I have a long time client who came to me with an idea. She wanted to drop ten pounds and wanted me to help her set up a 12 week challenge. I loved the idea and asked if she would be willing to record everything so that I could use the data. She accepted and the challenge began.
My client is a 56 year old female. She is fairly active. She works out with me twice a week for an hour each time and is active taking other fitness classes. She enjoys Yoga and Boot Camp. She also is active with her husband and friends. She goes to the gym for 30 minutes early mornings and hikes, cycles, runs, and kayaks. Her fitness level is great and she is of average weight for her height.
First, she set a goal. Her goal was a ten pound weight loss. Next, we set a time of 12 weeks. A safe weight loss is 1/2 pound – 2 pounds per week, so 12 weeks would give her a range of 6 – 24 pounds she could safely lose. Then, we devised a plan. In the beginning, she was to make better choices with her food and log everything she ate and drank. She also was instructed to do some type of physical activity 5-6 days a week and log those sessions down, too. In the first week, she lost 1.7 pounds. She found that she does eat out quite a bit. She was also tired from working out 5 days that week (with a couple different activities most days.) She said she was very glad she was doing the challenge.
When we took a look at her food diary, I found there were a couple of things that might be hindering her weight loss. One weekly treat she had was to meet a friend for coffee. Her taste for coffee involves sugary flavoring and creams, so we looked up each coffee place they met and created better choice drinks for her. Another downfall in her diet was the number of times she ate out at restaurants. We devised a plan that would allow her to continue eating at restaurants but kept her calorie intake at the right level. She enjoys salads, so that was usually what she ordered with a meat (chicken or fish). I encouraged her to get the dressing on the side or opt for oil and vinegar. It was also smart to ask for the meat to be cooked “clean” (without oil, butter, or salt) and to remove fried items and cheese from the salad. I had her eat 3 meals a day with a healthy snack in between each meal. She also kept track of her water intake, striving to drink at least 64 ounces a day.
For the challenge, I had her weigh every day. Looking at her weight record, most weeks she would fluctuate up and down between a few pounds, but her weight loss was evident and gradual. By week four, she was down 4.2 pounds. Week 7 proved to be a challenging week for her. She was a little off kilter and saw a bit of a weight plateau, but at week 8 she was down 6.7 pounds. When she hit the plateau around week 7, we changed up her plan a bit. I had her focus on really working intervals during her cardio sessions and I added more green vegetables to her meal plan. I wanted her to eat leafy greens as often as possible with her meals.
By the time week 12 rolled around, she had lost a total of 8 pounds. In her final data email, this is an excerpt of how she felt about her weight loss: “So I didn’t meet my weight goal but I am happy to have lost as much as I have – 8 lbs. Of course, the inches lost makes a huge difference in my self concept, self esteem, etc.” My client found success and completed the challenge! She worked hard and was honest with herself when she had stressors, didn’t follow the plan, and when she needed rest. She didn’t make excuses. When she faltered, she recognized it and got back with the program. Because she kept records, now she can go back to those notes and see exactly what worked for her and what she needs to do if she needs to lose a few pounds.
Being successful with your goals starts with making one! Set a goal and then work out a plan to help you reach your goal. Use professional help when it is needed if you lack knowledge in a particular area. If weight loss is your goal, this challenge is an example of how to be successful. Log everything you eat and drink. Log your workouts. Track your weight. Be honest with yourself as you look at your records (and the other factors of your life.) Like my client, you can be successful! Just believe in yourself and get started down a path that leads you to your goal.