As a Personal Trainer, with all clients you set goals to strive towards. Often these goals are attached to some sort of measurement or statistic that you can track and monitor. When I first started the common things I tracked were: weight, body measurements, and various exercise-specific strength increases – to name a few. 5 years later, there are now many other forms of progress that I recognize and emphasize with clients.
In regards to those wanting to lose weight, I want to bring up three forms of progress that I now consider and highlight with clients. The first, and the main one that I’m going to talk about in this post, is:
1. MAINTAINING YOUR CURRENT HEALTH & FITNESS WITHOUT ANY REGRESSION.
This means maintaining where you’re at, be it your weight, physical or mental health (stress, self-image, etc.), or eating healthy (more focus on food quality and not calories).
I had a discussion with a client recently about if they had any New Year goals that I could help them with. I was really happy, and proud, of their response (paraphrased): “You know I have so much going on in my life right now I just want to maintain where I’m at.” Many people indicate lack of forward progress as lack of progress, this is not true.
Focusing on good habits and self care while maintaining where you are is still a form of progress
It’s really easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others and their successes. Especially in today’s social media inundated world where people are mostly sharing their highlight reels and not their misfortunes; unless your name is Karen and you’re unhappy about something and need the world to know. As the common saying goes, comparing yourself to others is the thief of joy. People are not fighting the same battle as you, you are the only person you should be comparing yourself to.
Let’s unpack this a little further. With weight loss what you need to do In order to lose weight is not easy. Fundamentally you need to be more active and consume less calories. This is a lot easier said than done and doing both can take a lot of time, energy (mental and physical), and money (gym memberships, proper workout gear, possibly hiring a Personal Trainer, etc.). If you’re in a season / time in your life where you are extremely busy and/or stressed, it might not be the best time to pursue fat loss. And, that’s ok. Simply focusing on keeping yourself healthy and doing what you can to maintain where you are is still a very admirable goal and form of progress; doing an aggressive weight loss program while being busy/stressed might leave you spinning your wheels a little.
Related blog post: HOW DOES LACK OF SLEEP AND STRESS AFFECT WEIGHT LOSS?
I’m not saying you can’t lose weight while you’re busy/stressed, you can but it’s often not ideal and it is ok to focus on simply maintaining where you’re at.
2. A NOTED POSITIVE CHANGE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.
This can mean many things, but it could mean:
You didn’t binge at a family / holiday meal, when you normally would or have on occasions in the past.
You are no longer placing food “off limits.” eg. Cookie’s/donuts are something you might have on occasion.
You aren’t obsessive about food and you don’t guilt yourself when you inevitably eat/drink something that isn’t in-line with helping you reach your goal.
You are emotionally eating less.
You practice moderation, if you want to eat something that might not align with your current fitness goals: you eat this food less often or use portion control as your means of still being able to eat this food.
The above are just a few ways to note an improved relationship with food.
Being consistent with things like healthy habits and doing things regularly that will help you reach your goal are a demonstration of commitment and is a form of progress you should celebrate. Here are a few examples:
You’ve stuck to doing at least 2 workouts per week for the past 6 weeks.
In the past month you’ve consistently eat 1/2 your plate with vegetables for at least one meal of the day.
Milestones, celebrate them whether it’s your 10th workout or something outstanding like your 500th workout (see below)!
If you start small and work on creating healthy habits, on-going consistency will have an additive effect and you’ll be able to tackle large goals with relative ease – all of which is progress.
Other forms of progress that I won’t elaborate on:
For any of you out there feeling “stuck” hopefully the above has helped you redefine what progress is; cut yourself some slack, you’re doing great! At the very least I hope that some of these forms of progress are now more recognizable.
Also, it goes without saying that I’m always happy to help any of you achieve progress – whichever definition that is for you. Feel free to message me here.
Till next time,