Saturday, January 03, 2009

On setting and reaching goals (or why "winging it" doesn't always work)

Many of my blog readers are Figure Competitors or would be competitors or would be physique transformationists. There are many competitors that get tripped up by assigning false meaning to different scenarios, rather than getting the job done.

Of course my favourite one is "If I weigh myself every day, the scales will do my head in!" . Already one is giving a certain meaning to what the scale is saying - in this scenario it means, "if that ol' scale doesn't show me the number I want to see, I'm going to... sulk, get upset, pout, wallow in self misery ... then it's going to morph into a total disaster and catastrophe and a harsh self assessment that yes, I really am the fat cow I always knew I was get the drift ... this comment smacks of listening to one's inner child a little bit too much. Enough already! You may choose not to weigh yourself daily for other good reasons which is perfectly fine, but when you're headed towards a goal, you need to stay on track and you need to remain accountable - to yourself. Now I will add here that as a coach and regularly hormonal female who is known to indulge every now and again, stepping on the scales after an eating "event" isn't easy - but life isn't always about taking the easy out. Take a deep breath, and get on...what is the worst that could happen - you'll see a number you don't like...and guess what, you'll handle it!

Another thing I hear is "If I keep a food log it means I'm anal and obsessive". There's a time and place for everything and if you're truly serious about reaching a physique goal then these qualities are awesome to have - it has been demonstrated time and time again that writing things down (or logging them) achieves a goal so much faster and better than just "winging it". For example, you could measure your oats in a measuring cup or you could weigh them on a food scale. Say you log 50g of oats (half a cup) Depending on the cup and how you fill it, you could be eating way more than that. The same goes for protein portions, vegetables and pasta - who ever eats a serve of pasta which is half a cup. How do you measure that? It is too easy to inadvertently eat more and blame your plan on a "slow metabolism" when in fact you're not measuring correctly or in the case of completely "winging it", doing anything. To me it is the same as a doctor making a diagnosis without examining the patient first.

A food log can demonstrate just how much you can eat - most would be surprised to learn that it is usually more than you think! If you are logging your food correctly and your training as well you can build up quite a good database of information about yourself for practical application. For example, I know that loading an extra 20-30g carbs pre RPM Hi Performance has , well, made all the difference to my performance. I know what calorie range I need to be to lose fat, I know that eating oats in the afternoon benefits my recovery. I know what I need to do to eat Paleo and be successful at it. I know that I'm in potential binge territory if my carb intake drops below 30%. I would never have known any of these things unless I had kept a log.

The other place Figure Competitors trip up is by telling everyone they're "dieting down" - we all know what meaning has been placed on the word "diet", so why not just focus on the competition part, get the job done and be impartial about the process. It is what it is. Add too much meaning and enjoy the emotional fall out on the other side.

You're the best experiment you've ever worked on and by charting all of these variables and understanding them for what they are, rather than assigning false meaning to them is what will ensure your success.


Lia Halsall said...

I love this post and couldn't agree with you more. As soon as I hear any of the above I stop listening and caring about that person because they're obviously fully of justifyable excuses in their opion. I love your tell it how it is personality Liz. Please don't ever change, for me. ;o)

"Excuses are like assholes, we all have one" LOL!!

Lia xxx
Eat Clean, Drink Water, Train Hard & Love Life!

Shar said...

Hey Liz
Great post.
I am logging my activity daily(on my cool blog thingy) and also weighing myself daily, I'm getting there with learning to 'handle it' when the scales head in the 'wrong' direction!! :) but the more I'm aware why the more I learn.

Also the best thing that happened to me was the introduction to calorie King ;) Its a must for me to know why I am feeling a certain way due to levels and amounts of certain foods.

Shar x

Doris's BEHAG journey said...

Thanks coach, its things like this to read that keeps reality in check for me.

Lia Halsall said...

Do you like my spelling of "opinion" in my previous post Liz? LOL!!

Raechelle said...

Good stuff! and congrads on your article in Health & Fitness!

Java said...

Very true. I'm the same if the scales don't give my fav figure and I knew I did do my best for say 2 or 4 weeks I feel like a total failure, disregard the cm I've lost. Thanks for keeping us in check.

Top End Girl said...

Hi Liz, I don't think your advice is just for figure competitors. I'm a fatty embarking on a new health & fitness lifestyle and for me I believe that daily weight, or at least 2-3 times per week is essential for me I (accentuate that it's for me) as I fluctuate so much. I am an absolute slave to my girly hormones - read 2 kilos - every month the scale does this to me. For a long time (while I was doing Jenny Craig, yes I know) I thought I was just useless, when this increase happened, so did they actually, the fact that I'd lost many centermeters didn't matter, all they looked at was the scales & how bad I was. But after tracking daily for a while I can see where the spikes occur - and the losses occur.

So for some people once a week may be ok, for me, for example, daily is better as I have gotten to know when & why I increase, and the 'numbers' don't "f" with my brain any more.

Hope as a non competitor it's ok to post as maybe one day....

LizN said...

Hey TopEndGirl,
You don't need to be a competitor to post here - I welcome anyone with an opinion to share.
Liz N