You’re Not Your Diet. You’re Not Your Body Fat Percentage.

You're Not Your Diet
photo: some rights reserved by Gloria Garcia

Do your health and fitness habits define you, or do they make your life better?

There was a time I obsessed over what I would eat, and when. I’d literally revolve everything around my workout schedule. I’d turn down dinner invitations and other activities if they interfered with my trip to the gym or wouldn’t easily fit whatever diet I was following at the time.

Put bluntly: my diet and workout schedule dictated what I would, and would not, do in my life.

My incessant need to put my fitness habits above all else eventually caught up to me and led to disordered eat habits, uncontrollable binge eating, exhaustion from long and grueling workouts, obsessing over a number on the scale, and constant dissatisfaction with my body.

At that point, I was my health and fitness regimen.

But, thankfully, many years ago I experienced a huge transition. I decided that my health and fitness routine would no longer define me, and it wouldn’t control my life. I would no longer be how I ate or my workout schedule. It was time for health and fitness to be a tool that would allow me live a more awesome, fulfilling life.

You’re Not Your Diet

If you’ve seen the movie Fight Club you’re familiar with Tyler Durden’s famous speech: “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f***ing khakis.”

Well, I am not my health and fitness habits, and neither are you.

To put this in a Tyler Durden sort-of-way:

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Why You Shouldn’t Have (Fat Loss) Goals

fat loss goals
photo: some rights reserved by Ben Watkin

Whaaaaaat? Abandon my fat loss goal?

Nia’s gone crazy!

No. No I have not. At least, not entirely.

Goals can be a good thing, but sometimes they may not be the best thing to focus on. This can especially be the case when it comes to specific fat loss goals.

If you have a fat loss goal such as reaching a certain body weight or body fat percentage, then I encourage you to abandon those goals for a period of time . . . and to focus on the process and the actions you can take on a daily basis instead.

And I have some dang good reasons why.

But first, let’s look at some common fat loss goals people have:

  • Weigh X amount
  • Obtain X percentage of body fat
  • Wear X pant size
  • Reach X waist measurement

Seems harmless, right? By striving to reach that goal of weighing less or wearing a smaller pair of jeans you’ll be motivated to keep working out and eating well.

Not so fast. Let’s discuss five disadvantages to having specific fat loss goals, like those mentioned above.

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One (Not Weird or Secret) Tip for Fat Loss

Heck Yeah, EatingI have a confession, and I’m ready to share it with you.

Hello. My name is Nia Shanks and I, am a very fast eater.

Sometimes I eat so fast it’s comparable to a rottweiler scarfing down its dinner. Let that mental image sink in for a moment. (Aren’t you glad you’re reading this article?)

For as long as I can recall I’ve always eaten quickly, so I made it a goal a couple of years ago to . . .

Eat. Slower.

It’s something I’ve been working on for a while and still have to make a mental effort to do, but I’m getting better at it.

Why am I making it a goal to eat slower and why do I think you should do the same thing?

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Consistency Trumps Perfection. It’s About Sustainable Habits.


Consistently applying some simple nutrition guidelines and following a practical strength training program that easily fits into your schedule will produce better results than attempting to follow even the most perfect diet and workout regimen.

And I’m going to prove it in this article.

Consistency trumps perfection.

To prove this point I’m going to share a story about my friend, who I’ll refer to as Amanda.

Amanda has tried numerous popular diets and workout programs over the years. She’d begin them with fierce determination and proclaim, “This time I’m going to be successful.”

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5 Problems with Rapid Fat Loss & Quick Fixes and What You Should Do Instead

Rapid Fat LossFast fat loss and other quick-fixes for building a better body. They’re everywhere. And it makes total sense.

After all, what grabs your attention more?

  • You can lose 10 pounds of ugly, unwanted body fat in only 7 days! 


  • Lose 10 pounds of body fat in 10 weeks and keep it off long-term! 

The first claim — lose 10 pounds in only 7 days — tugs at your emotions and promises an immediate solution.

The second claim — lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks — definitely isn’t very exciting or sexy. I mean come on; only lose a single pound per week? Pffft. Why wait 10 weeks when you can follow the first approach and lose it in only 7 days?

It’s way more exciting to think you can get results immediately. We want to see the rewards for our efforts as soon as possible. Heck, we all want fast results.

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Why You Should Say NO to The Skinny Rules and YES to Being Awesome

saynoLet’s start this off with a disclaimer. First, I have no problem with women wanting to look “skinny” or “slender”. I encourage women to build the body THEY want, whatever that means to them. My problem with The Skinny Rules below isn’t about the “skinny” part. It’s the fact that those rules reinforce a negative mindset, contribute to obsessive compulsive eating patterns, feed on the “rapid fat loss” mentality, and are unrealistic to apply long-term.

Second, this article isn’t my typical style, but after reading “the skinny rules”, I couldn’t help but sigh in utter disappointment. After all, the wave of women choosing strength over dieting has been growing, faster than ever in my opinion. But books like The Skinny Rules are making the battle more challenging. But, that’s okay, I’m up for the fight.

I’ve had the privilege of watching more and more women say “No!” to dieting and yes to strength training, building  a stronger body and mind, and becoming better versions of themselves without the use of starvation diets, crash diets, brutal workout routines, and other methods I think should be avoided.

And because this is my website and I’m entitled to my opinion, I’m going to share my thoughts about these so called “rules”.

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The 10 Commandments for Simple Fat Loss

10cI promote training for performance as a great way to achieve a healthier, stronger, and leaner physique. I encourage individuals to stop thinking about fat loss, even if that’s their primary goal, and instead focus on getting stronger or improving their performance with their workouts.

Now, I understand that some people just want to know how to achieve fat loss in the simplest, and easiest, way possible. Bottom line – some people just want to lose some excess fat, and want specific guidelines to achieve that goal now. So, if you’re an individual who thinks, “Yes, I know to focus on performance, but I really just want to lose some fat,” then this article is for you.

If you’re going to truly focus on fat loss for a period of time, you might as well follow the KISS principle — Keep It Super Simple (thanks to a reader for suggesting that little tweak!). If something is simple, it’ll be less stressful and you’ll be able to apply the guidelines daily with ease than if you followed something strict, rigid, and overwhelming.

If it ain’t simple, don’t do it. Now let’s dive into The 10 Commandments for Simple Fat Loss.

1. Thou Shall Stop Training for Fat Loss

You didn’t think I’d leave this one out, did you? Your main focus should still be on improving your performance whether you’re lifting weights, running hill sprints, swinging a kettlebell, or any other strength training component you utilize.

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3 Steps for Hunger Control & Fat Loss

I truly despise dieting.

Allow me to rephrase that – I despise the notion that you must starve, be miserable, and exist in a general state of deprivation, all in the name of losing body fat.

I also don’t like strict rules or guidelines because they clash with my personality. You’ll know what I mean if you read My Battle with Disordered Eating a while back. I don’t like spending much time thinking about my diet, and so I prefer simple tips that I can easily follow and tailor to my life.

Furthermore, most people experience negative emotions when they think about losing fat via diet. That’s why people exclaim, “Ugh. I have to go on a diet so I can lose this fat” instead of jumping up and down in excitement while fist pumping and screaming, “Whoo-hoo I get to go on a diet” and writhing with anticipation.

Heck, if dieting were that fun or easy, then most people would succeed in their fat loss endeavors.

Alas, it is not quite that easy; but I’m here to proclaim that it’s not that hard either.

I haven’t “dieted” in years even though I’ve gone through periods where I intentionally decreased my body fat by tweaking my nutrition; the same thing can be said for my clients, too. We just don’t diet.

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Why Do You Train?

Everyone goes to the gym (or trains at home) for different reasons. Today I’m going to share with you the reasons I train, and I want to know why you train too.

First, let me tell you why I used to train:

  • To look better
  • To lose body fat
  • To build a flat stomach and get as close as possible to a six pack
  • To look better to other people
  • To stay “skinny” and stay in shape

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No Nonsense Body Transformation Part 2

No Nonsense Body Transformation Part 2 ImageToday in Part 2 I will outline a very simple, basic, but highly effective no nonsense body transformation guide. Follow these simple tips and you’ll get results.

Say goodbye to supplements– pre and post workout drinks, workout enhancers, energy drinks, fat burners, protein powder, and other supplements are not necessary for achieving great results. Let me say that again – supplements are not mandatory. No one in the history of training has achieved amazing, mind-blowing results simply from using a magical pill, potion, or powder (I’m talking about over the counter supplements, not steroids or other illegal drugs). Your success is not dependant on any supplement. Instead of supplements, you’ll discover in a moment how you should spend your hard earned money.

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