Women's Fat Loss: Vision Drives Decision
The Strong Kitchen
When it comes to coaching someone for fat loss, you really need to get a sense of who they are and what they want before giving them advice. This applies especially to women in my experience and can be the divide between someone trusting your advice and giving it time to work or choosing old habits out of fear of the unknown.
That word dictates far too many decisions: fear. Especially when speaking in terms of the emotional component that is the driving force behind our eating decisions and food choices. I think this resonates especially for women because of stereotypes, outside influence and internal struggles between what we think we need, want and deserve.
I think when a lot of men start a new dietary venture, they already have a vision in their mind of what the end will look like. We grew up watching Sylvester Stallone, Jack Palance, Clint Eastwood, Arnold and many more who were strong, jacked, confident men who always won in the end of the movie. I swear every time I watch Rocky I exercise more that week. Inspiration drives us to create a vision of what we’d like to be. We start eating spinach and doing curls and we actually believe we are that much closer to being an action hero! It sounds stupid (and it sort of is) but many of those cheesy 80s movies got a LOT of guys into lifting weights and improving their physiques.
So men tend to associate their goals with positive things like getting stronger, feeling confident, getting lean, emulating a hero of theirs. But on the other hand I hear women say their goals are to weigh less, be smaller, not get “too bulky”, be their high school dress size. Everything is about going backwards, being LESS, even age! And none if it is specific.
Instead of inspiration driving action, we get insecurity driving indecision.
A quick anecdote is that often when someone says they don’t know how to associate weighing less with a positive goal, I tell them to make doing bodyweight pullups their goal. Give me ten in a row. If I didn’t see you for six months and you came back able to perform 10 pullups, you’d be lean, strong, confident and in better health for sure.
All the work you put in was funneled through this specific goal that dictated how your training, nutrition and mindset would have to be. So if you sat down and said, “what needs to change for me to do 10 pullups”? You’d most likely come to these conclusions:
1. Most of your work is strength training.
2. Frequency of workouts would increase. After all, you can’t get better if you aren’t practicing a skill like pullups.
3. Eating less calorie dense foods. Pullups would certainly be easier if you were leaner.
4. Following a smart program. You’d also probably reach out to someone to help with your program so you’d get faster results.
5. Recovery. Aside from eating better quality food, your trainer would tell you more protein increases recovery which leads to better pullup performance.
Without EVER thinking about your high school dress size (or how hideous that dress was), you did all the right things and adopted the right mindset. Positive mindset none the less. Your actions aligned to your goal and they made the decisions you chose easier because that accomplished the goal more fully.
The lesson from the above is that the mindset to have from the start is what does the finish look like? Do you want a six pack or do you just want lower cholesterol? Your end goal can then drive your decisions and put them into context. If you don’t do that, you have no idea why you are doing what you’re doing and it won’t be long before you go back to your comfort zone.
I think this is the huge missing component in a lot of women’s nutrition program. Honestly, will smaller ever be small enough? How do you measure that? What is bulky? Is it actually being lean enough to see visible muscle? So does that idea of being bulky ACTUALLY mean you don’t like the look of being really lean?
My business advisor has been hammering me over the head from the start about having a vision for my business. How can I grow something if I don’t know what I want it to be? What are my decisions based on? In the book, The E-Myth, they quote the founder of IBM on his success. He goes into detail that from the start, he had a vision for his company and every day he made all his decisions based on how much closer they would get him to his goal. And every morning he assessed what he had learned from the previous day’s efforts.
What if you did that with your nutrition? Good Lord, the results would come fast.
In part 2 I am going to outline how once you have a clear picture of what you want, the best way to set it as a tangible goal. I will also discuss how women’s nutrition differs from men’s, how to make your food choices and how to put a sane, sustainable and effective program together to accomplish your goal.