Tired of playing small? 10 big wins to help you build a body and life you’re proud of.

There sure isn’t a lack of health and fitness information on the internet is there? Because of this, it can make it hard to figure out where to start your fitness journey. If you want to start with a big win, below are 10 big wins you can start working on today.

Use this free habit tracker to track adherence. Practice 1, 2, or as many habits as you’d like. Aim for 80% consistency with each of them and enjoy the process.

Big win prerequisites

Before stepping into some of the practices, here are a few things you can do once or twice per week to increase your level of success.

A: Set a consistent grocery shopping routine

Same day and same time each week when you are least likely to cancel it.

Without the food, it’s hard to eat the food. Set aside one to two days per week to go grocery shopping. If you’re short on time or can not get to the grocery store have it delivered.

To save more time and take the guesswork out of the process choose 3 to 5 of your favorite proteins, veggies, and carbs. These are now your grocery shopping list. Use ground proteins and frozen precut veggies to save yourself more time when cooking.

My list this week:

  • Protein: Chicken thigh, greek yogurt, lean beef, eggs, tofu
  • Veggies: Green beans, asparagus, brussels sprouts
  • Carbs: White rice, berries, potato

If you add anything else to the list it’s fine. Just make sure you get your staples.

B: Have a regular meal planning routine

Set aside one to two days each week to plan meals for the week. You can prep them if you want that day but the win is in planning them.

  • If you want a pizza that week, cool. Plan it.
  • If you want to grab lunch out that week with a friend, cool. Plan it.

Predetermining what you want to eat that week will take a lot of the stress, guesswork, and willpower that comes with making food choices. Don’t worry, you can change your mind if you’re in the mood for something else. The idea is to give yourself a target and with a target, it’s easier to aim.

Combine a protein, veggie, and carb to create most of your meals. You should already have these because you’re regularly grocery shopping now.

C: Set up your environment to help you succeed 

Environment trumps motivation every time. If food is in your vicinity, eventually it will be devoured. This doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything.

Be honest with yourself. What foods are hard for you to stop eating? Can you remove the temptation or at least make them harder to get to? This includes apps on your phone. If you’re constantly ordering takeaway, can you delete the apps?

This should be a weekly practice. Scan the places you spend the most time and see if any food triggers have found their way in.

D:  Set up your support system

big wins change is hard

Change is hard. For you and for the people closest to you. When you change you’re asking others to change too.

Talk to them about how the changes you’re making benefit them. Be vulnerable and tell them you can’t do it without their support.

If you can’t afford coaching to help hold you accountable can you set up a weekly call with a friend to talk about what’s going well and where you may still be struggling?

Get big wins: #1, Go on a walk

walking with a friend
Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez

How far? How many steps?

Don’t overthink this. Start with where you’re at. If you’re currently obese and walking is a challenge, can you march in place?

Do a couple of laps up and down the stairs. Walk to the mailbox and back. Walk around the neighborhood. Find some parks or trails near you to walk.

Level 1: Take action. Any kind of action to get you started

Level 2: Aim for a specific outcome like 8 to 12 thousands steps per day

Get big wins: #2, Create calorie awareness

Most of us don’t know how much we’re eating and we’re not very good at estimating it. This is the primary reason we’re overweight.

Our response is to cut foods we enjoy eating, hating our diet, and reverting back to old habits. Repeating the process every few months.

When I first start working with clients it’s kind of sad. They comment things like, “I’m afraid of when you’ll take my white rice, bread, or chocolate away.”

All foods can fit into your diet. Now, this doesn’t mean we should Yolo and eat our faces off. But it is a reminder that you can have a glass of wine, chocolate chip cookies, and a slice of pizza.

Level 1: Read labels or look up nutrition information online to learn more about what and how much you’re eating. Pay attention to serving sizes and calories per serving.

Level 2: Be a weirdo and throw your food on a scale. Track it in an app like Myfitnesspal or Cronometer.

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #3, Eat protein and veggies with most of your meals

Protein and veggies
Photo credit: Sam Moqadam

Protein is extremely satiating and your muscles need it. Shoot for a palm or two with most of your meals. Veggies are full of important nutrients and add bulk to your diet to help keep you feeling full. Shoot for half a plate full.

  • For men: 2 palms of protein or roughly 40-60 grams of protein and 2-3 fists of veggies
  • For women: 1 palm of protein or roughly 20-30 grams of protein and 1-2 fists of veggies

Mix and match your favorite sources and get creative with herbs, spices, and various seasonings to create meals you’ll enjoy.

Level 1: Include a serving of protein and veggies with one meal

Level 2: Include a serving of protein and veggies with all meals.

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #4, Know why you’re eating (reduce snacking)

You may not always eat because of physical hunger. Sometimes it’s because you’re angry, lonely, tired, bored, or stressed.

Maybe you’re getting up from your laptop and opening up the fridge every few minutes to grab a snack. But all you really need is a break.

Take 30 seconds before, during, or even after a meal to slow down and check-in. Place your hand on your stomach and ask yourself if you’re physically hungry or if it’s something else.

Level 1: Practice at 1 meal or snack today

Level 2: Practice at all meals and snacks today

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #5, Drink less alcohol (most liquid calories for that matter)

4 glasses of wine
Photo credit: Maksym Kaharlytskyi

Sometimes a glass of wine or a strong whisky at the end of a long day is the perfect fit. You may not need to completely eliminate alcohol but can you aim for 1% better with it?

  • Usually, have 2 drinks a night? Can you have 1?
  • 4 drinks per week, can you have 3?

One argument I’ll get from clients is that it helps them get to sleep. It may help you get to sleep, but alcohol actually reduces the quality of your sleep (1).

Can you reduce most calorie-containing beverages for that matter? They can easily add hundreds if not thousands of calories to your diet each day without even realizing it.

  • A glass of wine 🍷, 5 ounces: 120-150
  • Orange juice 🍊, 1 cup: 100-150 calories
  • Caramel frappe ☕️: 400-500 calories

Can you eat an orange instead of drinking the O.J.? Is it possible to swap water for that glass of milk or Gatorade? Can you drink your coffee black rather than the orange mocha frappuccino?

I’m asking a lot of questions today. I apologize.

Level 1: 1% better with calorie-containing beverages

Level 2: Keeping calorie-containing beverages to 1 or 2 per week

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #6, Make more meals at home

When you eat out or order takeaway you never really know how the food is prepared. Serving sizes are usually far bigger than we need, and the psychology of the receipt makes us feel like we have to finish it to justify the cost.

By making more meals at home you control the portion sizes and how the meal is made. I know being in the kitchen can feel a little intimidating for some. I got you covered.

Level 1: Cook or make one meal at home each day

Level 2: Cook or make all meals at home

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #7, Go to sleep (build a sleep routine)

Motivation is one of the biggest challenges I hear when working with coaching clients. When a client comes to me saying they’re not motivated one of the first things I ask about is their sleep.

When you’re tired, you’ll be less motivated. When you’re energized you’ll be more motivated. Sleep also helps with decision making, mood, and focus. Not to mention a host of other physiological and psychological things.

Sleep changes will take time. If you’re used to going to be at 1 am it’s going to be hard to start falling asleep at 10 pm. Start by trying to get to bed a few minutes earlier. Can you get to bed 5, 10, 30 minutes earlier?

Some other ideas around building a sleep routine:

  • Stay away from screens 30-60 minutes before bed or try blue light blocking eyewear.
  • Wear a sleep mask or block out as much light as you can
  • Keep your room at 70 degrees or cooler
  • Do a brain dump

Level 1: Get in bed at the same time each night and aim to wake up at a similar time.

Level 2: Build a sleep routine to staring 30 to 60 minutes before bed.

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #8, Calm the F down (build a de-stressing routine)

If I’m working with 10 clients a good 8 of them eat because of stress or emotional reasons.

Stress isn’t going anywhere and we’re not trying to eliminate it. Life would be pretty boring if we did. All we want to do is get better at coping with it.

This doesn’t mean you need to meditate for 30 minutes a day or get your chi right. There are plenty of ways to de-stress each day. 

Take note of what makes you feel good and helps you unwind in a healthy way. Can you create more time for that each day?

Level 1: Practice a de-stressing technique for 5 minutes today

Level 2: Practice a de-stressing technique for 30+ minutes today and mix in short mini “de-stressing snacks” during the day

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Get big wins: #9, Work on your all or nothing thinking 

all or nothing thinking

If you got a flat tire you wouldn’t slash the other 3, would you? This is what we do with our fitness and nutrition. We “fall off the wagon” and blow the entire thing up.

Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good enough. Live with these two mindsets.

  • Always something
  • Never two in a row

Miss a workout? Cool. But I’m the type of person that doesn’t miss two in a row.

Eat a shitty meal? Cool. But I’ll wipe the slate clean and pick right back up with the next one.

Simply remind yourself of this regularly and take notice of when you’re falling into the all or nothing trap

Get big wins: #10, Practice self-awareness

We avoid uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, and emotions by distracting ourselves. We stare at our phones (social media), eat, drink, do drugs, and work hours on end so we don’t have to deal with pain.

There’s nothing wrong with distractions. But as Mark Mansons writes, we want to make sure we’re the ones choosing our distractions, and not our distractions choosing us.

Practicing self-awareness is hard, VERY hard, and often uncomfortable. Getting good at this is going to take a long time.

One thing I’ve found most helpful is to practice being still. You don’t need to meditate, journal, or do anything else. Simply find a quiet place, a few minutes if you can, and be still.

Let things come up for you. Let your mind wander and simply notice where it goes. If you feel sad, sit with that. If you feel anxious, sit with that. If you feel energized and excited, sit with that.

It may sound silly, but as things come up, say in your head – “interesting, I’m noticing I’m doing sad.” Or wow, isn’t that something, I’m noticing anger and stress towards a work project.

Whatever it may be, let it come up and notice it. Have thoughts about your thoughts and feeling about your feelings.

The more you practice this the more confident and comfortable you become with them.

Level 1: Try it once this week

Level 2: Set aside any amount of time you can each day to practice this

Resource: Use this free habit tracker to track adherence

Well, that’s all folks. 10 big wins to help give you a clear direction on how to get started, or get back on your fitness journey.