Seeing Heidi Montag's before and afters kinda bummed me out. I mean, for someone who looked like Heidi's before picture to feel bad about the way she looks is really sad.
She didn't realize she was already "done".
But it's not just Heidi Montag, this problem is WAY more common than it seems.
Sure, my clients don't usually get plastic surgery, but it's easy to get carried away with weight loss.
If a girl has been overweight all of her life, and then suddenly she starts losing 1-2lbs per week, it can get addictive.
Suddenly you start getting new compliments, you may start getting way more attention from the opposite sex, you can wear clothes you've always wanted to wear.
Lots of new things that feel really good.
Once you get a taste, you want more.
Sometimes You Need Hard Numbers
To Know When To Stop
Here is the problem: You actually don't have any idea of what you look like.
Sometimes you feel fat and gross, sometimes you feel skinny and hot, and neither is entirely connected to reality.
We alternately stroke ourselves or beat ourselves up. It's a rare individual who really "gets it" that they look good.
This is part of the reason I take body fat measurements. On one hand, I want to make sure we're making progress. On the other hand, I want to have hard numbers to be able to tell someone when to stop.
If I have a female client under 19% bodyfat, I let her know that she's done. She's a rockstar and she's hotter than 95% of the women in America (ok, if you live in Malibu, take a trip through the middle of the country sometime).
I've taken female clients down to 16% bodyfat or even 14% bodyfat, but I'm letting them know every single session that they're already a rockstar, there is nothing to left to fix.
This is hard to accept.
Really. People have a hard time with being done. Especially if they weren't the hot girl all their lives.
I actually start the process waaaaaaay before 19% bodyfat.
26% Once a girl hits 26% bodyfat, I'm letting her know that she's totally healthy, and that even though TV tells us that a girl that's at 26% bodyfat is pretty average, the reality is she's ahead of 80% of America.
23% Then at 23% bodyfat, I'm letting her know that she's really in shape now - she's officially a work out girl and she's ahead of 90% of the girls in America. She's fit, lean, and there is nothing left to "fix".
If she wants to be a rockstar, we can take her to rockstar, but she's already awesome.
21% At 21% body fat a girl should know she's really ahead of the game. Girls should relate to themselves as being really, really hot at 21% bodyfat, and should feel really, really good about that. Along with that, by this point my clients have completely transformed their relationship to fitness - they're stronger, healthier, doing pull ups, kicking ass, and relating to themselves as an athlete.
19% At this point you have achieved rock-stardom. You're done. We shift the context to fitness related goals - what ever fun/cool thing you've always wanted to be able to do. You may get leaner from here, but it's not necessary, and it's not the goal.
Once you are at this point, then my job is to remind you - over and over again - that you're done.
And Think She Was "An Ugly Duckling"
Photo Credit: www.myspace.com/heidibringsbacksexi
Lets get real, love her or hate her, you have to admit that she looked like a life sized barbie doll.
If there is a TV standard of perfect bikini blonde, she was already it.
But she didn't relate to herself that way. She couldn't see it.
She was already beyond perfect, and now she just looks like a porn star.
She'll ruin herself trying to look "better" because she can't tell when to stop.
I've had a bunch of guy clients lose like 60, 70 80lbs.
The thing about a dude who was 70lbs overweight is that skinny always sounds good.
But a dude who is way too skinny looks even less attractive than a girl that's way too skinny.
Most of the guys I've trained for major amounts of weight loss, at some point I had to tell them "Look dude, you've gotta stop. You're already really really skinny, you're getting to the point where you'd actually look better if you were a little bigger."
This is usually met with stunned disbelief.
It's Ok To Be Done
"You've got to know when to hold 'em. Know when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away, know when to run" - The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers
If you look long and hard enough, you can always find something else that's "wrong".
So just stop doing that.
Hit your body comp goal, then shift your whole focus to something else. Like learning kettlebells! Or dominating your Ultimate Frisbee league. Whatever. Something fun and athletic.
I just interviewed Ms. USA 2010 Taryn Bagrosky (video coming soon) and one thing she said that really hit me: She said that this year, the year she won, was the first year she was really focused on enjoying the journey more than anything else.
She's always thinking about how good she is going to feel TODAY, just because she got her workout in. She's always thinking about how good she's going to feel TODAY, just because she ate healthy stuff.
And when I asked her if she has goals to get any leaner, she said: "Not really. I do fitness, and the judges really want us to still look feminine, so it's really not about getting leaner anymore. It's about learning a new move to do in the routine or someting like that. Something fun."
Josh Hillis is a level 2 kettlebell instructor (RKC2), Certified Personal Trainer, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Movement Reeducation Specialist, Movement Integration Specialist, author of The Stubborn Seven Pounds and head coach of Josh Hillis Platinum Coaching Club - the most powerful system for continued fitness success there is.