From the beginning of time, diet companies have made us feel like our willpower is what will allow us to succeed. If we fail, it is not the diets fault – it's our willpower. If we just concentrate harder, stop cheating and don't allow for derailments, then we can easily stick to the plan and “suck it up” for the long haul.
It's NOT you – It's your diet.
Willpower is an exhaustible resource. You only have so much of it and when it's gone, it won't matter what you had planned to do; it's gone. Diets unfortunately, take up a vast amount of willpower. So when you diet, your willpower is drained by trying to stay on track. But we don't get to pick and choose where our self control comes from.
We spend our whole day just trying to keep our willpower in check. Our boss gets on our back, and we keep a tight lipped, respectful reply. Traffic jam on the way home, the frustration keeps rising. We get home and try not to yell at our children for no reason. It all requires willpower, and it's just a matter of time before we drop a ball somewhere.
Eventually it fail. Using all your willpower up in other areas will mean it's bound to spin out of control in another. Mainly, your diet.
Dieting in general causes an insane amount of stress on us. Diets tend to be very restricting, eliminating too many food choices, or calorie levels. And dieting during high stress situations is never a wise choice. (let alone a restrictive diet at any time!) When it comes to sticking to any kind of diet, picking one with a dozen different changes to your food intake, will surely cause a catastrophic failure to your willpower. So choose a diet that will change only ONE thing. This will allow you to concentrate on that one change until it becomes a habit.
When something becomes a habit, it will not require your willpower to keep going. So pick the diet that you can incorporate into your life for the long term. Think not weeks or even months, think for life. If you cannot sustain your diet plan for the rest of your days and be happy living your life, then your willpower will run out.
Today's post is from Team Member, Tereza Toledo. Tereza recently went on a family vacation to Jamaica, and shares how she she crushed her Diet Mentality and truly relaxed during her Chill Phase.
Tereza's Chill Vacation
I just got back from a true chill phase. 7 days on an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica with husband and kids.
In the past, the diet mentality would have made everything different; it would have ruined it all. I would have spent weeks trying to eat barely anything, cardio-ing myself to exhaustion, just so I could look a certain way for the vacation. Then I would be miserable. I would not enjoy the beautiful scenery, the amazing food and the company of my family, all because I’d be full of insecurities over my body and all the other stuff the we allow to come in when we let the diet mentality take over our lives.
But nope, none of that happened. I am a #crusher and I’m proud to brag! I was on a very mild cut for six weeks, not because of the upcoming vacation (last minute decision) but just because that was the phase I chose to be in after a long maintenance turned bulk. I kept lifting, watching my macros and eating what I should until the day before we left. No pressure to squeeze myself in old clothes that wouldn’t make me feel or look good.
During my chill phase
I ate the food, I slept, I put my feet up and enjoyed. You don’t get someone cooking your meals and tidying up your room too often! I don’t usually drink, but who can pass on pina coladas being served at a pool bar (literally inside the pool – genius idea) with my favorite people in the world (the kids got virgin drinks, of course). It would have been rude to the bartenders! I didn’t worry about how much sugar/carbs/whatever was in there, I just sipped and chilled!
I even had dinner and breakfast twice a few days. How could I say no to my husband and kids or not joining them or to nag at them for eating. I never get to enjoy Jamaican food! I wasn't going to not eat! It wasn’t a crazy feeding frenzy as it may sound, but it was a decision that I made. I allowed myself to have my time off and enjoy it, bit by bit.
I didn’t feel gross about myself; I did not compare myself to other people; I did not worry about how I would look in my bathing suit. I didn’t spend a second thinking that I was ruining my previous phase or that I’d have to undo the damage when I got home. I didn’t eat salad in the last day or on the way home, I didn’t even try to use the amazing gym they had there! I just chilled.
Today, I have no regrets. I’m not worried if my pants feel a little snug or if I don’t look as cut as I did before the vacation. I am re-energized and ready to move on with my next phase. I reconnected with myself and with my family, we had a great time and made wonderful memories. We laughed and had fun. And that’s what EM2WL and #crushingthedietmentality is all about.
How are you Crushing the Diet Mentality? Post your NSV's in the CTDM online community, we'd love to share it with the fam!
For so many years we have been told that scale weight means “health” and your measure of success should come from the BMI chart. Over the past number of years it has been confirmed that the BMI chart is 100% outdated and should not be used to measure your health. But for millions of women, the draw of the scale is still very much ingrained in our lives and our self worth depends on that piece of machinery. So if you have chosen not to listen and ditch the scale, then here is a list of all the possible reasons why the scale goes up or down so you can understand what the scale is saying.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF A JUMPY SCALE:
- Time of day/week/month – Your weight will be lower in the morning than in the evening, higher during certain times of the month, and can be all over the place depending on your stress levels at any given time.
- Type of workout done before weigh-in – Cardio workouts will show a loss because of lost water due to sweating. During a HIIT or weight training workout, the scale may be up because of water retention. Don't let that fool you though, muscle building is what you want to do, so you need to get over the extra scale weight because of the retention that happens!
- Sweating – In general when your body sweats, its losing water which will show a loss on the scale. But it's water you are losing, not fat! This needs to be replenished otherwise the body then retains water and will cause a scale gain.
- Clothes – It's no secret that millions of women chose to weigh in wearing absolutely nothing! Clothing will add up on the scale. Jeans typically weigh about 3 pounds!
- Amount of carbs eaten before – Eating carbs is certainly not a bad thing, but the glycogen retention they cause can show on the scale. If you eat a huge spaghetti dinner the night before, the scale may not show something you like.
- Excess sodium – Too many processed, packaged foods can contain an overabundance of sodium. This causes water retention. In order to release the water, you must drink more water!
- Foods that take a lot of time to digest – Eating that big Thanksgiving meal and then getting on the scale later? Food in your body counts towards your scale weight! Weight is weight, so eating 5lbs of turkey dinner will certainly show a 5lb gain right after consuming.
- Sleeping – The amount of sleep you get will factor into that scale number. When you are asleep, every time you breathe you are losing water. And from the above we know that losing water means losing “weight.” During sleep, you typically lose 1-2% of your body weight just from breathing. Sleeping in? You might see a slightly lower number than usual.
- Stress levels – Stress drives up cortisol, which increases your water weight.
Our weight will constantly fluctuate during the day. Knowing the reasons why the scale goes up can show you why it is not a good measure of success. It's important to understand that unless you ate over SEVEN THOUSAND calories more than your maintenance level, your two pound “gain” is certainly not a real gain :)
Article by: Ichel, of Team EM2WL
Let’s face it. We all think we’re special snowflakes. That certain rules only apply to others. That particular thing doesn’t matter if I do it or not. Yes, it might be how others got results but I’m different because…
They are called blind spots because we can’t see them. It’s not arrogance or rebellion. It’s a case of cognitive dissonance. We have been conditioned to think a certain way for so long, that to challenge it is to challenge our core beliefs. It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary.
My blind spot was protein. I walked the EM2WL walk. Increased my calories. Strength trained with periodized workouts. Got my fibre in. Got my water in. Increased my protein. Yet the old cliche of spinning wheels was happening. I was confused, frustrated.
My trainer pointed out that my protein was averaging 17-20% Well, yeah! I’m a vegan! The 30% rule can’t apply to me! It’s impossible to get 30% from plant-based sources!
Then she pointed out that actually, as a vegan, I should shoot for 35% as plant-based sources are digested differently to animal proteins. Wait. Whaaaaat!! From then, every question I asked got the same response.
Where should my calorie level be at?
How’s your protein?
Should I add in walking?
How’s your protein?
Am I doing enough cardio?
How’s your protein?
I had to face it. Head on. Time to pull up my big girl plant-based pants and get it done! I started having protein shakes for breakfast. Found a pea protein sausage and high protein bread for lunch. Adapted the family evening meal to be high protein.
It wasn’t overnight, and there were some disasters (hemp protein powder, bleurgh!) but I now consistently hit 250g protein per day.
Within a couple of months, I started to see body recomposition. Muscles had more definition. Recovery after workouts improved.
My blind spot had been removed! We will all have a blind spot somewhere in life. It can be the one thing stopping us from reaching our goals. So if you hear someone telling you the same thing over and over, it might be worth asking yourself if they are revealing your blind spot to you.
Let’s talk about plateaus.
It’s likely that somewhere along your journey, you’ll hit one. You’re eating like you feel you should, and working out regularly. Yet for some reason, you’re not shaking up your body enough to invoke change.
At this point, many people want to run to cardio as the answer. They get sucked back in to the Cardio Trap thinking, “if 30 minutes on the treadmill each day helped me lose a few pounds, then 60 minutes will of course help me lose even more. And if 60 minutes at a moderate pace helps me lose more, 60 minutes at a strenuous pace must be even better.”
This philosophy is a huge misconception. Even if it works initially, it can and most likely will eventually backfire. What happens when 60 minutes is no longer enough? Go to 90? 120? Do you REALLY want to work for 2 hours to get the same amount of results that you once got in 30 min? This is something to consider before you even consider falling down that rabbit hole:
“What happens when what I’m currently doing, is no longer ‘enough’?”
Because the time will come. Your body is amazingly adaptive, always seeking ways to bring you back into balance. It naturally wants to adapt to cardio, so that you can go farther on less fuel (burn fewer cals doing more…and more…and moreeeeee work).
That’s why lifting is my number one recommendation when seeking fat loss…even if you LOVE and adore cardio. (aka “cardio for fun, weights to transform”)
Your body also adapts to resistance training, by building your muscles – making you strong enough to carry the same load in the future. This means that when you hit a lifting plateau, you also must make adjustments to your workouts. But these adjustments typically come in terms of weight amounts, not time. So you can still create changes to your body by increasing the challenge of the work load, without increasing your work time.
If you want to throw in a cardio workout or two each week for fun…because you enjoy it, that’s fine. However, be careful throwing in more than 2-3 intense cardio sessions a week (unless endurance is your goal). More is not always better, even if it “feels” awesome. Unknowingly, many ladies are putting far too much stress on their bodies and heading directly toward adrenal fatigue.
Going beyond a certain level of intensity need not be the goal of every.single.workout.
Understand that the number of calories you consume is also subject to this adaptation, making you require less and less to achieve the same goal. Many people start with the absolute lowest number of cals, thinking it will get them to goal weight faster. What they find out instead, is that it gets them to plateau faster…with no way out.
As you lose weight, the amount of food you need automatically lowers for you. (Don’t believe me? Go punch in your stats here, and compare the food your body requires now, vs 5-10 pounds from now.) You don’t need to implement the “minimum food / maximum workouts” suggestions that society promotes – WAY before it’s time. That lifestyle will backfire and kill your metabolism.
It seems counterintuitive to eat more and workout less, especially when you’ve tried the opposite in the past and it seemingly “worked.” Remember…if it “worked,” you wouldn’t need to keep starting over.
Slashing calories, ditching carbs (or other entire macronutrient groups), fasting, or going all out on the treadmill for 90 minutes instead of 30 is not sustainable in the long term for many of us. If the method is not sustainable, it’s not maintainable – no matter how attractive the “results” are in the short term. Chasing down non-sustainable methods, is a huge setup for hitting the inevitable plateau, that much sooner.
We recommend a no-nonsense, slower approach, that helps you to achieve results that you can maintain long-term. Using the Hierarchy of Fat Loss, and incorporating periodized resistance training, provides built-in progressions that naturally keep you climbing toward your goals.
This is no fast fix, so the weight will drop slower than it may if you were on a fad diet or jumped right in to hours of cardio a day. So many people look for those temporary measures, and view them as the gold standard. Many will attempt this lifestyle, but ultimately decide that this way is taking too long and decide to do something drastic to make the process move faster.
Most of those people will end up back where they started, or worse. Quick fixes actually take you further away from your goals in the long run; leaving you impatient, uninformed, and ill-prepared for what it really takes to reach them.
How did this mom and fitness model incorporate healthy, realistic methods to lose the baby weight? Click to read her story…
Diet and workout fads come and go. When a workout or diet plan becomes popular, it's natural to feel like it's the thing to do.
Popular marketing has taught for years, that if you introduce a product enough times (usually around seven), you move to the top of a persons' mind, and they'll actually begin to consider something that they may have once dismissed. Savvy parents often use this same tactic with their little ones — casually introducing veggies at every meal, but not forcing them, in hopes that the child will eventually try them on their own. Diet and exercise is no different.
While you may easily look past a certain style of eating/exercising at first glance, after another dozen or so “introductions” (via mags/commercials/social media) you may actually find yourself wondering if you should drop your current routine to instead do this “new” one. Although the most successful diets tend to hold to no-nonsense approach (adhering to best practices in nutrition, exercise, and a heavy dose of patience), every once in a while something comes along that promises faster results, and all-out war on those “stubborn-fat” areas.
Whether it's slashing your calories, taking special supplements, doing excessive cardio, intermittent fasting, working out twice a day or cutting a food completely out of your diet, certain approaches tend to gain traction as a surefire way to give you the edge. Understanding the meaning of “edge” is key to understanding if/when you need to employ such an approach. Even though many of the strategies have roots based in science, the media (and admittedly, the fitness industry) does a great job of over-emphasizing marginal gains. The average Jane is often misled by the hype, not understanding, that marginal gain tactics are only beneficial in certain circumstances — such as when you're looking at reaching the finish line and are fast approaching a date/vacation/competition or are an elite exerciser/professional athlete (and only when all other bases are covered).
It's important to understand the timing to employ certain tactics at the right time (for you). Let's take a look at four critical things you MUST understand before diving into the next great diet/exercise hope:
The Tactic Will Fail if Applied too Soon
Certain tricks of the trade are meant to help really attack stubborn-fat areas. But the problem lies in the fact that many of us have a fuzzy vision of what stubborn fat means in the industry.
Isn't all fat stubborn? LOL. Not quite.
Plateau busting, stubborn-fat-loss strategies are typically aimed toward those who are at the vanity weight stage – not someone who is still in the middle of their journey. Vanity weight loss applies to those that are looking to loose the last five pounds, step on a competition stage, do a fitness DVD/photoshoot, etc.. In other words, you have a four pack…but are looking to uncover the last two.
If you employ a workout or diet tactic too soon (before it's the right time for you), it will ultimately fail. The end result won't be what “everyone else's” end result is/was. The tactic may work temporarily, but you will eventually hit a plateau — with no room for making more tweaks. When that happens, the small dent that you may have quickly made in your progress, likely won't be worth how much harder you'll have made your journey.
Because many of these are meant to be temporary, finish line tactics…being no where near the finish line when you apply them simply means you have no other tricks up your sleeve.
The Tactic Is Meant to Give You the Edge After All Avenues are Exhausted
Once all avenues are exhausted, certain tactics can be beneficial, but only after you've put in work. People often lean on stubborn-fat-loss workout/diet plans because they want to go from A-Z without doing all the steps in between. The steps are where the magic happens. Skipping (or rushing) steps because you want results faster, almost always hurts you more than it helps. We often seek the stubborn fat loss tactics in frustration of having “tried everything,” but we must make sure that we are not just tossing those words around lightly. If you've tried everything – for a couple of weeks at a time – then you haven't really tried anything.
True transformation takes time. Attempts to speed through that typically involves lots of wheel spinning and/or speeding up only to land back at square one (or worse!). Make sure that you are giving proven, long-term, sustainable tactics enough time to work before launching into marginal gains territory.
If you haven't conquered the basics, it's not the right time. And don't just try the basics before moving on…nail them.
The Tactic May Be Viewed as a Quick Fix
When considering switching things up, always ask yourself “why?” Sounds simple, but sometimes we must check our mentality to know if we're on the right track. If you find yourself looking for an out or wanting a quick fix, then you're taking the wrong approach. If this isn't your first rodeo, then you already know that it's never been about losing the weight. Keeping the weight off has always been the hardest part. So if you're looking for a way around building the habits that will actually aid in keeping the weight off, check yourself ;)
Disordered eating, the new normal? Check out our interview with fitness competitor and author Dani Shugart.
There are certain habits, and several mental transformations that must occur in order to have sustainable success on this journey. If you're evading them by going after a quick fix instead, reevaluate your why. Are you avoiding dealing with who you are, thinking that losing weight will solve all your problems? (Spoiler alert: it won't)
Try as we might, we'll never be able to separate physiology (or biology) from psychology. Your mind will (and must) make the transition with you – especially if you plan on not only surviving this journey, but actually thriving in LIFE. Ditch the quick fix mentality, and be all in.
The Tactics Avoid The Basics
Eating enough veggies/food/protein/fiber, drinking enough water, lifting weights etc. are all diet and workout basics. When starting a routine, people often want to avoid the beginning, most important parts/steps because they're boring, not fun, or just plain hard. We often associate fat loss with torture, and because of that want to spend the least amount of time to achieve results.
The ability to say no to certain foods or the feeling of hunger makes many people feel like they have control. Unfortunately, this can lead to eating disorders or disordered eating– we categorize foods into things we can and can't have. But when you practice a cutthroat or hardcore tactic for too long, you can eventually create health problems, such as adrenal fatigue. There's always a better way to get where you want to go and get the results and progress you are hoping for.
Consistency in the basics (fundamentals) must come first. If a program/diet/teaching that you're hearing is “new and improved” and promotes a particular pill, shot, or type of workout, with complete disregard to the fundamentals – you're looking at a quick fix. Diet with the end and mind, and leave all the quick fixes, and stubborn fat loss tactics for those that actually need (and get paid for doing) them.