It’s probably obvious to most people that good nutrition and consistent training are critical for achieving results like that, but I have learned that having the right mindset, fueled by clear motivational goals, is equally and perhaps even more important than diet and exercise! Simply put, when my head is in the right place, the rest just follows naturally. The reverse is not as true, at least not for me. I can know everything there is to know about nutrition and exercise, but it won’t get me very far if my mind is not where it needs to be.
So how did I get my head in the right place? I have to admit, this was the toughest battle I had to overcome. I’ve heard people say that you have to really WANT something in order to achieve it. I don’t disagree with that statement; however, for me, desire, even intense desire, wasn’t enough. Desire can be a great impetus for change, but it isn’t usually enough to take you the distance.
You see, I really wanted to be fit and healthy again. In fact, the desire for a lean, healthy body was so strong that I knew there was no way I would ever be content with anything less. Desire was the reason I vowed to myself almost every Sunday night that I would start my diet on Monday (everyone knows that diets should always start on Mondays). But as soon as the pressures of work, school or life closed in on me, desire abandoned me like a fair-weather friend in a hurricane. It wasn’t until I took part of the burn the fat body transformation program that I discovered what was missing: the power of goal setting.
Tom has already said just about everything there is to say about setting goals but I will try to describe how it made all the difference in the world to me.
As I noted earlier, desire is a great impetus for change, but setting clear, specific and vivid goals is the fuel that keeps desire burning. At first I did not give the goal setting process as much attention as it deserves. I was very busy, after all, and I had to work out, log my food and prepare my meals for the following day! However, I eventually realized that it was the one thing I had never tried with all my previous failed diet attempts, so I sat down and started writing, hoping that it just might be the key to lasting success. And it was!
Probably the best advice I can give regarding writing out goals is to take time to make them very specific, personal, emotional and vivid. I actually posted an edited version of my goals in my journal because my original goals were so intensely personal. I think this was helpful in a number of ways. First, it helped me truly understand my reasons why I was doing this. Motivation fuels desire. In addition, because I made my goals very specific and vivid, it was easy to remember and visualize them.
Visualization has been absolutely critical to my success. Many people in the Inner Circle create visualization pictures by pasting their face on a fitness model’s (or body builder’s) body. I did this too; it’s a great motivational tool – but I took it a step further. I got into the habit of mentally imagining my ideal body at all times. I wasn’t just seeing my visualization picture in my head – I was imagining how I would look, feel, move, etc. in a variety of situations.
For example, when I first started working out, I was so out of shape that I tired quickly, my appendages felt like lead, and the slightest exertion left me breathless. But, instead of focusing on how I felt in that moment, I started visualizing how I would feel exercising once I was fit – strong, powerful, energetic, breathing deeply and easily!
The most amazing thing happened when I did this – I found myself picking up the pace, pushing past the pain and fatigue, and I felt exhilaration akin to what the winner of a marathon must feel crossing the finish line. Of course, in reality, I was a sweaty, panting, red-faced mess, but I felt like an athlete! I applied this visualization technique to just about everything – my approach to food, the image I saw when I looked in the mirror, etc. The impact was profound – it literally changed the way I saw myself, how I felt about myself and, most importantly, it changed the way I behaved because it compelled me to be the person I saw in my mind.
I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. I think it’s really important for each person to do what works best for them, taking into consideration personal strengths and weaknesses. I am a very detail-oriented person and I usually approach life with an all or nothing mindset. Therefore, my approach to nutrition was to aim for 100% compliance because I knew that cheat meals would trigger an avalanche of cravings.
I ate grade A foods almost exclusively. Most of my meals were simple, bland and repetitive. I weighed and logged everything. I know this approach does not appeal to everyone, but it’s what I knew would work best for me. I think the key is to know yourself and then apply the principles of burn the fat body transformation program nutrition in a manner that will ensure your success!
Before the challenge began I created a workout schedule in my Outlook calendar. I knew that lack of time was going to be my biggest hurdle, so it was important for me to carve out the necessary time for myself.
I also counted the number of cardio and weight training sessions I wanted to complete throughout the challenge. I thought of each and every workout as bringing me one step closer to the goals I had set for myself. For example, in 98 days, I scheduled 56 strength training sessions. Simply seeing my workout goals as a finite number helped drive home the importance of every workout and I was much less inclined to skip one as a result.
There were certainly times that I did not feel like working out, but I learned early on that I had to stop the mental debate as soon as it began. I would often say to myself, “Christina, you don’t get a vote” and before I could argue back, I simply got up and got moving. Once again, the mind-body connection was extremely important here, as well as with nutrition.
4. Other advice or tips.
The final “tip” I want to pass along is to get involved here in the Burn The Fat Inner Circle!
I spent as much time as I could afford reading journals, listening to audio interviews, and gleaning from the wealth of information found in the articles. I am a fairly quiet, somewhat introverted person by nature. I don’t typically feel a need for a lot of social interaction; however, I discovered that the encouragement, support, accountability and camaraderie of like-minded individuals all working toward similar goals was absolutely vital to my success.
There were times when my mindset was not as strong as it needed to be, times where I felt like slacking off, and times when I just didn’t think I could resist the office chocolate dish. All I had to do in those times was log on and read the encouraging posts in my journal, or read about someone else’s personal triumphs, and I was re-energized and re-focused.