I’ve been tracking my macros since 2013 and over the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few different macro coaches, while also coaching dozens of clients, myself. I’ve experienced my own physical transformation (yes, those are my before and after pictures, above), as well as had countless clients experience their own, and through this, have identified SEVEN key qualities that are integral to achieving the body you’ve always wanted.
I want to share them with you, as they are things I wish I had known when I set out on my weight loss journey, and are likely the very things you’ve been lacking in previous dieting attempts:
Nothing, nutritionally-speaking, when done correctly, will happen quickly. Unfortunately, we live in a day and age that is obsessed with, and driven by, instant gratification. Whether your goals are to build muscle or lose body fat, you HAVE to be patient.
99% of people who hire me do so with the ultimate goal of losing weight. It’s a tough-love kind of conversation that has to be had, but I always remind these folks of two things:
- You didn’t gain the 10, 20, or 30+ pounds you’re wanting to lose, overnight, so you can’t expect to lose that same weight, overnight. Gaining weight doesn’t come from one day, one week, or even one month of poor eating. Just like you lose weight from consistently making good decisions – exercise and eating well – you gain weight from consistently making poor decisions – not exercising and eating poorly. And, to top it all off, losing weight is MUCH harder than gaining weight, so you should expect for it to take just as long, if not longer, to get off as it took to put on.
- You have to earn the right to lose weight. What do I mean by this? Think of it this way: you have a best friend. You two used to be two peas in a pod and were always there for each other, but then you got a significant other and started to ignore your BFF. They reach out for help – you ignore them. They need to vent about something – you aren’t there for them. Over the course of a few months, you become a terrible friend. Until, one day, you need them. You reach out to them for a huge favor and what do you get in return? Silence. Nothing. You treated them like dirt, so the last thing they’re going to do is turn around and do you a favor.
In this analogy, you are you, your body is your BFF, and the favor your asking for is fat loss. You’ve treated your body poorly for months, if not years, yet now, when you need its assistance in losing weight, you still expect it to be there for you. Sorry! It doesn’t work that way. You have to repair the harm done in the past, mentally and physically, before it will even think of trusting you again and working WITH you, instead of AGAINST you. Our body needs to be healthy and happy with us for our weight loss efforts to ever be successful.
If you’re looking for a super sexy and impressive 60-day transformation picture for your social media accounts, I’ll never be the coach for you and I’m sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but you’ll never achieve the body you are after. Rapid weight loss leads to hormonal and metabolic damage, that will ultimately lead to rebounding before long, so I prioritize my clients’ long-term health and physical appearance, and that only works when they have the same mentality.
2. Progress > Perfection
Think of everything you are good at today. All the things that seem effortless to you. Guess what? There was a time when you were really, really bad at them. However, it’s been so long since we have chosen to undertake new activities and do things we are bad at (because what fun is that?!), that we expect to be instantly good at things we’ve never done.
News flash: If you’ve never done something before, including tracking your macros, EXPECT TO BE VERY BAD AT IT (and probably for a good amount of time)!
We are not perfect and you shouldn’t expect to be. With this being said, the most successful clients I’ve had are the ones who are not afraid of failure – they welcome it. Rather than treating shortcomings as setbacks, they treat them as learning experiences, because ultimately, they only fail if they didn’t learn.
- If you do well sticking to your plan on a particular day, learn how to repeat that in the future
- If you came up short or went over your macro targets on a particular day, learn how to prevent that from happening in the future
Way off from your macro numbers? Don’t be mad or disappointed in yourself, but do ask, “What was going on? Why’d it happen? Did I have fun/was it worth it? What can I learn from this situation to handle it better in the future?”. Treat each day and each meal as an opportunity to be better than you were the previous day and meal, and if it doesn’t go as planned, you’ve got the next day and meal to try again. The main thing is to not dwell on the past and get right back after it. Don’t let one off meal, day, or week become a streak.
This one is exactly why I have coaches of my own. I have a business coach, training coach, and even my own nutrition coach. You may be wondering, “Why would I want to work with a nutrition coach who doesn’t even run his own nutrition…?” It’s a fair question and has nothing to do with a lack of experience, knowledge, or expertise, and everything to do with accountability.
Knowing that you have someone to ‘report’ to drastically increases the likelihood that you will stick to a plan you may otherwise stray from on your own. And this is not just with nutrition, but carries over to all facets of life – work, exercise, personal relationships, etc. Life is more stressful than it’s ever been and because of this, there are no shortage of available excuses or reasons not to do something. In fact, I’d reason to believe that you’ve never had the accountability of someone who actually cared to see you improve; who was there with not only knowledge, but emotional support; and who made sure you were doing the work every step of the way.
When my clients work with me, they get 24/7 access to me via text, email, and phone call. Sure, we have a weekly, formal check-ins, but I want them to know that I am ALWAYS there for them. That I have their back and will always be right behind them to show them that they CAN do it, without letting them bullshit themselves or create an excuse in their head as to why they CAN’T.
Does this sound like you?
- Desperately searching for THAT diet that is finally going to work for you?
- Bouncing from diet to diet?
- Trying something new with your nutrition every time you read about the latest fad on the market?
- Have you gone from Paleo to Keto to nothing (because it’s all too confusing), all within a few months of each other?
- Do you see a 2-pound increase on the scale, get freaked out, and completely switch up everything you’re doing?
These days, people jump around so quickly that they never give whatever they are trying – nutrition plan or exercise program – enough time or a chance to truly assess if it’s working or not. With our instant gratification nature and constant comparing to others, we easily fall victim to ‘shiny red ball syndrome’ and latch on to the next plan promising faster results. However, this means we are in a perpetual state of ‘starting over’ versus making progress.
Consistency is of the utmost importance if you are ever going to have success. Just like at your job, where one day’s hard work won’t get you the promotion, with your nutrition, one day of hitting your macros and implementing healthy foods won’t get you the body you want. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistently doing better today than yesterday.
“Small Things, Done Consistently, Add Up to Big Things in the Long Run.”
- Consistently eat like crap à you’ll feel like crap
- Consistently miss your macro targets à you won’t make progress
- Consistently skip your workouts à good luck building that ‘lean’ look you’re after
It’s about consistently dialing in the ‘big rocks’ – sleep, water, daily movement, whole foods, and stress management. Working on your health a little bit each day adds up, but it adds up over several months and years. Little building blocks stacked on top of each other.
There are going to be good days and bad days, and days that have things happen that are out of our control. However, it is always our CHOICE to determine how we respond to these things, so I challenge you to CHOOSE to commit to being consistent, each and every day.
I understand that you surely have an end goal in mind. Whether it’s to add 20lbs to your back squat, to see a specific number on the scale you haven’t seen in years, or to look in the mirror and be happy with the body you see staring back at you – maybe for the first time in your life. This is your GOAL and what you are ultimately after. However, as I pointed out before, these things will take time to achieve and you want them to, as that means you are achieving them in a sustainable manner. Add on top of that the healing that most likely has to be done up-front, and you may have a long road ahead.
So, how do you stay sane throughout the process, motivated day in and day out to stick to the plan, and put your pennies in the piggy bank, each and every day, when you may not be seeing immediate results?
You fall in love with the process and focus on other forms of progress that you ARE making along the way.
The physical changes always follow physiological changes – biofeedback markers (hunger level, sleep quality, performance in the gym, sex drive, energy level) will tell you a lot more about what’s going on under the hood, physiologically & hormonally, to help weight loss, rather than the number on the scale. Focus on the daily wins and see the progress that will be all around you, rather than fixating on the end goal and driving yourself crazy.
6. Balance & Flexibility
As someone who used to have a VERY unhealthy relationship with food, this one is near and dear to my heart.
The reason why you have likely failed every diet you’ve tried in the past, maybe not initially, but eventually, is because they weren’t right for YOU. They didn’t include your non-negotiables (those foods/drinks that any nutritional plan must include for you to adhere to it long-term), they were too restrictive in nature, and ultimately, you tried to fit your lifestyle into the diet, versus choosing a diet that fit into your lifestyle.
The beauty of tracking macros with a flexible dieting approach, is that there are no foods or drinks that are off limits. Yes, you read that correctly – a Certified Nutrition Coach is telling you that there are no foods that are off limits to you.
- Love pizza? Go ahead and eat it!
- Ice cream is your thing? Have yourself some, hell, even nightly
- Like the occasional glass of wine or cocktail? Enjoy! (Please drink safely)
At the end of the day, as long as you are hitting your macro targets, you can include any food and drinks you want to.
A mission I am very passionate about is de-vilifying food. With all my clients, yes, my goal is to help them reach their physical goals, and we do – fueling them properly for performance in the gym and recovery, while building a body they are proud of – but more importantly, I want to help them build a better relationship with food. To truly realize that no foods are inherently ‘bad’ or fat-causing, and to teach them how to live a normal life – eating the foods they want and taking part in social situations, while eliminating anxiety or guilt that may have previously been associated with these kind of events.
The key to utilizing macros is not only to lose weight now, but keep it off in the long run, and the best way to do this is to make sure you’re being flexible. That means having a beer (or three) on occasion; going out to eat with friends; adding some foods that may not be ‘clean’, but that you love; and ultimately staying happy with the way you’re eating.
How do you get to this point? There are two main tenants to finding balance within your nutrition and macros:
- The 80/20 or 90/10 rule – 80-90% of your food should come from real, whole, nutritious foods that this earth produced (vegetables, fruits, lean meats, wild caught fish, grass-fed beef, cage free eggs, etc.), with the other 10-20% coming from whatever you enjoy that ‘fits your macros’, so to speak.
- You should never become anal about hitting the exact macro number on the dot, every single day. If your carbohydrate target is 200g and your protein target is 165g, then aim come within +/- 5g of each (between 195-205g for carbs and between 160-170g for protein). On the other hand, if your fat goal is 65g, aim to come within +/- 2-3g (between 62-68g) – fat is more calorically-dense.
Restricting leads to one thing – binging. We’ve all been there: diet hard all week or even longer, then the weekend ‘cheat meal’ comes and goes from a slice of pizza to an entire pizza with some ice cream for dessert. What most people fail to realize is that we’re MUCH better off having a healthy dinner with a small bowl of ice cream multiple times per week than we are having a full blown cheat meal or day. Calories are calories and if we manage that, fat loss will happen.
7. Realistic Expectations
I purposefully saved this one for last, as it encompasses a bit of all the previous qualities I’ve mentioned.
I am a firm believer that in most cases, especially with weight loss or body composition goals, it is not the individual that fails, but rather, it is their expectations that set them up for failure.
Research has shown that it can take up to 254 days to form a new habit. Throw on top of that the learning curve that is associated with any new undertaking (especially one as complex as tracking macros), as well as the fact that nothing, nutritionally speaking, should happen quickly, and we can’t expect to reach out goals in a short amount of time.
As a coach, it is my job to explain and establish those realistic expectations. I am always transparent with my clients about the progress I think we can make, the timeline in which I think it will take to achieve, and the plan I’ll put in place to get us there.
If you’ve read this and and are ready to make the decision to go all in on yourself; to silence the voices in your head that have told you in the past that it’s not working; to delay instant gratification for long-term results; to shut out the opinions, doubts, and noise – both external and internal; and to eliminate your fear of failure and step out of your comfort zone, fill out the form, below. Let’s chat! There is no better investment than one in yourself and I’d love to help you embody these qualities to finally stop dieting, and start living.