The Healthy Executive

Client Results Update – Ian

Eight Months Later And Still Going Strong

Many of us begin motivated to diet or exercise …. but then taper off …. only to find ourselves back where we started six months later.

So how can we improve, and more importantly how do we sustain our health and fitness for life?

One of the best ways is to learn from those who demonstrate ongoing self-mastery of their health.

Over an 8 month period Ian lost 4″ off his waist, lost 14.5 lbs of fat, and gained 1.6 lbs of lean muscle.

These are Ian’s insights…

Last year you wrote about your success in achieving your health objectives: namely losing fat and gaining fitness. Tell us, which habits did you develop that allowed you to sustain your success?

  • At first, tracking my daily food intake was a bit of a hurdle to get started, but is well worth the time to invest to form into a habit.
    • I use MyFitnessPal still – and while its maybe not 100% accurate, it certainly is good enough to get results.
  • The second habit was to thoughtfully consider my menu in a proactive way, and to make as many good choices as I could every day.
    • Once established, this habit became routine and now the exciting part is exploring new frontiers of yummy menu items.
  • A third and important one is to get and use a kitchen scale to measure portions, especially when getting started.
    • I have to admit I had no visual concept of how many or few an ounce of X was, so despite the nutrition label clearly on the back, I was probably eating way more than I thought I was before I started coaching with Jeff.
“My habit is to consistently do at least 1 thing to improve my health or fitness every day.”

In your own words, describe what is easy or what is hard when sticking with your healthy habits?

  • I do need to exercise self-control especially for late-night snacking.
  • The good news is that there are two ‘easy wins’ in the program to help me here:
    • First, its fine to have the occasional (less than once a week) night ‘off’ and enjoy a snack or desert.
      • I just don’t use that too often (actually probably only monthly in retrospect).
    • Second, by calorie shifting, I choose to enjoy my favorite ‘reward’ foods rather than taking less pleasurable calories during the day.
      • For example, rather than have a bun on my hamburger, I’ll save the calories for an after dinner TV snack of a portion of potato chips.
“I enjoy finding new ways to improve my nutrition.”

How do you assess or measure yourself to see if you are staying on track with your health and fitness habits?

  • The best measure are ones that are objective and consistent;
    • I have been measuring my waist and hip circumference plus total body weight weekly.
  • Occasional nutrition analysis is also helpful; plus the on-demand MFP analysis of what I just ate or am about to eat :)
    • I’ve been both shocked and pleasantly surprised at what is in the food I ate.

You’ve traveled on business and/or had guests stay with you. How did you maintain your health and fitness habits
on the road or when hosting?

  • Staying on track while travelling or hosting is not a challenge for me, since the food choices are pretty ‘baked in’ now, and whether at a restaurant or buffet in the office, I can usually choose better if not best options.
    • One ‘hack’ that I developed and am using for airplane travel is to pack my own lunch (and even dinner) for the plane; usually a protein and vegetable one (no liquids) so as to pass through security without hassle.
    • This sure beats the challenge of trying to find healthy food (especially low carb) on the plane, in the airport, or late at night after a long flight.
“My wife complimented me with ‘sticking with it’.”

What nutrition/fitness habit changes did you make in terms of how you socialize?

  • Eating out with friends or family is fairly straightforward, any time I can choose my own meal.
  • ‘Family style’ dinners are a bit tougher, but then I usually tell my friends and family my diet preferences (which is really what they are) and pretty much everyone is accommodating.
    • Most if not all folks I inform about my dietary choices are supportive.
  • On the off chance that there are no other options, I can use one of my ‘cheat’ meal days and move on.
“I enjoy finding efficient tricks overlay exercise on top of my busy schedule.”

You are a busy executive in a large company. How do you find the time to be healthy?

  • Surprisingly, this one came the most easy of all. The ‘bang for the buck’ philosophy really resonates with me, and Jeff is terrific at honing in on what gets you the most return for your efforts.
  • Making positive menu choices is a huge factor, but takes very little time if thought out ahead.
  • It comes down to finding time to exercise.
    • Fortunately, the key strength exercises can be done in literally a few minutes, so I fit these in during my work day or at home in bursts of 5 minute ‘breaks’.
    • These are excellent for breaking up the tedium of sitting at a desk and getting your mind kick started.
    • The cardio exercises take more thoughtful planning, but I have learned how to ‘double book’ my exercise with other things that I have to do anyway; car wash, taking kids to their appointments, waiting at airports for the flight, etc.
“I like the fact that Jeff sticks to the ‘tried and the true’.”

If you could go back and do anything different about improving your nutrition or fitness, what would you change?

  • Going from zero to strength exercises was tough as I had never done that before. I think finding a different way to learn the ‘step one’ would be good.
  • Jeff provided me with many tools and resources, but I was really starting from scratch.
  • I have never done gym work or any strength training, although I run and surf and do many other activities, so getting correct form out of the gate was tricky.
  • Seems simple but it was a bigger challenge for me than I expected.

What was the hardest thing for you to change?

  • Probably logging my nutrition and getting over MFP clunkiness.

What do you enjoy the most about your healthy lifestyle? What inspires you to keep it day after day?

  • I really get tremendous confidence in my improved body shape and strength.
  • I don’t feel self-conscious, embarrassed or lethargic while doing errands or just generally out in public, even when/if I’m not dressed up.
  • I didn’t recognize the ‘cloud of gloom’ that was with me but I certainly recognize that its gone!

How do you feel now compared to when you first started out?

  • Better! Alive – more confident, stronger, nimble, agile, (occasionally sore, but ‘good sore’), and generally more active.
  • I notice it takes much less ‘activation energy’ to get me started at something, like get off the couch and do X.
  • I feel like I am much more energetic and mobile, and importantly, that I’ve done this and earned this myself, and that it is its own reward.
“Change can be overwhelming. The ‘secret’ is to develop 1-2 manageable habits that become automatic. “

What has surprised you the most about the health changes you’ve made?

  • So many changes were in retrospect so simple and easy to make.
  • Many of them made complete sense, but I was just in blissful denial of the ‘truth’ or best choice.
  • Once I was confronted with it and thoughtfully chose, I realized the benefits and rewards.

There are lots of people who are in your “Day 1” shoes. Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for those folks? What can you say to those people to help make positive changes to their health or fitness?

  • Coaching works; this is not a ‘diet’ or a ‘training program’; this is a series of rational choices, in a structure that gets you results you can see and feel.
  • This is not about a quick win (and then yo-yo back); this is about learning where the best answers are to daily menu and exercise options, and taking full advantage of them.
  • This is not about trying to learn an encyclopedia of information, but rather applying a few simple changes as you go; the huge benefit is that they all stack on top of one another and combine to an overall improvement in your health.

You can learn how Ian first began his health and fitness journey here.

Coaches Update

Over an 8 month period, Ian lost 4″ off his waist, lost 14.5 lbs of fat, and gained 1.6 lbs of lean muscle.

This was 100% consistent with his health & fitness goals:
  1. Losing the gut
    • Ian wanted to slim down his physique.
  2. Maintaining lean muscle mass
    • Without Ian’s maintenance exercise, I would have expected a slight decrease in his lean muscle.
  3. Increased energy
    • Ian wanted to have plenty of energy for his job, family, and surfing.
  4. Sustaining results
    • Ian wanted to sustain and enjoy his healthy new lifestyle
 Sept 1May 1Change
Hips37" 34"-3"
Lean Muscle132.0 lbs133.6 lbs+1.6 lbs
(SubQ + Visceral)
40.7 lbs26.2 lbs-14.5 lbs