I had the pleasure of training a good friend of mine a few years ago. She sought out my help after discovering early signs of cervical cancer. At the beginning it was tough as she had little experience with exercise and proper nutrition. I would give her meal plans and she would proceed to use it as scratch paper. 

The largest problem was that I expected someone new to being healthy to make a complete 180 overnight. This is the unfortunate case with a lot of trainers and coaches. Long before I became a Precision Nutrition coach, I came to the conclusion that the best approach would be to get down to the basics. I took an approach of teaching as opposed to simply instructing

For more on weight loss: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-fat-loss

What I discovered in hindsight was a shared philosophy of the PN coaching system to educate. Only when empowering my friend to take ownership of her decisions did we finally hit our stride and start moving in a positive direction. 

Today she knows how to structure a good workout, when and what to eat, and even assisting her own close circle of friends with most things health and wellness. 

If you've been having problems sticking to a new exercise regimen or have a coach but aren't thrilled with the meal plan approach, I would take a moment to decide what you really want.  

  • Do you want short term results with no certainty that it will last. 
  • Would you rather make slow and measurable progress that lasts a lifetime.

I don't know about you but I would definitely go with the latter. 

How to structure your new health and exercise program

  1. Start with being active. Declare that you'll go to the gym or go on a run at least 5 times per week. At first choose a number that is a slam dunk. For example I would make a goal like: I commit to going to the gym for an hour a day, three times per week. I would not recommend moving on or adding another day until this becomes habitual, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower every day.
  2. Now that being active is a habit, it's time to turn your attention to nutrition. Do you eat at least 1-2 servings of vegetables at each meal? Perhaps you don't consume enough protein or dietary fats. Start with getting enough vegetables a day (hint it's almost always more than you think and it's hard to get too many vegetables). Below is a quick reference for portion sizes.

Ultimately once someone decides to make changes to their habits, do they finally take the steps towards long lasting changes. Take it one habit at a time and do remember slow and steady is the way to go. As the saying goes:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."