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Fat loss success comes from the right steps

Welcome to the time of year when just about everyone starts trying to lose weight. Make this year the last time you say, “This will be the year.” Following are five simple guidelines to assure you of fat loss success.

Step 1: Take personal responsibility and get started. Personal responsibility is necessary for personal change. Why do so many weight-loss sales pitches start off with: “It’s not your fault”? It’s because taking responsibility off your shoulders opens the door to selling you a gimmick. The truth is, you have no power to change until you accept responsibility for where you are today and for your future results.

Set short- and long-range goals and map out your plan. Set performance goals as well as weight-loss goals. If you focus on the actions, the results will follow. Plan you workout then workout your plan.

Step 2: Embrace evidence-based fitness. The two most prevalent types of scams have always been “get rich quick” and “get thin quick” scams. Both types of scams will leave you poorer and “get thin quick” scams can also leave you in poorer health. There are so many more of these scams today, and the Internet can deliver them so persuasively. You must learn to demand proof before you buy into anything. Investigate before you invest. There are no real secrets to fat loss. Even a modest effort can garner you great results, especially if you’re a beginner. It doesn’t take a huge time investment, it doesn’t require taking special food supplements, and it doesn’t require killing yourself. It only requires you to get started and be consistent.

Step 3: It starts with what you put in your mouth. If you’re wearing it, you ate it! A lot of people still believe “calories don’t count.” They’re sadly misguided. Of course, there’s more to good nutrition than calories. If you’re concerned about what is happening inside your arteries and you health, then the quality of your food matters a lot. That doesn’t change the fact that a calorie deficit has to be there first for weight loss to occur. Depending on your dietary habits, you may not have to count calories, but calories do count. Take in more calories than what your daily energy needs are and you will fail. Unless you’re Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, who reportedly eats up to 12,000 calories a day, you can’t out-train a bad diet.

Step 4: Measure your progress. When we are not feeling like we’re progressing as fast as we’d like with our fitness regimen, we often become discouraged and fall back into our old habits. By tracking your progress you can stay motivated and keep moving forward.

Weighing weekly is the best option to track progress when you have a weight loss goal. The secret is being consistent with the time of day and doing it once a week-not eight times a day. Also remember that on a fitness plan, fat loss and muscle gain can often level the number on the scale — you might not seem to lose weight because you’re actually gaining muscle.

Measuring your body fat composition along with your weight will give you the true picture. It is in the retaking of all of these measurements at predetermined intervals that will keep you grounded. Taking measurements of different parts of your body, and taking before and after pictures can also be a real eye-opener. Remember, what gets analyzed, gets done.

Step 5: Don’t make it an all-or-nothing proposition. Compliance — your ability to stick with your program — is the most important factor for long-term fat loss success. If you’re human, you will eventually stumble. Learn to forgive your slipups. Someone once gave me a great analogy. If you are driving and have a flat tire, you don’t get out of your car and shoot out the other three tires. You just fix the flat and get back on the road. You should look at your diet and fitness program the same way. When you slipup, salvage your program and get back on track.

Merry Christmas! May you make 2013 the best year of your life!

Perry Buchanan, owner of PT Gym, is certified as Health Fitness Specialist through the American College of Sports Medicine and has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years.