When it comes to losing fat, success doesn't happen overnight. Sometimes it doesn't even happen over a few weeks, a few months or a few years. Don't rush it, don't crash and don't expect too much of yourself too soon. Life is for the living; for the making of mistakes and learning from them. Below I have outlined my 5 Keys to Fat Loss Success so that you can not only lose fat but keep it off -- forever:

1. Set realistic short-term goals: The best way to think of these is as "mini-goals." When I was actively training in road racing I didn't start out running a marathon. I first started with smaller mileage races and each time I would try to better my time -- and better my distance -- until I was running a competitive marathon. There is no way to reach such a huge long-term goal without a few mini-goals along the way. What are your mini-goals?

2. Short-term goals should lead you to long-term goals: Allow for occasional setbacks along the way, but regard them as learning experiences. That's the beauty of short-term, or mini, goals. You can make a few missteps along the way and still reach your ultimate goal, as long as you simply learn from your misstep and get back on track.

3. Set a training schedule and stick to it: It helps to have a contract with yourself; how formal a "contract" is up to you. Some clients put the schedule in writing; others tack it to their fridge or keep a sticky-note in their wallets. Some keep it in their heads, but all do one thing in common: stick to it.

4. Listen to Your Body: If I've taught you one thing in this book it's to listen to your body. We talked about not eating too much, stuffing, and not eating too little, starving. Your body sends you signals when it's too full or too empty; listening to them is one way to stay in balance. Your exercise should be the same. Fatigue is a sign to take a break, and it's OK to do so. The old adage of "no pain, no gain" has gone by the wayside.

5. Constantly challenge yourself: Life is meant to be a challenge. We strive to meet challenges and move beyond them. If we don't learn, we can't grow. Success is like a muscle; it doesn't grow if it isn't stretched. How far can you stretch today?

©2008 Wendy Chant

Wendy Chant, MPT, SPN, is a certified personal trainer and a specialist in performance nutrition. She holds a bachelor of science degree in medical sciences and nutrition science. A champion body builder, she opened her own training center, ForeverFit®, in 1998. Her book, Crack the Fat Loss Code, is available now from McGraw-Hill.

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