systems tend toward up regulating each other, as one system does better they all do better). If you think your water intake isn't having an effect, think again my friend. Forget to drink water at your peril!
Mistake #4: I used to do hours and hours of cardio per day.
I was doing that I call 'panic cutting' which means at least 60mins of cardio at a moderate to high intensity. It's was way too taxing, unsustainable, and just rough on my joints. And not a systematic way to approach a goal. A much better approach to mix moderate amounts of cardio at all intensities with metabolic resistance training.
Mistake #5: I drank way too much alcohol.
I'm not talking about one or two casual drinks per night. I'm talking binge drinking multiple nights per week. The body just can't get on track with all that toxicity. I say this next bit with love and without judgement, if you need to binge drink multiple nights per week then losing fat just isn't for you right now.
Mistake #6: I had a bedtime snacking habit.
It didn't matter how good I was doing during the day, by the evening I just had to have a sweet treat. I had conditioned myself to need this and reconditioning was somewhat challenging because of my mental state at the time. I found journalling to be very helpful in untangling my feelings and empowering myself to find the reasons behind making the changes that were important to me.
Mistake #7: I wasn't tracking anything.
For me this stemmed from an insecurity that I'm incapable of keeping the weight off so what would be the point of paying attention to progress that won't last. Believe me, I know how messed up that line of thinking was but it's what I believed at the time. Winging it is a good strategy if you want to prolong suffering and delay success. You can track anything here are some examples of common ways my clients track progress...
- progress photos (weekly)
- body fat percentage (monthly)
- scale weight (daily)
Mistake #8: I wasn't following enough inspiring fitness people.
I'm not talking about "influencers" showing their ass and abs (no judgement) but those hyper-normalized images tend to make our brains feel a sense of danger because the gap between us and looking like an influencer is so big we end up feeling defeated and unmotivated. Maybe that's just me but if you've struggled to lose fat I'd suggest finding more substance for inspiration. You've probably heard the saying... "we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with" If that's true and you don't have a few people on social media (after me of course) to push you do do more and be more then you're missing out on an easy results hack. Here are some of my sources of inspiration:
- Extreme Motivation on Spotify
- David Goggins sound bites on Youtube
- Tony Robbins sound bites on Youtube
- Crossfit Games Documentaries
- Kaisa Karanen on Instagram
Mistake #9: I used to lack a clear reason to lose the fat.
Without a strong why the costs of change will never outweigh the benefits and you'll be stuck in a loop of frustration and doubt. I have found writing 3 reasons for every benefit to be very helpful. For example: I am committing to seeing my abs because ..
1. I'll feel more like myself.
2. I'll have more respect for myself for finally doing it.
3. I can fit into that shirt from 5 years ago!
Mistake #10: I used to believe that anything I ate would make me fat.
I'm ending on a somewhat ridiculous and potentially jarring point because I used to disordered eat and I know someone will read this who suffers unnecessarily with the fear that anything they eat will make them fat. My friend, you can get past this feeling. I moved through this with therapy, positive self-talk, keeping promises to myself, and a lot of journalling.
My entire approach with my clients is to create an experience where they are losing fat while eating foods they enjoy. That's what sustainable fat loss is all about and that's the only way to have lasting results. You've got this.
If you found these personal mistakes and examples useful please share this article with a friend. And until next time, keep being yourself!