How reach your goals = TELL THE TRUTH

Before reading, please view this brief slide show (click here).

If you didn’t, here is what BJ Fogg and colleagues have to say (w/o remedies): Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change

  1. Relying on willpower for long-term change
  2. Attempting big leaps instead of baby steps
  3. Ignoring how environment shapes behaviors
  4. Trying to stop old behaviors instead of creating new ones
  5. Blaming failures on lack of motivation
  6. Underestimating the power of triggers
  7. Believing that information leads to action
  8. Focusing on abstract goals more than concrete behaviors
  9. Seeking at the outset to change a behavior forever, not for a short time
  10. Believing that behavior change is always difficult

This a fantastic summation of what applied behavior analysts the world over are trying to do; reverse these ten myths.

Now, on to the post:

How reach your goals = TELL THE TRUTH

In planning

Care enough to chart is what I really want to say, but I understand that many people really don’t share that sentiment. Or aren’t ready to. Or don’t understand what I mean. What charting boils down to is keeping accurate records of many elements of your training (or life), so that you can look for patterns or relationships between those elements that might explain your success, failures, or surprises. All that data in really valuable!

I keep track of a lot of things this way, and believe me or don’t, it takes me far less time than this blog does. Charting this way also lets you know what you do or don’t need to keep track off. For example, my charts showed me that I don’t need to count calories or keep a detailed food journal. That, in fact, those practices were having the reverse effect than what I was going for!

In the media and your own public life

I get really annoyed when very slim models and actresses say “Oh, there is no secret to keeping my figure. I eat pizza and burgers like anyone else.” Statements of this type get under my skin because, well, they are lying. Or, if I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, I will accept that these people have no idea how the average person faces their day. Make that body, or diet.

I think if beautiful, high profile people were more honest, like Anna Paquin, we would make some progress in getting away from the quick fix/gimmick obsession. She said (in the July issue of Self Magazine):
“I’m really careful about what I eat. It’s not like this [body] is an accident. It’s the what-you-would-eat-if you- were-being-photographed-in-a-bikini-tomorrow diet. I don’t want to be one of those actresses who says, “I eat cheeseburgers all the time.” I don’t! I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables. I never eat fast food. I’m getting better at taking care of myself without depriving myself, though. Dessert once a week won’t kill me.”

If you have had success with your own health and fitness goals, be honest. Don’t tell people, well, I just stopped drinking soda. Or, I just started going to the gym a few times a week. Be honest about all the hard work and the probable domino effect that initial change, such as a weekly spin class, or ditching the sugary beverages had on your life. Maybe you aren’t aware of it. But I am willing to bet that if you change one habit, or add a new one, others change, or emerge.

Action begets activity. Action begets success. Action begets creativity. Action begets knowledge.

When I was in college a mentor of mine said: “there is no muse, only momentum” and I will never forget it. Motivation won’t drop from the sky, but once you get moving, you’ll want to move more.

My point is, that if you want to experience success in your health and fitness goals (heck, with ANY goals), you must report, even to yourself, with accuracy. Not to be mistaken with honesty. Accuracy. (see above: In planning)

In encouraging others

If a friend of mine (or client) is frustrated and says to me something like: “I have been doing everything right and I gained 4 pounds this week, what the  heck!” My initial reaction, like most people, is that I want to make them feel better. Do often on t.v. or in magazines, you hear people say “don’t worry, you are on track you are just gaining muscle from all the new activity”. (A trainer on A&E’s “Heavy” said this, just last week!)


Here are some industry-standard/golden rules. (If you want links to studies and other articles, please leave a comment or email me directly and I will happily supply them, but for ease of reading I shall leave then out here)

  1. healthy, sustainable weight loss is .5 to 3lbs per week. (depending on your body composition, and source)
  2. It takes between 7 and 10 days to gain 1 pounds of muscle (with proper nutrition and possibly supplementation)
  3. There is a relationship between exercise and nutrition and vice versa.
  4. The relationship between YOUR body and certain foods and exercises is different from OTHERS bodies and those same foods and exercises. (again, keep records!)
  5. Even with #4 in mind, you are a  human, and human bodies follow certain trends like: you can’t go to McDonald’s after a run and expect to lose weight. You need rest to make progress. You need adequate calories and nutrients to lose fat and/or gain muscle.

So if you or a friend are not making the progress you desire take an accurate look at what you (or they) are doing. Sometimes we try to be honest with ourselves but honestly forget that we have 3 glasses not 1 glass of wine when we go out for a sushi dinner with the girls on Tuesdays, or honestly forget that we eat the kid’s leftovers at lunch and dinner, or forget that there are 400 calories of cream and sugar in our daily coffee breaks, sometimes we honestly think we worked out hard for 60 minutes, honestly forgetting that 10 minutes were spent channel surfing and not moving, and 10 minutes were spent chatting in the locker room…you get the gist here.

Now go forth and count something accurately.  🙂


14 responses to “How reach your goals = TELL THE TRUTH

  1. That post was like a slap in the face. It was just the modivation I needed right now! Thank you.

  2. It is funny, people always comment to others that the reason their weight loss isnt working after a month or more is because of muscle gain. I am always the first to point out that if you are eating to lose 2 pounds a week any possible muscle gain would be offset.

  3. Exactly, and in addition, isn’t is illustrative of the American obsession with a quick fix that we can’t be happy with losing just 4 or 5 lbs in a month? If I lose a consistent 1/2lb per week, I consider myself a success!

  4. Best wishes and motivations for accomplishing such a worthy goal. And yes, do Care Enough to Chart! Years ago Dr. Pat McGreevy, when he was Editor of the Journal of Precision Teaching, published a chart of his training for a marathon. It may have been a weekly chart, not a daily one. Both would help, likely. — JE

    • You know, I haven’t even bothered to graph my daily miles. But I have them plugged in an ready to go. I shall post that graph this week I think! You’ll be happy to know I have been doing fluency timings for some of my “form” issues. And it’s going well!

  5. Ann, these are great reminders! After I had Jacob in 2006 I met with a dietitian to get back on track and one thing I found interesting when I was keeping a journal and charting was the relationship between food allergies and water weight as well as inconsistent water intake and water weight. Probably common knowledge to most but the charting pointed this out for me.

    I look forward to reading your blog, it keeps me motivated. Keep up the good work!

  6. I don’t think it is common knowledge, or rather, most people take it for granted that they see and interpret food interactions and patterns correctly. When I was first diagnosed with Colitis I began charting a lot of my symptoms and what food choices I was making and over time (about 6 months) I learned that the “diets” my doctor and dietician were prescribing me weren’t really helping. From there I was able to figure out how much or which foods I can eat and manage my symptoms. (Of course, I still occasionally over do it!)

    Also, when I am charting my nutrition, I include how much sleep I get daily and like what you said about water intake, my sleep had a very positive relationship with my weight and quality of foods I choose.

    Thanks s0 much for reading! Happy running, Katie!

  7. Pingback: Where art thou motivation? (how to get off your ass) | Annabelle Winters

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  9. here is no muse, only momentum – I’ve found this to be the case with writing and it took a long time to form a habit for it instead of just waiting for inspiration to strike. With eating, I know that I have to watch the habit of eating a cookie with tea, because I drink a lot of tea, and eating 6+ cookies a day is not going to be good for my weight.

    Some great ideas, here ^^

  10. Sometimes I find it hard to be honest with myself. Especially cause I love food so much 😉 I am, however, doing great with my marathon training!! But I still need to remember to be honest withyself to get where I want to be!

  11. I came here via your link on Truth and Cake and the first thing I did was groan at having to click on the slideshow. Well, I’m glad I did. As Karim said, it was a healthy slap in the face. Thanks!

    • Ahh, click-fatigue, an ailment of the information age! Thanks for reading Andrew! Rian’s post as Truth and Cake has linked up some really cool bloggers!


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