I’ve probably talked to people about food — and heard their struggles with diet — more than anything else in 2019.
Enough times to see a few trends among those who succeed at this diet stuff and those who don’t.
So what have I seen work amongst my most successful transformations? It’s simple. You just need a roadmap (your diet and lifestyle blueprint with a goal in mind), a determined mountain climber (that’s you), and a Sherpa (a coach or accountability buddy to guide you).
Of course, you must first believe it will work. If you’ve failed a lot at this stuff in the past, you’re going to have some mindset barriers to overcome.
But once you believe, it boils down to working at the stuff I preach about often in this space.
Eat more protein and vegetables.
Strength train relative to your abilities.
Have patience and dust yourself off when you fall off.
If you can nail the basics for a long while, like many of my most successful clients, you’re going to change your identity, change your relationship with food and understand how it works at the most basic level.
That’s how you get results that last.
For those who never make any permanent progress, it’s usually because they hit a little snag, see an ad for some magic pill and start over.
You probably just need to stick to something long enough for a change.
When you commit, you’ll see progress because you’ll have no choice but to be patient.
You’ll quit self sabotaging.
You won’t overreact after a holiday where you’re up a few pounds of water because you get how the body works.
But it can’t be a side hobby in the early stages if you have plenty of weight to lose. Maintenance comes later.
It’ll be forced at times and you may curse my name (luckily it rhymes well with bad words).
But pretend you have no other choice but to succeed here.
When you prioritize health like you would going to work, results magically happen.
Because consistency is the only way. You’ve seen success in other areas of your life by doing the work when you didn’t feel like it. It’ll take the same effort with fitness some days. You won’t always be motivated.
But it’s worth it. And here’s why I say that, because I’ve been there. Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.
“Too heavy to ride”
That’s what I figured he was thinking as the “carny” tried to push the guard down over my belly.
I was probably too old to ride the “Dumbo Flying Elephant” anyway. But too heavy to ride? That stung. Rock bottom, or so I thought.
But there were a few more rock bottom moments that came after (like that time in senior year gym class when I had the worst bodyfat among the guys in the class).
You see, at this point in my life, back in the early 2000s, I had tried losing weight a number of ways.
I wasn’t blind to the fact I was overweight. It consumed my thoughts every day.
I starved myself, only to binge and repeat each week. I ran for miles, only to look skinny fat and put all the weight back on after I stopped running.
So what changed that last attempt? The one that made it all easier from here on out?
I fell in love with lifting weights, and it changed my genetic blueprint. Muscle was the X factor.
You see, that’s the problem with relying only on cardio or calorie-cutting to lose. You can’t continually add more and more cardio and take away more and more food forever.
Most get so fixated on the scale that they sacrifice that metabolism-preserving muscle in the process.
But you want to maintain muscle as you diet down, otherwise, you’ll be in a world of hurt when you end the diet with a skinny-fat bod.
Yes, “scale weight” will drop slower with this approach, but you’ll look and feel better during and after the diet and maintaining your results will come easier.
This is the shift I made that led to my success.
It took emphasizing weight training first and foremost.
It took a diet with sufficient protein and carbs to fuel the workouts.
You need to build up the good stuff in the gym and burn off the bad through diet.
The D.A.D. Method To Reach Your Goals
Now that you know what to do in a general sense, it’s another thing to actually do the right things consistently.
You can’t leave things to chance and hope it works out.
Your challenge is to set a fitness goal you will accomplish in 2020 and tell the world about it.
And in so doing, you will demonstrate to yourself and to those around you that you are in it for real this time.
What does that goal look like? Well, that’s up to you.
What do you most need to change?
Losing 30 pounds?
Adding 100 pounds to your squat?
Getting your blood pressure or blood sugar down to a healthy range?
Any kind of fitness or health goal will do. But whatever it is, just make sure it is something specific—and something you are slightly skeptical about achieving.
The point of this exercise is to become a person who commits to themselves. Big goals take big actions.
The idea of losing a lot of weight can be daunting.
I’ve been there.
But it’s a hell of a lot better than staying where you are, and that’s what it ultimately comes down to.
From The Daily Stoic blog:
“Don’t be surprised if so great a goal costs you many a sacrifice.”
But when you get to the point where it no longer feels like a sacrifice, you’ve won. When your identity changes to someone who makes good choices on autopilot, weight re-gain is unlikely.
So here’s how I suggest you map this plan of action out in 2020 using the D.A.D. Method.
The first D is the deadline. If you give yourself all the time in the world to do the thing, guess what?
That stupid human trick of procrastination will rear its head early and often and you’ll go in circles.
So set a hard deadline around the primary fitness goal you came up earlier: “By Dec. 2020 I want X”
Then break it down into 90-day target goals along the way to keep the hills to climb manageable.
Last year, I set a goal to help 150 new clients lose 10-30 pounds and my coach knew about it. Guess what happened? (176 clients to be exact)
But had I left it to chance and only had myself to hold me accountable to a goal I didn’t set, what do you think would’ve happened?
Next comes accountability. This is why I encourage you to tell others about your goal.
If it’s only shared in secret, it’s very easy to quit on yourself.
But if there’s someone involved who you don’t want to disappoint, you’re more likely to see it through.
In the end, who cares if you don’t quite reach your goal in the end?
The fact you committed to try will get you a lot further along the racetrack than if you didn’t set a target in the first place.
Direction is the final D and this just means having a blueprint to follow.
While your goal and the deadline are the macro targets, this one focuses on the micro targets, like the things you can do today to move you forward.
Your attention must shift to implementing the daily and weekly actions to achieve your goal.
Simple things like setting up a schedule and putting workouts in the calendar as reoccurring appointments.
Committing to a diet that aids your performance in the gym.
Prep a lunch instead of grabbing on the go.
Stick to a drink limit when you go out.
Don’t have your kryptonite food in the pantry.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
The “process” action steps are ultimately most important, but it needs to be fuelled by a driving force (your reasons for wanting to change and the end goal you’ve set).
All the best in 2020!
Mitch Calvert is a Winnipeg-based fat loss coach for men and women like his former self. Obese in his 20s, he now helps clients find their spark and lose weight the right way and keep it off for life. To inquire about his all new 2020 coaching intake, visit workwithmitch.ca or email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.