It’s 2019 and everyone wakes up on January 1st and they’re like, “This is the year I’m going to be the best person I can be. This is the year I lose 400 pounds.” “This is the year I become a millionaire.” “This is the year I divorce my husband.” “This is the year I get a husband.” 🤷🏽♀️
A New Approach to Weight Loss
We all have our own approaches to what the new year is going to bring us. So, what I wanted to talk about is what if we turn dieting on its head? You’ve seen all the commercials just as much as I have, you’ve heard all the commercials, and it’s all about “give up”, “drop this”, “do that.” What if we stop focusing first on dramatically dropping our calories and dramatically upping our workouts?
For some people dropping calories and upping workouts, keeps people in that perpetual cycle of chasing skinny. You give up all the “bad” food you rely on willpower and then your willpower gives up, your motivation runs away and you find yourself on the couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide with a side of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Once you get out of your sugar coma you promise yourself that you will get back on to the “wagon” again. You’re going to go to the gym every day and hit up every class that so-and-so told you, will give you a tight butt. “The class that will give you six-pack abs.” You are going hard, but you can’t sustain it because that’s not who you are, it’s too hard and you go back into that cycle. I’ve been in the fitness industry for over 15 years and I see it time and time again.
The first Monday in January everyone comes in, ready to rock! I’ll tell you that by March 31st 20% of the those with fitness goals stick. The other 80%, I’m going to see them again NEXT January.
I don’t want that to be you.
No cold turkey
What if we took the two things that everyone says they need to start with – diet and exercise – and we put them on the back burner and “Instead of chasing skinny I want to chase lasting results.” And I know for many people lasting results come from having great habits, because if you’re not in the habit of working out, if you’re not in the habit of eating right that’s like trying to force someone who is a smoker to stop smoking cold turkey. Why would they have the patch and these other things if quitting smoking was just like, “Hey, I’m not going to smoke anymore” and they’re done? That’s what you’re trying to do when it comes to diet and exercise. You’re like, “I was having Big Macs and margaritas yesterday, and now I’m not going to salads and water.”
Reboot your mind
What I want to say is if you’re tired of that reboot button, what if we started to focus on your mindset first? Now, it isn’t sexy, not by any stroke of the imagination. But what I know is that when I
✅ clear out the cobwebs up in my head,
✅ clear out all of the negative self-talk,
✅ clear out all of the judgments that I have on myself,
✅ clear out all of the comparisons,
that’s when I’m going to start making some serious changes because I can’t outrun my mind.
But I know I can outrun the next person on the treadmill 😉, I can probably out-diet somebody, but I can’t outrun the coo-coo that lives in my head. And we all have that coo-coo that lives in our head it only seems to comes out when you’re trying to do something different. It’s that voice that say you shouldn’t even try. You suck, you’ve been done this road before and failed why try!
I always challenge my clients, and I tell them if I focus on my mindset the body is going to follow.
What happens is when you start with diet and exercise and you’re like, “This is great! This is awesome! I’m doing amazing!” But there is always going to be a roadblock, there is going to be a challenge that comes up and your mind is going to tell you, “You know girl, how many times are you going to go down this road? How many times are you going to try? How many times are you going to fail? How many times are you going to make this perfect when it’s not perfect? How many times are you going to be let down and disappointed?” That inner voice starts talking louder and louder. And even though you feel great you’re making progress, your mind can find a way to knock you down just like that.
The challenge: Start where you are
I want you to get away from the focus of how fast things are coming, because that’s one of the first things that always knocks people off track.
When it comes to starting down the path of mindset, please know that mindset isn’t one of these things like, “Oh, in 30 days I’m going to have a brand-new mindset.” that’s not how it works. Working with my clients I use the Arthur Ashe quote as my framework “Start where you are.”
Arthur Ashe Questions
I want you to sit down and just say, where am I? When you start down the diet road, what are the obstacles that jump out at you first? What are the excuses that you say about yourself? How far down the path do you get before you get squirrely? And by ‘squirrly’ I mean are you four weeks in before you start questioning, “Is this working? Am I getting results?” When do you start to press the freak out button and start feeling like, “I’m not getting the results from my efforts”? At what point have you experienced that in the past?
These are the obstacles I want you to focus on. “Here are my known obstacles, here are my known excuses” so that when they pop up you can start to build the toolkit to bust through all of the lies, all that malarkey and just be able to say, “You know what, it’s my mind trying to stop me from taking things to the next level. It’s my mind trying to keep me safe.”
As humans we like certainty. We want to know that when I close my eyes at night the sun is going to rise. You want to know that there are 24 hours in a day. As you go through each step of getting healthy and fit you want to know. “How am I going to react on each step?” This is where the work comes. And that’s why most people don’t want to do it; IT’S WORK. It’s not this “take this pill wake up in three days and you’re going to be down 40 pounds.”
Do the work
Trust me, my life would be so much easier if I said, “Take two of these and call me on Friday.” I wish, but that’s just not how it’s going to be. Here is where that inner work comes, and that’s where most of us slip up. It’s our society, we want to snap our fingers versus have to ride through the uncomfortable parts, the feeling of the unknown. But if you’re able to do that, trust me, on the other side is going to be the results that you want. It’s going to be what you want. It is going to be that blue sky. But you’ve got to go through the dark forest first in order to get to that blue sky.
Define your sustainable success
I want you to think about how you define success, I want you to break free of your past self. I don’t want you to be like, “Back in high school I weighed 138 pounds” and you’re now 40. It might happen, but let’s just break up with old high school you. Instead let’s say, “In the last five years I’ve weighed this.” Or, heck, throw the scale out and just say, “In the last five years I’ve been a size blah, and I want to go back to being that size.” Then, I want you to take it to the next level – in order to be that size, what are you willing to do long-term?
If you want to get down to a size 10, size 8, what am I willing to do? Am I willing to do it for the next five years in order to get there? Because a lot of times people get to that size and then they’re like, “I can do whatever I want now.” And then gradually they creep back up. I want you to think about whatever you chose it has to be sustainable, and that sustainability starts in your mind.
We are always going to be working on our mindset. As you knock down one barrier, another barrier is going to pop itself up. It’s just a constant building of that toolbox in order to get that bulletproof mindset that instead of wallowing for a couple of days you might wallow for a couple of hours or what used to take you out for days isn’t even a blimp on the radar anymore. I don’t want you to think that all of a sudden, you’re this bullet proof Wonder Woman, deflecting all of your obstacles and challenges.
You’ve got to move
The second piece is MOVEMENT. Now, I’m not talking balls to the wall kind of workouts. I’m just talking moving your body. And if we think about it, in our society we don’t move as much as we used to move. 20 years ago – which was a short period of time – we walked a lot more. There weren’t remote controls, you cranked your window by hand – it was a luxury, an option that sometimes you decide you didn’t want to pay for to have power windows, so you cranked your windows.
And when you hear people say these little things like – “get more movement in your day, take the stairs. If you work in a corporate environment go to the bathroom the furthest from your desk.” All those little things add up, those are active daily living. Why do you think the Fitbits and the activity trackers are so popular? It’s not because the Fitbit https://amzn.to/2AJxRqh is pretty; it’s because we don’t move.
I do a lot of work in corporate environments. I go in and teach group fitness classes in companies, and a lot of the companies over the last few years have adopted more standing desks because fidgeting, that’s movement, or pacing, that’s movement. While you are the standing desk, you’ll do more fidgeting than you would sitting in a chair. Fidgeting burns 29% and 38% more calories than just sitting in a chair. Those little acts of daily living add up.
If you have a dog, you’re definitely going to be out at least two times a day with the dog. If it’s a puppy you’re out way more if you’re trying to potty train it. Little things that add up and you will get a lot of bang for your buck.
Are you getting 10,000 steps? And if you aren’t, what can you do to get those 10,000 steps? I’m at 12,000 steps today, and some days I can hit 30,000 steps and some days I can hit 5,000 steps. It’s very telling about what kind of day I had with those two types of steps.
Enjoyment and satisfaction
After you get mindset and movement down THEN we can focus on food, and I know you want me or any fitness professional to hand you over a magic fat-burning, calorie-torching food list. Here’s the thing – when you work with me, I’m not that type of coach that says, “Okay Susie, here is the ‘don’t eat this’ list and here is your meal plan for this week, and here are the foods you can have.” I don’t do that because this is what I know – you are a grown ass woman and you know what to eat. You know that super sizing it out at McDonald’s isn’t exactly the best thing for you. You all know that. It’s just a matter of helping you to figure out what’s the best thing for you.
I call 3 Meal Planning — satiation, satisfaction, satiety
The first thing I always say to people is we have to focus on the type of meal that you’re eating. And so, what that means is, do you have satiation with that meal? A big word to say do you feel full? Do you feel like you’ve had enough? Do you feel like you don’t need anymore?
Was your meal satisfying? Did you enjoy it? Enjoyment piece is not a physical thing, my brain will tell me if what I just ate was satisfying. My stomach can be stuffed, but my brain can say, “You know what, there are some cupcakes over there and I want one of those. I’m having one of those. It’s going down.”
Eyes vs. Belly
And trust me, you’ve all been there. Think about it – you’re out to dinner and you’re like, “I’m so full, it was a great meal.” And then the waiter comes by, and restaurants knows that you eat with your eyes, they have a dessert tray that physically shows you a sample of dessert is versus handing you a piece of paper. Restaurants are smart. I worked at a restaurant and we used to hand out a piece of paper. Then, we used to have one piece of the desserts on the cart, as soon as we started doing that I sold way more desserts than before. We get satisfied with our eyes even though our belly is like, “Oh girl, I can’t have no more”.
What I want you to focus on, as you’re putting together meals, I want your meals to feel satisfying and I want them to physically look satisfying. Why do you think restaurants spend so much time on the presentation of the meal? Because if it looks pleasing to my eyes it’s going to feel pleasing to my belly. So, I want you to think about, “I want something that gives me that quick hit of fullness, then I want that fullness to last and not just a few moments. I want that fullness to last a couple hours so that I don’t feel like I’m always eating or always seeking food.
Maximize your nutrition
After that then I’m going to focus on caloric intake because I want to have maximum food from minimum calories, if that makes sense, I focusing on food QUALITY and not just “This has X number of calories.” Then I’m going to say, “Does it satisfy me?” Because I know when you focus on X number of calories or X number of macros and you eat it and it’s not as satisfying, it doesn’t leave you full, guess what? You’re off looking for the next thing, and that sucks.
Beware of trigger foods. They are foods that trigger you to eat keep eating it’s food that you just can’t get enough of, it just hits all the taste buds in the right spot and lights up your brain like Christmas day. Pay attention those foods and do your best to not have them in your house.
When you’re building your menu focus on the foods that you’re going to eat. I want you to sit down and really think about what foods you find satisfying but are also filling. It’s like broccoli – minimum calories, but if you can eat more than a cup of broccoli…(I’m going to look at you funny because clearly there is something is wrong with you.)
Their is so much fiber in broccoli that most people can’t eat more than a cup of broccoli in a sitting. You might be able to eat several cups over the course of the day, but in NOT one sitting“. It’s satisfying, minimum calories, and with all that fiber in it, it’s going to stick with you for a while. So, I want to think about things in terms of that.
Create a meal daisy chain
As you go through your day those are the types of meals you want. But I also want you to think about meals being daisy-chained together. The first meal of the day can affect the rest of your day. Let me just backup and explain what that means. My first meal, if it doesn’t hit on all those buttons, (satiation, satisfaction, satiety)
If you don’t feel full, satisfied or if your hunger comes quickly back. That’s going to set you down this avalanche of seeking and nibbling.
I know for me, it’s eggs – sometimes if I’m traveling and I’m not in my normal environment sometimes the only choice I have is eggs. And eggs for me, they are not very satiating. I can eat three to four eggs and probably within an hour or two I’m like, “What’s next?” I’ve done it all, I’ve put in vegetables, I put toast, I do all the things to make that meal way more filling and way more satisfying, and it doesn’t do it for me. So, when I have eggs first thing in the morning it sets me down the snowball of, I can’t eat enough of other foods. And so, you might have foods like that, or now I’ve raised your awareness may start thinking about, “Do I have foods that do that for me?”
That first meal of the day doesn’t have to be breakfast. I know that some people are into the intermittent fasting and all that other stuff, that’s fine. But whatever that first meal of the new day is, I want you to make sure it hits on all three Ss
- Does it make you feel full?
- Does it stick with you?
- Is it satisfying to the brain?
Let’s make sure we are not maxing out on our calories. If you think about it, it’s like Denny’s or Applebees, they’re all over the internet like, “If you eat this breakfast, you’ve eaten breakfast for five people.” I don’t want those kinds of breakfast if you feel me. 😉
Plan your success
That’s where the meals come in. It flips meal planning on its head a little bit so that your focus more is making sure you are full versus, “I need this many calories or this many macros of carbs and this many macros of protein.” It’s focusing on making sure by the end of that meal you are not hungry, you are not craving, and your energy isn’t in the toilet. Makes sense?
Work it out
The last piece is the workout. So many people want to solve the eating problem with the workout. It makes me crazy when I hear people say, “Last night was a bad night. I’m just going to sweat it out on the Stair Master. Or I’m going to not eat today” 🤦🏽♀️It makes me crazy when I hear that. You can’t outrun a bad diet. If you ate it, you own it, the end. You ate. You own it. Move on. I hope you enjoyed it, next.
Working out is not about, “I need to kill myself. I need to work so hard that I feel like my heart is going to pop out of chest. I need to work so hard that the next day getting off the toilet is hard for me.” No. I want you to focus on quality. I want you to say, “If I could get in three to four awesome workouts I’m winning.” Now, when I say awesome, it’s awesome for that day, because some days you feel like you could lift a Buick, other days scanning your card at the front desk is all that you can do. Each day you work out check in with your body and go with how your body feels on that given day.
And that’s how we’re going to flip dieting upside down. That’s how you’re going to break free of chasing skinny. That’s how you’re going to say, “I can live a happy life with an occasional cocktail and have cream in my coffee.” 🥰 It starts with having good habits, creating these small little habitual wins that are going to help you create routines. Having a great routine gives you the courage to keep going so that eventually you’re able to get this consistency. And it’s the consistency that’s going to get you the results. It’s not these hit or miss endeavors that you do here and there and every once and a while it’s like, “What can I do on a day-in and day-out basis for the next five years for the rest of my life?”