It’s not always the loudest, most obvious or flashy that gets the results.
It took me a while to learn this. Back in my 20’s I’d always be drawn to the most ultra confident, (‘Arrogant’ my friends would say) showy and self obsessed dude in the room… Yes, we’re talking big muscles, tight tops and serious gold chains. (I still like those things at times so no offence intended I’m just painting a picture…)
However the ‘all talk’ guys like the ‘all talk’ approaches to weight loss (yep, I’ll make a weight loss analogy outta anything!) generally just lead to heart-ache. They brought out the worst in me. The results certainly weren’t very positive.
Skipping forward a fair few years I’m no longer tempted by the ‘Next Big Thing’ approach to weight loss.
If you’re frustrated at a lack of results – especially in relation to the amount of work you’re putting in – then there are 3 things to admit to yourself. The shiny bullet does not exist and it will take:
=> FOCUS. No program skipping… that stop start approach is guaranteed to disappoint.
=> TIME. There is not a set period of time… you are too individual for that. I can guarantee if you stick with it you will see results.
=> EFFORT. No one ever lounged or bought their way to fit and healthy… however there are many strategies that in combination can make the effort you need to put in seem easy.
So, if courage doesn’t roar what does it do?
It shows up every day.
Courage is consistent and it backs itself.
So, rather than arrogant, courage is self certain. Certainty of self allows you to push through:
=> when the results for your effort are showing AND when they are not.
=> when others support you AND when they do not.
=> when the odds are stacked in your favour AND when they are not. Do not be merely a ‘good time friend’ to YOU.
Rather then chase the next shiny thing Courage looks at what worked last time and does more of that.
Yes, that may not be as sexy or enticing however it works. Perhaps:
=> filling in a food diary.
=> taking your lunch to work.
=> committing to train with a personal trainer.
When I look at the people that I respect and admire. The people with amazing results – in business or weight loss – they are NEVER an overnight success. They are not lucky or vastly more gifted. They couldn’t BUY their way to success… not the people I respect that last long term anyway.
They simply decided to keep trying.
That is exactly the approach I took when I decided I was sick of my flabby thighs… and that I would do whatever it took to even out my naturally scrawny upper body and overly generous lower body. (my tactics there soon).
You see it’s easy to stick with something while you’re enjoying those initial results. As a new client shared with me yesterday. You take up and new habit – say cutting sugar – and it might delivery some pretty good results for a week or three. That’s motivating right? However what happens when you’re still cutting sugar and you stop shedding fat?
All too often the temptation is to focus on the restriction you’re feeling that is no longer delivering the results you expect. You feel a little despondant and more than a little resentful. You start to get complacent… and let sugar creep back into your day. AND your belief in your ability to ever stick to ‘this healthy eating thing’ takes another knock.
Courage knows it’s just a matter of time. That taking the right actions consistently WILL deliver the results.
It’s time to recognise you’ve taken that one upgrade as far as you can right now and the next step is to KEEP your first upgrade (cutting sugar in this example) and introduce the next upgrade.
Back to those flabby thighs?
I know it’s a common problem area for a lot of us so here are 3 considerations to Farewell Flabby Thighs:
A) The first step is to prioritise clean eating and regular weights training.
This is the foundation. To be more specific, my preference is to have a split program in which your lower body is covered twice weekly. Lift weights as heavy as you can with perfect form.
That’s within reason, most of us ladies have no need to pump out the heavy calf raises.
Again this was a lesson I learnt the hard way… Yes back in my 20’s, standing outside a night club wearing a rather minimal skirt and the ultra-confident-showy-self-obsessed-dude behind me commented loudly on my ‘tree-trunk’ calves! Calf raises have never made an appearance in my training since.
B) The next step is to further upgrade your eating and incorporate HIIT (high intensity interval training).
=> If you’re a soy fan this is the biggest change you can make. Ditch it. Tofu, soy milk, any of it. As a vego I used to be a bit of a soy fiend. However, sadly if mimics the effect of estrogen in your body and if estrogen gets outta whack (which can happen easy enough as less negotiable’s such as toxics and stress in your day to day living also mimic the effect of estrogen in your body) it can lead to extra fat storage in oestrogen sensitive areas such as the hips and thighs for ladies or man boobs for gents.
=> Increase your intake of cruciferous veg. These super veg are not only micronutrient rich, filling and have a low caloric density… they also help restore your estrogen levels to a healthy balance.
=> If you still have dairy look at halving it. No less food as you’ve doubled your fibrous veg right? Or include any of the increasingly available swaps for dairy such as: almond milk or coconut water (unsweetened) or in some situations eggs/egg whites.
I avoided high intensity interval training for as long as possible. I built it up in my mind to be this incredibly hard, painful and humbling experience. It felt like punishment. Possibly this is left over from my early days as a trainer in which we would take delight in devising The. Most. Extreme. And. Hard. Core. Evil. work-outs to put each other through! In time the evidence stacked up… every single chick who had the body I wanted did at least a little HIIT. So grudgingly I added it to my program. Even 6 minutes a week.
C) Have you guessed it? Step three, is nothing mind-blowingly new and unique. It is simply a further upgrade to your eating and exercising – while maintaining your current great habits.
The key is C.A.N.I. This acronym coined by Tony Robbins means:
A commitment to Constant And Never-ending Improvement.
My most recent upgrades have been numerous food swaps: such as eating fish for the first time in 20 years. Swapping to coconut oil in most of my cooking. Progressing my half dairy approach to dairy on the weekend. Swapping my yumbo – but super fake – protein powder for a Vegan-Bio-Fermented-Raw-Sprouted-Whole-Grain-Brown-Rice-Protein.
So far as exercise I’ve increased my training density within my weights sessions and included more body weight work. To increase your training density you simply get more done in the same OR LESS time. So it increases the training intensity… AND CAN SAVE TIME! Combining heavy barbell, dumbbell and machine work with body weight exercises is my fav way to train.
Like this lower body tri-set:
The quote that inspired this post is curtesy of Mary Anne Radmacher:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says, “I will try again tomorrow”
What are you going to try again tomorrow – or even better yet – back yourself and take that next step forward with today?