Progress not perfection

Good moaning Friend,

I hope you know that it’s common for willpower to fail at times. You may suddenly give into junk food and overindulge because of hunger or temptation. 

Or you may skip a workout because you had a shit day at work or an argument with your spouse and you are not in the mood. Or maybe you binge-watched a Netflix show and didn’t go? 

These things happen. You must forgive yourself and get back to it. So many people make the cardinal error of aiming for perfection and when they slip up, they feel like they’ve failed, and the entire goal has gone to waste. 

They then decide to just let themselves go, carry on with the bad habits, and give up on their goal. It is the equivalent of getting a flat tyre then slashing the other 3! All because they slipped up once and think it’s ‘game over’. It’s not! 

Acknowledge your mistake and analyze why you slipped up. Maybe you need to remove all fun foods from your kitchen, so you don’t binge. Or maybe you should work out first thing in the morning, so you don’t skip your training sessions. 

Once you figure out a way to rectify future mistakes, you’ll increase your compliance and prevent future slip-ups. It is easier when conditions are right.   

Aim for over 85% compliance with your routine and habits. 

No matter how disciplined you are, you will make a mistake and give in to temptation here and there. If your compliance is 85% and above, you’ll definitely be on track to achieving your goals. Perfection is unattainable. Progression is what you are focusing on!

If you’ve lost 0.5 kg this week that’s progress! If you’ve done more exercise or you’re stronger than last week, that’s progress! If you’ve got more sleep or controlled your temper in a situation that would typically see you erupt. That’s progress! And that my friend is all you need to concern yourself with.

If you want to make progress with your health and fitness. To look better, feel better, have more energy, and increase your productivity. Then the Limitless Lifestyle Blueprint is for you.

Click here

In the eye of the beholder

When I go into the city, I find it a bit of a sensory overload. The lights the billboards, advertisements everywhere.

Even in the atrium of the office building where I was sat waiting to deliver a talk. A huge TV screen displaying a couple with athletic physiques running on a beach at some luxury holiday resort.

The managing director walked into the lobby area. “Andrew” he extended his hand to greet me.

We exchanged pleasantries as we were walking to the elevator, he mentioned that I should make the most of the advertisement he saw me looking at.

“It’s getting removed from the feed as someone has complained about it. They said it was offensive.”

This seemed absurd to me. I’m all for body positivity but when it goes the other way and there is almost a positive discrimination against those who have an athletic physique. Then it’s gone too far”

I find that the complaints usually come from people in the most pain and are uncomfortable in their bodies.

I think it triggers that uncomfortable pang of discomfort. Because they are comparing their physique to those in the advert. And they then feel guilt, inadequate or inferior.

They complain about being reminded about. This way they don’t have to hear the uncomfortable truth. 

When I went back to the office to deliver another training session. This advertisement was replaced with a clothes company advert featuring plus-size models wearing their plus-size range. With the slogan ‘big is beautiful’ scrolled across their logo.

Now big (I’m talking obesity/high-fat mass, not tall or high muscle mass) may be beautiful to some. But according to the empirical evidence big is dangerous!

I think the message ‘big is beautiful’ is not a good one. It’s like saying smoking is cool, or drinking is fantastic. 

When you celebrate and encourage people to embrace an unhealthy position the problem grows. People become ignorant of the risks associated with obesity because it is accepted.

Is shaming the answer? Absolutely not! This will only exacerbate the situation. I’ve seen celebrities go on TV and say we should shame people who are obese. This only compounds the issue.

Is celebrating it the answer? No this only promotes and confuses.

Is education and eradication of false information the answer? 

It could be. 

I personally think that Health and wellbeing should be part of education. Food technology could be adapted. So that children learn about balanced meals and energy content (calorie awareness).

I’d love it if my job didn’t exist. Because people know how to stay fit, healthy both mentally and physically.

I’ve worked with so many people that have been in an unhealthy position. and is not just the physical health issues

it’s the psychological ones that come with it.

Unfulfilled in their career because they are underproducing (due to low energy levels). And not progressing to the next level promotion that they have been working towards for the past 5 years.
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Unconfident in their body and their intimacy with their partner has dropped off, and they are starting to look at what else is out there.
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Stuck because they have been wasting thousands of dollars and hours on quick fixes. And they are still in the exact same spot as they were 5 years ago. Except maybe worse off because they are 5 years older. 

If you want to get unstuck, next month I’m taking on 2 people for my one-to-one coaching program.

Click here to book in for a call if you would like to discuss.

Devotional practices

Sunday night rolls around and a cold bead of sweat travels down the forehead of the poor WW member. Uneasy about the prospect of tomorrow’s weigh-in.

So they formulate a plan; consume only dust and dehydrate themselves to prep for the evening meeting.

Flustered and late they arrive at the community centre. As soon as they enter they are summoned by the leader. As they walk up to the stage they feel the eyeballs of the crowd on them.

Anxiety takes hold as they recall the M&M they found in their pocket and devoured at lunchtime. It was the only morsel that has passed their lips but that blue button-shaped chocolate could make all the difference.

As they step on the scale, complete with grimace on face they look down to see the numbers. The ones that will reveal their mass in relation to the earth. The scales move back and forth the needle jumping from oz to oz.

Silence falls as the leader checks the scales and consults their clipboard.  The whole event is similar in hype to pugilists weighing in for a Vegas box office event.

A hush falls over the crowd as the Leader speaks. ‘Well, David that’s the same weight as last week.’

‘Well, s**t. The whole week was mathematically pointless’ David thinks to himself.

If David had an understanding of how his weight can fluctuate from day to day. He would know that one weigh-in per week is a risky game.

If he were to weigh in daily he would ensure that he doesn’t miss the new lows he had been working on. And doing so first thing in the morning after visiting the ablutions would aid consistency.

He would also be content knowing that he only needs to see a new low each week. Not each day! This would show a trend and prove what he is doing is working.

100kg done!

Well, that’s it. 100 kg done!

‘What are you talking about Andrew?’ You ask.

Over the last 7 years, I have been carrying out some due diligence. Self-experimentation in the form of weight loss and weight gain. Evidence-based practices that I have refined over the years. And this weekend saw me hit 100kg weight loss total.

To give you some specificity, I’ve lost between 10kg and 22kg each year for the last 7. Which has reached a combined total of 100kg.

Why?

Well, I do it to show people how to transform their bodies sensibly. How to lose fat properly. How to actually gain muscle.

Because as you know it’s a minefield out there. A minefield filled with charlatans and zealots preaching their diet and exercise religions.

‘Thou shall not eat carbs’

‘I command you to do fasted cardio’

‘Burn in hell for all eternity when you eat meat’

Diatribe. These people love to create some sensationalism, a new fad to hoodwink people.

I would rather show people and prove that there is a sensible way of going about it. Demonstrating what I do with my diet to lose fat and what exercise I do to gain muscle to be fitter.

I suppose I wanted to back up what I was preaching. Which I don’t see anyone else doing. I see many people talk a great game but no action. They’ll get on their soapbox, but they new back it up with any action. Probably because they know what they are pushing is ridiculous and they would last 5 mins.

I wanted to prove what I was preaching works. And that my blueprint will work for anyone. So here’s a brief synopsis of what I did during my weight loss phases.

Diet
A moderate energy deficit. Going too aggressive in the first years left me very hungry and prone to muscle loss which is bad. So for the last years, I aimed for a 15% deficit.

A weekly target for my calories. This was far more flexible than a daily target. It meant that I could bank some calories for the weekend when my intake would be higher.

I assigned a certain amount of my calorie budget to protein. And kept my daily protein intake high. Most of my meals were focused on protein. This did wonder for my hunger (protein reduces your ghrelin/hunger hormone). And helped with preserving muscle mass.

Exercise
The only cardio I did was walking. This mitigated high hunger periods (common post cardio training).

I found a frequency of workout sessions that worked for me (5). And the focus of those sessions remained the same during weight loss and weight gain periods. Do a little more each week. (This was easier during weight gain phases)

Sleep
This was a tough one because toddlers don’t care about your sleep regime. Yet I would always set myself up for 7 hours of sleep (actual sleep not being in bed). On the days where sleep was poor, hunger was elevated. Food reward heightened and satiety lowered. So I was always aiming for those 7 hours and riding out the storm on days where I didn’t get it.

Tracking
I tracked my energy intake during all 7 years of experimentation/weight change. This was a means to an end. When at a point where I want to maintain my weight. I would track my intake for a week or so then put down the tracker. But during times of change, I had to track. Even as an experienced dieter I would be way out without tracking. And the thought of calculating and storing up a running total every day. Seems exhausting and very inaccurate.

And there you have it. My best tips for dieting. By implementing those things you’ll look and feel better at the end of it.

If you want my blueprint which shows you the specifics you can grab a copy here

It’s just data!

After delivering my last health and wellbeing seminar for a company I received a question from one of their members of staff.

Actually, it was more of a concern about the concept of tracking calories (something I touched on in the seminar).

First of all the reason, I advocate that you track calories is to educate yourself.

The person who was concerned said that counting calories can cause eating disorders, create bad habits and be bad for mental health.

People that state this are counting calories for the wrong reasons. You should count calories to educate yourself on what you are eating and how much you are eating.

It is not a permanent thing rather a means to an end.

It is even more important that you track your calories when you start your health and fitness journey. Because a lot of people don’t actually realize how much and what they eat.

How are you supposed to realize where you are going wrong if you don’t collect data?

We collect data to improve, learn, understand and execute a plan of action.

This is why you count calories!

After a period of time, you’ll have an awareness of calories. And you’ll be able to eyeball a meal and know how many calories are in it. You’ll be able to pick up a snack and know how many grams of protein are in it.

And that’s why you count calories.

Counting calories doesn’t create an eating disorder, rather it reveals the disorder.

It’s just data, don’t allow feelings to distract you from what you can achieve.

Make it mean something!

I find myself at the tail end of this year’s weight loss challenge. And within touching distance of a milestone. That being 100kg lost in total over several years of self-experimentation.

Now I can say with hand on heart this year has been the hardest. Even harder than the first year (7 years ago) where I hadn’t dieted before. And I know the reason why. 

It’s because my goal this year was weight loss. The goal, although a milestone, is a weight loss one. Which has rendered it pretty meaningless. This cements my standpoint that a weight loss goal is redundant.


This year I have persevered through gritted teeth. And the method I use (the reveal a body blueprint) has made it as simple as possible.


But it pales in comparison to using the method plus an emotive goal, like in previous years. I’d never struggled then because they have been motivated by the carrot dangling at the end. 

Carrots like feeling confident on stage, in front of hundreds of people for a bodybuilding competition. Feeling great stood next to my wife for our wedding pictures. Or feeling confident in my swim shorts in the pool with my kids on holiday.

These feeling-based, emotive goals have made the process far easier. Attaching the outcome to a feeling rather than a meaningless number.


So if you are looking to transform your body focus on the reason behind the transformation. Find that emotive reason that has given you a reason to want to change your physique. Have a carrot that means something to you and attach the outcome to that.

Feedback not failure

I could make out the police insignia through the window on one of the envelopes I picked up from the hallway floor. I had an idea what this this was going to be.

My suspicions were confirmed on opening said letter. A speeding offense.

I have the choice of 3 points on my license or speed awareness course. It’s like asking would you rather be shot or stabbed!?


As with everything the way I frame this is, as feedback, not failure, which is important. I haven’t failed at driving, I’ve received some feedback that I need to be more aware of variable speed limits.


I’ll call it exuberance, maybe I got a little over excited. This is what happens when you borrow a 6 litre Continental with circa 550 ponies under the hood.


Going forward I’m not going to make the same mistake again. This is feedback, not failure. And it is an important mindset.


Let’s take eating out. This is a scenario when people feel guilty about the food choices they make. You may eat things that you don’t usually eat or may eat more than is comfortable.


You may be thinking ‘I need more self control’. But do we have to sacrifice the foods that we enjoy? To claim that we have self-control?

No!

Self-control failure comes from believing that there are consequences to our actions. Even if it is something minor. Let’s go with choosing chocolate instead of celery sticks.

If we eat one meal or several meals over the course of the day where you feel uncomfortable. If you believe you have broken some food rules. Or there are going to be serious consequences to your actions. Those can be perceived as a self-control failure.

If we don’t have those food rules and we give ourselves permission, you don’t break any rules. So you don’t have to deal with the guilt shame, frustration and anxiety. That come with breaking those self-imposed food rules.


You simply enjoy that food or meal and move on. Or if we don’t we use it as a learning opportunity and move on. Learning not failure! We don’t repeat those habits over and over again!

And if you do find yourself in that cycle of repeating those habits that are not in line with your goals. You can reach out to to a professional and find out why you might be doing that.

Weight fluctuations when dieting

Talking to one of my online clients this morning, he was telling me how he had quit so many other diets. because of his misunderstanding of weight fluctuations. Before when he had tried to lose weight. He would see fluctuations on the scales that led him to believe what he was doing was not working. He told me of the frustration of putting in all that hard work at the gym and with his diet. Only to step on the scales and feel disheartened when he saw that his weight has actually increased.


From working with him for a few weeks he now understands what is happening. That these fluctuations are par for the course. And he is now making progress. It’s not only him though, weight fluctuations on the scales have thwarted many a weight loss attempt. Today I want to put an end to that frustration and help you understand why these fluctuations occur. To get you to understand that when dieting weight fluctuations are normal.


The first thing to get your head around is because you see an increase in weight on the scales. It doesn’t mean you are not losing body fat. I will say that again.
Your weight going up on the scales doesn’t mean you are not losing body fat!


The reason that we see these fluctuations in weight is due to water. When we have a meal high in carbohydrates and sodium [think Chinese takeaway]. Your body will hold onto water. For every gram of carbohydrate stored in the body (as glycogen) we store approximately 2.5 grams of water. This is why low carb diets are a very easy sell to people. They drop carbohydrates, thus, they drop water weight. They think that carbs are the enemy and they are converted to carb-free life of misery. 

Then they experience a plateau after the initial drop. [If they are still consuming the same amount of calories from fats and protein]. Because they are not in a calorie deficit, so fat loss stops. Confused because they saw a correlation between dropping carbs and weight loss. But didn’t realize it was only water they had lost not body fat! How frustrating to be in this limbo of confusion.


When dieting our body will take fats [triglycerides] from the fat cells as energy. To make up the deficit. Between the energy we are expending and the energy we are consuming [a calorie deficit] Great! That’s what we want for fat loss! There will also be some loss of stored carbohydrates [glycogen]. Little or no loss of muscle. Provided you have enough protein in your diet and you’re resistance training. And of course loss of water from cells. Which are the cause of the fluctuations.


When our body decides that it’s good and ready to evacuate the water from the cells. Then we see a drop in weight, usually a large one, to a new low! So don’t be deterred by these fluctuations they are part of the process. Stay resolute to the plan and you will see these downward trends. What you are looking for is a downward trend with weight over weeks. Each week you should see a new low [remember to weigh yourself daily so you don’t miss it]. This will tell you that you are in a calorie deficit. and you are where you need to be with your calorie intake and activity.

 
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