We all know that reaching our goals takes effort and sacrifice. But just how much?
Well, of course, it depends!
The more extreme the goal, the more extreme the sacrifice.
When we talk about weight loss and working towards a healthy body type for ourselves, there are actually quite a few options. We don’t jump straight from obesity to Victoria Secret model – we have loads of fabulous happy places in between and they all require different levels of effort to reach and maintain.
For simplicity let’s talk about four goal “levels” you could aim for, let’s call them:
Comfy – Females 30%+ / Males 20%+ body fat
Living – F 25%+ / M 15%+
Performance – F 20%+ / M 10%+
Perfection – F >15% / M >8%
Comfy: you might look a bit fluffy around the edges (no probs with us!), but life will be pretty cruisy. Mid week donuts, beers and burgers on the weekend, a reasonable routine of 1-2 prepared meals each day that carry some good nutrition but nothing to beat yourself up about it you miss one or end up with a hot coffee and croissant for breakfast. You hit the gym a couple days or walk the dog & make sure to have some vegetables. Not too much thought required, not much restriction and a bod that reflects it. Challenges: you may face some health issues in time, not always enjoy the best energy levels and may struggle to make peace with the body you have if you haven’t recognised the freedom of choice you’re enjoying each day. But at the end of the day all that matters is if you’re happy!
Living: We get it, life is busy! You’re out here juggling work, kids, a social life, trying to eat your fruit and veg and hit the gym 4 days a week! You’re doing great, but it takes some work. You have to plan your shopping, plan at least a couple meals a day, keep good snacks at hand and keep a solid but flexible gym schedule to maintain your healthy bod & balance it with your other life priorities. You’ll feel good, look good, but probably be a bit exhausted if too much falls on your plate. All that matters is if you’re happy!
Performance: we call this one performance because you’re making your body and what it can do, a priority. This means saying ‘no’ to the work cake, going home early on nights out for sleep and only letting loose on the cheeky foods and drinks on special occasions or cheat days. You have to be rigid – every week is planned, meals are packed and you don’t stray often. You’ll say ‘no’ if somethings going to interrupt your gym sesh! You’ll look great, feel great in your body, but maybe experience the occasional frustration with friends & family who don’t ‘get it’ and you’ll get a bit of FOMO sometimes. But hey, as long as you’re happy that’s all that matters!
Perfection: what we all seem to stick on the vision board without considering the reality. It’s just how it sounds – no days off, a ‘cheat’ meal is a piece of banana bread made of dates and almond flour and you can really only keep ‘gym’ friends cos it’ll be getting too difficult to hang with anyone not on the same diet and routine. You’ll track every meal, your water, your sleep, you pay loads for coaches and probably psychologists to keep you on track without losing your mojo and your mind. But, you’ll get Insta-modelling gigs & look like you’re about to win the Olympics so it might totally be worth it! All that matters is if you’re happy!
So, it’s really up to you.
You can be happy at ANY LEVEL.
Every level has its beauty and it’s challenges.
I have known great people at each.
But this is why it’s important to set goals that actually measure up to your values.
Do you want to be the track every meal, banana bread for cheat day person? If no – don’t set your body goals at perfection! That’s not a life that will make you happy.
Do you feel good eating burgers and beer on the weekends? If no – don’t settle for comfy. If yes – don’t trick yourself into thinking a lower body fat will buy your happiness.
Happiness is choosing your own life and outcomes. Choose wisely! Are your body goals set at a lifestyle you truly want?
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