If you could make a few small changes in how you eat, and how you move during your day to make significant improvements in how you look and feel, would you? If your answer is “yes”, this series is for you.
This is part one of a blog series to show you what those changes are, and how to make them to help you achieve your goals (we’ll talk more about this later).
Let’s talk biology for a moment. The human body is composed of muscle, fat, bone, blood, organs, cartilage, tendons, and other stuff. But fat and muscle are the only two we have any control over. First of all, it is impossible to have 0% body fat, and why would you want that? Yuck! But it is possible to shift the composition of your body to have significantly less fat.
That’s where re-composition comes in. This is a word I got from The 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. Re-composition is a change in appearance by shifting your body’s muscle / bodyfat ratio. For example, a 20 pound shift in appearance for most people would be a very big deal–probably a change in clothing size. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a 20 pound loss in weight. As a matter of fact, it would be far more healthy if it were a 15 pound loss of body fat and a net gain of 5 pounds of muscle. We want our bodies to burn as many calories at rest as possible, right? We need muscle for that to happen! Google BMR for the scientific explanation.
Now what should your goal be? Only you can determine that, but let me give you some guidance.
Goals should be measurable. Wanting to look good in a swimsuit is great, but it’s not measurable. Choose a number that can be checked for progress. The scale is a necessary tool for this, but not the primary tool. The tape measure is also a tool, and should be used in conjunction with the scale, and other data points, like improvements in strength, and even noticing a difference in how your pants fit or how you look in the mirror. Speaking of the mirror, take three “before” pictures of yourself in a swimsuit (front, side, and back). Then measure your waist, hips, thighs, and upper arms. Guys measure your neck too. Write all of these numbers down in a journal, and every week or two take the measurements again. Don’t weigh yourself every day! Once a week is plenty, as a quick reminder. Put the picture someplace you can see it to motivate you.
Goals should be realistic. If you want to get back to your high school weight before your next reunion, that might be realistic if you are in your twenties or thirties, but if you are over forty, it may not be. This series is about small AND realistic changes, so choose something like the example above: a 20 pound shift in appearance to include not only fat loss, but muscle gain as well. Dropping a pants size or dress size is a very realistic goal.
Goals should be challenging. This hopefully will imply some work on your part. It took a long time for you to get the body composition you have right now, so plan on working hard implementing these changes AND sticking with them. I promise it will be worth it.
Goals should have an end date. Pick a date in the future to make the goal you set for yourself. I would recommend at least 60-90 days. If you make your goal sooner than that, great! If not, don’t get discouraged.
Ready to pick your goal? Awesome! I would love to hear what they are! Please consider leaving them in the comments.
Next post I will talk about some small nutritional changes you can make, as well as some nutritional myths that food companies would love for us to continue to believe .
P.S The very first thing you should change is what you drink. Starting with soft drinks. Eliminate them completely!! Diet soft drinks too. Not only will that help you lose body fat, but it will make you feel better too. I’ll explain why later.