Starting a diet to follow it perfectly for 30 days or sticking with it only until you hit your goal weight will never leave you with lasting results. If anything, it will leave you more frustrated, out of shape, and further away from your goals than when you started.
Fat loss can be challenging, but the reality is you are probably making it more challenging than it needs to be. Stop hyper-focusing on tiny pebbles before getting the big rocks in check. Stop searching for shortcuts and magic solutions. And stop trying to find a “hack” for everything. The real “hack” is mastering the basics and creating a sustainable system.
Focus on these seven things and you will be well on your way to creating a body that you’re proud of:
1. Set a daily step goal and commit to hitting it
Increasing your daily movement via steps is the most underrated tool for fat loss. Your daily activity (NEAT) contributes significantly more to your daily calorie output than dedicated exercise time (aka your workout).
If you’re not hitting at least 7,000 steps daily... This is a low-hanging fruit. Start here!
2. Track your calories and protein
If you’re not tracking, you’re guessing. That won’t cut it if you’re serious about changing your body. What gets measured gets improved.
The reason I recommend focusing on just calories and protein instead of all 3 macros (carb, protein, and fat) is that you don’t need a perfect ratio of macros to get results. Anecdotally, I’ve seen better results with both myself and my clients when taking this approach. Playing “Macro Tetris” is confusing, frustrating, and frankly.. unnecessary. Instead, focus on what matters most, calories and protein.
3. Strength train 3-5 days per week
You cannot diet and cardio your way to a lean, athletic body. If you want to be “toned”, you need to have a solid foundation of muscle tissue on your body. Random workouts and throwing together exercises on the fly will certainly provide your muscles with a stimulus for change, however if you are trying to optimize your results, train smarter and follow a well-thought-out program.
4. Incorporate foods you love regularly
Burgers, pizza, desserts, drinks can all have a place in your diet while working towards your weight loss goals. If you’ve tried restriction before or cut out all the foods you enjoy... it probably backfired. That’s because we always want what we can’t have. Most people can “willpower” their way out of eating an Oreo or two. But what happens when you finally cave? Instead of having one or two... You eat the entire sleeve of Oreos. Sound familiar?
It’s important to learn how to incorporate your favorite treats without going off the rails or feeling guilty about it.
5. Stop stressing about small fluctuations on the scale
No matter how hard you work, how consistent you are, or how perfect you can be... the scale will not be down every day.
Stop panicking and changing your plan every time you see a fluctuation. This is normal.
Instead of looking at each day individually, look at weekly trends and use other metrics to measure your progress. Some examples include body measurements, pictures, how you feel, how you perform, how your clothes fit, etc.)
6. Be consistent but let go of perfection
The plan doesn’t work if you don’t... But understand that perfection is not required or realistic. Ditch the all-or-nothing mindset. It probably hasn’t gotten you anywhere thus far and won’t help you in the future.
Set yourself up for success by planning ahead, but understand that shit happens. You are human. Challenges will inevitably arise, and not every day will go according to plan. Learning how to pivot for curveballs, rather than throwing in the towel when things aren’t perfect, is a skill worth learning if you are dedicated to permanent transformation.
Aim for 80-90% consistency with your nutrition, exercise, and habits. This is enough to drive results and sustain them.
7. Commit to at least a 12-month journey
Quick fixes have never worked, and they never will. If it sounds too good to be true... it probably is. That’s the unsexy truth that the diet and fitness industry doesn’t want to tell you because hard work, consistency, and discipline don’t make them any money.
Understand that transforming your body takes time- probably much longer than you think. It won’t happen in a day, a week, or even a month. Playing the long game is key.
Learning how to periodize your nutrition and cycle through the different phases of nutrition is the magic pill you’ve been searching for.
Master these 7 habits, and you will lose body fat and finally get the body you’ve always dreamed of. Remember, if the methods aren’t sustainable, neither will the results. If you can't see yourself doing keto, whole 30, or (insert diet name here) forever, then it's not worth doing in the first place.
True results require a lifestyle change. It’s a forever kind of thing.