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So when's the last time you heard someone say, "I need to adjust my body composition and create a calorie deficit, which will create a desired thermogenic effect that will produce an end result of less restriction for my desired fashion attire?" I hear it all the time, but it usually sounds more like this. "I need to drop 10 pounds so I can fit into my favorite pair of jeans again!"
The desire to fit into clothing, which you haven't worn in a while because of excess weight gain, is a fantastic motivator for some people. Let's say the goal is to lose enough weight in order to fit into that size-32 pair of jeans again.
You know you were 12 pounds lighter when those jeans still fit. So logic tells us when you become 12 pounds lighter those jeans will fit. The scale will say you've lost 12 pounds and the jeans will be living proof that you've lost the inches off your waist as well.
This type of goal setting brings up an interesting concept for weight loss. It's a way of establishing a tangible goal to be achieved. Let's continue using the jeans as an example. The goal of a size-32 pair of jeans was attainable. Maybe you were a size 36 or 38, but your real desire was to fit into a size 31 or maybe even a 30.
The size 32 is more realistic than going from a 38 to a 30. The size 30 is still attainable, but it's easier to get there in stages.
This can be done by establishing a set point.
We'll continue to use the example of jean size to illustrate the set point concept. You decreased your calorie intake and increased your amount of exercise to lose enough weight to go from a size 38 to a size 32. At this new weight and size, you now adjust your calories and exercise to an amount where you maintain that weight.
You don't lose any more weight and you don't gain any more. You stay the same. That is your new set point. Your previous set point was a size 38. Your new set point is a size 32. Stay at your size-32 set point by eating a healthy, balanced eating plan.
When you're ready in a few weeks or maybe a few months, go for your next set point of a size 31. Since you now have maintained healthy eating habits to reach this goal, it'll be somewhat easier to make some small adjustments and decrease your calories to lose some more weight. You will again increase your exercise slightly so you are burning more calories than you take in. Keep doing this for a few weeks until you reach your new set point of a size 31.
If you are a competitive bodybuilder, the principle of a set point can be valuable. Let's say you have dieted down from a pudgy 215 pounds to a razor-sharp 174 pounds for a contest. Go ahead and reward yourself afterwards and break the diet by indulging in some of your favorite cheat foods, but do not be a total glutton and blow right back up to 215.
Establish a new set point. 174 pounds with 5% bodyfat will not be your new set point, of course. That would be nearly impossible. It would be realistic and attainable, however, to make your new set point at a lean 185 pounds. At this weight you can still have a six pack and actually watch muscle grow on your frame. Trust me, this is more fun than wondering if the new size is fat or muscle.
If your abs are still sharp and you gain five or six pounds, you know it's muscle and not fat. Your next contest diet will also be much easier if you only have to drop around 10 pounds and you won't burn up as much precious muscle getting ripped.
It does need to be noted, however, take a lot discipline after a competition to start and follow a plan like this, but the rewards are more than worth it.
As with all bodybuilding or fitness diet plans, you have to make some sacrifices. Food cravings will hit you and there will be days when you don't feel like exercising. That's reality. Plan on cravings and indulge in a dessert on a Saturday or Sunday, or maybe both days.
If you miss a day of exercising, don't beat yourself up. Go workout the next day like you haven't missed a beat. Think of the long-term effects. This isn't an instant-result, crash-diet plan. It's a plan that will work for you and change your life.
Setting and attaining small goals is a remarkable way to make progress when doing anything in life. Weight loss and fitness are no different. You pick an achievable goal and continue to strive and make progress.
Determining a long-term goal is important, but the way to reach it is by obtaining it a little bit at a time. Try incorporating set points on your next attempt at weight loss. You may find it so effective that you'll never have to go on a "diet" ever again.
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