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April 25, 2012

If You’re Tired of Starting Over…Stop Giving Up

By Emily Saunders

At Jillfit, most of our readers are go-getters, over-achievers, Type A or whatever we might call ourselves.  We want to set goals, map out a plan to achieve them, and make it happen.  When it comes to fat loss. it’s often not so simple.  We often know what we want, but the path to physique change can be a complicated process.  There is so much information available about “secrets” to effective fat loss.  This leaves us wondering who is right and who is wrong?  The frustration lies in the fact that there is no right answer for everyone!   What works for your best friend is likely not the best plan for you.

Embrace your individuality

Metabolic Effect calls this your unique “Fat Loss Formula.” Why is finding your fat loss formula so difficult?  First of all, we all come to the table starting at a different place.  Age, genetics, hormones, occupation, stress levels, sleep, exercise, food allergies, environment, peer and family influences, etc are just a few of the factors that determine the “fat loss formula” that works for one person, and will be completely different for someone else. Furthermore, as we make progress, these variables change which is why we need to continue adjusting for continued success.

This goes against our “give me a plan and I will follow it” mindset.  When the plan doesn’t produce the results we expect within our timeline, we become frustrated and then we toss up our hands and resolve that once again we have “failed” and thus begins the cycle of yo-yo dieting.

Why is it so challenging to dig in our heels and trust in the process?  My opinion is that our fast-paced, right-now culture leads us to believe that if it doesn’t work on our timeline exactly the way that we want it to, then it’s not worth it and we give up.  The Fat Loss Lifestyle is a journey and a will most-likely be a long one :)  As we go along, we learn more about our bodies, about the fuel we put into them, our triggers, and our true cravings.  We get to know ourselves inside and out.

This is where the mind/body connection that is such an integral part of Jillfit comes into play.  We must abolish the “crash diet” mentality and grasp onto something more sustainable. We have to love ourselves just as we are and know that treating our bodies well for the purpose of lifestyle change, health and physique is worth it for the long haul.  This long-term mindset is difficult because it goes against everything that our culture teaches us, not to mention what we read on the front of every magazine cover.  So how do we plan for continued success and maintain motivation?  Well, we have to make it easy while also making sure it works, right?

Where to begin?

First, if you are truly learning this process, maintaining a nutrition plan that works should not take every ounce of self-control.  The key is to find what is sustainable, but also yield results. A lot of times this formula is found when manipulating the amount, type and timing of carbohydrates. For example, some people assume that cutting out all carbohydrates will automatically produce great results and that carbs are “evil” but this is not the case.  Often times, when carbohydrate consumption is dropped TOO low, our results stall or even reverse.

Metabolic Effect calls this finding your “Carb Tipping Point.” Not only is the tipping point unique to the individual, but it also changes as your metabolism heals and adjusts to your new way of eating.  Personally, I used to be a bread addict and could not imagine not eating it every single day.  For a while I used “filler foods” that were similar like Hemp Bread and lower carb options to satisfy my cravings, but those slowly diminished and now I rarely crave “bready” foods at all.  However, if you had told me right off the bat that I could only eat oatbran, apples and sweet potatoes I would have definitely failed or been miserable for months. So honing in on your unique tendencies is important.

So how does one begin to find their formula?  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Begin consistently following a fat-loss plan like those found on the JillFit Lifestyle page.  This doesn’t mean that you will be 100% perfect all the time, but try to aim to eat clean 80% of the time.
  2. Track your progress monthly with measurements and pictures (and body composition if a reliable method is available)
  3. Keep track of your hunger, cravings and energy levels throughout a 4 week period
  4. Assess the results. Are you getting fat loss results?  Are your clothes fitting looser? Does your plan seem effortless?  What times of the day do you have cravings? Do you struggle with compliance?  If so, what are the contributing factors?
  5. If things feel out of balance or if you are not getting results after 4 weeks then it is time to adjust.  Consider things like portions, timing of carbohydrates, types of carbohydrates consumed, and which foods may pose as “trigger foods” for you.
  6. If you are getting results and are not struggling with compliance then stick with it. Resist the temptation to make everything ultra-strict to “speed things up”.  If you are struggling, choose one or two changes to make for the following 4 weeks.  For example, if you feel like your results are not satisfactory you may consider removing starchy carbohydrates from your evening meal and adding a few bites of fat instead (instead of brown rice try a few slices of avocado).  Or, if you are finding that you are famished in the late afternoon and having trouble staying away from the vending machine, maybe add in a serving of mixed nuts to help stave off salty cravings.

A lot of this is trial and error and the more practiced you become, the more effortless the process becomes.  Be patient, stick with it and celebrate small wins :) Good Luck! xoxo Emily

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