Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You go on a diet and, if you are lucky, you reach your weight loss goal. What happens then?
Well first, you celebrate! Which, don't get me wrong, you deserve. Diets are hard work. Many of them are down right torture!
Then, most likely, you go back to they way you lived before and the pounds start creeping on, your energy level starts to plummet once more, and you feel horrible about yourself so then naturally.....
….you go on another diet. Perhaps the same one because it "worked before." (though if it really worked would you be back here?)
It's impossible to lose weight and keep it off without changing your lifestyle. That's why a "diet" won't work - it's temporary!
It’s depressing to think about how many strong, smart, beautiful women are stuck in this cycle, this same cycle that popular culture promotes.
Unfortunately, by definition a diet just won’t work if your goal is to permanently change your body composition.
After all to diet means to “restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight,” and be honest, how long are you willing to restrict yourself before you give up and/or search for some other diet.
To be fair to the idea of dieting, you do need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight and restricting yourself accomplishes just that, but what if there was another way?!?!
Drum roll please…….
You’ve probably heard me preach it before, but what exactly does that mean?
It means learning to look at food as fuel for your body (i.e. provide energy)
It means understanding that food falls into three basic categories - protein, carbs, and fat - and your body needs ALL of them to function properly.
It means learning to use portion control to continue to eat the foods that you love, NOT restricting yourself.
It means eating MORE of the food that nourishes your body.
AND in my humble opinion, it means adding more movement to your life to support your nutrition choices.
It means learning how to efficiently integrate muscle building (aka metabolism increasing) activities and movement (aka calorie burning) you LOVE into your daily routine.
The problem, if you can even call it that, with lifestyle changes is they are personal. Yes, there are a set of guidelines for nutrition and exercise, but the trade offs that work for YOU are personal to YOU.
On top of that, a lifestyle change is not the quick solution many people are looking for but it is a lasting solution! Wouldn’t you rather it take a little more time to lose those pounds if it meant you could keep them off?
The Restriction and Guilt Connection
The other side to lifestyle vs. diet debate is the idea of guilt. For some context let me share my experience that inspired this whole post:
This past weekend I went on a girls trip with my best friends from high school (It was the first time just the 3 of us were together since then). Naturally, I ate and drank more than I do on a regular basis. On the way home (I had 4 hours of driving to reflect on the weekend), I thought about the following:
If I were on a "diet" prior to the weekend, one of two things would have happened.
Well, of course, neither of those things happened. I ate fried chicken wrapped in waffle like a taco, smothered in maple syrup and lived to talk about it!
When I got home, I went back to my normal, healthy routines with only positive feelings about the weekend to hold onto (well that and the little bit of tummy trouble the first few days because my insides didn’t know what to do with that food).
My point is, once you take the time to develop your lifestyle, it is sustaining. It sustains through your girls weekends, through your vacations, parties, date nights… It allows you to enjoy those special occasions and live your life in control.
So how do you develop your lifestyle?
The Living Room Workout Club Difference
Because a lifestyle is a personal thing, it may take some time to figure it out.
Just a few years ago, as a new mom and a full time high school science teacher, I was struggling with taking care of my body. Even though I was a certified personal trainer and knew what needed to be done, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to make it work with my life. I came home from work exhausted, ate out a ton, and by the time I had my son in bed, I just sank into the couch for the rest of the night. I wasn’t working out like I should and I wasn’t eating healthy. Meal plans overwhelmed me. I didn’t have time or energy for a follow complicated recipes.
Again, I was a certified personal trainer not eating right and not working out! I know it's not easy! While I knew a lot about health and fitness, nothing in my education and previous experience told me how to make it work with my new life.
Over and over again I would put a plan together, tell myself I was going to go to the gym after school 3 days a week, finally plan my meals (especially lunches for school), and get my sh*t together. By Monday or Tuesday (if I was lucky) thatdread and inevitable hopelessness set in, that overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t do it all, and I would quit. I'd continue on the same path for another month or so and then start the same cycle over and over again. I was so unhappy with myself.
Enough was enough. I made it my New Year’s Resolution to make a change. I spent most of my winter break from teaching working on a plan: studying, designing, testing it all out, and getting really excited to help myself and others! I finally buckled down and figured out how to make it work with my life.
Honestly though, it took a lot of trial and error (wasted time and energy). I wish I had someone guide me through that process. It would have been a whole lot more efficient!
That is exactly what my programs can do for you. Instead of just prescribing a generic diet and exercise program, I coach my clients through the process of finding their lifestyle, a sustainable, personal lifestyle.