Measuring Up. Shaping Up.

measure-upI realize that I’d been slacking on my job as holder of accountability. Some clients have just skating been along – measurements hadn’t been done in months, the last food journal had been submitted in late spring. People have just been doing – whatever.

Because of this realization, all of our personal training clients were measured last week. Yesterday we had our first Accountability Saturday (a time when campers can come and get weighed and measured to help them track their progress -or lack of it) at boot camp.

You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Everyone will get re-measured the week of December 17th – the end of one December holiday and the start of another. Yep, there’s a method to this madness. Not only do I want to give everyone a reality check, but I hope that this experiment in accountability will help everyone stay more on track during the 6-7 week build up to the holidays.

The tale of the tape wasn’t a pleasant one for everyone last week. A couple of inches had crept back onto the waistline for some while others had moved up a few percentage points in body fat.

So how did we get here?

  • Complacency  – It’s easy to get comfortable and stop paying attention. You stop tracking (measuring or food journaling), “dirty” foods creep their way back into your diet, the weekly latte or dessert indulgence turns into a daily habit.
  • You’re not pushing yourself – You’ve started to slack off at boot camp (the days you actually show up that is). You skip the homework that your PT trainer has assigned. You do the WOW every week, but you dog it (“I’ll do 2 sets even though I know I could do 4). You’ve left your workouts wanting more.
  • Magical thinking or not keepin’ it real, yo! – Yep, you worked hard at 6am boot camp, but that doesn’t give you license to have pancakes for breakfast, especially if you want your body to look and feel a certain way. And no, no matter how many times you tell yourself that you can resist the urge to hoover your favorite “trigger food”, history has proven that this is not the case. Jackie Boyle wrote about magical thinking in her post below. Read it!
  • Too much of the good stuff – I know how tempting it can be to overdo it with nuts or fruit or a bag of kale chips (yes, I just typed kale chips). After all, they’re good for you, right? Yes and no. Although I don’t believe in obsessively counting calories, calories STILL count and if you’re eating too much of the good but calorically dense stuff, it’s gonna show up somewhere on your body. So, pay attention. Limit yourself to one closed fistful of nuts a day. Keep the Lara Bars and dried fruit for “emergencies only”, remembering that every time you’re hungry doesn’t qualify as an emergency. And leave the pre-packaged kale chips on the shelf, because you know you’re going to eat the whole bag in one sitting (What, that’s just my issue?).

Where we go from here? The Unofficial Six Week Shape Up Challenge

We’ve got about 4 weeks until Hanukkah and 6 weeks until the 2 weeks of diet debauchery that is Christmas and New Years. My task for you (and for myself) is to take the next 6 weeks and commit to yourself, your workouts and the 80/20 rule as it applies to diet (eating clean 80% of the time and indulging 20% of the time) .

Use this next six weeks to bring mindfulness to your behaviors. Sit down and take just 20 minutes and figure out where you’ve fallen off the wagon. Then pick three behaviors to focus on over the next 6 weeks.

Here’s what your plan might look like:

  1. I have developed a 2 latte a day habit. For the next six weeks I’ll limit myself to one latte a day.
  2. I will attend boot camp 3x a week for 5 out of the next 6 weeks.
  3. I will eat neither the leftover Halloween candy nor the impending red and green M&Ms that will be on my assistant’s desk.

This is not an official challenge and I’m not asking you to do a Clean Up. I’m not even asking you to eat clean on Thanksgiving or skip out on any holiday parties. I am asking you to be mindful, to think before you act (or eat in this case) and to be willing to call BS on yourself. Doing this will help ensure that you don’t have to do a complete nutrition and workout detox when January 2nd rolls around. Plus you won’t physically and mentally feel like shit for the next 6-7 weeks.

Here’s my personal plan:

  1. Concentrate on my kettlebell training by attending 1 kettlebell class a week and doing 2 kettlebell workouts (one with KB snatches) on my on a week.
  2. Add running to my workouts for 30 days (this is if Jackie Boyle accepts my challenge).
  3. Limit myself to 2 lattes a week. The rest of the week I’ll drink regular coffee or espresso with one tablespoon of milk.

Nothing earth shattering. No complete overhaul of anything. Just 3 behaviors to focus on.

Keep it simple. Post your 3 behaviors to the comments section (you can do this anonymously or use an alias) or email them to me.


  1. eliseamiller on November 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Great post, Michelle! Thank you for showing me that I am full of shit—in some ways anyway.

    Let’s see. 3 goals. Um, here goes:

    1. reach for the water instead of the nuts, fudge or cinnamon apple slices when feeling peckish—in other words, test to make sure I’m not just thirsty.
    2. limit desserts to 3x a week max. 2x would be even better, especially if I’m eating my kids’ leftovers, ahem, which could really count as 2A—don’t eat the kids’ leftovers.
    3. practice my pull-ups and handstands at home. They’re fun and I keep not doing them. also, take a long walk when the weather cooperates.
    and 4. eat more dark leafies. that’s more than 3 but…

  2. Marti on November 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    My 3 things:

    1. Make it to boot camp at least 3 times a week

    2. Add running – once a week

    3. Make a healthy dish that can be split into small servings for the week ahead. Try to do this every week – but even if I do it every other week it will be a big step forward.

  3. EF on November 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks for the wake up call. My measurements were pitiful. I have lost so much ground! I will 1. Work out an additional day/week 2. Drink two additional glasses of water/day 3. get back to 80% clean eating. So there.

  4. Pamela on November 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Ok, you’ve harassed me enough (which is a good thing!)

    1. Do not eat after the kids go to bed. (Lots of closet eating then…)
    2. Limit sugar and COUNT the grams to stay honest.
    2a. Do not eat the kids candy. It’s not even good candy!
    3. Increase veggies during the day.

    • michelle-admin on November 18, 2012 at 8:15 pm

      Yay! So proud of you, Pam!

  5. Gale Wood on November 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    My measurements scared me, so…
    1. I will reduce my consumption of nuts to no MORE than a small handful each day.
    2. I will limit my desserts even further, only tasting those from the holidays.
    3. I will walk or rake on days when I am not at boot camp, kettlebells or with mean but well-meaning Michelle, my trainer, so that I am getting significant exercise at least five days a week.
    4. Because I am an overachiever, I’ll add one more: I will limit my carbs to no more than 1 portion a day, and only eat complex carbs, at that.

    • michelle-admin on December 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Too funny, Gale! I had to stop myself from posting four behaviors so I wouldn’t come off as an overachiever.

      Your mean but well-meaning trainer, Michelle