In the early days of January 2017, I decided that I wanted to get in the best shape of my life for my 35th birthday (July 16). 

At the time I defined “best shape of my life” as losing some fat, getting a little stronger, moving better, and eliminating any joint pain to set myself up for the next 35+ years of life. 

It sounded good at the time. 

Per the photo of my body composition analysis below, you can see where I was starting out on January 25, 2017 and where I ended up on October 16, 2017.  

 Transformation results: 9.9 lb. weight loss, 3.4% decrease in body fat, 2 lb. muscle loss. 6.3 lbs. of fat loss, and 1.6 lbs. of water. 

Transformation results: 9.9 lb. weight loss, 3.4% decrease in body fat, 2 lb. muscle loss. 6.3 lbs. of fat loss, and 1.6 lbs. of water. 

In the beginning, my consistency wasn't impressive. I got started, then I fell off course, I got back on course, then my stress went up beyond normal, and then my training fell off a bit because I wanted to pick up my daughter from daycare more often. Life, right? But the fact of the matter is, I got started, kept my goal in mind, and focused on the things I could control.

Depicted in the graph on my April 8th body composition analysis, you can see that I wasn't exactly trending toward the "best shape of my life" event. 

Two months later, in mid-June, I was down 3 lbs and dropped my body fat by 2.7%

Read that again, 

“I was down 3 lbs and dropped my body fat by 2.7%”…. Three pounds in 5 months = not good when trying to implement steady progress.

On June 30th, just 17 days out from my goal and nine days before family vacation, I was down another two pounds. At this point, I’m about 50% to my goal with just 17 days to go = again, not good. 

I gotta admit, I was pretty disappointed with myself. I knew that I’d have to go about doing this in an unsustainable way to reach my body comp goal. But the thing is, the body comp goal was only a ¼ of the big sustainable picture goal.

 I felt like I had let myself down and failed at my own health and fitness methods. 

I let my stress get the best of me. 

I didn’t prioritize my goals. 

I thought that this would be easier than it was. 

Just eight days out from my goal we set up at our beach house to enjoy a week-long family vacation, and that's when I discovered that I had contracted Louisa's hand foot and mouth disease. Google it if you don't have kids. 

The month of July turned into the month of summer sickness from whatever was going around at daycare.  

I didn't take any “before pictures,”  so I didn’t have anything concrete to look back on. I could only look forward and bring the final destination back into focus. 

During vacation, I started reshaping my mindset to get it back and accomplish what I set out to do. 

It was little like starting all over but with a running start. 

I evaluated my calendar, and I set a new date/deadline. 

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I'm sharing this story with you because I get it. I understand why it's hard to get in shape and feel good. 

I get stress, family, work and "falling off the wagon". I get sleepless nights, bad moods, bad food choices, emotions, and everything else that makes us who we are. 

But from a coaching perspective, I get what outcome-based decision making means and needs to look like to create habits to achieve goals. 

Everything that we do must be rooted on "why" or else we'll have no traction to begin the process in the direction of our goals.

My "why" is my family, my daughter and my wife. I want to be sure I can keep up, and go above and beyond for them at a moments notice, and be ready for adventure with them without feeling like I'm going to break. 

Motivation and willpower are finite and will never be the leading force to achieve anything. 

You've got to unearth, identify, and state your "why."

Why am I doing X?

I'm doing X because ____________. 

But you can't just say it or keep it to yourself; you've got to speak up and proclaim your desires.

Your support group is made up of the people who will back you up and raise you up without saying that you look too skinny or to put some meat on your bones. 

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October 19th, was my final day for this “best shape of my life” project - that was the new deadline I gave myself. 

If you remember, I told you I started this project in the early days of 2017, ten months ago.... Ten. Months. Ago. 

I write this to show you that things like this take time, effort, consistency, routines, vision, and a plan. 

The “goal” sure, it’s cool to achieve the goal, but the valuable lessons you can learn along the way are priceless; a true learning experience.

And lastly, my goals as described above, “I defined “best shape of my life” as losing some fat, getting a little stronger, moving better, and eliminating joint pain to set myself up for the next 35+ years of life."

Like I said, it sounded good at the time.

Notice I didn’t have specific goals; there wasn’t a bodyweight goal, body fat % goal or strength number in any measurable sense. I just had an idea of the way I wanted to feel and look. 

In the beginning, don’t get caught up in specifics, just set a deadline and get started. You can redefine the objective when you feel you achieve a certain level of success. 

When I entered my new body composition info into my fitness pal, the app told me that I reached 100% of my goal. 

It was a lie. 

I reached the goal of understanding that I am not in the best shape of my life, but that I am headed in the right direction
 
In short, surround yourself with great people, talk out loud about your ideals, and seek out those who've been there, done that, so you don't have to waste valuable time reinventing the wheel. 

If you need help getting started shoot me a message, I'd love to help. 

My best for your better,
Carmen Sturniolo

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Carmen Sturniolo, CSCS, TRX, PN2. I help people create sustainable health and fitness habits and achieve their ideal body composition by eliminating the guesswork for them.