At this time of year everywhere you turn you see lose weight by doing this, and burn more fat by doing this and do forget you need to up your cardio with this new gadget that can be yours for three easy payments. I’ve been listening to a lot of different podcasts and reading a lot of different things and getting all kinds of fired up!
Bogus Fear Factor
We’ve just finished the weekend of Black Friday into Cyber Monday. A lot of folks are selling you diets and weight loss and these all have this fear factor. And it just made me think of that TV show Fear Factor except for you don’t win any money.
Are you someone who hopes and pray that something different will happen in your body overnight. You look at other people on Instagram, Facebook, all the socials and you’re like, “How come so and so can do this but I can’t?” You internalize it and it makes you feel like a loser. And I don’t say this to junk punch you; I say this because as soon as you recognize that, you can change it.
And I know for me how long could I feel frustrated before I make a change. I say this because five years ago I felt like I was getting fatter and despite how clean I ate, despite how hard I worked out nothing changed. I go to my doctor and she’s like, “Well girl, you can’t have the body of a 25 year old.” That almost made me want to throttle her, but I didn’t want to be on the news, because I know that my husband would not bail me out.
So, I get you, I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and think, “I’m at my wit’s end, I have no idea what else to do.” And it’s even more frustrating for me because I’m a fitness professional and I’m pulling “all the levers I pull with my clients and they’re getting freaking amazing results, and here’s me, with nothing so show for me efforts so how do I have any credibility?”
How do you look at me and be like, “How is she going to help me?”
The other challenge that I see with clients is that they want to hit this magical goal weight. When they hit – insert your magical goal weight – I don’t know, dogs are going to fly from the sky, monkeys are going to fly. It is just going to be like manna from heaven, life is just going to just open up for you! When you walk by ATMs they’re just going to spit out hundreds. Well, I got to tell you, so many people fist fight to get to this particular weight that they just made up in their head.
I have a client who for years (years!) She’s like, “Hey girl, 138, I’ve got to hit 138.” Or, “I just need to hit 138.” And I always ask, “Why? What’s at 138?” And she’s like, “Well, I just want to feel my best.” And I asked, “When was the last time you were at 138?” And she’s like, “Well, college.”
She’s 40 now, I’m sorry, college was a long time ago, college was 20 years ago, why are you chasing a 20-year-old goal? It’s like if I were an Olympian, would I be chasing a 20-year-old record, or would I be chasing the most current record?
I’m going to chase the most current record!
To give you a little background she was a client on and off for several years. Each time she didn’t hit that 138 goal in a few months, she’d get frustrated and quit and then come back saying this time she was ready to commit. Does this sound like you?
Back in the day…
I challenge you to break up with the “back in college” or “before my last kid” (and your kids now in college), “I weighed X”, because the scale only measures your relationship to gravity — that’s it! There are so many other factors that go into the scale weight and weight loss. It’s not about the calories in and calories out. Take the step back and say, “I have to honor where I am, then I can move forward.”
Trust me, I have the
patience of a gnat; I want what I want. And I want it right FUCKING now! But
I’ve had to temper it, and really get methodical about my approach because the
haphazard approach doesn’t work. I see it all the time: January first, millions of people flock to the
I also see all the hundreds of people who flock to my class before – insert the vacation, insert the long weekend.
And then they’re like a bad penny, nothing changes, it’s like a revolving door.
“Hey girl, I got to get fit in the next four weeks.” Good luck with that!
“Hey girl, I got to get fit for this upcoming weekend.” Good luck with that!
I don’t say this to be rude. I say this because your body isn’t like a cake, like, “Hey, there’s a birthday, I’m going to make a quick cake.” That’s not how your body works. Your body is like… have you ever seen those giant container ships filled with all the containers with a variety of goods heading to market? And in order to make that ship turn I just can’t whip the wheel, I have to slowly, slowly turn the wheel so that I don’t have all those containers fall off. I don’t get to top-heavy and have the whole ship capsized. There has to be in a methodical approach. And the same thing comes to when you’re going from fat to fit, it is a methodical approach. Because how many times are you going to go down this road?
Disney is just a dream
Going from fat to fit isn’t like going to Disney where you have people who go every year. I don’t know about you, but I only want to travel down that road once. You have to suck it up and realize that there are going to be some good days, there are going to be some bad days, and there are going to be some days that you’re just kicking the wall screaming profanities. And that’s okay, because it’s a learning process. The more you learn, the more you’re able to make it a lifestyle. The more you’re able to make it a lifestyle, the more you’re breaking up with the whole idea of being a dieter. If we were just using pure vocabulary, “Diet is what I eat” — the end.
It’s not your worth.
It’s not about your weight.
It’s not about how much your partner loves or doesn’t love you and not how much your kids love you.
It’s not about if you’re good at your job. It has nothing to do with that.
A diet is what you eat.
Here is where we start. I help my clients break it down to the simple things, take all the emotions out of it, take all the feelings out of it, and focus on where you where you want to go.
Get out of the zone
A good coach helps you to take the emotion out of your goals. Because trust me, I’m emotional about me. I think I am the bee’s knees. You think you’re the bee’s knees. And when it comes to making changes and getting out of my comfort zone and doing things differently, I’m going to protect my comfort zone like a pit bull protects its master. I don’t want to make those changes. But I also have to look down the road and say, “If I don’t change, nothing changes.”
That’s the mantra that I keep saying, because you can’t feel like a prisoner in your own body anymore, you’ve got to work between your ears harder than you work your body, because it is the stuff between your ears that’s going to drive what you do with your body and how you eat. Because we don’t eat with our body, we eat with our brain.
Right now I’m sitting in a café that is right across the street from McDonald’s. McDonald’s — their French fries! Tell me, do they not smell like, “OMG, I need to go in there and I need to get them supersized. I remember the taste of the French fries, the salt, the right salt-to-fat ratio, and, “Oh my god! Do I want ketchup, or do I want sweet and sour sauce?” So, all of a sudden I’m romanticizing French fries.
But I know that those French fries go right to my ass, so I need to like pull up. My logical brain is a little slow on the go and starts talking saying “Hey girl, you know you’re trying to get yourself to Hawaii in April and that’s not really going to get you there.” Sometimes people just mute that voice of reason and run right in and grab those fries and maybe a milk shake.
Make Shift Happen
How do you start to make this mindset shift. Let me be very clear, it’s not overnight thing, it will take work. I wish it was like a light switch that I could be like, “You’re going to read this blog post, and you’re going to ride off into the sunset and everything is going to be like the end of a fairy tale.” I would be lying to you if I told you that.
As I read through these tips and tricks and hacks I want you to pick one that feels easy, I want you to be a winner. I don’t want you to pick something that’s going to make you feel hard and sets up you up to fail.
The biggest thing is the food rules. Every single time I start working with someone or I see them on Facebook or somewhere it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. “What’s the good food list?”
Well, you all know what the good foods are. You know it. So why do I have to give you a list? You know that those McDonald’s French fries are not going to be on that list. You know ice cream is not going to be on that list. You know those sugary coffee drinks are not going to be on that list.
So why do you need a list?
Instead, come up with what your non-negotiables are going to be. I don’t think anyone should feel deprived. So what are the one to three things that you want to have. For me it’s my coffee!! Even if it goes on the bad food list I’m still going to have coffee. And I always say to my clients, It’s my non-negotiable. I’m not going to give up coffee. I drink coffee every day with cream and sugar. I don’t drink it all day, I have my two cups of coffee everyday guilt free.
I’ve learned that when you make those food rules too tight you want to cheat on them. And trust me, I lived in this box for a really long time, and when I opened up the box it was like freaking Pandora’s box, I went nutso. And so, now that I’ve put some structured flexibility around my food, I don’t lose my shit around cake, I don’t lose my shit around sugary things. It’s like I’ll have a couple bites and I’m okay. But when I put certain foods on the “naughty” list, I lost my shit. So, you have to know where your head is at. Are you one of those people who could have a few and be okay? Are you those people who like you restrict and then you open the lid, you boil over and you go cuckoo?
Pareto’s (Food) Principle
My ultimate goal for everyone women is to have them making eating healthy a lifestyle, and if you’ve been following me for a while, I’m a big 80/20 proponent, like that’s my jam. 80% of everything I eat is clean, it’s unprocessed; 20% are fun foods.
And let’s be honest, at my age no one is going to call me right now at 10pm and be like, “Hey girl, do you want to go out?” Because if you call me after 6:00 pm on most days my bra is off and I’m in my PJ’s, so you better be bleeding from the eye to get me out of my house after 6:00pm. So, for the most part I know when my fun is going to happen, and I can make a plan for it.
Today is my husband’s birthday, we’re going to have cake. Saturday we’re actually going out to celebrate his birthday, that’s another time I’m going to have a treat meal, everything else is going to be a normal week.
Plan for success
Each week I go into it with a plan. It’s really funny because most people think of me as a planner, in fact there are many parts of my life where I am a straight up winger.
I don’t even know if that’s a word. Is that a word? I don’t know, we’re using it. I was a winger for my food, and I just let it happen. And when you let food happen that’s when you run across the street and get those French fries, that’s when you run across the street and you get that muffin and then a few hours later you’re like, “Why am I so hungry?” and you start eating more and more crap.
When you plan your meals, I’m not saying you have to be Martha Stewart. I’m not saying you have to be this anal-retentive freak. I sit down on every Saturday before I go to the grocery store and flip through Pinterest, and I make things simple. I’m a big crock-pot girl, it can be an instapot, whatever, but I just like to set it and forget it. And at least a couple times a week I throw in something in it, and what I like to do is take half of it and we eat it, and the other half I throw in the freezer so that a week that I don’t have the time to cook, there’s something waiting for me and my husband.
This month I’m traveling a lot. I won’t have as much flexibility as I normally do, so I’m going to crock a lot of things in the next few days and half of it is going to go in the freezer so that all I have to do is take that bag out and thaw it, throw it in the microwave and we have dinner.
I want to make things as quick and simple and easy as possible, because I know what it’s like to come home after working and eight-plus hour job, plus the commute and having to come home, open the fridge and be like, “What, are we going to eat?” And then being so hungry that anything that’s not nailed down you’re eating while you cook dinner. When I have a plan, I know what food I’m going to come home to, what’s going to go in the oven, this is what’s going to go on the stove and presto, change-o 30/45 minutes later I have dinner on the table.
Prep for Success
I’m a big proponent of those home meal prep kits, even if you do it a couple times a week. If you hate going to the grocery store it’s right there, they’ve pre-measured, they’ve pre-done everything for you. Depending on your level of cooking you could find ones that you don’t even have to chop stuff. You just open up the bag, throw it in the oven or throw it in a pot, or whatever.
So, I challenge you to at least come up with a menu. I’m not saying that you have to meal prep, I’m not saying any of that. I’m saying baby steps. The first thing is figure out what it is that you’re going to eat, because food is the easiest thing for you to manage. If you’ve noticed, I haven’t talked about going to the gym. I haven’t talked about what to eat. I haven’t talked about anything. I’m talking about how you set yourself up for success.
Quality over quantity
And the biggest thing I’ve also found is that this whole calorie counting or macro counting. I did the macro thing, it made me bonkers. I’m surprised I’m not in the fetal position; I hated it. And I also saw, how obsessive those numbers have made some people get.
I remember I had a client when I used to give macros to my clients, and she had it balanced to the penny. She would have like 1/16 of a piece of asparagus in order to get her carbs to hit the number. I was like, “That’s just too much, it’s just too much.”
It’s the same thing with calories. Now, I’m not saying calories don’t have a place, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is it makes me crazy when you go to your medical doctor and you tell them that you want to lose weight and they give you a piece of paper and say, “Hey Suzy, you need to follow a X thousand calorie plan.” Our body isn’t a math equation, it’s not like X plus Y gives you Z. It is like a solving an Einstein-type equation.
Yes, calories matter, but it’s what’s in the calorie, because 100 calories of cookies is not the same as 100 calories of chicken. So that’s where I struggle with the calorie thing. Focusing on counting calories breaks it down, making it seem like every calorie you take in is being processed by your body in the same fashion. So, I always tell people to look at the quality of the food first then look at the calories.
If you’re eating quality food… no one ever got fat eating thousands of calories of broccoli. I challenge you to eat thousands of calories of broccoli, you’ll probably explode from all the fiber, but I’ve never heard anyone overeat kale, broccoli, or green beans. You could overeat cookies way easier than you could overeat any of those things.
I challenge you to expand beyond calories and look at what are making up those calories and break free of trying to do a math equation, because especially for us ladies there’s so many other processes that go into us gaining or losing the weight.
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau
And the last thing I really want to stress as you kind of start to make this turn in your mindset is instant success, instant results. I always like to use this example – have you ever saved for a home or vacation? Or you saved money for a while and every week a little here, a little there and eventually you enough for what you were saving for. It took time.
But we expect to lose 20 pounds in at least 30 days. I challenge that thinking because how long did it take you to put on the 20 pounds? It didn’t happen overnight, it was a gradual process. And what comes off gradually, stays off; what comes off quickly comes back and they bring some friends with them.
It’s time for a break up!
So, how do you break up with this quick fix? I want you to give yourself a longer range, because the longer range I give you or you give yourself, the more likely you are to have success. And so, I challenge you to say yourself, “Do I want success? Do I want long-term success?” And I’m sick and tired of being this revolving door of weight-loss that you have multiple sizes of clothes in your closet because depending on the time of year what you can fit into. Wouldn’t you rather be size stable and only have one set of clothes, you don’t have fat clothes, you don’t have skinny clothes, you don’t have in-between clothes, you have clothes in your closet. And that way you know you could open up that closet and be like, “I can go to any section of my closet and not just focus on the fat section, just focus on the skinny section.” Come on, please tell me some of you have those same sections in your closet.
And if you do have that skinny section, I want you to be honest with yourself. Are you ever going to be back down to a size two? Now, I say this not to say that it’s not possible, I say this because if you were a size two back in college and you’re 50, it might not happen for you. I recommend just getting rid of that, because that is another mental mind game that’s just going to make you cuckoo. I’d rather you focus on something that’s attainable.
If you’re a size 12 right now, let’s focus on getting down to a size eight. If you can hit a size eight and live there and be comfortable without deprivation, then we can start to move down the food chain. But just always going in the closet looking at your size 12’s and looking at your size two, that just punches you in the face, and why do you want to just punch yourself in the face?
To wrap up, the biggest thing I want you to leave here with is, what’s going to give you
consistency? And I did a whole show on consistency, but I think its time to dust that off and bring it back.
Long-term change takes time; it is what it is. But what I know is that you have to make it a priority. You can’t put yourself on a shelf for the holidays because it’s a busy time. You can’t put yourself on the shelf then expect to pick up right where you left off, because your body doesn’t work that way.
What I do know is that it takes great routines. Routines build habits, habits build consistency, and consistency builds results; that’s what I know. And I know that it starts with having a great resolve, so what I challenge you to do is to look at your routines.
If you’re sick of looking in the mirror and not liking what you see, I challenge you to look at the routines. I challenge you to pick one to three routines that you don’t need to change, or you can add between now and the end of the year, so that when 2019 rolls around you have already started to hit the ground running, you’re not taking the next four-ish weeks off and just saying, “2019, it’s magical, I’m just going to start all over again.” I call BS, because you’re not just going to magically wake up on January 1st and your life is going to be different; you need to start that ball rolling right now.
So, if you’re over 40 and you need a little kick start or a guide, go to bit.ly/over40guide, and I give you some great tips and hacks.