If you’re reading this, you might be in need of some motivation to lose weight.
I get it. We’ve all been there.
So make sure you bookmark this article because this is gonna be the last article you ever need for weight loss motivation.
You know how the story goes. That ONE thing happens and you get super motivated to make changes.
Maybe you saw some friends at work losing weight, or you came across some inspiring images on Instagram.
You decide to start going to the gym again. Give up junk food and desserts. No more snacking throughout the day.
It feels so good to be making the changes you’ve put off for so long but the inevitable happens.
Out of nowhere, all these changes seem tough.
Junk food is more desirable than ever.
Going to the gym feels like a chore.
So what happened?
All of the motivation to lose weight has dwindled to zero within a matter of weeks or days.
If you can relate, don’t worry.
Just about everyone who’s tried to lose weight and make changes in their life has experienced the same trials and loss of motivation.
The good news is everyone in the entire history of mankind has dealt with periods of low to no motivation. So don’t feel alone.
The bad news (for some) is that if you want to succeed, you’ll need to realize that motivation doesn’t have to be on high at all times in order to create the changes you want.
If you’ve ever struggled with weight loss motivation, look no further.
In this article, we’ll be covering the following ideas:
- Why losing weight is so hard
- Why Motivation is great, but not the solution
- How to get beyond the need for motivation
- How to make the decision-making process much easier on yourself
- Why willpower is probably finite (and how to hack it)
- How to get really clear on what your goals are
- Why you don’t have to be perfect to get results (why consistency should be the goal)
- How obsessing over details is likely hurting your progress
- Why social media skews our ability to set proper goals and realistic expectations
And then I’m going to lay out an 8-step framework for building your weight loss motivation.
The Tactics (The Framework):
- Start with your WHY (with exercises)
- Set a goal and work backward
- Determine your big rocks
- Commit to small changes at the beginning
- Set realistic expectations
- How to track progress (the secret to success)
- Why tracking increases motivation
- Get accountability and support
Part 1: The Philosophy
This is the so-called philosophy and opinions behind motivation. If you want to get to 8-step plan to staying motivated to lose weight, skip ahead to Part 2: The Motivation Blueprint.
Why Losing Weight Is So Damn Hard
The hardest part of losing weight isn’t finding the perfect training plan or diet (although we have those here).
And it’s not about taking the right supplements.
The hardest part is maintaining the consistency necessary to see the results you want.
It’s getting started and staying the course above and beyond the first few days of a new diet or workout plan.
It’s getting through the hard work, sore muscles, dietary changes, and initial feelings that oscillate between being excited and wanting to give up.
You see, whatever your current state is, whether you’re 10 pounds or 100+ pounds overweight, you got there because of a bunch of daily actions you took.
And humans are truly creatures of habit.
Think about it—we do the same things daily and we call this a routine. It’s just what we do. And those routines can either serve us or hurt us.
Bad routines, like morning stops for a large sugary coffee and pastries followed by a stressful day at work behind a desk at a job you hate, is a recipe for ill health.
Good routines, like early morning walks with the dogs out in nature before starting your day is likely going to be good for you.
And when you add up these days over time, you get massive progression or massive regression.
So when you get caught up in behaviors that have made you fat, or weak, or immobile, it’s very hard to push yourself in the opposite direction due to a little (or not so little) concept called inertia.
Inertia is defined as the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
Think of it like this.
Imagine you were sitting on a swing where your feet didn’t touch the ground and without anyone to push you to get started.
All you have is your body to get the swinging motion started.
The beginning is going to be the hardest part because you can’t push off the ground. You have no one to help you get it going. It’s all on you.
You’ll have to lean back, stick out your legs, then lean forward.
At first, getting the motion going is tough, but eventually, you get to swinging and it becomes easy.
Once you’re in motion, it takes relatively little effort compared to what it took to get started.
So remember. Starting out is often the hardest part, but once you get into a groove, it’s easier to keep going.
And by the way, starting out doesn’t mean the first action you take, such as the decision to change, or buying a program… it’s typically the first few weeks of taking action and changing your habits and behaviors.
Why Motivation Is Great, But NOT The Solution
I used to think being motivated was overrated and I’ll admit, I was partly wrong.
Feeling motivated is an important part of any process of improving oneself and if you never feel motivation, you will likely never make any changes.
Plus, never experiencing motivation could mean something is majorly wrong.
But for the sake of context, you’re not always going to feel motivated to do what it takes to lose weight and keep it off.
And that’s totally okay. Expected, even.
The truth is we need to understand what motivation is and how it relates to our feelings. Most of the time we believe that we must feel motivated in order to do something.
Some days I am incredibly motivated to go to the gym. I’m excited and can’t wait.
But I don’t feel that on most days. In fact, since I’ve been training for well over a decade, I rarely feel that jolt of excitement I used to when I was just getting started.
But I still go despite how I feel because it’s a deeply ingrained habit.
Motivation, oftentimes, is similar to a fleeting emotion. You feel it strongly for a few seconds, maybe a minute or two, then the feeling goes away.
An easy example is to think of a time you got really angry in a situation that didn’t last long.
For me, I think about road rage. There have been times I’d get so angry at the person who pulled out in front of me and I’d be yelling out my window telling them to ‘get wrecked.’
But I’d only be angry for a few seconds before turning back to my calm state.
That emotion was short-lived. I don’t go my entire drive and the rest of the afternoon thinking about how angry I was with the person who cut me off.
Motivation can be very similar in this regard. It will come and go, but it’s what you do in between those feelings of motivation that determine where you end up.
In short, motivation is the spark that gets you excited, but it doesn’t keep you going.
Keep this in mind: it’s important to feel motivated, otherwise, most of us would never get anything done.
But you cannot rely on motivation purely to eat better, train often, and ultimately, make the changes necessary to lose weight and keep it off.
How to get beyond the need for motivation
Now that you know motivation is necessary to get started, here’s what you need to know to successfully lose weight.
- You don’t always have to feel the motivation to do what’s necessary.
- You’ll likely find that you become more motivated, the more action you take (positive feedback loops).
Why Motivation Isn’t Always Necessary
In order to succeed with your weight loss, it comes down to a handful of things.
You likely need to eat better, exercise more, and turn these actions into regular habits, as opposed to something you do infrequently or when you ‘feel like it’ by waiting for a lightning strike of motivation.
So while you might feel motivated to hit the gym on Monday, you might not feel motivated to go on Wednesday or Friday.
But you should still go regardless of whether or not you feel like going.
The same can be said about nutrition.
If you decide to forgo fast food because it will help you lose weight and save you money, it’s important you stick to your decision even when you have a stressful day and just want to eat for comfort.
By committing yourself to making these decisions regularly, despite not feeling motivated or being sore, or having a craving, you will be working your willpower muscle.
And working on your willpower is very similar to working the muscles on your body.
You start slow and build up gradually over time.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you want to work out consistently.
It’s better to pick the 2-day-per-week program than the 6-day-per-week program when starting out.
Or it’s better to commit to walking for 20 minutes a few times per week than going for hour-long runs daily.
Because if you have a history of starting and stopping, then you want to make the smallest changes early on to ensure you remain consistent.
It’s much easier for the non-exerciser to hit the gym two days per week than to commit to going daily.
What does this matter?
Ultimately, you are probably thinking that a six day program would get better results in a shorter amount of time.
And you’d be right.
However, making drastic changes is HARD. Especially when those changes will often leave you sore and stiff. (I’m referring to the delayed onset muscle soreness that comes from weight training).
So when starting out, you want to make sure you’re successful as soon as possible.
Going to the gym twice per week is doable for most.
Motivation Comes From Action + Positive Feedback Loops
Do you want to feel like a winner or a loser? A success or a failure?
Obviously, we all want to feel like winners. We want to do the things that push us forward.
So the more ‘wins’ you can get early on, the more likely you’re going to succeed over the long term.
Go back to the example above about starting with less activity than more. If you log two training sessions per week for the next month, you’ll be 100% for all planned training.
As a result, you’ll likely feel really good about your effort.
The better you feel about your progress, the more likely you are to keep going.
The more you keep going, the better results you get.
This is called a positive feedback loop.
This happens with both exercise and diet. Here’s an example of the positive feedback loop in action with eating healthier foods:
And as you put in more effort and action, the more motivated you’ll be to keep going and maintain the progress.
Every action you take builds on top of one another.
It’s very much like my swing analogy above.
Once you get started, the hard part is over with and the easier it becomes to keep going.
But you must keep in mind that small wins are the key in the beginning. The more you succeed starting off, the better your chances of succeeding over the long term.
As you might imagine, getting started is hard, and keeping up your effort in the beginning is even harder.
So you should try to make the decision-making process as easy as possible.
How To Make The Decision-Making Process A No-Brainer
We make decisions every single day.
And many of these decisions are so automatic that we aren’t aware of them.
Things like showering, brushing your teeth, making breakfast, etc.
These decisions are not hard to make because we’ve solidified them as habits.
However, when you’re making an effort to lose weight, you should stack the deck of cards in your favor.
Make the changes so easy to implement that it’s impossible NOT to do them.
Here’s a quick example.
Let’s say you have a habit of running out the door and getting a large coffee and a bagel for breakfast on your way to work.
But you know that you would rather eat a breakfast that is healthy and good for you.
So here’s what I would do.
I’d commit to waking up 10-15 minutes earlier to have a fruit smoothie before leaving the house.
Then I’d make sure that I made the smoothie-making-process so easy I couldn’t ignore it.
I’d put the tub of protein powder on the counter near the blender. Then I’d make sure that my freezer was stocked with a few bags of frozen berries.
I’d then set out some fruit on the counter near the blender. Something like a banana or some apples.
So when I woke up the next day and went into the kitchen, all I had to do was the following:
- Add 1-2 scoops of protein to the blender
- Throw in a handful of frozen berries
- Toss in the banana
- Hit blend
This takes 60-90 seconds.
Then I’d drink it down and be DONE with breakfast for the day.
Note: this is not diet advice. Don’t eat something if you’re allergic or have other issues with those foods above.
Another example to build an exercise habit would be to pack your gym clothes in a bag and put it near the door or in your car the night before. So when you leave the house, you have no excuse for missing the gym when you get off work.
You might be wondering why do these things?
Why try to make this process as easy as possible for yourself?
The answer lies in what we know about willpower.
Why Willpower Is Probably Finite (and how to hack it).
Look. The science is not completely straightforward on this topic.
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of those two ideas.
But here’s what we do know through a simple observation (and it’s been studied as well).
Every decision you make during the day will put a strain on your ability to make the right decisions further into the day you get.
Here’s a quick illustration.
I am the most productive in the mornings. I think clearly, write better, have more energy for exercise, and tend to perform various tasks with a much higher performance at, say 10 a.m. than 7 p.m.
And the reason for this is because my brain is rested and refreshed from the night before.
So in order to do my best work, it’s imperative that I get the bulk of my writing and thinking completed before mid-afternoon.
Because I know that once I’ve made it to a certain point in the day, my ability to perform and think clearly massively diminishes.
Sure, I can still get things done later in the day, but my ability to operate at a high level is greatly impacted and it’s all due to decision fatigue (and fatigue in general).
After a long day, if you give me a choice between writing a 3,000-word article on carb cycling or binge-watching Rick and Morty episodes I’ve seen 10 times, I’m going with the Rick and Morty reruns.
As a result of this, I tend to keep my morning routine fairly simple and I have committed much of my daily mundane tasks to simple habits.
This way I have to expend virtually no willpower in order to make a decision on these tasks.
For example, my breakfast and lunch are typically the same foods every single day. This is also called uniform eating.
I wear similar clothes most days of the week so I don’t need to spend much time obsessing over what’s in fashion.
I always have my training planned out, often written by another coach so I can simply execute and not think about what to do when I get to the gym.
And I typically will write out my top 3 tasks for the day the night before so when I wake up, I know exactly what needs to be done.
How Does This Apply To Weight Loss Motivation?
In short, if weight loss is important to you, then you’ll want to make sure that you get the things done on a daily basis that contributes to your weight loss goals.
This includes the following:
- What you eat and how much you eat during the day.
- The type of training and how often you exercise during the week.
- What time you go to bed and what time you wake up.
In short, you don’t want to wake up every single day needing to make a decision on what to have for breakfast.
You don’t need to walk into the gym wondering what you’re going to do.
You shouldn’t be wondering what time you’ll go to sleep and what time you’ll wake up.
All of these decisions should be automatic in order for you to make the most progress with as little mental effort possible.
The Most Important Tasks Should Become Commitments, Not ‘Good Ideas’
So if you want to lose weight, you’ll prioritize exercise, diet, and rest habits accordingly.
Those actions won’t be left to chance. They’ll be so easily organized into your weekly calendar that you waste zero time when making decisions, and all of your time getting them done.
Before we get into WHAT to do, you have to get clear on your goals.
How To Get Clear On What Your Goals Are.
It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight” but how much do you want to lose?
It’s easy to say “I will exercise more” but what type of exercise will you commit to?
What will you enjoy?
Most goals are achievable, but not all goals will be achieved due to a lack of clarity.
It’s not enough to say you want to lose weight.
You must define it. How much? When will it happen?
Do you have a goal for how much weight you want to lose each week?
I cover the details of how to set these goals and stay committed to them in this section.
Before we get into that, you must know ONE thing.
Your Plan Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Get Results (why consistency should be the goal).
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
What this simple but powerful saying means is it’s easy to have a bunch of plans and good intentions to get something done, but you won’t ever reach your goal through actively working towards them (as opposed to planning without action).
It’s easy to sit down and map out a magical plan. It’s easy to get lost in the thought of how good life will be when you reach a certain goal.
But it’s way harder to put the plan into action and be consistent enough to see it through to the very end.
So my encouragement to you is to focus on taking imperfect action instead of being perfect.
In fact, here’s a saying I try to keep in front of me often.
Perfection prevents progress.
To me, this is a reminder that the more I try to be perfect with anything I do, the less I get done, and the slower I move toward my goals.
So if you plan to train 4 days per week, but have to miss a session once or twice per month, you’ve still managed to complete 14 sessions per month.
If you plan to eat a healthy breakfast every single day, but you wake up late and miss a few healthy breakfasts… you’ve still managed to eat a healthy breakfast 28 days of the month.
Missing one day will never derail your progress, but missing multiple days because you beat yourself up over not being perfect will surely keep you from achieving your weight loss goals.
Perfectionism is a curse, so let me explain why details are great, but they will absolutely destroy you if you’re not careful.
How Obsessing Over Details Is Likely Hurting Your Progress.
It’s human nature to want to learn as much as possible before trying something new or attempting to get in shape.
And having a baseline level of knowledge is recommended before embarking on a training program or drastically changing your diet, but there’s one thing you should know before anything else.
Knowledge is not power.
Knowledge is only power when you do something with it.
In fact, you don’t have to look far on the internet to see a bunch of armchair experts with all the knowledge in the world.
Many can tell you all about how to lift, eat, and make millions of dollars.
However, most of them are lacking any extensive experience doing the thing they’re so knowledgeable about.
This is the case where trying to learn everything can actually paralyze you.
Trying to find the perfect plan is normal.
We want to make as much progress as possible and not make any mistakes. I have no problem with this, actually.
We should want to do our best because let’s face it: time is limited. We’re all gonna die.
But by trying to avoid mistakes while aiming for perfection is a recipe for delaying the hard work.
It’s a trap.
“I’ll learn about all the diets out there and then make a decision.”
If you’re saying this… you’re avoiding the hard work.
“I need to understand all there is to know about advanced strength training before I start.”
If you really need to learn all there is to know, you will NEVER get started.
Details are important, but you can’t learn them all at once.
Trying to gain more knowledge is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you only try to learn by consuming information without gaining experience, you’re only delaying your progress.
And it’s easy to feel like you’re getting ahead when you spend all your extra time reading about training and nutrition. I mean, that’s doing something right?
But if you’re not applying it, you’re actually wasting time and hurting your ability to build those positive feedback loops quickly.
Why Social Media Skews Our Ability To Set Proper Goals And Realistic Expectations
Social media is a curse for weight loss motivation.
Everything you’re seeing is fabricated and made to be viewed in the best possible light, both literally and figuratively.
Before and after photos, weight loss transformations, pithy statements of giving it your all, never giving up, and believing in yourself are likely destroying your ability to make progress.
Why? Aren’t these good messages for motivation and inspiration?
For some people, yes… but for most? It’s a massive delusion and setting you up for major failure.
We all want things to be easier than they are and putting yourself through hard workouts can be very challenging.
Making healthier meals at home instead of indulging in your favorite fast foods takes real effort.
And the focus required to lose 30 pounds, or stick to a diet longer than a few days is not always going to be fun.
You see, social media feeds have trained our brains to want everything quickly and easily. In fact, apps like Facebook and Instagram are engineered to keep you hooked.
The dopamine release we get from a never-ending stream of stimulus is akin to a drug addiction.
It’s just that you’re addicted to the feel-good chemicals produced in your brain as opposed to crack cocaine or whatever your local dealer mixed up in his bathtub.
Ever catch yourself opening your phone despite no notifications displaying on your screen that would prompt a response?
It’s called Intermittent Variable Rewards (or the slot machine effect).
If you don’t believe me, just read some of Tristan Harris’ work.
- Tech companies design your life.
- How tech hijacks people’s minds.
- The secret ways social media is built for addiction.
Scrolling through a feed full of transformation photos isn’t doing anything for your motivation. In fact, it’s making you believe that a transformation should be easy and that it can happen quickly.
And when it doesn’t, you’re in for a rude awakening, making it easy to give up and go back to other activities that are low in effort but high in reward.
So now you know the realities, let me show you how to make the best use of the motivational spark possible.
Part 2: The Weight Loss Motivation Blueprint
Motivation is the spark. But to keep going, you need strategy and action.
Before I spill the beans, I want you to know one thing: there will be hard days.
Some days you won’t feel like working on your goal. Some days you’ll be sore and feel like skipping the gym.
Other days you’ll not want to follow a diet and resort to your old eating habits.
Some days you’ll feel like giving up altogether.
This is normal.
Just remember that everyone experiences hard days when they’re dieting or training for a specific goal.
The person who succeeds is the one who commits to the process, not the outcome. The one who commits to consistency over perfection.
You with me?
Start With Your WHY (An Exercise)
In Stay Leaner, Longer, I outline an exercise to help you build some intrinsic motivation with a backbone.
It’s easy to say you want to lose 20 pounds, fit into your old pair of jeans, or get ripped for the beach.
But believe it or not, those are fairly shallow statements on their own.
The secret is to dig a bit deeper.
Figure out why you want to lose those 20 pounds.
What will it do for your health? How will it make you feel?
Will it help you improve something in your life?
You gotta ask ‘why’ over and over again until your reason for doing something is too big to ignore.
Here’s an example.
The Why Exercise
Q: Why do you want to lose 20 pounds?A: Because I have a beach vacation coming up.
Q: Why do you care about how you look?
A: I haven’t worn a bathing suit in 2 years and when I did, I was 20 pounds lighter.
Q: Why do 20 extra pounds matter?
A: Because I was super confident back then and I want that confidence back.
Q: Why do want to be so confident?
A: It really made me feel better, not just at the beach, but everywhere—going out with friends, walking downtown, going to the park for runs, even at work.
Just wanting to lose 20 pounds is not a big enough motivator for most people to embark on a consistent weight loss journey.
However, wanting to feel good at the beach and feel confident in other areas of life is a big motivator to do the hard work.
Do this ‘why’ exercise and see what you come up with.
You may start with a vanity goal and end up wanting to be a good example of what a healthy lifestyle looks like to your family.
All of the sudden, a simple vanity goal becomes a much bigger motivator when you get to the real reason you want to change.
Motivation comes much easier when your reason why is big enough to regret if you don’t follow through.
Set a goal and work backward
‘Without a goal, you can’t score.” — Casey Neistat
It’s easy to say “I want to lose weight” but what does that really mean?
In order to move toward a goal, you need something to aim for. So if you aren’t specific and precise, it’s easy to give up prematurely or never get started in the first place.
Step #1: Come up with a goal you’d like to hit. It can be to lose 20 pounds, to see your abs for the first time, or simply to exercise 3 times per week.
Just set a goal that is concrete and defined, you can always refine it later.
Step #2: Write it down and do the ‘why’ exercise from above. Come up with a few very big reasons WHY you must get this done. And then note down the pain you’ll feel if you don’t follow through.
By writing out the pain you’ll feel, you can use that as last minute motivation on the days you really don’t feel like taking action.
“If I don’t lose 20 pounds, I won’t feel confident taking off my shirt at the beach.”
“If I don’t get healthy now, I may not have the energy to spend time with loved ones like I want to.”
Step #3: Develop a plan by first determining your BIG ROCKS and committing to the smallest change that has the biggest impact.
Motivation is a process that is built over time through clarity and good habits.
Determine Your Big Rocks
Big rocks make big splashes.
The big rocks of weight loss are:
- Regular exercise
- Better eating habits
- Developing a daily routine
- Good sleep habits
- Committing to the process, not an artificial date or shallow outcome
The big rocks of weight loss are NOT:
- Being perfect on your diet
- Eliminating entire food groups (like carbs or fat)
- Using fad diets to lose weight fast
- Obsessing over the tiniest of details, such as doing the perfect training program or adhering to your diet 100% at all costs
How To Determine The Big Rocks For Your Life
We all have things to work on and some things come easier for you than they might for others.
To determine your big rocks, you’ll need to take a quick self-assessment.
- What are you doing (or aren’t doing) now that needs an immediate change?
- What are you doing now that could be done better?
Are you exercising? If not, how can you start?
Are you eating a diet that is in line with your weight loss goals? If not, what can you change?
Determine two or three major things that need changing in order to lose weight.
For most people, this will mean some or all of the following:
- Regular exercise (weight training and/or cardio) 2-4 times per week
- Eating more whole foods, less fast food and packaged food
- A better sleep routine (7-8 hours of nightly sleep = better fat loss)
- Making time to implement the changes (because it’s going to take some effort)
Once you’ve determined exactly what you need to be working on, you’ll then make a tiny commitment to yourself.
Motivation will increase the more you can build on small wins throughout your week. The more success you have early on, the more likely you’re able to build on those successes.
Commit to small changes at the beginning
The only way you’ll be able to build on your success is by taking a bunch of small actions over and over again.
We all know the clichéd saying: “you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.”
If I asked you to eat the elephant by tomorrow, you’d say impossible. But if I said you’d need to eat the entire thing over the next 2 years, it’d be more doable.
However, I have never eaten an actual elephant and that sounds disgusting, but surely you get the point.
The elephant = the goal.
And in order to eat your goal (or something like that), you’ll need to take small steps in the beginning and build on those as you gain more confidence.
So let’s say one of your big rocks is to exercise more.
Instead of committing to a six-day-per-week training routine, why not begin with a simple two or three-day program?
After you have been consistent for a month, training regularly for two days per week, you can then add another day.
And depending on where you’re at in your journey, this may seem easy or hard. So if training twice per week seems hard, that’s probably all you need to focus on for a while.
Don’t worry about changing your diet right now. Don’t worry about optimizing your schedule for the most weight loss per week.
Just get to the gym twice during the week and no matter what else happens, you’ve done the work you committed to.
And over time, as you build the habit, you’ll begin to believe in your ability to get things done.
Every workout builds on the next. The more you do what you said you’d do, the better you feel about yourself.
And most of the time, the better we feel about ourselves, the more likely we are to do what’s good for us.
This applies to nutrition, too.
If you want to start eating better, it often starts with a small change.
That could be not eating fast food during the week.
Or cooking your meals at home and saving some for lunch the next day.
It could be having a breakfast smoothie to help start your day off right.
Start small and gradually build on the changes over time.
Set Realistic Expectations
Aim high, but remember that long-lasting results take time.
Sure, you can accomplish what seems to be a lot in a week, but how much can you accomplish in a year?
You surely won’t lose 20 pounds in your first week, but you can lose a pound.
One pound lost per week may not sound sexy, but how does losing 20 pounds and keeping it off sound to you?
Most of the time, our expectations are skewed. They’re far beyond what’s realistic and because of that we often set ourselves up to fail.
Here are some examples of very realistic expectations for most people:
- Go to the gym 3-4 days per week
- Lose 1-2 pounds of fat per week
- Sleep for 7-8 hours per night
- Walk for 20 minutes after dinner
Here are some examples of unrealistic expectations that we’re bombarded with every day:
- Lose 10 pounds in a week without changing your diet
- Work out and do cardio 7 days a week
- Go to the gym for 2 hours per day
- Make a drastic weight loss transformation in only 21 days
- Lose fat drinking Bulletproof coffee
Weight loss takes time.
And you want to make sure your expectations are both realistic and manageable.
If you set out to lose 10 pounds in your first week and don’t, you might get discouraged and give up.
Then your weight loss motivation will be stuck in the gutter when you could’ve managed to take smaller steps in the beginning.
You want to build the consistency necessary and reach your goals in a systematic, predictable manner.
Here are some individuals I’ve personally worked with and their stories:
Here’s what Stephanie had to say:
“All of the programs that you gave me were often shorter than many programs I see around at work (which skews expectations of the kind of stuff that’s necessary to get results, but I’ll hit on that a bit in the question below).
At first, I’d questioned some of the movements; they seemed deceptively easy, but I quickly learned that I get out what I put in (short rest times, pushing myself regardless of how tough it is, learning to feel how intense high intensity is, etc.)
Perhaps it wasn’t until the 2nd training style with the body part isolation, bodybuilder-type style that I learned I needn’t lift heavy-ass weights all the time to feel like I’m making progress.
That shit burns.
There were definitely many times, especially on quad days and certain ab movements where I quite literally yelled “fuck you, JC” to the empty gym.
The interesting part here is that I stuck to the program basically for like 12-13 weeks at a time, almost never deviating or adding workouts unnecessarily.
I trusted JC and wanted to make sure I got the most out of his counsel (cuz not to blow smoke up JC’s ass but what’s the point of having a coach if I’m not going to listen?).
This kept me from program hopping, and really allowing my body to develop from consistent weekly training over those periods, which I think has shown in my muscle definition.”
Here’s what Salim had to say:
“Before contacting JC I was bored with dieting, confused with all the information I had read during months. My weight lifting program was going nowhere and I was hitting plateaus on my main lifts (deadlifts, squats, bench).
I used to practice intermittent fasting with a high fat / low carb rest day, and a high carb / low fat training day. Then after having decided to move to the next level, I contacted JC with a specific goal in mind: getting ripped.
I knew it was going to take some time but I didn’t care and was willing to do what had to be done in order to succeed, which is very important in my opinion before ever considering to engage in such project.
JC advised a high carb based diet on both rest and training days (4 sessions per week). To be honest, I was doubtful with the high carb thing but I decided to trust him completely.
It turns out it was a good decision since the results and fat loss were consistent and the most important thing being that with all that carbs, I had enough energy to perform in the gym week after week, a whole new thing for me since I was dieting and thought I would feel sore and like shit week after week.
All my questions were answered quickly and in the end, I learned that focusing on details such as meal timing, or being too rigid with protocols such as intermittent fasting was useless. All that matters is the total caloric intake, a high carb intake to sustain the training volume, enough protein for tissue repair and enough fat to keep hormonal dysfunctions at bay.
I have now everything I need to pursue my goals, which are to stay lean and eating enough to sustain my activities (boxing/lifting weights). I’m really glad I found JC’s blog and hired him for advice on diet/training. I definitely recommend his services to anyone who wants to free himself/herself from bullshit, nonsense, and meaningless details.”
How To Accurately Track Your Progress (Ultimate Motivation Hack)
Without keeping good records, how do you know where you’ve been or what to change when something stops working?
Keeping track of your progress is the secret sauce to staying motivated and being able to make small, logical adjustments to keep your progress going.
There are six steps.
- Pick the goal: 20 pounds of fat loss, more strength, walking five days per week etc. Make a decision.
- Determine your big rocks. What do you need to work on most and what will you work on first?
- Commit to tracking progress frequently and accurately. (this is the trick to staying motivated)
- Make the changes necessary to help you continue progressing.
- Always refer to your records before abandoning your program.
- Get support. We have a free private Facebook community that you should join.
Here’s exactly what to track:
To know how you’re doing, you need objective measurements.
And to be able to make proper adjustments, you must have some data to look at frequently.
For the scale weight and waist measurement protocols, it’s of great importance you weigh yourself and take measurements under the same exact conditions each day for accuracy.
I always tell my clients to weigh themselves in the morning right after using the bathroom (peeing and/or pooping) and before eating or drinking anything.
You’re in a dehydrated state from a long night of sleep at this point, so it’s the most accurate method of getting your true scale weight.
The same rules apply to the waist measurements. Always take these during the same time you weigh yourself.
Depending on your viewpoint, the scale weight can be your friend or foe. I like to think of it as ‘just data’ and nothing else.
So in order to see what’s really happening with your body weight on a regular basis, I recommend weighing yourself at least three days per week (more is definitely better in this case).
And with those three weigh-ins, you will take an average of the numbers. The reason for this is because our weight fluctuates frequently throughout the week depending on what we ate, the type of training we did, and hormonal fluctuations (especially for women during the time of the month).
Three weigh-ins per week is a great starting point and the more frequently you weigh yourself, the better off you’ll be in seeing the accuracy of your true body weight. Some days you might be heavier than normal due to a night of eating too much pizza.
And if you only weigh yourself on that next morning, you won’t have an accurate view of your true body weight.
Come up with the average at the end of each week and you’ll see whether or not you’re losing weight.
The same rules for scale weight also apply for waist measurements. You want to take these measurements at least three times per week in order to get an accurate depiction of what’s happening.
I have all my clients track a minimum of the following waist measurements:
- Two inches above the navel
- At the navel
- Two inches below the navel
You’re free to track other areas too, such as thighs, arms, chest/bust, and hips.
And lastly, you’ll want to take some pictures a few times per month. For these, you want to do them in the same conditions as your weigh-in.
So make sure you use the same lighting and similar attire. A good place is your bathroom for a quick selfie. Or simply set up your phone or camera on a tripod to get front/side/back shots.
You don’t have to flex, so taking them relaxed is fine. Flexing or not, make sure you use the same lighting, same conditions, and the same poses to accurately compare them side by side.
Finally… by having these body metrics, you can make the proper decisions on what or what not to change based on your records, not on emotion or whims.
Similar to your body metrics, you want to track and log your training and exercise. In this case, if you’re weight training (see workout plans and weight training for women), you’ll want to track your sets and reps every single workout.
This way you can look back over your weeks and months of training to see how much you’ve improved. Also, being able to look back at your previous workouts helps you make decisions for the week.
Do you add reps?
Do you try to increase weight?
What did your notes say? Without records, you can’t make good training decisions.
As for cardio, you can keep track of how many days you walked or cycled. See my walking for weight loss article to get some ideas on how to incorporate walking into your weekly routine.
Also, if you decide to use cardio for your weight loss plan, check out cardio for weight loss to get clear on how to set it up.
As well as tracking your body and training metrics, food tracking is very important because… if you don’t know how much you’re eating, how will you manage dietary changes successfully?
First, start with finding out your maintenance calories (there’s actually a working calculator in that article).
Second, you’ll want to make sure you know how to track your food accurately. We have you covered here:
When you begin tracking your food, you’ll soon start to see just how much you’re eating, which will help you understand how to lower your calories to create a caloric deficit to optimize your weight loss.
How Tracking Progress Increases Motivation
We all want to feel accomplished and by tracking our progress we can see improvements happening in real time. In fact, when creating this guide, I tracked my writing sessions. This allowed me to see how much progress I was making on a daily basis.
I’ve outlined how tracking can help you make more progress. But tracking in and of itself is a great way of documenting what you’ve done because let’s face it… we are quick to forget.
All of your success with weight loss hinges on your ability to be consistent with your training and diet. So to be more consistent, I urge you to take the tracking portion consistently.
In this case, the more consistent you are, the more momentum you build up over time.
Finally, Get Support And The Guidance To Succeed
Look, I want you to succeed with your weight loss goals. If you have questions or want to join a community of other people working on their health and fitness goals, check out my premium group coaching, The Results Crew.
If you’re in need of good programs to help you succeed, I have you covered here.