Calorie Counting Might Break You


One thing I've noticed since releasing Fat Loss Happens on Monday is some confusion about the "By The Numbers" Phase.

It's Where To Start, Not Where to Stay

In the book I said to start with By The Numbers, a phase that includes starting to food journal, and adjusting primarily calories and protein based on your results.

The reason I start people there is because it shows us where the break in the system is.  Or, said less elegantly: The By the Numbers Strategy is designed to break you.

Numbers phase

Most people are going to have the wheels come off the wagon with calories and protein and logging, and see that they need to work on habits or logistics, like planning, shopping, cooking, or eating slower.  

90% of the Game is Awareness

Tracking calories is going to create some awareness around food choices and quantity.  But where it's really a powerful assessment is in showing what there is to work on.

Could be logistics like planning

Could be "on the court" stuff like eating more slowly

Could be that counting calories drives you crazy, and that you should journal your food on paper or by taking pictures with your phone.

Those are absolutely completely necessary things to learn.  And that's the whole point of the By The Numbers Strategy — to create awareness of what you really need to be focusing on.

Super Advanced?

How do you know if you're super advanced?  If you can go straight off of calories and macronutrient information, and make those changes on the fly, you're super advanced.

This is typically someone who's already been planning, shopping, and cooking for quite a while.

If that's you, you can make small adjustments to your food plan, based on your results and the numbers in your journal, and have a straight line to your goal.  It's awesome when it's that simple.

It's almost never that simple.

Everyone Else: Three Step Plan

If that isn't you, that's awesome!  In fact, that's most people who come to me.  Here's a three step plan to getting to the next level:

1.) Look at your food journal for where things didn't go the way you wanted

2.) Figure out what the issue was (Planning?  Cooking?  Bored?  Ate too fast?)

3.) Put together a plan to take one new small step that would be more effective than last week

That's it.

In my book Fat Loss Happens on Monday, there are four different strategies you could take on based on what you learn from where it comes apart.  

So essentially, what you'd learn from the By The Numbers Strategy is which strategy that would make the most difference for you:

  1. Planning and Preparing Strategy
  2. Fullness Leads to Fat Loss Strategy
  3. One Meal at a Time Strategy
  4. Mindfulness Strategy

There's also a maintenance strategy, which mostly involves cycling off fat loss as a goal, and working on something else fun and fitness related.  Cycles of goals and focus makes a lot of sense.  Likewise, most people might cycle through one of the above strategies multiple times, or might go through all of them one after another.  

That's the point of assessment — it shows you what the one next thing to work on is.  

Having the discipline and courage to work on just that one next thing is actually the fastest route to the goal.

To The Next Level, Rockstar

Whenever things come apart in your diet, the only question you should ask yourself if — what could I add in strategically that would make a difference.

If you need more structure, take a look at my book Fat Loss Happens on Monday.

If you need some accountability and support, I have a Fat Loss Happens on Monday coaching group starting soon.  Stay tuned.

by Josh Hillis
author of Fat Loss Happens on Monday
contributor to Strength Matters Magazine for personal trainers
speaks about coaching habit change to personal trainers all over the United States.

Fat Loss: Process Goals are more effective than Outcome Goals


One of the most important things we can do to instantly and powerfully impact your results (outcome) is totally counterintuitive — to focus entirely on the process.

There's a balancing act that has to go on between process and outcome, and all of our media, most of our coaches, and everything we've ever been told is entirely outcome oriented — the balance is waaaaaaay off.  And it doesn't work.

Basketball is a perfect metaphor:

If you're playing basketball, the score is sort of an *indicator* or how well you are playing.

But the score isn't the playing.

The playing is the dribbling and passing and shooting. And when that's all going well, usually you get the ball in the basket.

That's all the playing. The actual *on the court* making stuff happen.

The score usually reflects (at some level) how things are going on the court. But THE SCORE IS NOT THE ACTIONS ON THE COURT.

If you play the game looking at the scoreboard, you fail. 

You need to be looking at the person you're going to pass to or the basket you're shooting for.

And that's the way it works in fat loss. The scale *usually/mostly* reflects how you're doing "on the court" with your planning and shopping and cooking and preparing. 

But research is pretty clear that people get better results on the scale (scoreboard) by focusing on their planning/shopping/cooking logistical habits (on the court) than they do focusing on the scale.

And those are all processes.

A process goals could be :

• I'm going to go plan my food week on Sunday. 
• I'm going to cook one more meal than I did last week
• I'm going to log my food for four days this week
• I'm going to bring healthy snacks to work on Wednesdays, when they always bring in cupcakes
• I'm going to work out 9 times this month

Stuff like that. Those are predominantly the kinds of goals you want to focus on. Winning at those kinds of goals drives the outcome.

You body composition goals always catch up with your habit (process) goals eventually

This post originally appeared in the BACKSTAGE facebook group (for which Tacocat is an unofficial spokesperson).  

Process goals

Join the discussion: