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Meet Sarah…My Client

 

Meet Sara,  this photo of her is the culmination of 11 months of consistency and dedication.  For the past 11 months I have been designing her nutrition, supplement, and resistance training programs.   While most of my “colleagues” work with numerous online clients, I rarely do.  The success of a resistance training program is dependent on the client following a properly designed training program, and experiencing the “discomfort” of effort while training.  From experience, most unsupervised gym-goers  rarely train at  an intensity sufficient to bring about the  desired results.  However, Sara’s email convinced me she might be one of the few willing to bust her *ss in the gym:

“…my weight loss has plateaued.  I have tried everything I can think of…cutting calories, increasing calories, Weight Watchers, and Atkins’, but my stomach, hips and thighs continue to get bigger.  For the past three weeks, I have been walking 2 hours on the treadmill daily, one hour in the am and pm, but I still can’t lose weight.  Please help me, I’ll ready and willing to do whatever it takes to look and feel as well as I possibly can.”

Sara’s email was moving, but what really sold me on the idea of helping her, was that her husband was serving in Iraq.  Having served in the US Navy, I feel a sense of obligation to our military members and their families.

The First Step

When planning a road trip, it helps to determine the starting point and destination.  Without this information, a simple 1 hour road trip can end up taking more time and effort than you care to expend.  In the world of fat loss, proper planning requires a starting point and destination as well.  In Sara’s case, her “destination” was being able to wear a 2-piece bikini to the beach.  Sara’s “starting point,” was her current body fat percentage, her physical training regime, and her food intake.  My first step, was to determine what Sara was eating, and why it wasn’t working.  Here’s Sara’s food intake prior to working with me:

Breakfast

  • small bowl of fiber cereal
  • small apple

Lunch

Lean Cuisine frozen meal

Dinner

large salad, no dressing, no protein

 

The Second Step


“What are you willing to do?”

This is the  first question I ask all my clients.  My job is to get them to reveal to me, what they’re willing to do to get the results they want.  Success is guaranteed only if they do what I tell them to do.

With Sara, my first goal was to get her to eat more food.  It may seem counterintuitive, but the reason her fat loss has plateaued, is because her metabolism has slowed to a crawl.  Imagine build a large fire, and eventually, when you cease to add additional logs, it’s going to burn itself out.  Same thing happens to your metabolism, your body “burns” fuel – food in this case – but once it senses that no more food is coming in, it slows down to preserve what fuel – body fat- it does have.

When I asked Sara what she was willing to do to increase her food intake, she stated the biggest obstacle to eating, is finding time to prepare her food.  Sara has 6-year-old twin boys, and was working a full-time job until her husband returned from Iraq.  This is a perfect example of “ideal world vs. real word” nutrition planning.  Ideally, Sara, would have eaten 5-6 small meals daily, but her schedule prevented this from happening.  Instead, I had to get creative to ensure the nutrition plan I designed for her was nutritionally dense, but required less than 10 minutes per meal to prepare.

Breakfast Weeks 1-4

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 scoops organic protein powder
  • 1 cup mixed berries

 

My goal with this breakfast, was to introduce more protein into her diet, which would go a long way towards curbing her sugar cravings. Plus, it would take less than 5 minutes to prepare, which is important when you have to get 6-year-old twin boys ready for school.  Once Sara, got used to the idea of giving up her cereal bowl for breakfast, it was time to add the next step.  Sara would continue to eat her yogurt mixture five days out of the week.  For the remaining  two days, she would eat the following:

Breakfast Weeks 5-8

  • 6 oz lean protein
  • handful of nuts
The lean protein and nut combination is one of the tools I use to help prevent sugar cravings, by stabilizing blood sugar levels.  Plus the healthy fats from the nuts, promote satiety, preventing the dreaded hunger pains. Sara would only eat the new breakfast for two days out of the week, allowing her to determine the best way to prepare her meals, without stressing about it.  Through trial and error, Sara determined the best method for her, was to prepare her lean protein and nut breakfast the night before, by making an extra portion of her dinner.
One of the best methods of teaching my clients a lesson, or new habit, is for them to experience it for themselves.  When I started working with Sara, I gave her a diary to keep track of what she was eating,  and more importantly, to keep a record of her energy levels.  One week after introducing the lean protein and nut breakfast, Sara noticed improved energy levels and reduced sugar cravings.  Thanks to her diary, she noticed her increased energy levels were greater on the days she had the lean protein and nut breakfast.  Now that Sara associated her increased energy levels and reduced sugar cravings to her “new” breakfast, it was time to increase its frequency from two days per week, to four days.
The Home Stretch
Here’s Sara’s meal plan for the last three months leading up to her bikini unveiling.
Breakfast
  • 6 oz lean protein
  • handful nuts
Snack
  • sliced chicken breast and cheese roll-ups
  • apple
Lunch
  • 5 oz lean protein
  • 2 vegetables – different colors
Snack
  • celery sticks
  • almond butter
Dinner
  • 6 oz lean protein
  • 2 vegetables – different colors
The Secret to  Being Lean
One of the biggest reasons most people fail in their quest to get lean and healthy, is they attempt to do too much, too soon.  Attempting to “undo” years of unhealthy habits overnight, is extremely difficult to accomplish.  This only leads to frustration, and reinforcement of the unhealthy habits, when you realize it’s too difficult to change all at once.  Unless you’re a professional athlete with millions of dollars on the line, the best way to achieve your fitness goals, is through “baby steps.”
Baby Steps
Baby steps is what I used to help Sara achieve her goal of fitting into her college bikini.  If I had instructed Sara from day one, to eat 5-6 small meals a day, chances are she would’ve tried it for 3-5 days, before finding too difficult to maintain.  But, by changing her eating lifestyle gradually, she was able to get comfortable with it.  It took eight months of slow, continuous progress, to get her to the point where she could eat 5-6 small daily meals.  The reason it took eight months, was more of a matter of logistics, than her taste buds.  Sara had to learn how to juggle her food preparation, with raising her twin boys, maintaining her household, and working full-time, while coping with her husband in Iraq.
Conclusion
If there’s one lesson I want you to learn from Sara, it’s that small, continuous steps towards your goals are easy to maintain.  Getting lean and healthy, is all about consistency.
Perhaps some of you are motivated by Sara, to begin your own body transformation, but feel that 11 months is a long time.  Think of it this way, you can’t stop time.  Time is going to fly by, whether you want it to or not…you can’t control it.  But what you can control, is what you’re going to look like at the end of those 11 months.  It’s your choice.  You’re stronger than you think.
Next week, I will reveal the supplement plan I used with Sara, to give her the lean legs and hips she’s always wanted.  Yes, spot reduction is possible…if you know what you’re doing.
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  1. February 21, 2010 at 19:30
  2. March 9, 2010 at 14:05

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