What does it take to transform your life?*

Thursday, 14 December 2017, By Christian de Stoop

With the permission of my client, Lauren, I've felt the need to write, let's say, an 'autobiography' of my experience training her through her weight loss journey. If nothing else, this is also a celebration of the amazing result she has achieved for herself. 45 kilos weight loss in a little less than 10 months is amazing.

As a Personal Trainer, it's an incredible experience to be able to look back upon 2017 with the knowledge that you've helped change someone's life in such a significant way. Reflecting on experiences and people like Lauren is a reminder to me of why I do what I do. It gives me reason not to moan when my 4.15am alarm goes off each morning after a late night at the studio. The culture of my team, workplace and our members gives me reason to look forward to every day. People like Lauren, our team culture and the ability to look back on years like 2017 are all reasons that contribute to me not having 'worked' a day in my life since May 2010.

Everyone has a very personal journey to their own body transformation - maybe you will relate to Lauren's, even if in a small way and hopefully, 'run' with it. - Pun intended!

Firstly, I'd like to make it clear that Lauren has achieved her result through nothing but good old fashion exercise, resistance training and healthy food. - No meal replacements, no fad or crash diets, no juicing, no starving, no hours upon hours in the studio exercising.

I'd like to walk you through 3 key points Lauren did exceptionally well over her 9 and a bit month / 45kilo weight loss journey:

GOAL SETTING AND TOUGH QUESTIONS:
From the start, Lauren was clear on her goals. "Begin with the end in mind" is a great quote I like to refer to when goal setting. Lauren had a very specific date that she was emotionally linked to and a very special weight target that she was equally emotionally linked to.

Upon setting your goal, listen to yourself when you throw the question out there - "How will I feel if I don't achieve xxxx by xxxx?" If your response has an air of apathy, I don't think there's going to be a lot of motivation propelling you to that goal - What goal, if you didn't achieve it, would frustrate, anger or upset you? …Go for that goal!

Now that the goal has been set, work your timeline backwards with what you're willing and able to do and change. How much exercise can you fit in your week and how much time are you willing to dedicate to exercise. Willingness and ability are two different things. Just don't confuse them! Are you willing to change your nutritional habits and if you are, how much are you prepared to change them by? (There's no right or wrong answer.) I believe that your willingness to change is directly proportional to the potential emotional discomfort you would feel if you didn't achieve your goal.

Lauren was so clear on her goal and so aware of what not achieving her goal would mean to her, that the decisions around the changes to be made were easy. Where there is a will, there is a way.

NUTRITION
There are two words I'm pretty certain most people don't like hearing: "Food - Diary."
If you asked Lauren if she enjoyed using the food diary, you'd probably receive a smirk and a 'no!'
If you asked how much she loved how it helps her, you'll get a very different response. Lauren completing her food diary for me, brought for her a self-accountability to what she chose to eat. It also allowed me to see everything she was eating, which is brilliant, as I was then enabled to provide a lot of guidance and education to what could be improved.

I am of no disillusion that completing a food diary can be inconvenient and time consuming. My question is however, would the inconvenience and 'lost time' be worth it, if it meant you were able to lose the weight by your goal deadline? Hindsight is a fantastic and torturous thing. It's fantastic, because it teaches us what to do better next time and tortures us with the knowledge of what we could have done, but didn't. Please don't be a victim of hindsight when it comes to your food dairy and your ability to make changes to your nutritional habits.

When Lauren first started with me, I asked her to complete a daily food diary and send it to me every day for her first 20 kilos. Why 20 kilos? 20 Kilos is half way; it will take a good number of months to get there and no one learns anything overnight. Weight loss, permanent weight loss, is about forging new habits, new attitudes and to an extent, a re-education on nutrition and exercise. If you're someone that doesn't know how to count your total carbs, fat and protein in the day, how will you know how much food, when and of what kinds to be eating?

I don't want Lauren growing a dependency on a food diary and I'm sure she doesn't want to be recording her food for the rest of her life! I told her, "The plan after the first 20 kilos is then to stop the food diary. Spend a week not recording your food and if you lose weight at the same rate, excellent!" To Laurens absolute credit, this very busy Mum and business director didn't complain; she simply made time in her day to complete her food diary and after the first 20 kilos lost, she had a new found knowledge of portion sizes, of how many carbs, protein and fat to be eating for her and her goals. Nutrition is a topic of conversation in each session for us still, but since that first 20 kilos, she's actually rarely felt the need to complete her food diary again. As her trainer, I'm thrilled at the outcome - I feel this is the end goal of every client: To have the education and the know how to eat as your body requires according to your individual goals.

 

My harsh truth: If you've ever said anything like, "I know what I'm eating", but you're not seeing the results on the scales, use the food diary. If you've ever said anything like, "I don't have time to do a food diary", find and make the time - because where there is a will there a way. If you simply don't want to do a food diary, that's also okay, so long as you're aware and prepared to accept that your results may be slower than if you weren't to do a food diary. Just don't be a victim to hindsight.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Truly, if I had asked Lauren to jump, she'd respond with, "how high?" This brings me to a really important point, which I commend Lauren for. Trust in your Trainer.

Your Vision Trainer knows exactly what they're doing. They're your coach and you're not the first person they've helped lose weight. There were a number of things during Lauren's weight loss that I had asked her to do which placed her outside her comfort zone and again, I commend her trust! Our studio alone has performed over 140,000 personal training sessions in our time - and that's one studio. Vision Trainers are carefully selected and trained and our systems are unlike any other. Of course, I am being a little bias because I am a part of Vision. I do, although, feel my words are highly justified, because results such as Lauren's and countless others in our Studio and in other Studios speak absolute volumes.

Accountability, I would suggest, is among the top 5 reasons a person chooses to consult a Personal Trainer. For Lauren, who is a busy Mum and business director, she was in a rhythm of putting so many people before herself and it became far too easy to say 'no' to the things she wanted to do for her. Having someone waiting for you to come to the Studio at 6.00am and 6.30am twice a week meant this time, she would have to say no to me (and of course that never happened)! Having someone to report to, to discuss what she'd eaten that week, how much and what kind of exercise she did, are all forms of accountability that she owed to her Trainer. Without the accountability, it would have been easy to say no to herself, or rationalise and negotiate ways not to do what she wanted to, or felt she should have. The end result of good accountability is that you actually start to feel so much better about what you did do and not what you said you were going to do.

 

One last and easily overlooked thing that I believe has helped Lauren so much is her openness. She made the decision to be open to every and any suggestion or recommendation I have made to her. She's been to two supermarket shopping tours, she's been to three nutritional seminars and she's even watched some nutrition seminars online. She's come to our group exercise sessions and has always been very open and forthcoming in each of our nutritional chats, goal setting sessions and exercise sessions. She's even started running and might I add, has become very quick! - Running wasn't really even on her radar when she first started and now she's loving it.

I feel extremely privileged to be a part of Lauren's transformation. I look forward to each of our sessions together and I'm looking forward to our continued goal setting and achieving. I also better watch my back - I think she might soon be a faster runner than me!!



*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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