Author of Conquer the Fat-Loss Code
Few things in this life are as frustrating as working hard to look better, firm up or slim down and, after a few weeks -- or a few months -- of eating right and exercising STILL having nothing to show for it! But take heart; often it's just the few, simple things we do to "kick start" our program that can make all the difference.
And let's not forget: progress shows up on the inside first and the outside second! All that hard work and effort is creating a healthier, heartier, stronger you, even if you can't see it right away. With spring nearly over and beach weather almost here, sometimes we just need a pre-summer "booster shot" to make sure that our outside catches up in time for bikini season.
The following 4-Step Guide will help you find the hidden saboteurs in your current diet and fitness plan and help you overcome the spring plateau to find you facing summer with a brand new you -- inside AND out:
• Step 1 – Hit the "Reset" Button: When something isn't working, it's insanity to keep doing what isn't paying off. If the scale isn't budging, if your pants still feel the same around the middle, if you know you've been trying your hardest and nothing is simply working, stop beating your head against the same brick wall and start all over again. That's right; hit the "reset" button. Treat tomorrow like the first day -- not the 101st -- and use this time to reexamine how you're approaching whatever system you've been using. Don't see it as a failure but as a new opportunity to reinvigorate and reexamine your current plan for cracks and leaks to see what might be going wrong.
• Step 2 – Write it Down: The best way to start from scratch is to go back and start writing down everything you put in your mouth for a few days. You may or may not have done this at the beginning of your program but, if so, do it again. Oftentimes we work so hard at the basics -- setting the alarm, exercising, cutting out one food group, etc. -- that we let other bad habits slip in, forgetting that our after-work out smoothie has more fat grams, sugar and calories than breakfast and lunch combined. It is often these systematic saboteurs that can derail an otherwise healthy fitness plan and the only way to properly identify them is to see them, in black and white, in a Food Diary.
• Step 3 – Give it Up: If, thanks to Step 2, you notice that those granola bars you've been nibbling on for breakfast are packing a whopping 340-calories and 16 grams of fat, not to mention 23 grams of sugar, try something else for a week and see if you notice a difference in either your weight or the fit of your pants. If you do everything the same and, one-by-one eliminate or replace one item at a time, like a sugary-sweet "healthy" granola bar or a calorie and fat-packed "health" smoothie, you have probably just identified your plateau culprit and by eliminating or replacing it you will see more and more progress as the weeks go by.
• Step 4 – Switch It Around: Lastly, the body doesn't respond well to routine. By that I mean the Law of Adaptation states that if you do the same thing, at the same pace, at the same time, for the same length of time every single day, even if it's something absolutely great for you like walking around the block six times or riding your bike for 35-minutes, your body WILL adapt and the exercise won't be as effective. It's always good to keep your body, and the Law of Adaptation, on their toes by switching up your workouts, your pace, your duration, even your mealtimes to keep the body active, your metabolism perky and your diet and fitness goals on track.
As you can see, as hard as you work, if you're not paying attention to those little details they can easily sneak up and derail all your hard work and effort. But fear not; now you have the tools -- four of them to be exact -- to be alert and vigilant for these fitness foes and diet disasters to look and feel great anytime of the year.
©2009 Wendy Chant, author of Conquer the Fat-Loss Code
Wendy Chant, author of Conquer the Fat-Loss Code, is a certified personal trainer and a specialist in performance nutrition. She holds a bachelor of science degree in medical science and nutrition science. A champion bodybuilder, she opened her own training center, ForeverFit® , in 1998.
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