You keep screwing up your diet and I know why — The 5 habits of our most successful clients.
If the fitness industry was a towering building that looms large over the city, weight loss is the structural underpinning that pushes it towards the skyline.
But just like the deathly silence 20 minutes into a failed Tinder date, the foundations of this building are weak, shaky, and all together unstable.
Over the past years of coaching i’ve probably had thousands of hours of conversation with clients from all walks of life about every diet success and every failure they’ve ever had.
There are many theoretical things you can and should learn to be a good coach about the science of fat loss, muscle gain and performance.
But there are many things you simply cannot learn from a book.
The kinds of things you only really learn by having real conversations with real people.
If you spend the next 30 minutes googling ‘ reasons why I can’t lose weight ‘ you’ll no doubt come back with a veritable smorgasbord of contrived explanations.
You’re eating too much fruit. Your body is going into starvation mode and holding onto weight. You need to cut out Gluten. You need to cut carbs out after 5pm. You need to stop drinking articifcal sweetners. You’re not eating right for your blood type.
Lets get one thing straight right off the bat.
Physiologically, the reason you can’t lose weight is that you eat too many calories. Thats it.
But thats not what this article is about.
I want to talk about some of the reasons why people are actually successful with weight loss.
The reasons no one in the fitness industry seems to be talking about.
You see, I’ve noticed the same habits and traits in nearly every sucessfull client I’ve ever worked with.
And let me give you a hint…..they have absolutely nothing to do with how much protein they eat, or what supplements they take.
Rather, they are the intanginle factors that I feel contribute to someone changing their behavours, and thus keeping weight off in the long term.
Take the time to read, and hopefully you’ll have some useful take aways.
- Disclaimer — I’m not a psychologist and I don’t wish to play one on the internet. These are simply traits I’ve observed and feel are pertinent in anyones journey.
1 —They are self aware.
- conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings.
They say you win or you learn.
There are no true failiures as long as you learn something.
Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.
So let me ask you, the last time you missed the gym or you ordered a Pizza instead of eating the healthy meal you were supposed to, are you self aware enough to know why?
My most successful clients always come to the answers themseleves.
“ I think I’m using food to relax when i’m stressed out at work “
“ I’m missing the gym because I’m trying to push myself to do a type of training I actually hate “
The only way you will keep repeting the same negative patterns is if you simply bury your head in the sand.
Let me give you a concrete example :
I once worked with a client who was stuggling massively with evening food binges. While chatting to him, he was self aware enough to identify that he would only ever mindlessly binge while watching TV.
So, instead of focussing on the food, we agreed that his goal would be to simply stop watching so much TV and do something more productive with his time, in an attempt to see if his eating habits improved.
He impressed me massively by cutting out the TV time, he actually joined a local climbing club as a hobby in the evenings instead, and lo and behold the evening binges stoped.
The beauty of this intervention was that it didn’t take any willpower. I didn’t tell him to continue watching TV but resist the food. He changed the pattern itself.
And so begets the question — Are you burying your head in the sand?
Or are you willing to become self aware about your own habits and patterns?
If you keep breaking your diet or missing the gym, there is a reason why.
Next time you screw up, think, I mean REALLY think, about why.
Identify the pattern and change it.
2 — They are busy. ( With purpose )
This one might surpirse you.
Being busy is often seen as a barrier when it comes to sticking to your health and fitness goals.
And in the conventional sense, thats sometimes true.
But I’m not talking about being busy in the convention sense, rather I’m talking about being deliberate and having purpose.
“ I can’t lose weight because I’m so busy all the time and end up making bad decisons “
How many times have you heard this? Maybe you’ve even said it?
Let me say it loud and clear. This is bullshit.
I’m not saying this through the clichéd fitness bro ‘ no excuses!! “ lense. I’m saying it because I can say with every fiber of my being that no one I’ve ever seen fail to lose weight has done so through lack of time.
They fail because their life lacks structure.
Without fail, my most sucessful clients live their lives deliberately. They have a busy work shedule, a set routine and a purpose to each day.
Each mini task they complete gives them a small sense of pride and pushes them to move to the next task.
The same laser like focus it takes for the mum of 3 to get the kids up and out to school on time is the same focus that allows her to prep her meals and find a spare 30 minutes to get a workout in.
Living with purpose and direction creates a snowball of mometum that transfers to everything you do.
Parkinsons Law dicates that “ work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion "
If you have dirty dishes in the sink that should take 10 minutes to clean, but you have 30 minutes spare, you better believe you’ll find a way to take 30 minutes to clean them.
You may find this strange, but clients with the most time on their hands often have the hardest time sticking to their diets.
They eat through bordem, they eat through apathy, they eat.
Concrete example :
I worked with a client once who was unemployed for the first half of their program. They stuggled to stick to even the most simple of habits when it came to their nutrition, even though they had all the time in the world.
Then, at the half way point, they got a job.
From here, the change was night and day.
They suddenly had routine. They had direction. They had purpose.
From that point on their results came thick and fast.
So ask yourself this…
Do you really need more time? Or do you actually need more purpose?
3 — They have a great social support network.
They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Think in your head right now of your 5 people.
Do these people make sticking to your goals easier or harder?
Do your friends and family members motivate you, or tear you down?
This one is perhaps the easiest to identify, yet the hardest to change.
Those who are successful losing weight and keeping weight off in the long run cultivate an unbreakable ecosystem of support and positive energy around them.
This energy builds and builds, acting as a protective barrier even when you’re stressed out or your motivation may be low.
Do you have friends or maybe even a partner that constantly leads you to make food choices that are not in line with your goal?
“ Its fine, you spend all this time at the gym “
Now I’m categorically not saying you should only ever spend time with people who are super healthy.
Growing up playing in bands before I ever got into nutrition, some of the best friends I’ve had in my life were not the slightest bit interested in being healthy. Some still aren’t.
But I’ve always actively ensured that the people I surround myself with give me positive energy ( as hippy as that sounds ) and make me want to look after myself.
Think about the people you’re sending time with, could they help you out more?
Nutrition is never easy, but its a hell of a lot easier when the people around you motivate you, not tear you down.
4 — They can move on from their mistakes.
Its commonly thought that those who sucessfully lose weight and keep it off in the long run do so via finding a way to be perfect with their diets.
As is becoming the theme with this article, I can once again tell you that this is bullshit.
Those who fail to lose weight and those who suceed both share one thing in common — they screw up.
Do you want to know the difference between the sucessess and the failures?
How they react.
The successes wear their screw ups like bruises that fade in time.
The failures wear their screw ups like bad tattoos that stick with them forever.
Here’s an example :
Client A is going out with their friends for a meal on Saturday night. They scan the menu before they go, pick out the healthiest dish and ensure they get a workout in on that day.
The evening hits, they have a lapse in will power, order something that breaks their diet, and the whole evening goes to shit.
They wake up on Sunday morning, laugh about their mistake, hit the gym and get right back on track by prepping their meals for the week ahead.
Client B does the exact same thing, but on Sunday morning instead of laughing and drawing a line under the sand, they think the following :
“ Why the hell did I do that? I’m so shit. What the hell is the point in all of this anyway. I’m just going to screw up again, may as well eat crap today as well “
This is akin to dropping your phone on the floor, noticing the screen now has a small scratch, and instead of taking it to get fixed, repetedly stamping on it until its completely broken.
It doesn’t take a genius to see that client A has the right mindset.
One of the biggest traits you can learn to be successful losing weight is the ability to move the fuck on.
To understand that feeling guilty about your mistakes leads only to self sabotage.
Perfection when it comes to nutrition doesn’t exist. And it shouldn’t exist.
You will screw up. You will pick the burger when you should pick the salad.
And thats okay.
Draw a line under it and move on.
Consistancy beats perfection every time.
5 — They understand why.
I’ve saved the most important point until last.
And its the most simple of all.
All of my most successful clients can easily answer this fundemental question :
“ Why do you want to lose weight? “
The truth is nobody wants to lose weight, losing weight is just the physical manifestation of what they really want on a deeper level — to feel confident, to feel happy, to have enough energy to play with their kids.
Everything you do should start with why, and every barrier you face should come back to why.
“ We change our behaviour when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing “
So find your why. Find your reason above all else that drives you towards your goals, and remind yourself of it every single day.