First, let me say that I love getting emails from readers. It helps me know where you’re struggling and how I may be able to help.
But apparently some people think I’m holding back on some deep, dark secret – a magic potion, if you will – that instantly dissolves belly fat and excess weight.
And the only reason I haven’t yet divulged this information is because I have a fear of being a billionaire, owning a private island or sleeping on a mattress stuffed with hundred dollar bills.
I’m here to tell you: It’s not the case.
Here’s the thing.
When I get an email from one of my Ageless peeps asking for help, it’s usually about weight loss.
Before I respond (and yes, I personally respond to all my emails and will continue to do so until I can train my private island staff to help me), I look over the note carefully.
This “investigation” is a short one if it’s a disjointed single sentence sent from a phone, saying, in essence: Please help! Nothing works. [frowny face with tears] Can’t get rid of this belly fat!!! [no signature or name, which leads me to think it’s a collective cry from the very universe itself]
In such a case, I don’t know the first thing about the person’s background, what they’ve tried, what’s worked, if they recently gained the weight, or if they’re held captive and being force fed cookie dough ice cream by a bunch of hooded bad guys.
Other times I get a LOT of detail, including every single meal they’ve eaten since they started on solid food and a workout history dating back to the time of Moses, when cardio consisted of running from rapidly rising flood waters.
Problem is, I still have to put on my CSI hat to look for clues because most of the time this recorded history is far more pristine than my own.
How can this be?
My own diet is hardly picture perfect. A trainer friend of mine calls his clients’ food journals “the greatest pieces of fiction ever written” because they almost always read like a page out of a dietitian’s handbook.
If it were true, this person would be losing weight (barring any undiagnosed health issue, which I always inquire about).
That’s when I bring out my heavy duty, supercharged, heat seeking, military grade BS detector.
No, I’m not calling anyone a liar, so hold your horses on pushing that delete button.
But I am saying this: The one mistake I see most often (aside from a lack of consistency, which I talk about at length HERE) is denial and/or a lack of awareness of sabotaging habits.
For example, if someone tells me they eat clean “most of the time” I want to ask, what exactly constitutes”most of the time”?
Do you eat healthy once a week, five days a week or when just when you step on the scale, freak out and get on the straight and narrow for the next 12 hours?
Because let’s face it, denial is much more comfortable than actually facing your bad habits and doing something about it.
Another major clue to finding the source of the problem is when I hear, “I know I should do more X, drink less Y or stop eating Z, but I just can’t stop!”
I translate that to mean they know where the problem lies and just want me to either confirm their suspicions or they’re simply looking for sympathy that yes, they are indeed a lost cause.
If you’ve read a single of my blog posts you know I’ll never say the latter.
My point is this: In order to lose weight, get fit,or make any change to your body, you must first target the problem and be honest with yourself.
You do this by tracking your food and exercise, pinpointing the problem and making changes towards that goal.
Easy peasy, right?
Nope, not in the least bit. It’s tough, which is why it’s easier to blame your genetics, your significant other, the weather, or stress eating because The Real Housewives is still a thing.
I get it.
But it’s the ONLY way to get out of denial. Until you’re willing to take a hard look at yourself and address the issue at hand, you’ll stay exactly where you are now.
Change is a process, not an instant transition, although the decision to change happens in a moment. Like now. Or now. Take your pick.
So here’s how to take the first steps towards making real changes that stick:
1. You must keep a food journal, whether it’s an old school notebook or online. Include how you felt, where you ate and with whom, and your mood, along with the food and amount you ate. This helps you hone in on emotional eating habits and little bites and nibbles you eat that you “don’t count.”
2. Write down your workouts, including how you felt that day, what you did, how long you worked out continuously (e.g. doing a set of squats then Facebooking for 15 minutes does not count as 16 minutes of exercise), and your intensity.
3. Evaluate where you need to make a change and take steps to get there.
Be brutally honest with yourself. Ask yourself:
Where do you fall short?
What triggers cause you to reach for that sleeve of Fig Newtons?
What can you do instead of the unhealthy behavior?
Once you figure out where you need work and take steps to fix it, you’re on your way to reaching your goals.
The biggest challenge lies in admitting the areas where you need help.
Do YOU know where you need the most help? What trips you up?
Let me know in the comment section below… I’d love to know!
Other posts you may find helpful:
Like this post? Then please forward it to all your ageless friends and send it out on your social networks! I’d be forever grateful.
Got questions? Email me at email@example.com.
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.