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You Can’t Have Your Cake and Lose Fat Too

A little disclaimer :) I have not mastered this stuff–if you have been reading this blog, you know that I like my cheats and I am not always perfect. I try to be as transparent with you guys as possible and let you in on my struggles, screw ups and challenges. However, like many of you, I am getting pretty good and I am confident that I will be able to live the fat loss lifestyle forever. It is something I practice everyday. I also always try to maintain perspective, be gentle with myself and strive for progress, not necessarily perfection. With that being said, I hope you know that I love you all and am in no way trying to be preachy or give tough love in this post…not my style :) Besides, I am right there with you–as much as I love sharing, I often blog for myself, as a reminder. Hope it serves as a good one for you too! ox jill

With my goodies from the Cake Boss bakery :)

It’s Not Fair
Recently there was a post on the Metabolic Effect Facebook fan page recommending a hard & fast rule for achieving fat loss if you are stuck: cut out all cereals and sandwiches, period.  Let’s face it–these two meals make up at least 50% of what the average person eats everyday. Cutting out cereals (yes, even high-fiber/high protein ones) would mean new breakfast options: protein smoothies, egg whites, oat bran, etc–all of which would be better for fat loss if switching from cereals.  And a single switch away from sandwiches for lunch would leave us with…salads! Agreeably better for fat loss, yes? The point is not that there aren’t some cereals and breads that are healthy, the point is that for fat loss, there are better options. Healthy eating vs fat loss eating–not the same thing.

Anywho, in response to ME’s recommendation, someone commented that it just “wasn’t fair” that cutting out breads and cereals might be what they would need to do to get their fat loss moving.  I have heard this echoed many times from clients–this idea that having to do what might be necessary to see results “just isn’t fair.” Not that I blame them, but introspection and responsibility must then be assumed for the results they are not getting.  We will talk more about responsibility later in the post, but the whole “it’s not fair” thing reminded me of a time that Jade and I took our niece and nephews hiking, stopping at Starbucks for a quick coffee on the way.  The kids were asking for hot chocolates and frappachinos and donuts, which were obviously not on the Teta menu :) After we said no, there was a chorus of “that’s not fair!”s, to which we replied, “life isn’t fair so you better just learn that now.” For the parents out there, I am sure this is a classic argument…but getting back to the main message–it is so easy to simply cry and pout and wallow in self-pity when it comes to keeping your diet clean. Anyone ever used any of these:

  • LOOK at what she can eat! I would gain 10 lbs even looking at that!
  • If only I could eat whatever I wanted like some people do!
  • If only I didn’t care how I looked!
  • Sometimes I would rather just give up like most people, than continue to struggle!

I sure have. I have often longingly looked at other people’s carts at the grocery store thinking, if only I didn’t care about how I looked/felt/what I ate, I could eat whatever I wanted–and then be what? Happy? Overweight? Immune to body image issues? I think not. In fact, not caring about what I eat would probably make me feel worse. When I go to that place, I immediately think of the alternative which is…really NOT caring what I look like/feel like/what I eat. And to me, that is definitely worse.

Food Allergies & Trigger Foods
Not being able to eat nuts, dairy or gluten when everyone else can is not fair! But remember, life’s not fair :) And it is what it is. If you have a food allergy OR sensitivity indicated by any unfavorable outcome (such as GI upset, bloating, sleep disturbances, restless legs syndrome, twitches, headaches, itching, skin inflammation and often fat loss resistance), its your body’s way of telling you that that particular food is not for you. Booooo!! Stomp!! Tantrum time!! Yes, sad, but true. And if there is not an allergy issue, many times a food simply hinders fat loss results. Metabolic Effect calls this a “trigger food”–something that when removed from the diet allows for fat loss to resume.  These are not necessarily just junk foods. In fact, for many people, they are able to lose fat just fine on these, but for you, they might be holding you back.  Common potential trigger foods are nuts, alcohol, fruit, dairy, soy, whole grains or protein shakes/bars or zero-calorie sweeteners.  For me, my trigger foods are nuts and dairy–when I am getting ready for a shoot, I cut these (albeit “healthy”) foods out of my diet and I am able to easily shed water and bring my BF% down 1-2 percent within a week or two. This is a process. I love nuts and dairy, but I know for optimal fat loss results, they have to go.

Of course, all of this is a choice. There is no right or wrong. It is not to say you need to change or do anything at all–it is more a guide to help you realize that if you are not getting the results you want, it is important to look at specific foods and potentially eliminate them, even if they are considered “healthy” foods.

And then take responsibility for the results or lack of. This is one of the hardest things because sometimes, we just want to eat what we want to eat. For example, if you have read earlier blogs, you know that I love half & half in my morning coffee. It is something that even when I am eating super-clean that I usually still do not give up. But I also realize that dairy is a trigger food of mine and if I want to attain the best fat loss results possible, cream in my coffee has got to go. Or, if I don’t cut it out, I realize and take responsibility for the fact that my physique may not be as ripped/lean/hard/dry as I would like.  But I know it is a conscious decision I am making to have what I want regardless of the outcome: you can’t have your cake and lose fat too.

Change your mindset and change the degree of difficulty
This is the final component, and arguably the most important when dieting or living the fat loss lifestyle.  You have heard it before: “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” It’s the same with dieting–if you think it’s hard, it will be. If you think why not me, I can do anything–then dieting won’t be an issue. Is a contest diet tough? It depends on your outlook.  If you approach a contest diet with the attitude of “certain things are off-limits, I am deprived and everyone else has it easier than me” then you will be miserable. What about instead, “I get to eat healthy and clean, wake up every day feeling light, strong and in control of how I feel and how I look; I am able to see and feel results from day to day, week to week and know that I am on a journey to my best physical self.” Easier said than done, admittedly, but regardless of which attitude you adopt, you are still doing the diet :) Might as well see the glass half full.

I remember the first couple shows I did, at times feeling bad for myself and playing up the victim role big time–poor me, I have to eat this chicken while everyone else can have dessert. I remember Jade used to say, “You know, you don’t have to do the show, it is completely up to you, I support you no matter what” and I immediately was like, “What?? Of course I am doing the show!” and then I went on in my head (consciously or unconsciously), “Don’t you know that I just want you to feel bad for me?!” Can’t someone just tell me I am a good little dieter?? lol! Embarrassing to even write, but that is what is going on a lot of the time–living up the the martyrdom of the fat loss lifestyle. When, in fact, we need to realize that we are making a conscious choice to do it, one that we can easily not make, just throw in the towel and say screw it. There is no judgment, just a choice.

Obviously, much of this we can understand on an intellectual level…it is the “doing” that is tough. The suck-it-up-ness that is difficult. The day in and day out decision-making to live the fat loss lifestyle and not be a victim about it.  As with everything else, it takes practice. And we will never be perfect, but we can always be better. And for those of you who say “I want to live a little and have fun,” of course I understand that too and once again, it is a choice that only you can make for yourself–there is no judgment, no one way that is better than another, there are just outcomes. Personally, in this respect, I have practiced enough that I don’t exclusively associate fun with only eating and drinking to my heart’s desire.  There are other ways to have fun or “live a little.” But in the spirit of full disclosure, of course there are also times when I just want to eat what I want to eat. I am consciously making the choice to indulge and I am owning any consequences on my waistline :)  Besides, life isn’t fair, but at least I get to choose how I live it. Good luck!

Related: Defining the Fat Loss Lifestyle
Related: The Fat Loss Mindset: 14 Key Changes

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