Grit: The Secret Sauce of Fat Loss

As a coach, I must get asked about a million times a week about the best, easiest and quickest ways to lose weight. And there is no simple answer as what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you. There is one factor that will affect just how successful you will be in your quest and that’s the power of Grit: the secret sauce of fat loss.

In this post I’m going to look at what grit is, introduce to Dr Angela Duckworth who has built a career around defining grit and I’ll wrap it all up with some simple tips that will help you to become gritter. So, stick around.


Real Life

Picture this and see if this is familiar.

You wake up one morning and before you get into the shower you look in the bathroom mirror. You come to the realisation that you have put on a few pounds. You’re not sure how it happened, it seems to have just snuck up on you over a period of a few years.

I mean you were always fit before, you still go to the gym and pound out the miles on the treadmill once a week so why won’t your clothes fit any more? Have you been sleep walking into this?

Whilst looking at your reflection, something in your mind clicks. A decision is made and you are on it.

The cupboards get emptied of poor food choices, there is no Friday night pizza anymore, the gym gets visited at least three times a week and you have declared war on the carb.

With all this added exercise and the restriction of calories, you start to make inroads and lose weight. The clothes that were a little tight start to become too big and the clothes that you fit into ten years ago suddenly start to make an appearance.

This is easy you say.

Why didn’t I do this years ago?


grit: the secret sauce of fat loss


Several Months Later

Fast forward a few months and where do we find you?

That go and smash it mindset has gone only to be replaced with feelings of disillusionment.

The fat loss has stalled a little, no matter how much effort you put in at the gym.

As your war on carbs doesn’t seem so pressing as it once did you are left feeling that you are never going to look the way you want.

It’s too hard and taking far longer than you thought it would.


What if I told you that having the right diet and training plan wasn’t quite enough? That actually, these are the easy bits.

What if I told you that there was another part to the puzzle?

Let me introduce you to Dr Angela Duckworth.


Dr Duckworth and Grit

Meet Dr Duckworth (Dr D)


grit: the secret sauce of fat loss


Several years ago, whilst working as a school teacher, Dr D discovered that IQ wasn’t the best way for her to predict the exam results of the children she was teaching.

Although those children that showed ability and higher intelligence scored highly on tests they were often beaten by less intelligent children that showed something else.

Something that trumped talent alone.

Something she described as grit.


But what is grit?

Dr D describes it as:


Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals.


She also goes on to say that grit is not talent or luck. It’s that determination to keep going no matter what. It’s also the determination to keep going for the long-term.

Not stop after six months or a year but to keep going throughout until you realise your goal.

Dr D suggests that to have talent and luck is a huge factor in how successful you can be. But she also believes that the amount of grit you can draw on may have a larger part to play in your success.


Dr D went on to leave teaching and became a Psychologist where she went on to use her theory in the work place and even US military academies. Her team could accurately predict which students and employees would last in their roles and those that wouldn’t.

Military candidates that scored highly on the grit test were 60% more likely to graduate as officers.


You can test your grit level here.


What Does Grit Mean to Me?

We all know how easy it is to let things slip. That story I shared at the beginning could describe me a few years ago.

I also bet it could also describe you, either in the past or perhaps even now.

We all know how hard becoming fit and healthy in the long-term can be.

For us to be successful we have to accept that it’s going to take a while. A long while.

We have to accept that the changes that we are making or thinking of making are for life. I know that sounds scary but it is the truth.

The main attribute we can call upon during the tough times when we aren’t losing as much weight as we want, when others are trying to get us to have another drink or when there is chocolate in the cupboard is grit.

Focus on the long-term goal and not worry too much about the bumps along the way.


grit: the secret sauce of fat loss


Develop Your Grit

I promised you some tips to help you develop your grit which is important if you scored lower on the grit scale. If you haven’t had a go then click here to try it.


James Clear has three tips to help us, they are:


Set goals that will require mental toughness

I would suggest that these would be medium to long-term goals. They should be at least long enough that they would stretch your current grit levels.


Read my previous post on goal setting here.


Build grit with small wins

James believes that grit is like a muscle and needs to be trained in order for it to get stronger.

You can do this in a thousand different ways.

Resist that chocolate bar.

Go to the fitness class after work when you would rather lay on the couch watching TV.

Do that extra rep in the gym.


grit:the secret sauce of fat loss


Build strong habits and stop relying on motivation

Those that build strong habits will in the end be more successful than those that don’t.

We know that motivation is a finite resource and will only last a few weeks. By building strong habits early on, you to overcome the mental dip after the motivation runs out.




So, what I guess I’m trying to say is this:

Don’t let a few bumps cause you to fall off your wagon. Use the grit that I know you have to stay strong, even when times are tough.

Develop your grit levels. It can be done.

You will get there, even if it takes longer than you thought. And it normally will.

Hang tough.


If you have any questions or comments about this week’s post then please either add them at the bottom or send me a message.

I would really like to hear from you and even let me know about the subjects that matter to you.


Be all you can be




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