Well, how long do you want it to last?
Since I started food coaching and helping people build better eating habits, I’ve also been learning a lot. And I don’t mean learning just actual nutrition science, that I’m doing now in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, but also learning about how things actually work in real life with real busy schedules.
Because, you see, sometimes we imagine a process roadmap that eventually gets all scrambled by reality. By going on holidays, having children, or taking some time off. And that’s a good thing, because it keeps us evolving and making progress as we learn from our success and failure.
When I started, I had a bit of a simplistic view about setting my client’s goals in terms of time. I would ask them what’s their objective and by when they wanted to reach it. I’d estimate if it’s a reasonable and healthy pace and then, I would plan their nutrition approach accordingly, to make sure they do achieve it.
However, practice has showed me that it’s best to focus on longer time frames. So now, instead of asking “what’s your goal and by when do you want to achieve it”, I ask “what’s your medium term goal and long term goal, and what are some small steps you’d be ready to do every day for a year (or for the rest of your life) to make sure you are where you want to be?”
Usually, people that I work with start by asking me “How long is this going to take?”
But it depends on what you refer to by *this*.
If it’s losing weight, you can lose some kilos in a few days.
If it’s solving a nutrient deficiency, 1-2 months might be enough.
But if it’s something like losing more weight and keeping it off, learning better eating habits, increasing your athletic performance, coping with food intolerance, relieving some medial problems, then you’re looking at a long time journey.
When it comes to losing weight, you can lose a great deal of it in 1-3 months. But what most people don’t (want to) get is that at least for one year they’re still in a transformational process. It doesn’t end when you reach your goal weight. It ends when you’ve proven to yourself that one year later you haven’t gained back what you lost and that you can maintain your scale numbers and your habits for many years ahead. That’s what significant change means.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those people who love to know the exact duration of an effort. In running races or long hikes, I always try to find out one way or another how long it’s going to take because it helps me dose my effort. I need a deadline.
But if an overnight radical transformation, the easy win, seems appealing, ask yourself this:
How long did it take you to put on the weight?
How long have you been trying to achieve your goal unsuccessfully?
How long do you usually train for a marathon? And why should it be different when it comes to training new eating habits?
So what does this mean from now on?
For me, it means long time commitment. It means that if you really want a change and this time you want it to last, I’m here for you to help you achieve exactly that.
Learning about your body, letting bad habits behind, learning what you need to feel and perform at your best are all part of a journey. And it’s important to make it sustainable, which takes time. Nobody can learn overnight how to shop healthy groceries, exercise, learn to “listen” to their hunger cues, gain more self confidence, overcome some beliefs, and so many more things. They need a plan, time, and lots of understanding.
I know this is probably not what you want to hear, especially now when all the magazines are selling you the fast beach body. But you’ve tried that before and it failed. So why not try a different way?