Normally when someone wants to lose weight they focus on diet and/or exercise, hopefully both. But by just focusing on diet and exercise you are missing 1/3 of the weight loss puzzle. Today I wanted to start out a blog series called “How to Boost Weight Loss” if you have listened to my audio program 21 Ways to Lose More Weight, I’ll be covering some of those topics but while that program mainly delves into actionable diet specific strategies this series will not focus on the mechanics of a fat loss diet but instead key tactics that are often overlooked by those working to permanently cinch their belt a couple notches tighter.
Let’s get rolling.
The first way that you can boost your weight loss is through regular accountability audits. Accountability audits come in 2 main flavors – adherence and outcome. Let’s look at adherence first.
Accountability Audits: Adherence
Although this may seem very simple but once you have your fat loss program laid out – you need to stick to it. Tracking adherence is essential. You can go crazy and track all the variables that you see as important (I have 8 that I track) but you need to at least have 2 – diet and exercise
How well are you sticking to your diet plan?
How well are you sticking to your training program?
This may seem very basic but it is extremely important.You may think that you can just keep track of things in your head; but the problem with this approach is that we all look at the past with rose-colored glasses. As a result, by Saturday morning we have all but forgot about skipping the interval training session Monday after work, how much food was acutally consumed at the business lunch on Tuesday, or how much you snacked while prepping your food for the week the previous Saturday.
Auditing adherence to diet and training is an eye-opening experience for most clients. Auditing adherence at even the most basic level (did you eat the meal you said you would & did you exercise as planned) is powerful because it shifts the blame onto you and makes you more accountable. Many times when diets or training programs fail, the diet or training program is blamed. But if you track like I’m recommending, you would see that you weren’t following the plan as well as you should. When you have this kind of information, it is really hard to blame the diet program for not working because you weren’t following the program – you were following something else.
This added wrinkle of accountability is a key motivator for many people as they can’t push the blame onto something like the program – it is all on them.
What can you track?
In regards to diet you can track:
- What you ate
- Where you ate
- What time you ate
- The context of your eating (party, alone, etc)
- How much you ate
- What you drank
- How long it took you to eat
- The composition of your meal (protein, carbohydrates, fat, calories, fiber, etc)
- How you felt prior to eating (rating hunger, emotional state, etc)
- How you felt after eating (rating hunger, emotional state, etc)
- Did you skip any meals
- Did you eat any unexpected snacks
- What liquid calories did you consume
In regards to exercise you can track:
- The type of exercise
- Intensity of exercise
- Duration of exercise
- Markers of performance (set, reps, rating of perceived exertion, etc)
- How you felt prior to exercising
- How you felt during exercise
- How you felt after exercise
- Where you exercised
I’m not recommending that you track all these things all the time. Specifically in regards to diet, I don’t use that entire list with clients but instead track specific things that are relevant to their goals and the habits that we are working on at that time.
How I Track
The system that works best for me in regards to diet tracking is a pretty simple one that I learned from Dr. John Berardi. I have been using this as the core of my Accountability Audits personally and with clients for years. To put this into action you need to plan out your meals for the week and then chart whether or not you ate the food you planned on eating. In addition to diet and exercise, I also track sleep and relaxation habits/patterns.
There are lots of complicated and integrated systems that you can use but the one that I keep coming back to is JoesGoals.com. I have featured Joesgoals.com in a previous issue of Strong, Fit, & Healthy as it is very simple to use and very effective. All you do it enter what you want to track and if you do it that day just click the box for that habit and a check mark appears. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Whatever your health and fitness goals are, make sure that you have daily and weekly Adherence Audits in place to ensure you keep progressing to your goal.
In the next post in this series we’ll look at outcome adherence audits.
If you have a system or resource that works well for you post a comment below and share it with everyone.