Stop Overcomplicating Fat Loss

Stop Overcomplicating Fat Loss

stop overcomplicating fat loss and just startAlthough it's common at the start of our journey, overcomplicating the process can stop us from progressing at all.

Overcomplicating the Basics

Overcomplicating is a procrastination tool for many of us – a way to avoid doing what we know we should be doing.  Although society seems to place entirely too much value on more complicated tools, systems, and tactics for reaching goals, we tend to miss the obvious downside to having such values…

If the process is too confusing, we risk giving up before even starting. We spin our wheels, knowing what needs to be done, but refusing to actually start until we have “all the steps.” The ability to call yourself out when overcomplicating is crucial. In most cases, it's not a matter of doing everything we need to, it is a matter of doing the first thing we need to do… starting now.

Instead of trying to envision exactly how everything will look when you can execute each step perfectly, put whatever step you CAN do, into action – now. 

For instance, many dieters will refuse to begin a workout routine because they have no gym membership. Or they will say a focus on protein is impossible because of their budget. Or that they need to research and read every little detail before knowing what to do.

Stop.

Or rather…START!

Right now. With the information you have. The ability to just BEGIN lies with you. Work with what you have right now, rather than spend another month worrying about every possible piece of the puzzle that you can't control in this moment. You do not need a gym membership to be active. An extra $100 in your grocery budget to eat more protein is not mandatory. You do not need to read every last article on building muscle. Do not allow analysis paralysis to cripple you from moving forward. Walk in the direction you want to go in, with the info you have in this moment.

Allow the inevitable blindspots to reveal themselves along the way, not in advance. 

Call yourself out when you let too many thoughts take over.

Stop overcomplicating things that don't need to be complicated.

Concentrate on mastering the basics and being consistent in them. Work on getting your calories up, getting your protein up  and moving your body more. Any progress forward in these areas are a projection forward. Increasing protein by just 15 grams a day is progress. Using bodyweight exercises, exercise videos, or get a set of dumbbells/barbells to workout at home until you can get that gym membership.  Look for the little things you can add to help propel you forward. The time will pass anyway – so let it pass while you keep moving forward, making each day a success in it's own right.

Allow yourself to be open to new ideas and new ways of thinking. You do not need to have every little detail worked out before you start. Just Start!

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Diet Mentality is trying to keep this from you

Diet Mentality is trying to keep this from you

Diet mentality has pushed the boundaries of how long fat loss should take in the journey. It has forced us to believe that quick fixes, instant results and massive scale losses are required almost immediately for us to consider ourselves a success. Believing this, dieters tend to feel like they have failed if they don't attain a drastic transformation in unrealistic time frames.

Love where you are right nowWhat the diet mentality... (3)

Easy thought, right? Dieters frequently go on quick fixes in order to achieve a look from their past (or in their head). They believe that happiness lies in when they could wear a size 6 instead of a 14. However, many forget just how hard it was to be that size 6, or how unhappy and critical they were of themselves at that time. When we take a look back, sometimes the struggles are forgotten. What was eliminated from your life in order to be a size 6? Where you really happy back then, or were you still looking further into the past for happiness?

The need for quick fixes or the crash diets is a red flag that you're struggling with the diet mentality (DM), making it nearly impossible to love yourself in THIS moment.  DM makes you believe that you have to be a certain size in order to be happy with yourself – therefore we find ourselves “rushing” the process (read: quick fixing) to get to the happier times.

For many of us, loving yourself where you are right now comes way too late in life. Think about how many times you've skipped doing something, because you felt you had to be smaller or thinner.

How many parties have you chosen not go to because you're larger than before?

How many pictures did you not allow to be taken because you didn't want this reminder of what you looked like?

How often have you stared in the mirror and hated the woman looking back at you every morning?

At some point, you have to realize that what you are seeking, has nothing to do with how you look, but rather how you want to feel about yourself. When that blindspot is finally uncovered and the mental shift takes place, we can start to move forward and enjoy who we are right now, even if we aren't the size we originally wanted to be. That's when the rest just comes to you, and you can really work on what is important.

What the diet mentality...Your body can't go where your mind won't go

DM is obsessed with a time frame. Time is something we feel like we can control, yet it's speed that kills our progress every single time. This is not a fast journey and it takes time to allow the natural progression of things to happen. By allowing the longer journey, you can slowly uncover what it is you are really looking for in your life and chances are it has nothing to do with what pant size you wear.

You can be happy with yourself as you are now, and still be a work in progress.

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Failure in the fall – How to plan for success

Failure in the fall – How to plan for success

In order to plan for success in the fall, dieters need to focus on preparing for changes than happen after summer.  Fall is usually a time when school is back in session and colder weather emerges. Holiday seasons also begin to race into high gear. There are two reasons why you tend to fail in the fall: You don't have a plan, or your plan is not realistic. Regardless, planning is even more vital in the colder months than it ever was during the warmer ones.

Seasonal habits need changing

During the summer months, many dieters believe that it is easier to plan to stick to your eating habits and workout routines. Hot weather can drive gym goers inside for air conditioning, and swimming and water sports become more prominent. We also tend to wear less clothing in the heat, which motivates us to look and feel our best. Fresh produce is in abundance, making it very easy to find healthy options to eat. So with the heat, we tend to eat better and are more physically active than any other season.

Somehow, the minute the colder weather starts to set in, our habits also seem to freeze and a stale mate begins with our routines. Generally, routines should be easy to keep. But many underestimate just how busy they tend to be come September and there is no consideration for the mental space that takes up.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

It is important that you have plans in place for when the weather changes. School begins and kids tend to take up all our time, with extra curriculars and events. If there is no plan in place for how to deal with the change in schedule, then failure is inevitable. We know these things come every fall, so plan ahead of time for how you will fit in your workouts and gym time. Colder weather tends to make us want to hide indoors and not go out. So a plan needs to be in place for how you will handle poor weather conditions. This might mean having some gym equipment at home for the days you don't want to travel. If you are a home gym user, then proper scheduling of your time needs to be considered.

Fall often brings a change in food options and eating habits. Fall and Winter are “Sweets and Junk” season. Football and Hockey season brings out all of the tailgate type foods, that are high fat and high sugar. This makes way for holiday season, which – for many – is a general “free for all” in eating options. There are less fresh produce options in the colder weather, which can make it difficult to have healthier options.

This is not something to beat yourself up over, attempt to “white knuckle” through, or throw your hands up in defeat (until the New Year) – instead, think ahead and arm yourself with a plan!

Planning ahead for the colder weather with a decent food plan can make or break your fall season. Utilize tools like a crock pot or instant pot to help make meals ahead of time. Plan out a few meals in advance and freeze them so you always have a good food option ready to go rather than grabbing take out. It is also important to allow yourself the ability and freedom to still eat some of the less healthier options. Framing your goals during the colder months can help keep you on track, and upbeat about your progress.

Know what your natural patterns are in the fall season. Know that you will tend to want to move less and eat more. Have a general plan in place for how you will combat the colder weather. Have both a workout plan and an eating plan in place.  These things will allow you to continue to make progress in the colder months, and your next spring and summer to go as planned.

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Why your progress pics suck!

Why your progress pics suck!

Progress pictures are usually the gold standard when it comes to seeing fat loss results. However if you are taking crappy pictures, this can skew your real results and make you believe you aren't progressing at all. Somehow progress pics have been relegated to what we see on Instagram. Obvious results in your before and after shots and no mention of what happened during the “in between” time of your photos. Over time, this has caused people to have a warped sense of what true progress pictures should look like. Let's take a look at the reasons why we may not be seeing any progress in our photos.

Taking Progress Pics (1)Why your photos suck and what you can do about them

Weird times of day/month. Whenever you take pics, pick a consistent time where they will be taken in. You're always gonna look leaner in the morning than you do in the evening with a belly full of food, and body full of sodium. Comparing photos taken at different times might have just enough bloat happening to hide the tiniest bit of change.

Camera positioning. A higher placed camera angle will always make you look leaner than a lower one. Don't ever compare the two. Pick your position: put the camera there every time and walk to the exact same spot every time. Taking close up pics will always make you look bigger than further away, and headless body shots zoomed in will give you grounds for crying!

Focusing only on “problem areas.” When you do this you're not paying attention to whether you have progress elsewhere. Problem areas are called that for a reason. Expect them to be the LAST to go and stop studying them and allowing what appears to be lack of progress dictate that ALL progress is nonexistent.

Not understanding juxtaposition. If one area is shrinking faster than another, the slower shrinking area will look BIGGER. If all areas are shrinking at the same rate, it typically means pics appear EXACTLY the same.Taking Progress Pics (2)

You don't have “the eye” (or you're annoyed by it). Sometimes the oddest things will indicate progress. Maybe your bra strap isn't digging in anymore. Maybe your swimsuit bottoms cover more bottom than before,  or maybe a tattoo has “moved” a little on your body.

 

If you're gonna look, look for PROGRESS – don't just snap a pic to “prove” your negative thoughts of “nothing is changing!” Take pics to prove yourself WRONG, and use ANY progress as a sign that you're still on the right track to LONG LASTING progress. (The longer it takes, the longer it'll last, because the habits required to maintain it will be rock solid)

 

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Working out for your goals

Working out for your goals

{Click to enlarge}

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When it comes to working out, most of us have a reason for doing it. Usually what we choose to do is based on what our goals are, and where we are in our personal journey. There is a huge difference in workouts between someone who is just starting out and someone who is a competitive lifter. Let's take a walk through our phases of lifting, or what “grade” of school each belongs to, 'cause just like school, the higher the grade, the more challenging work needs to be done!

 

Newbie Gains (Grades 1-4)

When you first start working out, chances are you are coming from your couch and you just want to “move more.” You could literally do anything in terms of exercise and it will yield results. Much like elementary school. Your first few years of learning is where the basics come from. This is where you are learning to just move. Weights may or may not be on your radar yet, but walking more, running, exercise videos, gym classes, etc. Anything you decide to do, will give you results for your work. This is referred to as “newbie gains.” You are only ever a newbie once, so this is a time to take advantage of this first year or so just doing anything and everything. Eventually, all good things come to an end and after a year or so, these gains will be hard to come by.Working out for your goals SocialMediaGraph

Growth (Grades 5-9)

The results from your first year or so of lifting have stopped occurring. Now its time to apply the knowledge you have and start challenging the body. Your workouts should be strategic choices, based on your goals. In the newbie phase you could do anything and get results, but in a growth phase you have to start incorporating things you may not like in order to get results. What was once tough before, now becomes easy to do. Maybe you could only do 2 pushups and now you can do 15. You need to think of ways to add resistance to that move in order to get results. When you began, walking a mile might be enough of a challenge, but as we grow, that mile turns into five, then 10. This is where changing steady state activities to something like HIIT comes into play.

Challenge (Grades 10-12+)

Working out for your goals SocialMediaGraph (1)Lastly, challenging the body to do things it hasn't done will be the final phase, and the one where all seasoned vets end up living in. This is where we have to constantly challenge ourselves to move differently, lift heavier, build endurance, strength, flexibility, and evolve through each new workout. Even with an activity like lifting, the challenge will be to lift heavier, or increase time under tension. When a 200lb squat becomes too easy, the challenge will be to increase the weight. This is also where your goals come into play more. If your goal is fat loss, then your workouts will be tailored differently than if your goal was strength based. Over time, your resistance will change, so you need to adapt the numbers to constantly challenge your body.

It is important to continue do things you like doing. Those type of activities help aid in stress relief and relaxation more than getting results. But if you aren't willing to challenge yourself, then you will constantly spin your wheels over and over again.

 

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“It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s body” – Journey Update

“It’s like I’m looking at someone else’s body” – Journey Update

An update to My Journey (so far)

I ended last with finishing up the EM2WL Beginner Strength Training Manual for 12 weeks and prior to that, I did Cathe’s Muscle Max for 6 weeks.  I started (seriously) on 1/1/15.  At the end of both programs, I had lost 10 lbs and 10.5 inches total.

I started back doing Muscle Max, Slow & Heavy and walking our garden track.  I started STS on 1/24/16.  I’m not sure if y’all have ever done STS before but in Meso 1 that woman LOVES pushups!!!  Like, seriously…I can’t do pushups on my toes and I have to do them on my knees.  Well, I got “creative” and decided to put extra towels under my knees to have even more cushion.  BAD IDEA!!! I totally messed up my knee!  I haven’t been able to do lower body exercises AT ALL since!  I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome as well as mild/moderate arthritis.  Thank goodness the week I injured my knee was the last week of Meso 1.  So I had an active rest week (which I couldn’t be active at all) then I started Meso 2.

The whole knee thing put me into a tailspin with regards to my diet/calories.  I was eating at 15% cut during Meso 1 which was 1890.  So during my rest week and when I started Meso 2, I checked my TDEE on Fitbit because I was just maintaining.  To my shock (which, in hindsight is shouldn’t have been a shock) my TDEE had dropped quite a bit because I wasn’t getting my steps in…DUH!!!  So, grudgingly I lowered my calories to 1676 (yes I’m totally spoiled with eating all the food on this diet).  But you know what, it wasn’t hard at all!!!

I have to admit, I was so down because the doctor restricted me to no lower body for 2 weeks (which was at the beginning of Meso 2) the “old me” tried to make a come-back and I was ready to just stop doing anything.  But Anitra suggested/told me to just do the upper body workouts, there was no reason to stop doing everything!!!  Thanks so much Anitra!!!  I just started walking again but I’m still restricted to just walking for the next 4 weeks…then I can slowly add lower body exercises using just my body weight…so I’m still in the healing process, but I’m getting there!

I lost 6 pounds and 7.5 inches just in my first month of STS!  There’s one thing that I’ve learned through all of this…the scale isn’t nearly as important as it used to be.  I’m more concerned with inches lost than pounds lost.

Since starting this new lifestyle a little over a year ago, I’ve lost 19.5 lbs and 25.5 inches!!!  I’ve gone down two sizes in jeans (16 to 12).  I’m so excited!! This journey so far is beyond rewarding.  It’s a slow and steady pace, but I’m eating food and I’m not starving!!!  More importantly, I’m starting to see the changes in my body/taking shape.  It’s almost like I’m looking at someone else’s body at times.  If that makes any sense… Like I look in the mirror at my side view and my butt is perking up and getting a nice roundness to it!  I can see it, not so much anyone else yet, but it’s there and it’s gonna “bust out” someday soon!!! LOL  My confidence is coming back…slowly, but it is.

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The top row was taken in April 2015 when I finished Beginning Strength (my last update), and the bottom was taken June 2016 one and a half months after finishing STS.

I just can’t express how much this lifestyle has changed my life and my outlook on food and fitness.  My only regret is that I waited so long to realize the smart way to do it!!!! But I don’t dwell/beat myself up to much about it… won’t do me any good.  I’m just spreading the word to anyone who asks and will listen.  As a result, I have introduced a dear friend to EM2WL who was on WW for years and totally frustrated and after a reset and now at cut, she’s lost 12 lbs in 9 weeks! And she has her boyfriend on it too and he’s knocking it out of the park too!!!

Currently, I have finished STS and have started Jillian Michaels Body Revolution.  I will not be taking measurements or weighing myself any time soon.  You see, down here in the South, the humidity is nasty and I have edema in my hands and legs/feet.  I’m finding that it could be hormonal/aging.  I’ve had to put the scales away because I’m weighing between 3-7 lbs heavier.  That is very difficult for me as I’m a scale addict.  But the reality is, I have to put it away in order to maintain my sanity.

The message I’m trying to get across to everyone is just hang in there, it will happen.  You may have setbacks that throw you off track, but do what you can and stay the course. That’s the beauty of this – if I can do it, you can too!!!

 

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