Start small. Do not jump on a diet with a name and go all in. That might provide quick results but unfortunately is not sustainable. An example of starting small would be not having a snack after 9 pm, or not getting the large size of something. If you are looking to gain weight or muscle don’t start by eating as much as you can, thinking you are going to bulk up instantly. Small choices add up over time. Most importantly, you train your mind throughout the process.
So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewingDominique Clare.
Dominique Clare is a fitness coach, blogger, and the founder of SportsandFitnessDigest.com. He is a former division 1 college football player who first grew popularity on social media as a sports writer. He started his own fitness journey 6 years after playing college football. He became a fitness coach and blogger after realizing how many former athletes like himself where struggling after their playing days
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I appreciate the opportunity to tell my story and talk about a topic I am so passionate about as it is something I had to personally overcome.
I was born in the Bahamas and moved to the United States when I was very young. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. I was one of the only minorities in my school and town. Because of that, I felt slightly out of place. Being active and playing sports made me feel whole and like I fit in. My entire childhood became focused around playing sports recreationally and organized. This remained the same until the day I played my last snap in college.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
Adjusting to life after playing college sports wasn’t easy. It took me 6 years to realize the path I was on with my health was not good. Fitness was built in to my entire life by playing sports all the way through college. Motivation wasn’t an issue while playing sports because it was easy to motivate yourself to get better and play better each season. Then one day sports were done. I had to fall in love with fitness again and find new motivation.
After getting my own health back on track, I realized how many others out there were struggling. I became an online fitness coach to help them. I also started blogging about fitness to reach more people who may be having some of the same struggles. Helping people overcome these challenges is my inspiration. I have a decent sized audience and following with my sports writing and wanted to use that to bring health and fitness in front of that audience more.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
I would not be where I am today without my wife. She stuck with me through so much growth and believed in me the entire time. There was one point where I gained 50 pounds and left a job without any guaranteed income lined up. I was not a confident person and know how difficult I must have been to be around. Instead of getting upset, she helped build me back up from one of my lowest points. The first plan we made was to work out and eat better.
I met her before I went through my lost phase. She never let me forget who I was and what I was capable of. After going through that, I am motivated to never lose sight of the person she fell in love with.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?
The most interesting mistake I made was taking on a lot of online clients when I first started coaching. Even worse is I was doing everything for free. I was spread thin and not able to help people like I wanted. This lead to me taking a break from coaching for a little.
I learned that I have to set boundaries and can’t help everyone. It’s better to give a few people your all then to give a lot of people the bare minimum.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
“Replace (I have to) with (I get to) with everything in life.” This has been a game changer for me. It forces you to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude changed my perspective on everything and slowly improved my attitude. Not everything in life we are going to do is going to be fun or easy. We can’t just look forward to the things that are. The things that we “have to” do are the things that create the greatest opportunity for growth. We get to do them. It may be terrible, but I am thankful for every opportunity to grow.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am writing a book called “Once Upon an Athlete”. It is a project I started before the birth of my first child that fell by the wayside. Now, 3 kids later I am ready to finish it and I am glad I waited because the parenting perspective of the book is important as that has changed me at my core. The book is designed to help everyone who played competitive sports and any level adjust to regular life while harnessing that competitive nature and applying it to their life. It will feature psychologist and stories from athletes who have made a successful transition.
I am also nearing the launch of a new fitness training website. The website will feature workouts and training advice from former athletes. We are taking our backgrounds of training as athletes our entire lives and using those principles for everyone to reach their fitness goals in a fun and effective manner. The website will be for everyone regardless of their athletic past.
For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?
I have found my niche in the fitness and wellness field working with people who are struggling after playing high school or college sports. I have studied what types of things work based on that. The challenges I had to overcome took a lot of learning and acceptance. I am passionate about helping others get through this and thrive. I pursued personal trainer certification to back up and expand on everything I learned firsthand as an athlete my entire life.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page. How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?
The first thing I want people to understand is that a healthy bodyweight is different for everyone. Weight can be a tool to help track progress while used with other tracking measures. It should never be used alone under any circumstance.
A healthy body weight is a being a size that does not put your body at risk to preventable disease. It has nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with allowing your body to function at an optimal level.
How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?
It takes experimentation to find your healthy body weight. There isn’t a blanket number on the scale that will be an ideal weight for everyone. I encourage people I work with to start by consulting with their doctor and a dietician. They can get information that is specific for them and their specific health needs. This consultation can also include a physical, bloodwork, etc..
If this has been a serious issue for quite some time, I encourage people to also meet with a therapist to make sure there is not anything from their past or present that is causing over or under eating. As a fitness coach, I am doing clients a disservice if I don’t watch out for their physical and mental health altogether.
Once the client is ready, we set a goal considering the recommendations from the experts and start searching for the client’s ideal weight.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?
The biggest concern is always that someone is malnourished. If someone is overweight from eating primarily junk food, they may not be getting enough nutrients needed for a healthy body. If they are underweight from not eating enough, they likely are not getting enough nutrients to nourish their bodies. Both can be signs of an eating disorder that needs help of a professional therapist to overcome.
Other things that can happen from being overweight are increased chanced of diseases like diabetes and heart disease, joint pain, loss of energy, and a loss of confidence.
Some things commonly seen from being underweight are reduced energy, digestive issues, brain issues, and sleeping issues.
In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?
I will use myself as an example. When I was overweight I was tired all the time, my joints hurt from the extra weight, and I wasn’t comfortable taking my shirt off at the pool. After getting to my ideal weight and speaking with a therapist, all of those issues went away and I improved my relationship with food. As a father this is very important to me because I don’t ever want my weight or relationship with food to hinder my relationship with my children. If I would have continued down the road I was on, that is exactly where I was heading.
Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
If you do these 5 things, I promise you will achieve a healthy body weight and keep it permanently.
- Start small. Do not jump on a diet with a name and go all in. That might provide quick results but unfortunately is not sustainable. An example of starting small would be not having a snack after 9 pm, or not getting the large size of something. If you are looking to gain weight or muscle don’t start by eating as much as you can, thinking you are going to bulk up instantly. Small choices add up over time. Most importantly, you train your mind throughout the process.
- Train your mind every day. This may sound cheesy but go in front of the mirror every single morning and say nice things to yourself. Then at the end of the day practice gratitude by saying things you are thankful for. This will help shift your mindset from chasing the destination and getting closer on the path to self-acceptance and love.
- Drink a lot of water. Water is absolutely amazing. It is beneficial no matter your goal. Whether that is to gain muscle, lose weight, or get healthier. Water is going to be your best friend. And the best part is that it is free in most cases. Find a bottle that you like and bring it everywhere with you. It will eventually become part of your identity and you will feel odd without it.
- Be active. While what you eat is a large part of achieving a healthy body weight, being active is very important. That looks different for everyone. If you are someone who bikes to work and goes hiking on the weekends, that may be enough. For most people that looks something like going to the gym a few times a week in addition to going for a walk or job around the neighborhood. It is good for your overall health, which includes mental health.
- Track your progress and celebrate victories. It is very encouraging and humbling to look at how far you have come. Pictures tell the story better than our memories ever can. The thing I have found most rewarding has nothing to do with our bodies in transformation pics. People are usually radiating happiness in their “after” picture and that is what this journey of being healthy is all about.
The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?
I touched on this in the first tip a bit when I talked about starting small. You have to make being healthy your lifestyle. That means you need to focus on being healthy as opposed to losing weight. If you are only focused on losing weight you will do whatever it takes to reach that goal. That often leaves people worse off than before.
If you make small changes every day you will change your relationship with food overtime and be able to sustain your weight loss for the long haul.
What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?
The most common mistake I have seen is a viscous cycle I call, “cleanse, starve, binge, repeat”. I did this for years. I would do a cleanse after gaining a bunch of weight, starve myself until I lost 20 pounds, then go crazy and start binge eating. To avoid this, you have to set realistic long term expectations. Don’t do any diet that you don’t think you can do for the rest of your life. Your diet should nourish your body. Think 6 months from now. Not 6 days from now.
How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?
Start right now. I mean it. Get out a planner, piece of paper, or the notepad on your phone and write down 3 attainable things you can start doing. Then go in front of the mirror and start your positive self-talk.
If I were just getting started I would write down drink a half gallon of water, eat vegetables with every dinner, and workout 3 times this week.
On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?
Once you get started, tell loved ones what you are doing and that this is important to you. Some may not understand and some will do everything they can to help you. Either way it’s best to communicate it because you will be challenged during this journey and it is much more difficult when kept a secret. For me that also included taking my fitness journey on social media. It was terrifying at first, but I ended up finding support from people around the world on the same journey as me.
Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would love to inspire a movement called move once a day. IT would be a movement designed to get millions of people doing something active at least once a day. If you can’t tell yet, my M.O. is starting small.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂
Gary Vaynerchuk. His videos have done more for my mindset and mentality than I could ever imagine. He makes me think outside the box and encourages me to explore my creativity and passions.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
You can check out my website dominiqueclare.com or follow me on Twitter @DomClare or Instagram @DominiqueClare.
Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.