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)



Working out for your goals

Working out for your goals

{Click to enlarge}

{Click to enlarge}

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.


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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Newbie Mistakes: Diet Burnout vs. Procrastinating

Newbie Mistakes: Diet Burnout vs. Procrastinating

When you start anything new, there’s typically a learning curve – and EM2WL is no exception. Many of us step in to this journey with similar backgrounds, having made similar mistakes, and hit similar brick walls. We decide to take a chance on this “eat more” thing, and see where it takes us.

Then, many of us end up making one of two HUGE newbie mistakes. Landing ourselves back at square one.

(Periscope snippet.  Blog recap below video…)

Mistake #1: Over committing

Biting off more than you can chew is a common newbie mistake for the over achievers in the Fam. They “rip the bandaid” when increasing cals, move straight into intense, high volume exercise routines they find on the internet/social media, and purpose to eat 100% clean…100% of the time. Go hard, or go home – right? If you’re newer to proper ways of eating, and still in your first 1-2 years of lifting, I gotta keep it real and say, “wrong.”

When just getting started, you don’t need to do everything that people who have been working out for years are doing. After a certain amount of time in this journey, we all will HAVE to step it up – but doing so before it’s time can actually hurt your progress in the long run.

One reason we often get caught in the dieting yo-yo is because we mistakenly assume that if we eat at a minimum and workout at a maximum, then we can get results faster. We eventually find out that all we really did was speed through the stop sign, only to get pulled over for reckless driving.  Unfortunately, this approach leads to eventual burnout, isn’t sustainable, and can kill your metabolism. Think less is more when it comes to working out, and eat according to your activity (in other words, match them — not increasing one, while decreasing the other).  Start slow and take baby steps that make sense for you and your life so you can create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

Mistake #2: Under committing  newbie mistakes, diet burnout vs procrastinating

Starting anything new can be scary. But when you get too scared thinking about what it will take to achieve your goals, you may find yourself never even starting.

For people just beginning, the idea of eating more and working out less can be scary, backwards-sounding, and confusing. The under-committed beginner (my own hands waving wildly in the air at this point) wants to know all the information before diving in. Understandable, but one will never really be able to know (or even comprehend) all of the the information before embarking on a new endeavor. Every new journey has areas that you will not understand until you are in them.  Someone could describe it to you perfectly, but you will never know for yourself until you experience it. Remember transitioning from teen, to adult? Or becoming a new parent? There were likely parts of those journeys that someone probably did tell you about, but you didn’t understand until you were in it.

Convincing yourself that you must have every strand of proof, know how to prevent every obstacle, predict every milestone — with exact timelines to boot — is what we call analysis paralysis.  Unlike becoming the Over-Committed-Burnout, being an Under-Committed-Over-Analyzer, can lead you to never really starting. When you find yourself overcomplicating an issue, remember that it’s typically a sign that you are actually procrastinating on doing what you know you need to do. Gather “enough” info and just start. You can always tweak as you go.

Why it Matters

newbie mistakes, diet burnout vs procrastinatingYou may have started off doing too much too soon, and fallen away – or perhaps you’re still doing nothing at all with the info you have.  Either way, the end result is…frustration with not moving forward. Standing still, falling behind, or even running in place, are usually the exact reasons that we started this journey.  Yet, this version of standing still tends to weigh heavier on us (because we were scared from the start!), and causes us to want ditch eating more, and run to the nearest quick fix (#comfortzone).

I get it. This journey ends up being harder than most of us ever thought it should be, and tests our faith as we continue to discover that virtually everything we ever thought we knew about dieting was wrong.  Progress should come slow, not fast. We should be lifting weight, not just doing cardio.  Inches may drop even when the scale doesn’t. And so on…

Be patient and trust the process. The key is to remember that this truly is a lifestyle, not just a means to an end. So whether you need to turn things down a notch, or simply start – know that you’re not alone.  We’re all navigating these waters together, and every person who has had success on this journey has come to a similar crossroad (hmmm…metaphor overload? LOL).

In a world of instant gratification, remember that you’ve been there, done that. Focus instead on sustainability, and slowly becoming the person that deserves, earns, and maintains, the rewards that only delayed gratification can provide (you know…the ones that have been eluding you for.ev.er?)

You’ve got this, Fam.



PS. Got questions? Join our Online Facebook Community and be around like minded people who “get” your journey

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Falling off the wagon? Why you can’t stick to ANY diet.

Falling off the wagon? Why you can’t stick to ANY diet.

We know by now that the style of eating that we can stick to for the long haul, is the one that we can count on for results.  But what happens when you just can’t stick to ANY diet or style of eating long enough for those results to show?

The thing about habits

The reason progress seems to elude most of us is because we won’t create the habits needed to sustain them. If habits don’t change, neither will your results (in the long term).  Habits are the key to lasting change. Just think about it, why is it so hard to stick to a New Year resolution, organizing system, diet/exercise plan, or even weekly date nights? Even the very things that we know would bring more joy and peace to our lives are just plain hard to stick to.


Well as you well know, when the little gem called “life” kicks in, everything goes out of the window.  And what do you fall back on when life happens? Your old habits. The only way to cancel out the old habits that aren’t getting you anywhere is to create new ones that crowd/balance them out.  Though most of us know and agree with this deep down, we still spend a heck of a lot of time trying to find the diet or exercise plan that will solve all of our problems.  But diving into a full blown “plan” with 105 different rules to remember is going to be impossible to keep up long term, because you’re changing too many things at once.  The minute you’re not following the plan perfectly, you fall off, lose hope, and feel like you have start all over again.

The thing about complication

Sometimes having lots of rules make us feel safe.  We feel like the more complicated the plan, the more real and official it is. Simplicity scares us.  We think “that’s all? must be more to it than that?!”

Against popular demand, EM2WL prefers a real-world, no-nonsense approach to fat loss.  We have no desire to get you all hung up on the little tweaks that are unnecessary for most, and not required until the vanity pounds stage (read: four pack, yet desiring six) for others.  We make it a point to only emphasize to you the aspects of the journey that are most important for lifelong success.  Take those basics, put your own spin on it, and proceed to enjoying your life without complication.

This technique is known in the industry as “best practices” – and it’s the backbone of any successful endeavor.  Attempting to take what someone else does, and imitating it exactly is a setup for failure because it misses a crucial element: you.

The thing about perfection

IMG_2047A perfect plan that you can’t keep up long term, will never trump the slightly flawed one that allows you to be consistent.  Any style of eating that allows you to remain consistent in the basics, without feeling like a failure for “cheating” is essential to long term progress.  This means that it will take a little bit of work on your end to make sure that the way you choose to eat/workout for fat loss has YOU written all over it. One of the first questions I ask ANY new client is:

“What aspects of your current lifestyle MUST be included in your journey to make it realistic and sustainable for YOU? (food/type of exercise/habits, etc)”

I encourage you to ask yourself this very question as you scour the net for the be-all-end-all of diet plans. (Hint: there isn’t one…until you create it). No matter how promising something seems to be — or how many people are raving about it — if you can’t see elements of you in it, some tweaking may be required.  If it requires a perfect adherence to the rules, with zero leeway for the things you love, don’t be tempted to try to force it to work for you.


Have a great week, Fam!



PS. If you’re needing help establishing essential habits, and conquering the basics on YOUR terms, try our 7-day protein challenge.

It’s time for the beach! Swimsuits for ALL Body Types

It’s time for the beach! Swimsuits for ALL Body Types

photo 4

Beach season is here! Are you ready? No? Click here…

Finally, old man winter is letting go and spring has sprung.  Beach season has begun, and its time to have some fun in the sun!  We’ve all been working hard throughout the fall/winter months, building our summer bodies (we have, right?!).  We’ve kept our bodies covered up in oversized sweaters and coats, waiting for the day we can show off our progress.  Now, the weather is getting warmer, and the layers of clothes are being peeled off one by one.  Are you ready to peel down to your swim suit?  What?  Of course you are! Whether you have reached your ideal size or are just beginning your journey, there is a swim suit just for you!  

While most of us do not possess the body of a supermodel — who sizzles the sands every time she steps onto the beach — you can find the swimsuit that accentuates your best features, and you too can burn the beach like a flamethrower!

2-piece doesn't always mean "bikini"

2-piece doesn’t always mean “bikini”

When you start your search for the right swim suit remember that how much you weigh really doesn’t matter.  The last time I checked, scale weight is not listed on the size tag!  Most swim suits are sold by numerical sizes or S,M,L or XL, and even bust sizes.  You can’t always base your choice on what size you wear in normal clothing, so take a few sizes in the fitting room with you.  Remember its all about the fit, not the number on the tag.  Suits that are sold as separates are a good choice so you can customize your suit to fit your shape. It’s not necessary to always head for the one piece swim suit, because you don’t want to show off your belly button.  There are plenty of 2 piece sets that will give total coverage like a 1 piece in case you have some marks or scars you don’t want visible.  Also with the 2 piece suits you have the ability to create a fashionable suit by mixing and matching colors, while still having a suit that is flattering, comfortable, and most importantly bathroom friendly!

So here are some examples of a few different body types to help you narrow down what suit may look good on you:  


If you have what is referred to as a pear shape you are larger at the hips and thighs but smaller in your upper body.    You can balance the upper body by attracting the focus upwards with bright print colors on top which can include some ruffles or padding and a solid color on the bottom with full coverage over the hips and thighs.   

Tina EM2WL

Tina found a one piece that flattered her NOW, & rocked her beach vacay!


You are apple-shaped if your waistline is the widest area of your body and the bust and hips appear narrower. Swimsuits that downplays roundness of the midsection are the one-piece  suits with contrasting color panels, corset like, or  suits with a wide belt.  Also some 2 piece suits with a soft ruffle can be flattering.  


Women with an athletic or muscular frame: broad shoulders, shapely hips, and muscular thighs should emphasize the feminine features by complimenting the upper body with racer-backs, halters,  and criss cross styles to show off your well-defined back. You can soften the shoulders by having a top with a v-neck line with push-up support to show some cleavage.   You can show off those abs you worked so hard for with a 2 piece suit or one-pieces with slashes or strategically placed cutouts on the waist and abdomen.   For the lower half go for Brazilian cut bottoms to show off those glutes!  Women with larger bust have plenty of  cleavage,  so you will require plenty of support up top. Under wire, adjustable straps, seamed or molded cups with thicker straps and halters provide ample support.  You may want to avoid embellishments up top and skimpy bikini tops.

There are several other body types that I did not mention that you may fit into.  You can also visit sites like Venus.com or fitnessmagazine.com and see examples of the different types of suits that are available for all body types.   You don’t have to avoid the beach or the pool because you think you shouldn’t wear a swimsuit because of how much you weigh.  You are more than that number on the scale!  So grab your purse and go shopping and find that perfect suit.  Make it a point to have fun and enjoy the time you have with your current appearance as you continue your journey to your transformation.

Take pics of the different styles to learn what looks best on YOUR body

Relax, have FUN, and take pics of the different styles to learn what looks best on YOUR body




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