Better Is Better

Have you tried losing weight, or being healthier before?

If so, there’s a good chance that you tried doing several of the following things. All at once:

-Eating more fruit

-Avoiding all fruit

-Eating more vegetables

-Drinking more water

-Taking daily vitamins

-Taking fish oil

-Taking branch chain amino acids

-Taking fat burners

-Taking appetite suppressants

-Eating more salads

-Exercising more often

-Fasted cardio

-Getting more sleep

-Fasting for 8 hours every day

-Fasting for 12 hours every day

-Fasting for 16 hours every day

-Fasting for 2 days every week

-Not eating after 7pm

-Not eating any carbs

-Not eating any gluten

-Meal replacement shakes

-Avoiding all sugar

-Eating 5 meals a day

-Eating 1 meal a day

-Avoiding dietary fat

-Cutting out all processed foods

-Following a strict meal plan

Honestly, I’m a little tired just writing out that list, I can’t imagine trying to actually do several of those things all at once.

But that’s what most people do, isn’t it?

It’s exhausting. And it’s not sustainable.

The fitness industry tells us that we need to do most of those things, and we need to do them NOW. “Want to be healthier? No worries, all you have to do is overhaul your entire life. Good luck!”

If you’ve been there before, or many times, you know how frustrating and defeating it can be to try your absolute best and feel like you always come up short.

I’d like to present a new way. A different approach.

Ready for it? Are you sure you are, because it’s going to blow your mind. Buckle up! Here it goes!

Do a little better.

That’s it.

If you’re let down by that answer, I understand. But I’m willing to bet that if that answer leaves you feeling underwhelmed, you’ve maybe bought into extreme approaches over and over, and have never made much long-term progress. Maybe.

Why not try doing just a little better?

Imagine there is a continuum. On one end is where you are, and on the other end is where you want to be in a perfect scenario.

What most people do is try to magically appear all the way down the other end of the continuum. This rarely works for more than a few months. And then it all comes falling apart.

Instead, it might be worth taking things one step at a time and shooting for a little better.

Are you eating one vegetable a day, on average? Shoot for two a day.

Are you getting 6 hours of sleep? Shoot for 6 and a half.

Focus on a few things. Do them better. Do them consistently.

If you want to do better, then do a little better.

Because better is better.


Eating at fast food restaurants can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

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Good Intentions

You have new shoes.

You have new workout clothes.

You laid them out the night before and set your alarm early, so you’ll have time to workout before you go to work.

You follow inspiring social media accounts, and have a workout from one of them saved. You know exactly what exercises you’ll do in the morning.

You have a shake made the night before so you have something to fuel you through your workout, because you’re going to kill it.

You get into bed early so it’ll be easier to get up when the alarm goes off.

This is all good. It’s really good. You’ve set yourself up for success, and greatly reduced the chance that you will sleep in.

But…

None of these things will help you meet your goals on their own. In fact, all of them grouped together wont help you meet your goals with out one key ingredient.

Action.

You have to pull the trigger.

The best of intentions don’t do a thing unless you move your feet.

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Want it? Earn it.

If you want to play an instrument well, you have to practice. You have to fumble through basic chords, develop callouses, and endure a lot of frustration. You’re not going to be a virtuoso in a few months. To think otherwise is silly.

If you want to to be a really good cook, you’re going to have to make your way through some botched meals.

If you want to be a decent painter, you’re going to have to paint a lot of pieces that you think are garbage.

We know this.

We accept this.

Except when it comes to losing weight and being a healthier person.

We don’t think we should have to wait. It should happen NOW.

News flash: it’s no different. And if it is different, it’s harder.

Because playing an instrument, being a decent cook, or becoming a respectable artist don’t require undoing ingrained habits, and replacing them with healthy ones. Fat loss and living healthier do.

You have to earn it. You have to do the work. You don’t get to eat vegetables a couple times a week, go for one walk and then throw your hands in the air because it’s not working.

If you want something different than what you have, you have to do things you haven’t done.

Go do them. And then keep doing them.

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The Real Reason You’re Not Making Progress

That’s quite the title isn’t it?

A bit presumptuous of me to act like I have peeked behind the scenes of your life, and know the “real” reason you’re not making progress?

Maybe.

Or, maybe there are trends to human behavior. Maybe, despite the fact that we are all beautiful and unique snowflakes, we often tend to behave similarly. And, maybe over the last 11 years of training and coaching people, I’ve noticed how often people do this one thing, and how it kills progress and results.

Maybe.

So, what is this progress-killing, results-stopping, goal-ending behavior?

Consistency.

Or, rather, a lack of it.

Were you expecting something sexier, or with a little more pizzazz?

Sorry. I’m all pizzazzed out. I’m pizzazz-less. I’m un-pizzazz-able. OK, that’s enough.

There is a great quote from legendary strength coach, Dan John.

This is it: “I think there are two keys to success. One is to show up. The other one is to keep going. Most people don’t keep going.”

Sound familiar at all?

Ask yourself how many times you’ve “shown up”.

How many times you’ve woken up on a Monday with the intent of making this week THE WEEK. The one where everything changes.

How many times you’ve set out to exercise on a regular basis.

How many times you’ve vowed to eat more vegetables, and get more sleep.

We are all pretty good at showing up. Maybe we’ve done it so much that we’re too good at it.

Typically the problem isn’t showing up, It’s the “keep going” that gets us in trouble.

What was the last thing you “showed up” for? Was it eating more vegetables? What if you had kept going and had been eating more vegetables this whole time?

Was it to exercise three times a week? What could things look like if you had kept at it?

This isn’t meant to be a guilt trip. It’s meant to be a wake up call.

When it comes to nutrition, exercise, and developing new habits, we tend to be really good at starting and stopping.

And we tend to suck at “keep going”.

There can be a variety of reasons for this. High-expectations from ourselves. High-expectations from others. A fitness industry that sells the unattainable. Self-limiting beliefs. And on, and on.

Regardless the reason, that’s where most people lose their steam.

There’s an issue, a stressor, a bad day, a cutting comment, a flat tire, a perceived lack of progress, an inability to handle emotions appropriately…something…and it all comes to a screeching halt…”yet again.”

Figuring out how to handle the things that continually bring your starts to a stop, is beyond the scope of this article. But it’s worth looking into. Maybe that requires some deep introspection. Maybe it requires keeping track of habits and trends. Maybe it requires hiring a coach (hi) to help you find the trends in your “stops”.

Whatever it is, it needs to be done. You haven’t failed to make progress because you’re not capable, or because progress just isn’t for you. You’ve failed to make progress because there is something in the way.

You need to get it out of the way.

Do that, and you’re likely to see some great results.

You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be consistent.

Show up. Keep going.

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The Dangers of Yo-Yo Dieting

It’s been a bit since I’ve put anything up on this site. If you are one of the few people who had been following along, my apologies.

I got really focused on my in-person training business. I started some other ventures. I moved 2,000 miles.

Blah, blah, blah.

I just haven’t made writing a priority.

But, I hope to do more of it now that things have settled a bit for. I won’t make any promises, but I’m here now.

Anywho, let’s get to some actual content.

Yo-yo dieting.

Maybe you’ve heard the term. But in case you haven’t, this is my definition: Yo-yo dieting is the cycle of taking extreme measures to lose weight, unable to maintain those extreme measures, and then rebounding to where you previously were before you started said extreme measures.

Or, back and forth, you know, like a yo-yo.

This is, unfortunately, all to common. And it comes with some undesirable consequences.

More on that in a moment.

But first a quick side track:

All of your body tissue has a metabolic cost (it takes calories to maintain). Muscle is more metabolically expensive than fat. This means that a pound of muscle takes more calories than a pound of fat to simply exist.

When people drastically cut their calories, they tend to lose weight quickly. This weight loss comes from both muscle and fat. As you lose weight, your metabolism drops because there is not as much tissue to maintain, or your body is becoming less metabolically expensive. (It’s OK, this isn’t a bad thing.)

Let’s say for example someone loses 40 pounds. Congrats! But, let’s say they lost it quickly, and via means that aren’t sustainable (eliminating entire food groups, severe calorie deficits, etc.). So, even though they’ve lost an amazing amount of weight, they aren’t able to sustain it.

Typically, what we see with yo-yo dieting is great progress for a bit. Maybe even quite a while. Then comes the tricky part. Maybe goal weight is met, maybe it’s a plateau, or maybe it’s just a bad day. Whatever it is, a day comes when people have had enough of the severe restriction, they’ve had enough of white-knuckling it, and they say “SCREW IT I’M SO MISERABLE!” And they throw their hands in the air because life has become all about restriction.

Restricting “bad” foods. Restricting social events. Restricting outings. Restricting sanity.

When the “final white knuckle” moment comes, people tend to return to pre-diet habits. They add in all the things they’ve been restricting, and it feels oh-so-good to not have their lives revolve around white-knuckling it.


Now, here come those undesirable consequences. As people return to previous eating habits, they are returning with a lowered metabolism. They have less tissue, because they’ve lost weight, so their body doesn’t require as many calories to maintain. But they’re returning to eating habits that had them 40 pounds heavier.

So what happens?

They gain weight back. And they gain it back fast.

And, not only do they gain weight back fast, but they tend to gain it back mostly in the form of body fat. That’s how quick weight gain works.

Remember when I said that extreme calorie restrictions cause people to lose weight from both fat mass and muscle mass? And, remember when I said that muscle is more metabolically expensive than fat? Well, when people gain weight back quickly, and gain most of it back in the form of body fat, the result is a body that weighs what it did previously (or often heavier) but has a lower metabolism than before they lost any weight. Their weight is now made up of a higher percentage of less metabolically expensive tissue, (fat), resulting in a lower metabolism than before they lost any weight.

Essentially they wind up losing no weight, possibly gaining some, and lowering their metabolism.

This is not a good situation.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone has ever set out to lose a lot of weight, just to gain it all back but with a lower metabolism than when they started.

Hey buddy, thanks for telling me I’ve been doing it wrong for years. Appreciate it. But, now what?

Oh man, I’m so glad you asked!

Don’t worry. It’ll be OK. You just have to focus a few things.

  1. Quit doing extreme things to lose weight. Ask yourself if doing that has ever worked out well in the long run. If it hasn’t, STOP IT. It’s time to do something different.
  2. Focus on a moderate calorie restriction. Yes, doing so will result in slower weight loss, but quick weight loss hasn’t worked out so well in the past, has it? A side benefit from this that when people lose weight moderately, they tend to lose a lower percentage from muscle, and a higher percentage from fat. This is good.
  3. Exercise! Exercise, particularly strength training requires muscle to perform. And when you’re regularly using your muscles, the body tends to keep it around because it’s necessary for what you are doing on a regular basis.
  4. Be Patient. It takes time. Rushing things tends to make things worse.
  5. Focus on things other than weight loss. Sure, if you want to lose weight, then losing weight is a good thing. But weight loss is not consistent. At all. If the number on the scale is the only thing you’re using to measuring progress, you’re going to get discouraged, Focus on quality of food, your energy, how well you’re sleeping, measurements, your mood, and how many vegetable you’re eating in a day.
  6. Remember that you can’t control outcomes. It would be great if we could, but we can’t. All we can control is the behaviors and habits that lead to outcomes. Focus on those, and the outcomes will follow.

(Note for diabetics: Muscle tissue cannot only help you maintain a lower body weight, but it can also lower blood sugar levels without the need for insulin. Keeping the muscle you have, and even gaining some, can be incredibly helpful for controlling blood sugar levels.)

Yo-yo dieting can be nasty. It can hold the promise of quick weight loss, but that promise can be empty, and leave you more frustrated and hopeless than when you began. Stepping out of the perpetual cycle of weight loss and weight gain can feel foreign and scary, but I promise it’s not. In fact, it’s really pretty nice over here.

If that change feels scary to you, or even a little crazy, maybe you need a guide. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I do. Drop me a note here and let’s get started.

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The Importance of Being Uncomfortable

A few days ago, my daughter, Lila, came to the gym with me.

I had a handful of clients in the afternoon, and she tagged along while I worked.

About halfway through my sessions, she asked me, “Daddy, can you give me a workout?”

I said “sure”, and gave her a few movements she could do with a kettlebell.

After she completed one round of the movements, I asked her how it went.

“Pretty hard,” was her reply.

My response?

“Good. Go do it again.”

After a few rounds, I explained to her that the only way you get better at something is to do a task that’s difficult. Then do it until it gets a little easier. Then make it harder. ”

In other words, live in the uncomfortable.

Want to get better at something?

Want to get stronger?

What to be leaner?

Want to manage your diabetes better?

Awesome.

Get uncomfortable, and stay there.

It’s the only way you’re going to improve.

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Perfection Is Your Enemy (Video)

We tend to look at perfection as a good thing.

If something is “perfect” then it’s better than “imperfect”, isn’t it?

Well, while “perfect” might be great for some things, when it comes to fat loss, “perfect” might not be the greatest thing to strive for.

In fact, it might be your biggest enemy.

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Dance With the One That Brought You

There’s a funny thing that happens when you lose weight.  If you’re going to keep your weight loss off, you need to keep doing what you’ve been doing.

The process that got you there is most likely going to be the process that keeps you there.

It’s like that saying, “dance with the one that brought you.”  You know, the concept that if someone takes you to a dance you should dance with them, and not someone else.

Image result for dancing feet

Except while that saying is more about being polite, and good manners, the concept with nutrition is that the path you take to get to your weight loss goals is going to give you the skills you have to use for keeping your weight loss off.

For example, let’s say you’ve lost 40lbs on the ketogenic diet.  Congrats! That’s great.  All of the tools you learned on that journey of 40lbs lost and ketosis are the tools you now have to use to keep that 40lbs off.

In this example, the tools you now have are avoiding even a moderate amount of carbs, getting used to functioning off of ketones for energy instead of carbs, and (usually) not being very happy about the social cost that comes with ketosis.  (I’m sorry I can’t eat/drink that because my body will get out of ketosis and then everything will explode, undoing the progress that I’ve made only through sheer determination.)

Just kidding.  Kind of.

Now, I’m not knocking keto.  At least not too much.  It can work well for people.  However, it usually doesn’t work well for people long-term.  And that’s key.

This is the case with most fad diets.  In the short-term, they work great.  They wouldn’t gain any popularity or traction if they didn’t at least have some benefits.  Most of them work well for quickly losing weight.  But, they often work terribly for keeping that weight off in the long run.

Why?

Because you’re dancing with the one that brought you.

You only have the skills you’ve learned during the process to keep off the weight that you lost during that process.

A few examples:

Keto: the skills you have learned are avoiding all carbs, at all costs.  This works great, if you’re OK with not eating carbs ever again.

Low fat: the skills you have learned are avoiding foods with fat.  Again, this works well if you are OK doing that forever.

Meal Replacement Shakes: the skills you have learned are relying on a pre-set, pre-measured shake that someone else made.  This works well until you decide you’re tired of drinking shakes.

HCG: the skills you learned are that a 500 calorie diet and taking a pregnancy hormone is absolutely ridiculous and no one should do that!  (I’m not anti many diets, except HCG.  Seriously, don’t do it.)

Image result for please
Please? Pretty please don’t?

All kidding aside, you might see a common theme with all of these nutritional approaches.  They are pretty restrictive, and require you to continue to be restrictive once you’ve met you goals.

In other words, you get to dance with the one that brought you.  And in the case of many of these, they suck at dancing and you’re in for a long night of getting your toes stepped on.

So, what’s the alternative?

Go to the dance with someone else.

What I mean by that is, use a nutritional approach that doesn’t limit you from entire food groups.  A nutritional approach that you enjoy and can do long-term.  And, an approach that allows you to enjoy a beer, pizza, or cake sometimes. (Or maybe all at once?  I think I just figure out my plans for Friday night.)

Honestly, what if you lost weight while eating from every food group?

What if you lost weight, while creating a more positive relationship with food instead of demonizing an entire food group?

What if you lost weight AND actually enjoyed the process?

It’s possible. It really is.

(A quick note for diabetics,  These fad diets may seem like your friend because wight loss can help insulin sensitivity, but they are actually one of your worst enemies.  The cycle of yo-yo dieting (losing wight quickly through extreme measures, gaining it all back, and then repeating) is incredibly damaging to your metabolism and to your body composition.  You are winding up making your body more insulin resistant, and working against yourself.)

So, how do you find a new dance partner?

Here are a few tips:

-Start slow.  Quick weight loss is exciting and feels great.  It’s also usually unsustainable, resulting in gaining it all, plus some, back.

-Tackle one or two habits at a time.  Don’t completely overhaul your lifestyle and habits at once.  This becomes overwhelming and, again, isn’t sustainable.  It’s a great way to wind up feeling like you’ve failed.

-Don’t take things to seriously.  Guess what.  YOU’RE GOING TO SCREW UP!!  Accept that.  When you fall of track, don’t beat yourself up.  Don’t act like you’ve ruined all of your progress.  Just get back at it.  This is one of the most important skills to learn during the process.

Now, imagine this new dance partner.  You’ve met your goals and you have the skills to:

-move at a sustainable pace while seeing the benefits of not moving too quickly

-putting all of your energy into a few, impactful changes

-getting right back at it when things fall apart

Wouldn’t it be great to have all those skills?  Imagine how much more sustainable things would be with those tools in your tool bag.

I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of partner I’d like to dance with.

Need help figuring out how to do this?  That’s why The Diabetic Trainer is here.  Feel free to drop me a message here.

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You Don’t Need More Information, You Need To Do Something.

I’m a big fan of trying new recipes.

I like the process of cooking, and the way flavors blend and meld together.

The preparation of vegetables and meat.

That final moment, when it all comes together.

The anticipation of first bite of a recipe you’ve never had before.

Image result for taste

It’s something I genuinely enjoy.

Part of the process of cooking something new is reading the recipe.  Taking in the information.

Because if I don’t intake the information, then I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do, or how I’m supposed to do it.

I mean, I could take a stab at it.  I might get close.  Probably not, but there’s a chance.

It’s more likely that I’m going to wind up with something lackluster, and be frustrated for wasting my time.

It would be wise for me to have some information.

But you know what doesn’t help? Reading the recipe so many times that I have it memorized.  Or, looking up 20 different recipes for the same dish so that I have a bunch of knowledge on slightly different ways to make the same thing.

You know what really doesn’t help?  Collecting all this information, and then hoping the recipe magically makes itself.

Collecting more information in an attempt to be better equipped at making my dinner only takes me so far.

The same goes for your health.

Your weight loss.  Managing your diabetes.  Eating a more nutritious diet.  Improving the overall health of your habits.

You can read, learn, and study all you want, but at some point you have to act.

At some point, our need to learn more becomes cement around our feet.  We become immovable because we need to learn just a little more first.

I would argue that you would be better off having 10% of the information you need and acting fully on it, than having 100% of the information you need and doing nothing.

Read that again…you would be better off having 10% of the information you need and acting fully on it, than having 100% of the information you need and doing nothing.

I’m not arguing against knowledge.  It’s important, and we really should never stop learning.

But knowledge without action does absolutely nothing for your progress.

Yes, learn.  Then act.

Act fully, and wholeheartedly.

Screw it up and act again.

Over and over and over.

The only way you will ever make forward progress is to charge into action.

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Fat Loss That’s Just Like Magic (Video)

I used to say that fat loss wasn’t like magic.  That it wasn’t some trick you could pull and *POOF* it would happen.  I used to laugh when people would talk about “magical” fat loss secrets.

It turns out that I was wrong.

Fat loss is just like magic.

So is managing your diabetes.

In fact any endeavor to be a healthier version of yourself is exactly like magic.

Here’s why.

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