“Ugh, Joe, losing weight is so hard I’ve tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING works for me!” Did you though? I hear it all the time, and because of that, I start noticing the biggest patterns for why someone isn’t able to break the single digit barrier.
1) Know What’s at Stake - Your Why
Saying “I have a trip in 2 weeks” or “I want abs” isn’t a why. At least not a strong enough one. TRUE single digit body fat is not easy. It’s a lifestyle.
With that said, you have to ask yourself “why” 5 times to get to the real root of starting this journey. Find the real deep connection to what being that lean does for you mentally and physically. We associate very strongly with behaviors. If I tell you I’m the type of person that puts other people's needs before myself, guess what? The LAST thing I want to do or you to say about me, is that I’m selfish. I will go ABOVE AND BEYOND to make sure that doesn’t happen because it's that strong of an identity. Trust me when I say this; you need THIS level of identification with your pursuit of this new goal or you will not stick with it. So who are you?
“I’m the type of person that wants to have low body fat so I can live long enough to see my kids grow up.”
“I’m the type of person that wants to be in single digits because I saw what being heavier did to my family.”
Now try telling the examples above they aren’t that type of person that cares about family. See what fire it ignites in them.
2) Measure your Progress
What gets measured gets improved. Especially if you want single digits. Everyone has their own method but you can’t fix what you don’t know is wrong.
- You can use weekly body-fat measurements to make sure it's your fat and not muscle going down.
- Track calories to educate you on how much in general you are eating. It brings awareness to your intake, and allows you to fine tune where you’re slacking.
- Take weekly pictures. On rough weeks you can go back and see how far you’ve come.
3) Plan Ahead
One of the simplest changes to adherence you can make - SET YOUR KITCHEN UP FOR SUCCESS! If it’s unhealthy, addicting snacks, and it’s in your house, you are GOING TO EAT IT. I don’t care how much discipline you think you have.
Cook meals ahead of time! Take the guesswork out of your week. Going out with friends? Check out the menu online beforehand so you can make the best possible choice in that moment. In fact, eat a healthier more satiating meal beforehand so you are less likely to binge later.
4) Manipulate your caloric intake
You’re trying to lose weight, and are going to be in a deficit. Which means two things.
1) Strategize plateau’s - don’t do too much at once. Start by only lowering 250 calories for the week and walking just a little more than usual. You don’t need to start cardio 7 times a day. Your body will catch up.
2) Deficit = hunger. Workout day? Eat a little more carbs. No workout? Eat less food overall. Increase your protein a little more than average. Load up on veggies with every meal so that your body gets the micronutrients as well as the volume of food. It’ll keep the hunger hormones (leptin and ghrelin) at bay and feel less like a diet.
Genetics aside, anyone you know who is living in single digit body fat isn’t half assing it. It is the choices they make every single day that reflect that. Thinking you can get there by sneaking in your current garbage level of eating and lack of adherence isn’t going to work. What got you overweight to begin with is going to keep doing that.
Knowing it’s a long term lifestyle, make the smallest possible changes.
- Trade the processed snacks for healthier alternatives
- Understand your relationship with certain foods
- Cut out sugar drinks and limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks a week
At the end of the day it all comes back to the first and final steps. Your identity and follow through. You can have the perfect plan, and best setup, but if you’re not consistent with following a regimen or having a truly meaningful reason for starting this journey, then you might not be ready. So, what type of person are you?