I mean that in the literal sense – when you set a goal, do you measure to see if you are reaching it?
There’s a saying “What get measured gets done”.
When a client comes to me expressing frustration about lack of progress, asking advice about what to change in their nutrition plan, I will usually ask a question –
“What does your nutrition look like now?”
And then ask for their food log.
You see it is impossible to make suggestions without seeing what’s going on currently.
Let’s think about it from an athletic perspective. You like to run 5k races (you’re crazy, but that’s beside the point). You have a goal to run your next 5k in under twenty minutes, and your current best time is 22 minutes. So you want to shave a couple minutes off your time. What would you do? How would you know your training is effective and you are getting faster? You would time yourself periodically to see! If you were getting faster, you more than likely would continue your present training. However if your time was stagnant, or worse yet you were getting slower, you know you need to change something up. Logical, yes?
Or maybe you are business person, and you want to know if your latest direct ad campaign is bringing in customers. You would track the number of responses to the ad to see if it was effective and profitable. If not, changes will be made next time around.
In either situation, you are not going to just leave it to chance and let the chips fall where they may. You are going to measure.
If you have been following my food blog (http://getfitnhbootcamp.com/category/food-blog-dean/), you may have noticed that I changed things up a little this week. I have been on my present plan for a few weeks, my compliance has been high (this is critical – you can’t accurately measure if you are all over the place on one of the metrics) and I have detected a trend that is contrary to my goals. So it’s time to change up. I measure myself once a week: Scale weight and waist measurement. The tape tells me my bodyfat has most likely increased over the past couple of weeks (1/2″ increase on the waist measurement). Why? Most likely because I have eaten more grains than I was during my previous phase (I am very sensitive to non-fibrous carbs, not everyone is this way). Because I want to keep those grains in my diet, I have decided to eat my last meal before 6:00pm. How will I know if this was the right approach? The tape will tell me over the next couple of weeks!
If you are in our bootcamps, we encourage the same approach: Scale and waist measurement, once a week. Detect the trend over a 2-4 week period, and adjust food intake (up or down, depending on the goal) as necessary.
- Be consistent – measuring once every two months is way too long. You could gain or lose 10 pounds in that amount of time and not even realize it.
- Be consistent Part II – weigh yourself at the same time of day in the same clothing; be as careful as you can to measure yourself in the same place every time – It takes practice!
- Be consistent Part III – As I mentioned above, you must KNOW what you are currently eating on a DAILY basis. It isn’t good enough to guess. Studies show that the average person trying to lose weight underestimates calorie intake by 25%!
- Don’t get discouraged – Discovering what is optimal for you can take time. That time will be reduced by, you guessed it, being consistent.
- Don’t think you have to make huge changes right way, IF you are following the points above. I eliminated one meal (snack) that averages about 250 calories. Not a huge change, but it may be all it takes. DON’T stop feeding your body by taking drastic measures.
Measure, analyze, adjust. Step-by-step, week-by-week.
Do you measure up?
Make It Happen!