Tracking as a tool

Sometimes we get so stuck into a goal that we have blinkers on

Look at a weight loss or re-composition goal, for example.

As a coach, I will take what I can from the information you've given me - job, training, sleep, lifestyle, emotional ability to commit - and recommend that you should eat x calories with y protein, carbs and fat. I may suggest that you swap certain foods for others.

To which, you may respond, "Ok, sweet, I've got what I need to do, I'm on this"

A few weeks in, you start to feel drained, getting out of bed is tough, you feel anxious but you're not sure why, you want to eat all the biscuits but that has never been an issue for you, or you don't enjoy your food anymore.

What do you do about it?

First of all, tell me. These are all general indications that either the calories are too low, or the method of achieving it is wrong for the rest of your life. We'll discuss and sometimes we may opt to continue as we are, with slight adjustments. Other times, we'll go for a break.

Taking a break is OK, going slower is OK, and appreciating where you are and what you need is essential.

Sometimes the best thing is to give yourself two weeks at maintenance to recharge, take the stress off your body and see how you feel.

As a coach, as much as I'd like to know exactly how it feels to be you, so I can tell you more about how to change it, or that something is normal or not, I can't, and I fully rely on how you tell me you feel to make changes. I always want to hear what you think you need right now. Is it that I need to keep on you more, or actually let up a little and give you space to make some mistakes and breathe?

One thing we are looking for in weekly catch-ups in coaching is how you feel and that's why this weekly email is essential for me and you.

- Do you have energy, are you getting strong/fitter/better in the gym/other activity

- Do you want to go to the gym in the first place

- Are you enjoying your meals

- How easy or difficult is it to stick to habits

Some weeks you may be bursting at the seams with energy - GREAT, run with it!

Other weeks, you may just feel a little 'off' and that may be when we increase your food intake, review your schedule to cut things out or remove tracking and discuss alternatives. This goes back to when we discussed non-negotiables a couple of months ago - in a busy week of chaos, tracking may not be an option, it may be too much mentally, instead, it may be a case of using hand measurements (or big kitchen spoons) to keep you on the right track.

At the end of the day, you may be given targets and have a goal that is incredibly important to you, but if you're not able to mentally commit to it, and give up, it may be worth reducing intensity so you can give it 80-90%.

There is no shame in taking the slower road, so you can do it more effectively and stay true to yourself.

When it comes to tracking, it is only one tool in a very large toolbox, there are many more than can be used to get you from A to B, whilst keeping your enthusiasm and joy about life.

Hopefully, this inspired you to think a little more about how you're feeling, fill in this week's check-in and discuss any issues with me.

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