Where the day starts is where it stays. My mornings used to be a WRECK. Seriously. I’d hit snooze over and over until I created a mad rush scenario. Three-minute shower, throw on whatever clothes I could grab first and rush out the door to work. Swing by Chick-fil-A on the way. Get chicken minis and a huge soda. Hash browns too, obv. I’d be barely awake at work, sucking down diet sodas all day long and wishing for bedtime. No wonder I was depressed and over 300 lbs.
I am an avid reader, especially of non-fiction. I read a lot about successful entrepreneurs, politicians, artists, inventors – you name it. One common thread among almost all of them is a structured morning routine. Sure, some of them are night owls so an early rise isn’t shared among all – but they all seem to value the principle that where the day starts is where it stays.
For most of us, we hit snooze until we are near crisis level – get out of bed or be late. One of the first things we do is check our phone. What drama is waiting in my inbox? What did I miss on Facebook while I was sleeping? We begin our day with potentially negative input – news stories that make us sad or worried, problems at work we can’t yet fix or an unnecessary rush around the house because we kept hitting snooze. We aren’t exactly setting ourselves up for success.
Over the past year I’ve been working to really refine my morning routine. I have to say that I’m AMAZED at what its done for my outlook, my productivity and my motivation. It’s no wonder that some of the most successful, creative, accomplished people in the world swear by their morning routine. In fact, I’ve kind of become a student of many of their routines – researching who does what and why. I’ve played around with the different elements of routines and finally have found what works best for me and my goals. So of course, I figured I’d share it with you!!! This is MY personal strategy for a morning routine that helps me maximize fat loss.
No matter how you choose to start your day, I do encourage you to giving some thought to implementing steps and strategies to always have your day begin on a positive note!
Don’t hit snooze
Not only are you setting yourself up to be in a rush but you’re also sending a very clear message to your brain that you aren’t excited about this day. Think about how you used to wake up on Christmas morning or on your birthday as a kid. You met the day with enthusiasm. You knew great things were ahead. That creates a tremendously positive vibe that you carry through the day. And really, the extra 7, 10, or 20 minutes of broken sleep interrupted by your alarm isn’t really going to have a meaningful impact on your energy level. Just get up. Greet the day with enthusiasm. Sure, there are times my alarm goes off and I don’t feel like getting up but I quickly think, “Wow, that went by fast” and then swing my feet to the floor and get moving. It’s just that initial activation energy you need!
Positive input first
I am super careful about the first thoughts or ideas I introduce to my mind in the morning. I used to click on the TV and watch the news while I got ready. I don’t do that anymore. I used to grab my phone and check email and facebook right away. No more. I want to be in control of the thoughts and ideas going into my head first thing. I want positive input first. I believe it sets the stage.
I begin first with meditation. Anywhere from 10-30 minutes of either guided or free-style meditation helps me to stay in control of my thoughts and emotions each day and reminds me of what’s important (and what’s not).
Plan your day
I go into every day with a realistic plan. I emphasize the word realistic because I’m a big fan of the saying “He who chases 2 rabbits catches none”. I don’t set 45 goals or tasks for the day. I’ll identify one or 2 big things I want to accomplish for my business and one or two big things I want to do for my health. I get those things done FIRST. I don’t put them off and hem and haw and do other random stuff. I dive in and hit the things I know will move me towards my goals.
Once I know what I want to achieve for the day, I actually VISUALIZE those things happening. This only takes 2-5 minutes but it makes a big difference for me. If my goal is to write a particular piece of content, I visualize myself sitting at my desk and writing effortlessly, producing content I’m excited about. If my goal is a great lower body workout, I visualize the workout – I visualize working with intensity, crushing it, and leaving exhausted and satisfied.
This makes a huge difference. If I eat crap in the morning, I feel like crap all day. If I fuel intelligently, I feel amazing. Most of my mornings start with bulletproof coffee. Sometimes I’ll have bacon and eggs but either way I always start my day with healthy fats and often protein. I never begin my day with carbohydrates – that is a personally choice for health, fat loss and hormonal balance and it’s what works for me.
You don’t have to embrace a multi-step morning routine right off the bat but I do encourage you to look at some small changes you can make to improve your outlook and set yourself up for success throughout the day. Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like? I’m curious!
Have you heard the arguments against Paleo or the Primal way of living? Chances are if you tell people that you’re moving in that direction you’ll come across a few who give you a hard time. Whether you do or you don’t, I wanted to take a minute today to go over the primary arguments against this way of living and eating and address them. They’re all pretty silly!
The lifespan of our Paleolithic ancestors was far shorter than ours now.
Yes, that is true. Think about it though – they didn’t have 2 story homes, grocery stores and running water. They had to build their own shelter, hunt for food and collect water when they could find it. They also had significant threats to their safety from predators and infection. If they cut themselves, there were no antibiotics. Finally, and most importantly, the Paleolithic lifespan is based on an AVERAGE. There was an extremely high infant mortality rate that brings the average way down. Most Paleolithic adults actually did live well beyond their 60s, but the infant mortality brings the average down to look far lower than the current lifespan in this country.
Paleo/Primal is a high protein diet and that’s not healthy.
I’d like to see how they define “high protein”. It’s actually not a high protein diet. It is a moderate protein diet emphasizing ample fat intake and eliminating processed carbohydrates, wheat and grains. Excessive protein intake is not recommended and, if you follow Primal principles, you easily avoid excessive intake. Too much protein can create a negative hormonal response. It is, however a high fat diet. High fat consumption reduces the need to eat every few hours which of course our Paleolithic ancestors did not have the luxury of doing.
I might add to this argument – the Standard American diet is a high JUNK diet. Are you suggesting that’s a better option? Mmmm, yeah, thanks for playing!
It’s not feasible to truly eat the way our ancestors ate.
Well of course we aren’t encouraging people to go fashion a spear out of sticks and rocks and live out in the woods just like we aren’t encouraging people to sell their cars and home and create lean-to. The focus here isn’t on the exact foods that were available thousands of years ago but rather the types of foods and, more importantly, the nutrients and overall nutritional philosophy that our bodies were designed to thrive on. Focusing on quality ingredients and avoiding toxins to the best extent that we can is the goal.
At the end of the day, there will always be opinions and there will always be naysayers. Very few people throw stones at the folks who frequent McDonalds and grab a packet of PopTarts every day for breakfast but unfortunately, when you make steps to improve your health there will always be people to you that you’re “doing it wrong”. Remember this: focus on how you feel. Live, eat and move in a way that increases your energy, sustains your mood and helps you reach your goals while promoting health and longevity. That’s what matters.
It sucks to not be happy with your body. It sucks to constantly be thinking about how you need to lose weight, how you aren’t happy with the way you look in your jeans, how you should eat better or exercise more. That SUCKS. And I can totally relate to feeling like you don’t have what it takes or nothing seems to work & you just don’t have it in you to stick to a healthy lifestyle plan. I’ve been there. It’s an awful place to be.
But I PROMISE you: you can do it. I PROMISE you: your life will be different. I PROMISE you: it will be worth it. I get so fired up when I talk to people about my 2015 coaching program because its so fundamentally DIFFERENT from everything else out there. I desperately want people to take the leap of faith and choose a NEW way of achieving your health goals, losing weight, and, most importantly, keeping it off. God, I want that so bad for you. I really do.
I get so pissed off when I evaluate other programs on the market. It makes me crazy that people put together these one-size-fits all approaches to weight loss. That’s not how it works!!!! What about hormonal imbalances? What about preferences, lifestyles, schedules, goals, etc? What works for one person might be completely unreasonable for another!
Then there’s the time frame stuff…so many programs out there that provide you with a 30 plan. Essentially, most of them are nothing more than a 30-day set of rules. How does that address the underlying issues? What are you to do when the 30 days are up? How do you maintain? Have you just swept the REAL issues under the rug?
And then there is the lack of accountability. Anybody can sign up for a program. But what happens when you fall off the wagon? You just fade away and go back to your old habits with nothing but a little less money in your pocket. No fun.
That’s why I developed my unique, customized, one-on-one fat loss coaching approach. I wanted something totally different that would give you the highest possible chance of success. Here’s what is totally different about the Primal Potential approach:
The plan is totally customized. We will evaluate your current diet & lifestyle and identify small, incremental changes. We’ll find your minimum effective dose for fat loss and we’ll master it. We’ll gradually build upon those successes.
We’ll get to the root of your weight problem. Do you self-medicate with food? Are you an emotional eater? Do you binge? Do you severely restrict? Are you either “on” or “off”? Why? We’ll dig in – together – and understand those behaviors so we can put them behind you forever.
We will talk on the phone and game plan every single week. We’ll go over what’s working & what’s not. We’ll talk about what you’re struggling with and identify strategies to overcome it. We’ll constantly be adjusting and correcting.
You’ll have unlimited email access to me. When you’re struggling or feeling unmotivated we will work through it together. If I sense you starting to pull away or fall off track, I’ll gently bring it to your attention. We’ll talk about why. We’ll identify ways to reset your motivation and get you excited and back on track.
I won’t provide a list of rules and restrictions. I’ll help educate you via emails, newsletters, webinars and shared resources and we’ll study your body’s response to various approaches. Together, we’ll create your lifelong fat loss formula.
You’ll have access to numerous tools I’ve created to help you monitor your body’s response to change so you begin to identify the most powerful fat loss factors for YOU.
We’ll work together for an entire YEAR so we can navigate plateaus, setbacks and crush some MAJOR goals.
I couldn’t be more excited. This is your chance to make 2015 a transformative, empowered year and I’d really like to make the journey with you. For all the info on the program and to apply, click here. Wednesday is the last day to get your application in. Please, believe me, YOU CAN DO THIS. Don’t miss this opportunity. I believe in you and I want to help.
Can I get a little emotional with you all for a second? Guys, I used to feel pretty hopeless about weight loss. I had tried and failed SO many diets that I seriously doubted my ability to EVER get healthy and be a “normal” weight. I didn’t think I was strong enough. I didn’t think I have the self-discipline required. I was an addict. I was addicted to numbing my loneliness, sadness, and depression with food. I was really great at researching diets, getting prepared for them and even being super disciplined for a short period of time. But inevitably, time after time, I’d fall back into my old habits and regain all the weight I had lost, plus some!
However, I’ve now lost 140 lbs. I’ve gone from a size 24 to a size 8. I’ve gone from a life focused on my next indulgence to a life focused on goals and aspirations. I’ve gone from a life of hiding and depression to a life of empowerment and achievement. It was a huge change. A massive change. A totally life altering change. I desperately want to help you make similar changes. I want to help you see that you can do it. I want to help you create a plan that you can stick to without feeling deprived or isolated. I quit my corporate job so that I could do just that. Today I want to share with you 5 ways to jump start your weight loss and then help you put together YOUR action plan for 2015. Ready!?
Stop psyching yourself out
I heard Tony Robbins say something recently that I realized described the way I used to think about weight loss – back when I couldn’t seem to make it work. He said, “you’re making it much worse than it is because you’re afraid of failing”. BOOM. Hear me out. If you’re one of those people who says, “But I hate to exercise” or “I just don’t have the self discipline” or “my metabolism is totally wrecked” or “I’m just too busy” – I’m talking to YOU. You’re surrounding yourself with reasons you shouldn’t try because you either don’t want to do the work or you’re afraid of failing. You’re making it harder than it is! You don’t NEED to workout. Sure, its healthy, but weight loss is 80% or more about what you eat. I lost 50 lbs before I set foot in a gym. If you think you don’t have the self-discipline I’d suggest that you aren’t considering the right way to lose weight. It shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice. You should be eating foods you love. When you’re doing that, you don’t feel deprived and you don’t have to constantly white-knuckle your way through the dang thing. Your metabolism is wrecked? That’s not irreparable. Focusing on balancing your metabolism will not only help you lose weight but it will allow you to get healthy. In fact, if your metabolism is wrecked that is all the more reason you need to make a change RIGHT NOW. “Too busy” is a bunch of bologna. We all have the same 24 hours in each day and you’re already spending time eating. Eating for fat loss doesn’t have to take anymore time or energy than what you’re doing now unless you decide for it to. So stop psyching yourself out. Either you want it or you don’t. Either you’re going to put in the effort or you’re not. Stop making it harder than it actually is.
Decide not to diet
I get it. When we have weight to lose we think we need to go on a diet. Dieting generally means eating less, forgoing the foods you love and perhaps exercising more. You end up hungry, cranky and constantly thinking about all the things you want to eat but “can’t”. That is a terrible plan for a million reasons. First and foremost, you won’t be happy. You’ll feel like you’re being punished and you can’t continue something that makes you constantly feel that you’re not able to do what you want. More importantly, drastically cutting calories is a complete hormonal nightmare. Your body doesn’t realize that you’re cutting calories to lose weight. Instead, because it is programmed for survival, it thinks that food is scarce and it responds accordingly – slowing down your metabolism to conserve fuel and increasing your hunger and cravings to trigger you to go eat! Finally, traditional diets aren’t something you can keep up for the rest of your life. You aren’t going to limit yourself to green veggies and grilled meats indefinitely, are you? So what happens when the diet is over? You pile all that weight back on and your months of sacrifice aren’t worth a damn thing. Anybody been there? I know I have!! Instead, you need to work to find foods you absolutely love that are also fat loss friendly. This is actually a lot easier than it sounds but it does require that you expand your horizons. Try new things. Ask friends (or me!) for recipes. Fall in love with new things. It doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice, guys! And if it does, you’re just not doing it right!
Question conventional wisdom
Everything you’ve always heard is not true. It’s just not. Just because you’ve heard it over and over for years does not mean its right. Let’s look at the Food Pyramid. That thing was around for 20+ years recommending 6-11 servings of starch each day. What happened? Rates of obesity SKYROCKETED. Ask yourself who is making recommendations and what their interests are. The whole low-fat/fat-free movement was NOT based on research. It was based on money. The food industry – a powerful political influencer – had the potential to make insane amounts of money with low fat and fat free products. When we look at the “science” they stood on, it is totally flawed. Eat REAL foods. Avoid processed foods. Question convention. Look at where convention got us – fat and sick. I’ve got tons of info on my blog about the importance of dietary fat, how you CAN overeat protein and how toxic sugar is, in all forms. Don’t believe everything you’re told. There’s a new way. You can read more about my very in depth thoughts on all that is wrong about conventional diet wisdom here and here.
Write it all down
I feel like people roll their eyes when they see this suggestion. Yes, I am suggesting that you write down everything you eat AND how you feel – track your energy levels, your hunger, your cravings, your mood, your sleep, etc. I know it can seem tedious but its not. It takes less than 2 minutes. You have two minutes. Here’s why it matters: it is in the process of writing things down and looking back at your good & bad days & weeks that you start to truly figure out your OWN unique fat loss formula. When you can see that on the weeks you made progress you were eating more fat, that’s POWERFUL information. Or, if you see that you ate way more and your hunger was out of control on days following long cardio workouts, you know how to tweak and adjust. If you see that you’re way more hungry if you have carbs in the morning versus fat and protein, you can make better breakfast choices. You can read tips and tricks all day long but ultimately the most useful tool is understanding your own behavior and how your body responds to food, exercise, sleep and stress. Write it down. Make the time. In the long run, its going to save you time and accelerate your results. I’m not kidding. Just try it for a few weeks.
Ask for help
It is inevitable. You’re going to have good days and bad days. You’re going to feel motivated at times and completely unmotivated at others. You’re going to get stuck. You’re going to have questions. You’re going to get emotional and frustrated and excited and confused. It helps to have someone who can remind you of why you’ve started, encourage you to push through the hard moments and help you troubleshoot when you hit a rough patch. That’s what I love about my blog, my newsletter and my facebook page. You guys are so great about emailing me and asking for advice and I have to say that it lights me up. I’ve spent years studying nutrition, working in the industry and battling my own food demons – I genuinely have it in my heart to help you overcome these challenges. But its tough to do with just one or two emails here or there! That’s why I’ve decided to work one-on-one with an exclusive group of just 15 people in 2015.
Whew! I have been so excited to tell you guys this!!! I want to take on 15 people with 50 lbs or more to lose and we will work one-on-one, incredibly closely, for a full year while we tackle your goals, find your unique fat loss formula and achieve your transformation. We will talk every week.You will have unlimited email access to me, you’ll receive tons of educational and motivational information via email and webinar. I’ve even created special tools for you to track your progress and share it with me so we can adjust and monitor together! I’m limiting it to 15 because it will be so personalized. No more one-size-fits-all diets or ridiculous sets of rules. We’ll evaluate your lifestyle, your preferences and what you feel ready to take on and we’ll do it together. OMG I’m so crazy excited I can’t even stand it.So here’s the scoop – because its such a small group, I want to be sure I’m working with the RIGHT people and they’re ready and willing to take on this 12 month journey. I’ve created a short little application. I’m taking applications through December 10th and I’ll be notifying all applicants by December 15th. We’ll begin our journey together on Monday, January 5th. I really can’t tell you how beyond excited I am to work with you, to know you, to share my journey and help you create your most incredible transformation. Check out more info here and get your application in soon!!
And one last thing!! This Thursday December 4th I’m going to be hosting a FREE webinar to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned about creating your own fat loss formula and maintaining motivation all the way through. It will be at 8pm EST and space IS limited to grab your spot now by clicking here.
As always, thank you guys so much for supporting me and for trusting me. Let’s go get healthy!!
Have you ever considered doing what it takes to lose weight and get healthy and then thought “it’s too hard”? Have you ever looked at yourself and acknowledged that you aren’t happy with your body but thought “I can’t do what it takes to change”?
I hear those comments all the time. People will tell me how impressed they are by my weight loss and share that they wish they could do the same but they just don’t have that kind of self control or they just couldn’t make the necessary changes in their eating habits.
While I certainly understand those sentiments, I completely disagree. I’ve gotta ask: What feels better? Does it feel better to always be pining after a life other than your own or does it feel better to wake up with intention and work towards something you want?
Does it feel better to look in the mirror with resignation and embarrassment or pride and determination?
Does it feel better to indulge and feel guilty and lethargic or practice willpower and feel encouraged and empowered?
Does it feel better to let your body waste away or to engage it, challenge it and make it stronger?
Does it feel better to cancel doctor appointments out of fear and denial or look forward to them as an opportunity to see the results of your transformation?
Does it feel better to exist or to thrive?
Is the way you’re living now really superior to a life of health, wellness, improvement and strength? Do you really want to choose chips and cookies over loving what you see in the mirror? Are they REALLY worth it?
Remember: improving your life and embracing healthy changes isn’t about a radical shift. It’s ok (and preferable!) to start slowly. Identify one small, healthy change at a time and practice it until you master it. Build on your new healthy habit as you gain momentum.
Committing to a healthier you doesn’t mean goodbye forever to your favorite indulgences. It just means that you’re gradually working towards a disciplined, moderate, healthy lifestyle. Take it from me: I’ve lived both ways. This way feels better.
I have failed over and over again. I have created plans, set goals and missed them by miles. I’ve beat myself up, told myself off and thrown in the towel hundreds of times. You know what? It has helped me. That’s right:All those repeated failures gave me incredibly powerful information that all came together to allow me to change life.
From all those failures, I have the incredible benefit of knowing what DOESN’T work for me. I don’t have to try A, B and C because I already did and they didn’t work. For example, I know that money is not an incentive for me. You could offer me $300 for every 10 lbs I lose and that won’t be enough to keep me out of the bag of Oreos. I’ll argue with myself that tomorrow I’ll be back on track and I’ll still get that $300 because I’ll be “extra strict” after indulging in the Oreos. I am really good at lying to myself like that. From my failures I learned not to waste my time with incentives that don’t work.The only incentive I need is what I’m truly after: a fit, strong, healthy body.
The whole “super strict” thing? That doesn’t work for me, either. Yeah, I can do it for a few days or even a couple of weeks but I know, from failing a million times, that it’s going to end the same way: with a binge. All that willpower, restriction and deprivation ultimately makes me snap and go into a wild sugar frenzy. From my failures I learned that I need a more moderate approach. I need to build in enough margin to enjoy my favorite things every once in a while.Total deprivation makes me feel like a caged bird and the only thing I can think about is breaking free.
Too much exercise makes me a sugar junky. I messed this one up more times than I can count. A little exercise is good so as much as I can possibly fit into my day must be better, right? Uh, not for me. Never. This goes very wrong very fast. Over the last 20 years I have gone on so many exercises binges. I’d spend hours each day working out. I’d get up early, stay up late and “burn” as many calories as humanly possible. The result? I was ravenously hungry all the time. My cravings were out of control. My ability to resist the hunger and cravings was very limited and my eating would negate any potential benefits from all that working out. From getting that one wrong a few dozen times, I’m now easily able to resist the temptation to workout “more”. One high intensity workout each day is what is best for my body. No need to mess around with anything else.
I can’t predict what the scale will do. Oh my goodness. If you could see my planners and notebooks and spreadsheets over the last several years you’d probably think I’m Rain Man. I spent years obsessed with predicting how much weight I could lose by a certain date. I’d write it out, day by day, what my weight would be on each day and when I’d hit some certain arbitrary goal. It never worked. Weight loss isn’t linear like that. Fortunately, from dealing with frustrating and feelings of failure for years, I know that doesn’t work for me.Now, I embrace consistency. I don’t predict my results. I concentrate on my actions.
Don’t keep trying things that haven’t worked in the past. In fact, become a student of your failures. Are there strategies you keep trying even though they haven’t worked yet? Are there theories you hold despite proving to yourself that they aren’t true? Embrace your failures. They are the keys you need to make this journey a success! Within your failures is just about everything you need to make a total transformation!
I used to be very, very fat. I felt isolated, I was ashamed of myself and I beat myself up daily for being so weak. None of those feelings helped me get fit. In fact, I’m pretty sure they were keeping me fat.
I never understood why the guilt and shame never were enough to motivate me to change. Not understanding made me even angrier with myself.
It wasn’t until I radically changed my mind that I was able to transform my body. I sometimes wonder if someone had shared these insights with me years ago if I would have been ready to receive them. But, since we can’t go backwards I figured I’d share them with you. I’d love for you to let me know if any or all of them resonate with you!
You’re not weak – your body is fighting against you
I really felt like my inability to follow through or succeed (long term) on a “diet” was because I was weak. I just wasn’t strong enough to fight off the cravings, temptations and laziness. Here’s what I didn’t understand: my body was fighting to keep me fat. Literally. I’ve got a lot more to say on this subject – I really didn’t understand that my food choices were signaling my body to store fat and eat more!
Guilt is not serving you
I wasted a lot of time feeling guilty. I tried to guilt myself into “diet compliance”. When I finally stepped back and realized “uh, so this guilt thing not only feels TERRIBLE, it’s also flat out not working!” it was so freeing. It’s not an effective strategy, stop wasting energy and MOVE ON.
Perfection is not required
If I strive for perfection I’ll fail before noon. I’d wake up and give myself the “I’m gonna be so disciplined today” pep talk and inevitably I’d let myself down in the first few hours of the day. At that point, the towel would get thrown in. Day wasted. It wasn’t until I asked myself “what is it that you want?” and answered “progress” that I realized perfection has NOTHING to do with what I’m after. If I can make progress without perfection then striving for perfection is a total waste of energy!!
It’s OK to go to slow
Oh man this was a tough one! I used to (often) sit down with a calendar and figure out how much I’d weigh by a certain date if I could just be strict enough to lose 3 lbs per week. I’d get all excited, I’d write out a plan and I’d be so frustrated and disappointed when that date came and the number on the scale wasn’t what it was supposed to be. For years I approached the journey as a race with success marked by how quickly the number on the scale would go down. That philosophy held me back, no doubt. It wasn’t until I learned (and embraced) that changing my life was about a forever process and the pace of my success was totally irrelevant that I found success.
This is such a big one. You cannot severely restrict your calories, cut food groups, exercise daily and expect to maintain your results. Sure, sometimes I managed it for a month or two and saw really great results but inevitably, I ran out of willpower, compensatory eating went into overdrive and I gained allllll the weight right back. (And then some.) I put in the time to do my homework. I searched for a way of eating that I could not only maintain for life but that supported my need to eat and feel satisfied and the hormonal balance I needed. This meant getting rid of all misconceptions about low calorie, low fat, low anything, really.
You don’t have to be hungry
Though fat, I swear I spent years being hungry. I’d restrict for days and then totally snap, eating my way through a grocery store. I dreaded the thought of starting a new diet because I hated to feel hungry. Who can focus on ANYTHING when you’re hungry? Not this girl. I can honestly say that throughout my weight loss journey if I was hungry, I ate. I didn’t suffer through hunger ONCE. For me, getting (and staying) hungry leads to compensatory overeating. Instead, I eat for quality AND quantity. My portions are pretty freaking huge but the foods I eat are clean and wholesome so there’s no guilt when it comes to eating to satisfaction. I do NOT do hunger. (And you don’t want me to!)
Everyone has excuses
I always had a million reasons to eat junk. A stressful day at work, a weight loss plateau, a special occasion, convenience, emotion….the position of the moon. I had as many reasons to sleep in, not workout, wait until Monday, etc. There will always be excuses. My ability to succeed depends on my ability to ignore all of them and make things work.
Exercise is optional
At this point, I really enjoy working out. It makes me feel strong and vibrant. But I can promise you that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I didn’t set foot in a gym for the first 50 lbs. I didn’t pressure myself to workout, I just focused on eating clean. The majority of your results are going to come from what you eat (and what you don’t eat) so if you’re feeling like you can only reach your goals if you are exercising, you’re wrong! Take the pressure off, get your food right, and revisit exercise when you’re ready.
You can sleep your way to weight loss
I never gave enough credit to sleep. I didn’t realize how much sleep could accelerate my progress, help me make healthy choices and allow my body to do what it needs to do. When I started making sleep a priority I found that I made healthier choices and my body was MUCH more responsive to my cleaner diet. When my results started to slow one of the first things I’d look at was my sleep patterns. More sleep = more success.
There is a biochemical component to eating (and overeating)
This is such a big one. Cravings aren’t all in your head. Yes, they certainly have a behavioral component but they also have a very strong biochemical component. There are actually chemicals in your body triggering you to have a burning desire for sweets or salty, fatty foods. It’s real. There’s nothing wrong with you. Recognizing that your body is asking for these things and it’s not just that you’re obsessed with Cheetos is a great tool. I started to listen to the cues I was getting from my body and learned how to work with them. I adopted strategies for dealing with cravings and I learned to outsmart my body.
If you are someone who has a desire to lose weight but finds yourself cycling through the same behaviors and emotions without making progress towards your goals you really need to look at the beliefs you hold. If you aren’t making progress then you NEED to change your approach. More than likely, you need to change your mind. It’s not a matter of needing to hear the same thing you’ve been telling yourself for years – whatever you’ve been telling yourself for years is the WRONG MESSAGE. If it was the right message, it would work. Stop. Just stop. It’s time for something new.
I first learned about the concept of buffers and triggers from Metabolic Effect. Their Metabolic Effect Diet is an incredible resource for understanding why traditional diets fail and how you can eat more, exercise less and lose weight!
Learning the concept of buffers and triggers was one of the most empowering experiences throughout my fat loss journey. It allowed me to put a name to something that had been derailing my success and it gave me a practical strategy for overcoming it.
Think of a buffer as something that takes the edge off. You know, when everyone around you is enjoying birthday cake and you enjoy a handful of nuts and chocolate chips to give you a sweet fix and distract you enough to keep you from grabbing a fist full of cake. They are small, dietary concessions, which provide mental relief and allow you to stay on track. Buffers don’t have to be food or drink but for me, they often are. I wrote the other day about sweet tooth strategies and some of those are certainly buffers for me! Some common buffers include:
Nuts or seeds
Coffee with stevia and cream
Triggers, on the other hand, are things that are likely to send you into a downward spiral. You know, those things that you can’t have “just one” of? Foods that defy self-control and moderation? Uh huh, we all have them. When you are able to identify and avoid your triggers, you’ll make your fat loss journey FAR easier! Some common triggers include:
Nuts or nut butters
Salty, crunchy snacks
Dairy products (cheese, ice cream, yogurt)
Any and all processed foods
The lists of common buffers and triggers look similar, don’t they? That’s the thing, what’s a buffer for one person might be a trigger for the next. I’ve also found that for me, something that is a buffer at one point may become a trigger a few weeks later!
The best way to identify your own buffers and triggers is to pay close attention to what you eat, when you eat and why you eat. Keeping track will allow you to look back and see what sent you off the rails as well as what allowed you to get into a nice groove of good, healthy choices.
Check back next week – I’m going to be sharing my personal buffers and triggers and how I use them to stay on track and accelerate my fat loss!
I let myself go. In a big, big way (pun intended). When I look at this picture on the left it breaks my heart. The girl in this picture was desperate. She was severely depressed. There was no joy in her life and she had to force herself to get through every day.
It’s a weird dichotomy – the way I relate to this girl. I can look at her and see that she is me. I can get back into that dark place and feel every ounce of pain, rejection, loneliness, fear, panic and hopelessness that she felt.
I can remember the way she isolated herself – walking away from friendships, letting relationships fall apart – all because she didn’t want to be seen. I can still feel the rawness of all of that and I’m crying right now remembering those awful, overwhelming feelings.
On the other hand, I can feel like I hardly know her, like I never met her. Who is that girl? How the hell did she get so out of control and where the f*ck was I when that happened? Please tell me that I fell asleep and like a fatted calf I was massaged and tube fed twinkies and beer for a year!
Why did I let myself go? It wasn’t like I stopped caring about my body and resigned myself to be fat but happy. I was miserable. I hated the way I looked and I was embarrassed. I stressed over food every day. So how in the world did that happen? Why did I let myself go?
Instead of controlling my emotions, I let my emotions control me. It sounds benign enough but it’s deadly. It’s letting go of the reigns and being a passive observer of your life.
My emotions were real so it was easy to initially justify letting them take over – I was legitimately sad. I was legitimately overwhelmed. I was legitimately frustrated. It felt good, at first, to give myself a pass because life was hard. My job was stressful so I deserved to treat myself. I was making financial sacrifices to pay off debt so a reward was justified. I was lonely so it was ok to embrace the one thing that made life feel a little less desperate.
Cloaked in the disguise of “letting myself feel”, I became a victim. There was no joy in my life. My mom would ask me what makes me happy and the honest answer was “I can’t think of anything”. Anything.
I had completely isolated myself from everyone in my life and the only thing that brought me solace or comfort was food. I could be alone, turn everything off, not think about my problems or my future and be totally in the moment with my pint of salted caramel ice cream. In those moments, it was just me and my mind-numbing substance of choice – food. For those few moments, nothing else existed.
The thing is though, food didn’t provide solace. In hindsight, it was a numbing agent. A distraction.
I wrote here in detail about the turning point that made me take back control and start to transform my life. It was not easy. Of course I knew I needed to change and I desperately wanted to change but it was hard to admit to myself that I was the problem.
It wasn’t anyone or anything in my life, it was just me and the choices I was making. I despised the idea of characterizing myself as “lazy” but the cold, hard truth was that I was lazy. I wasn’t in control.
I had no self-discipline, no self-control, no motivation. But how do you just choose to love yourself enough to take care of yourself? When you’re deeply depressed how to you motivate yourself to pull up out of the hole and work towards a better tomorrow that you don’t yet believe in?
You get selfish.
Hear me out! Selfish is not a dirty word! You start getting focused on what YOU need first. And before you jump in with arguments about being a wife or a career woman or a mom and those things coming first, let me just say that you’re not your best at ANY of those things if you aren’t bringing your very best self to the table. You’re not. Yes, I still worked a full-time, very demanding job throughout this journey. Yes, I was still a wife. Yes I was still a sister, daughter and friend. But I decided that getting my life back on track required 100% dedication to myself. Building that initial momentum in my fat loss journey required time, attention, laser-focus and lots of practice.
Where I’m at in my journey today, I am motivated by the changes in my body and how far I’ve come. But when I first got started, I didn’t have any of that. I built my confidence and momentum one meal, one workout, one day at a time. I would pass by the donuts at work and think “Good job, E. Right this moment, you’re building a healthier body”. I’d push through a tough workout and think “In this moment, you’re becoming the woman you know you can be.” I viewed every small choice as a building block – a step closer to the life I knew I deserved.
I wrote out a personal mission statement. It was a description of the type of woman I wanted to be. I wasn’t that woman, gosh I was so far from that woman, I didn’t even always believe it was possible to be that woman, but I claimed her. I asked myself what choices that woman would make. I asked myself if I wanted to take a step closer to my old self or towards the new woman I was creating. It was a practice. It was a singular focus. But it got easier every day. And it wasn’t long before I started to see results. The results became my new substance of choice. The pride I felt. The excitement I felt. The eagerness to see what would come next.
Yeah, I let myself go. Thank God, I got myself back.
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