At Metabolic Effect, we say, “Fat loss is a process, not a protocol,” and if you have been entrenched the dieting culture for long, you understand that most diets, plans, programs and experts are all recommending a very specific “right way” to eat and exercise. I call it the Myth of the Magic Meal Plan :)
And the unfortunate thing is that we, as a whole, still buy into this way of doing things. How could we not? Everywhere we look, there’s a new plan, magic diet or program that someone we know lost 50 lbs doing. Who could blame us for wanting to continue our search for “the perfect plan,” when all around us, we see examples of people losing rapid weight at the hands of these off-the-shelf diets, like a competition prep diet or the HCG Diet or Paleo or Gluten-free, etc.
Rapid weight loss is not hard. Just don’t eat and go jogging for hours. You’ll certainly be in a caloric deficit. However, we would never recommend something like that because we know it’s unsustainable (not to mention completely unhealthy) and yet, many of the off-the-shelf diets we see are not all the more sustainable.
Anyone can lose 20 lbs in 12 weeks (i.e. a competition diet)–it’s not that difficult, relatively, to harness willpower for a short amount of time to achieve that look. But what I and Metabolic Effect considers true success is when you look inside, ask yourself the tough questions and set out on a personal journey to learn your own fat loss formula and commit to it for the long haul.
Rapid weight loss is easy. But the faster it comes off, the faster it goes back on.
We know this. Steady, sustainable fat loss over time is the ultimate goal, especially when you’ve achieved it as a result of being introspective, listening to your own body and creating YOUR unique, effortless plan.
So, I want to volunteer some contrast for you. The Old Way versus The New Way. The new way is really the only way if you want to lose fat for good, discontinue yo-yo dieting with the seasons and not have to be obsessed with food forever.
Old Way #1: Keep Searching for ‘The Magic Meal Plan’
New Way #1: As always, Debbie Downer here to crash your dreams :) There’s no secret, amazing, fat loss plan that if we can only find it and then force ourselves to keep doing it that we will get the body of our dreams effortlessly. Google “weight loss meal plan” and instantly get millions of hits. There are only so many ways to say “chicken and broccoli” and any expert, trainer, coach or program that says they have THE WAY is basically an egomaniac. No one “out there” has the best way for you–only you can CREATE your best way from understanding your own metabolic tendencies, psychological sensitivities and personal preferences and then PRACTICING your way for weeks, months and years.
Old Way #2: Follow meal plans blindly, regardless of how they make us feel
New Way #2: Let’s stop following plans that make us feel like crap. You don’t have to be miserable 24/7 to get lean. And if you are, it’s time to stop blaming the plan, the coach or the program and start taking responsibility for figuring out your own way. It is not normal to feel awful all the time, and it’s not a prerequisite to get results. And chances are that if how you eat makes you miserable, it’s only a matter of time before you will give it up anyway. Skip the torture and find a way to eat that you could see yourself still doing in 5 years.
Old Way #3: Think that your physique is the key to unlocking your happiness
New Way #3: Your mindset comes before your physique and any body change you achieve before getting your mind right regarding your self-worth does. not. last. Your self-worth is inherent, You are amazing right this second, at your current weight, size and shape. No one can take that away, except for YOU when you insist that you can’t be happy with yourself until you’ve reached some arbitrary physique goal. It’s not about objective measurements. I know women who are 12% body fat and hate their bodies, and I know other women who are 30% BF and think they’re hot as hell. It’s all a state of mind, and a mindset that you CHOOSE.
Old Way #4: Adopt an all-or-nothing mindset when it comes to nutrition
New Way #4: It’s all about moderation, baby. Ha! If you’d told me 3 years ago that I would be advocating a moderate nutrition plan, I’d have scoffed. Seriously? Moderation? That’s so NOT hardcore! Please! For people like my mom and grandma! Bring on the advanced shit! :) Lol. I get it, I understand your desire for extreme results and to have a visible six-pack and capped shoulders and zero cellulite. I do get it. I’ve actually attained it for brief periods of time, several times. But I also understand now that there’s a hefty price that needs to be paid for it. And that is, complete obsession with food and exercise. The highs are great! When we’re eating clean, it’s the best! But what happens when we inevitably veer “off plan?” We crash and burn and end up overindulging because if we can’t be perfect, we might as well go all the way with the cheats, right? Something to remember…
A single poor meal or even poor day of eating does not make or break a physique. Consistency over time is what matters most.
Make the best choices 90% of the time and you are on your way to a sustainably lean physique.
Old Way #5: Expecting perfection with our nutrition or else we suck.
New Way #5: This is similar to above, but expecting that we can and should have the same iron willpower and complete focus as women who do this FOR A LIVING is insane. And yet, that’s what we do. We look at fitness models who stay lean year round and go, She can do it, why can’t I? We don’t have the perspective to know that we have priorities that differ, and because of that, our outcomes will differ. AND THAT’S OK. Throwing yourself a bone every once in a while will not turn you into a whale. In fact, when you mentally give yourself the win, you clear out the negative self-talk and MAKE ROOM to do the things you need to in order to get leaner. Negative self-talk is tiring, and it’s a cycle that we can either choose to participate in, or not. Try it. The old black-and-white approach will always be there, but I guarantee giving yourself permission to simply do your best will make you happier and help you reach your goals faster.
Old Way #6: Not letting yourself get hungry, and if you do, it’s game on!
New Way #6: The newest research in behavior change all points to mindfulness as a way to make something a habit and break old habits. I used to eat preemptively. I used to eat according to the clock–every 3 hours, or else, someone stop me because I will hit Ben & Jerry’s hard. Lol. This is a helpless place to be, in a sense. If you think about it, it puts you at the mercy of your hunger, instead of YOU learning to control IT. So now, my new practice is being more in tune with my hunger and cravings and when I start to feel them coming on, it’s in those moments that I harness my willpower and stay as mindful as possible in order to make a good choice. An example of this would be getting home from work and being tired, hungry, craving, etc and just wanting to clean out the cupboards of every carb. THAT is a common key trigger time. And THAT is when mindfulness is MOST important. Instead of blindly inhaling crap, think about how you can buffer your hunger enough in that moment so that you have time to make a healthy dinner. An example Jade uses at Metabolic Effect is coming home and immediately having a chocolate protein shake. It satisfies, helps with cravings and keeps us full for long enough that we can mentally reset for a clean dinner.
Ask yourself when your trigger times are, and in those moments, harness your willpower, get mindful and make the best decision possible.
Old Way #7: Blaming your surroundings for your poor choices
New Way #7: Take 100% responsibility for your choices wherever you end up and simply do your best. Seriously ladies, I know your mother-in-law insists that you eat lasagna and gets really upset when you turn it down, but c’mon! You’re a grown woman who wants to eat healthy, and you should be able to do that without having to justify yourself to anyone :) And it doesn’t have to be a big deal. End up at happy hour? No problem. Grab a Pellegrino w/ lime, and pick at a few protein-based apps. Going to a child’s birthday party? Bring a healthier dessert that you know you can eat and throw some sugar-free gum in your mouth to get yourself through those couple hours. At an office party? Just because someone cuts a piece of sheet cake for you, doesn’t mean you have to eat it or risk bringing a whole bunch of attention to your eating habits. Simply decline and move on. No biggie! Just because you are out to dinner doesn’t mean you have to order “something special”–even ordering protein and veggies at a restaurant is special because someone else made it and it still tastes yummy. And no chance of guilt. And just because you paid for something doesn’t mean you have to finish it. This is a practice of mine now. If I am eating something that I realize a few bites in simply isn’t worth it, I pitch it or give it away. You don’t have to follow through on eating crap just because you spent a couple bucks. This is a mindset shift.
And even if your circumstances are not ideal, like travel or special events, don’t sweat it, just do your best. You can’t be a slave to your Tupperwares and the faster you learn to do your best wherever you end up, the more in control you feel of how you eat. It’s rewarding and empowering!
Aaaaaaah! I could go on with this list, but this post is already too long … :) So, I hope this helps offer some perspective and encouragement that you honestly don’t have to be perfect 100% of the time to get results, and in fact, you won’t be and that’s 100% ok. Do you. Do your best. Listen to your body, no one can know it better than you do. TRUST in you. And be kind to yourself. You’re amazing as is, right now. Never forget it! Ox, Jill
How are you doing with this? Let me know on the JillFit Facebook page! I always love your stories and experiences, tell me!