Nutrition Coaching should never have a time limit on it, or goal achievement for that matter. And while time-restricted challenges or programs may deliver some value in a short amount of time (serve as a spark for a longer commitment), as humans we need on-going support and accountability to lock in habit change. Trust me, I wish it was as easy as working out and eating better for a month to land exactly where you want to be. Unfortunately, that simply is not the way it works if your desire is to create lasting progress and avoid the dreaded yo-yo cycle.
In my opinion, anyone trying to tell you differently is more than likely interested in selling you something. Be aware of ulterior motives tied to recommendations on health and fitness.
Now I do believe that progress can be made in small amounts of time, or even in just 1 month. The reality is that it will not be enough to make a big, discernible difference. If we are “keeping it real” results typically follow these metrics:
.5 – 1% of body weight lost per week is a good sustainable range. An alternative measure is .5 – 1.5 lbs. per week. Anything expedited beyond that is either water weight (dehydration), a loss in muscle mass (not desirable) or a combination.
Lean Mass / Muscle Building
- Beginners – A couple pounds a month, but that rate quickly fades
- Intermediate – .5 – 1 pound a month
- Advanced – Less than .5 a month (Yes, this is sad to me too)
After nearly 20 years of working to improve myself, along with all the clients I’ve had the benefit to coach in the past 5 years, I have discovered the secret to achieve the fastest progress possible.
Accepting that there isn’t one and being wary of those whom tell you differently
Lasting results take days, weeks, and months of consistency. And depending on your goals and how far you desire to go it can even take years upon years of work and refinement. Please do not be disheartened by this reality. I feel that going into health and habit change with a realistic set of expectations will make it easier to remain true to the course when things get difficult.
Patience and consistency will trump all else. Personally, it has taken me many years of consistent training to build enough muscle to make a difference. In addition to the many months of hitting my nutrition goals very close to target to achieve a low enough body fat level to see those muscles. For me, what I have achieved is a continuation or “work in progress” of nearly 20 years. There is no time limit or end date to health and wellness. There is always work to be done.