By Kelly Lewis, CPT
This article is different than the others that I’ve written; you see, this one is particularly personal to me. It is why I love what I do and why I thank God every day that I have the privilege of doing it. Watching clients reach success and achieve their goals has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The amount of determination and commitment I have witnessed over time has been inspiring. In my experience as a personal trainer, clients who have achieved success have instituted three critical changes into their lives. Those three changes are a focus on sound nutrition, a commitment to exercise, and a purposeful change to their thinking and behavior.
The first of these changes is a focus on sound nutrition. It is essential for weight- loss success. Food journaling has been proven to be a highly effective tool and has several benefits. It helps keep us accountable for everything we put into our body. It is a very eye-opening experience to see your daily food intake in black and white. Culturally speaking, we engage in so much mindless eating. The trouble is that we have no concept of how those calories add up over the course of our day. “One little treat” multiple times each day will undoubtedly make an impact on your weight-loss goals.
Journaling is a great way to create thoughtfulness in regard to food choices. Often having to document a food choice is simply enough to discourage us from eating it. And finally, journaling helps makes us aware of our portion sizes. A common mistake is feeling that we can have an extra serving of a food if it is considered a healthy choice. But the truth is that all foods count towards our intake and those choices will determine our success or failure.
The second change implemented by those who experience long-term success is the commitment to exercise. An exercise regimen must be of QUALITY and it must be CONSISTENT. Quality means that it makes the most of your time. It should involve all major muscle groups, compound movements, and be executed in an interval-style format. Frequently changing your routine will keep your body guessing and will provide you with the best result. Consistent means that you commit to exercising regularly, aiming for a goal of 30 minutes, five days each week. If five days a week seems unmanageable at first, try sneaking in several small bouts of exercise in throughout the day. Some days you might not be able to commit to a solid 30 minutes, but most of us can find several five-to-ten-minute windows to get our heart rate up. Above sound nutrition and exercise, I have found that the single largest component of a client’s success is a change in thinking and behavior. Positive behavioral change creates the desire for people to succeed long-term. It is the difference between temporary drastic changes, resulting in only short-term results, and making more realistic changes that create results that will last a lifetime. Clients that are successful recognize that they did not get out of shape in six weeks. Therefore, they do not place unreasonable demands on themselves to resolve the issue in an unrealistic time frame. Instead, they take it day-by-day, staying committed all the way. They put one foot in front of the other, doing the work it takes to reach their goals.
I have chosen to share a before-and-after shot of a few of my clients who have achieved measurable results and improved health and wellness. Not only have they transformed their diet and exercise habits, but, most importantly, they have transformed their thinking. Each one of these women brings a unique story, individual goals and dedication beyond belief. Whether these ladies have reached their final goal or are simply celebrating one of many accomplishments along the way, my hope is that someone reading this article will be motivated towards change through the success of these courageous women. Could that person be you? We’ve all got an “after” picture just waiting to happen. Dig deep, make a plan, and stay committed. I think you’ll like what you see.
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