Positive Thoughts = Positive Results

Positive Thoughts = Positive Results

Self-doubt happens to all of us at some point in our lives.  On the journey to reaching a specific goal, negative thoughts make us question if we can achieve the very thing that we set out to accomplish. It's these negative thoughts, when left untamed, which can affect our actions and lead to negative results.

Our patience can be particularly tested when it comes to reaching physique, strength, fitness or health-related goals where results are slow, or we feel we have less control over the outcome. Learning to catch negative thoughts as they happen is key to avoiding the slippery slope of negativity and ensuring you stay on the path you have set out on with a grateful, and optimistic outlook.

Positive MindLet’s use this scenario as an example. You head to the gym on a Monday and have an awesome lift. You're feeling good about yourself because you added 10 pounds to your bench and 20 pounds to your deadlift.  In short, you feel like a BEAST!!!  You wake up the next day, rush to the mirror and promptly start looking for changes, expecting to be rewarded for all your hard work (or…at very least, another glance at those gorgeous muscles you saw poppin yesterday).  Instead you feel fluffy — not at all what you expected — and you’re holding water (100% normal following an incredible lift session!). Suddenly your attitude towards the day goes from “I’m ready for you!” to “Why should I even stay on track or hit the gym today?” Negative thoughts start to creep in and you’re convinced you have failed.

Wait. Wait, wait!

This is when you have to practice stopping those negative thoughts in their tracks.  Try using the following tactics to keep your mind focused on the positive and stay headed in the right direction.

Remember how far you've come – On days where you’re struggling with the person in the mirror, or worse, the number on the scale, remember all that you have accomplished.  Are you a reformed VLCD eater who now nourishes their body with the nutrients it needs?  Are you a recovering binge-eater who no longer feels out of control when eating trigger foods?  Have you overcome any physical challenges like being able to play with your kids without getting winded or, heck, maybe you can push a car!  These are all victories that don't reflect back to us when we are looking in the mirror or standing on the scale.  Each and every one, no matter how big or small, should be acknowledged (often), celebrated, and used as fuel to push on.

Try something new – If you do the same routines week in and week out, it might be time for a change.  Scratch that, ijeep pusht most definitely is time for a change!  Consider adding phases to your routine to be sure that you are getting the most out of your efforts.  At a minimum, try a new exercise class, take your workout outside or invite a friend to the gym. Change it up. You will be amazed by your body’s ability to adapt to something new.

Be grateful for what you have – There are people who don’t have the health that allows them to get up every day and work out. Understand you are blessed to have this opportunity. View exercise as a way to thank your body for all it is capable of.  Every day that you are able to push harder and get stronger is a gift.

Doubt can creep up at any time, not just during our weakest moments.  Next time you feel a negative thought coming on, counter it with a positive one. Instead of thinking “my stomach looks puffy today,” try saying something like “I have strong, muscular legs.”  Don't let negative thoughts take you off the course you have set for yourself.  Win these small battles one at a time. Your mind believes what you tell it, whether it is fact or fiction.  Be sure you are feeding it positive thoughts.


Jenny’s Inspiring EM2WL Success Story

Jenny’s Inspiring EM2WL Success Story

Before - 207 PoundsI found EM2WL in January 2014 and it was an answer to my prayers. EM2WL has forever changed my life, health, mind, and my relationship with food and myself. I am still certainly a work in progress, but each day I am closer to reaching my goals. I have lost 40 pounds over the past 7 months, and I credit the last 30 pounds to EM2WL. But more than weight loss, I have gained strength, confidence and a drive to move forward with my life.

A little about me…I am a wife of 10 years (to an incredible husband who has loved me at every size) and currently a stay-home mom to my super active 2 year old boy. I struggled with the cycle of under eating/overeating for as long as I can remember. I was a heavy child and I became aware of diets (food restriction) and followed them from an early age. At age 7, my mom began taking me to a nutritionist weekly. I don’t remember it helping me as I was so young, but I do know that it communicated to me that I had a problem with my weight. My mom, having her own weight issues, was only trying to help me while I was young. At age 11, I remember being weighed at the doctor’s office and I weighed 133 pounds. I asked my mom if I weighed too much and I remember her carefully saying, “You could work on losing a little”. That day began a lifelong struggle of severe dieting and what I now recognize as disordered eating. At age 11, I put myself on a diet and lost 17 pounds. Of course I gained it right back and more as I grew into my teenage years.

Sports and activities filled my high school and college years, but the pressure to weigh less fueled my unhealthy eating cycles. I weighed anywhere from 160-180 and would yo-yo up and down easily. I would severely restrict calories for a few months and then massively binge…over and over and over…all on top of extreme exercise. If I managed to lose any weight, I would regain it all back through the binging…plus more. I tried often to purge, but thankfully, my body would not cooperate. These unhealthy cycles continued through my 20’s and early 30’s, throughout my married years, and through my first pregnancy.

My family went through a series of tragic events and multiple relocations and my weight began quickly increasing from the 170’s upward. In 2013, one year after my son was born, I reached my highest weight of 207 pounds and a size 18 at only 5’3. I had pretty much lost sight of myself and any goals I had once had. I was told I was an emotional eater. I hid stashes of food and sweets in my home and at work. I ate if I was happy and when I was sad. My biggest fear was that I would continue to live the rest of my life in that misery and set a negative example for my children.

165 PoundsI knew low calorie and fad diets did not work, but I returned to them because I knew nothing different. I blamed my lack of success on lack of discipline, willpower, and emotional eating. I always felt like a quitter because I could not stick to anything. I had tried everything over the years – Weight Watchers, Medifast, Slimfast, Liquid Amino Diet, Six Week Body Makeover, Nutrisystem, low calorie, juicing, fasting, and starving. I would lose weight at first and then stall for weeks before giving up and overeating to compensate for the low calories and then gain everything back and more. Weight Watchers gave me partial success, but again I stalled after the first few months and couldn't understand why since I was working out every day and not consuming any extra points or earned exercise points. I thought the weight should be melting off, but it wasn't, and many weeks I actually gained. When I later did the calculations, I figured I was only eating 1200 calories on Weight Watchers. At one time I even trained for a half marathon and was running 7 miles a day. Little did I know that eating 1200 calories and running 7 miles daily would stall my weight loss for weeks. I felt defeated but I couldn’t give up.

I knew there had to be a different way to approach weight loss and I wanted to find it. I started reading and researching about a different type of weight loss strategy…one that was maintainable. I committed to being happy with a .5 or 1 pound loss a week instead of trying/expecting to lose 3 pounds every week. I joined MFP in January (user name Jennbecca33) and started seeing people talk about how under eating can actually hinder and keep you from losing weight. During this time, I found the EM2WL group and I have not looked back! Something finally made sense and clicked for me.

The wonderful ladies in this group have taught me how to eat properly and eat ENOUGH (way more than I thought I could) so that my body could lose weight more easily. I learned that the low calorie diets in conjunction with working out simply did not give my body enough to lose weight properly, hence the weight loss stalling. Since then, I've committed to eating more to weigh less. I actually found that I did not need to do a reset, surprisingly. As I started slowly increasing my calories, my weight immediately decreased by a couple of pounds. I couldn’t believe it. I then increased my calories a little more, and again, I dropped a couple more pounds. I kept increasing until I found my maintenance level which is around 2100-2300.

This concept of eating more, or at a slight deficit, went against everything I had ever been taught about dieting. I now happily eat between 1800-2000 calories daily (-15% TDEE) to lose weight and I do all my workouts from home. When consistent, I average between .5- 1 pound loss per week. I am now incorporating heavier weight training (which I love!) to help reshape my body. I usually work out 4 times a week for about 30 minutes each – 2 or 3 weight lifting sessions and 1-2 workouts on the elliptical. My only permanent success has come from following the EM2WL lifestyle, and the best part is, I'm able to keep going because I'm giving my body enough food so that I'm not hungry, worn out, and irritable all the time. Since I have started allowing myself to eat more, I have not had even one binging episode, or even the desire to binge! Have I overeaten at times? Sure. But even then, I’m able to work it into my calories. I've come to terms with losing weight in a responsible and healthy manner and I am so motivated to know that I now have the proper tools to reach my goal.

Before and After

Before and After

When I started EM2WL in January 2014, I weighed 195 and was a size 16. I had lost about 10 pounds on my own at that point. I have lost the last 30 pounds with EM2WL, for a total of 40 pounds. I still currently weigh 165 pounds and at 5’3 I wear between a size 8 and 10. I don’t really have a “goal” weight in mind anymore and I’m not stressing about it. When I get there, I will know. I still have quite a bit of fat on certain body parts that I want to lose. My hips and legs hold most of my weight, but slowly, even my legs are shaping up. I know I will always have thicker legs, and I’m ok with that. I look better now at 165 than I did at 145 (a weight I never maintained after 3 months on only 800 calories). EM2WL works. It will work for anyone. Eat at a smaller deficit so that it’s maintainable and so that you can keep going! Yes, it’s slower paced weight loss. But in the long run, you are able to keep it off. Keep muscle, build muscle!

The biggest change for me though, has been the mental shift about food. I no longer hate food. I really love food. I am not on a diet. Food is ok to eat and I do not feel guilty for indulging in moderation! There is nothing that I cut out of my diet. I love eating with my family and not having to cook separate meals every night. No more missed birthday dinners. I enjoy eating out and making healthy food choices. I will never again be tempted by low calorie dieting or a fad gimmick diet. EM2WL has given me freedom and it has truly helped me to take back my life.

Thank you to all the EM2WL moderators and members who have been so supportive and helped me and continue to help me through this journey. I have learned so much from you. You truly were an answer to prayer during one of the darkest and heaviest times in my life. I pray my story may help and encourage others now to trust this process as well. I look forward to posting an update when I reach my end goal!


Have you overcome disordered eating? Have an EM2WL transformation to share? Let us know! Be featured on our Transformation/Journey page by submitting your story to Success@EM2WL.com

Ready to begin your own Journey? Start here.

Karen’s EM2WL Success Story – a 2 Year Journey

Karen’s EM2WL Success Story – a 2 Year Journey


July 2012I am almost two years into my EM2WL journey.  Having been a classic yo-yo dieter since around the age of 15, I was introduced to MyFitnessPal by a colleague in April 2012 at the age of 29.  I started out typically on 1200 cals and not understanding the necessity of eating back exercise calories.

I stalled out and lost will power pretty quickly and I wasn’t seeing the losses that I had done when eating that little when on diets in previous years.  While hovering around the forums I soon started to notice mention of EM2WL and TDEE and BMR and it all got me thinking.  I soon joined at EM2WL group and started reading all about the concept of losing weight by eating a small cut from TDEE.  I tried out various calculators and was shocked to discover my estimated TDEE should be somewhere in the region of 2700 cals.  No wonder I had been struggling to get through the day on 1200, which inevitably led to binges.

I decided to increase my calories to around 2200 in June 2012, around a 15% cut from TDEE.  I started EM2WL at around 145 lbs and after a few months I stepped on the scale for the first time and found I had been maintaining.  I was a little disappointed that my TDEE didn’t seem to be as high as the calculators put me, but I became to understand that I had lost a lot of muscle mass through my years of yo-yo dieting, leading to a suppressed TDEE.  I then realised just how much harm I had unknowingly been doing to my body.

July 2013At that point, rather than cut my calories, I increased them to around 2500 and started lifting heavier.  At this level I slowly started gaining weight but I was enjoying strength training and enjoying nourishing my body well and hitting my macros.

Over the next 15 months I gained a total of 20 lbs, taking me up to around 165 at my highest.  However, I was still fitting into the same clothes and my food intake varied between 2200 and 3000 calories per day.  During those months there were only two days when I ate less than 2000 and that was when I was sick.

The added weight has helped me regain some of my lost muscle mass.  So in January 2014, partly spurred on by the concept of being bridesmaid for a close friend at Easter, I decided to make a concerted effort at a cut.

I settled at around 1900-2100 cals Monday to Friday, allowing myself around 2500 cals Saturday and Sunday so I could still enjoy my favourite meals out and take-outs as I always had.  By mid-April I had lost around 10 lbs and I finally started to see muscle definition in my arms, shoulders and calves.  My thighs are firming up, and my belly and back have less fat than ever before.  In the past when I had starved myself down to a size 4 I was skinny-fat and had a pot-belly.

11 May 2014 (2)My TDEE is gradually increasing and I have now switched to maintenance for the summer, averaging around 2400 per day while focus on my lifting.  I then aim to increase my calories again over the winter to try and add back more precious muscle.  Over time I want to see my actual TDEE raised to where it should be based on my activity level.  I currently cycle commute to work, strength train three times per week and do yoga or pilates once per week.  I also enjoy an active outdoors lifestyle as much as the British climate allows, hiking and cycling when and where I can.

It’s been a long road and I’m still a work in progress but I am finally comfortable in my body, starting to love it a little bit more each day.  I enjoy a balanced diet which allows me to eat all the foods I enjoy.   I still can’t quite believe that I’ve found out that there really is a way to have it all.

I feel so positive about the future now and I couldn’t have got here without Kiki, Lucia and the EM2WL team.  Thank you all so much!

Family Meal Planning

Family Meal Planning


Combining family and fitness

Trust me, as a busy momma of five children I understand that feeding a family, presents its own unique challenges.  When you are working towards eating for your fitness goals, that can be even more challenging.  And if you throw an food-allergic child or two into the mix, things really get interesting!

For years, I allowed these challenges to overwhelm me to the point that I figured there was no way I could possibly lose weight or become fit.  I allowed excuse after excuse to creep in, and eventually just stopped trying.  Years later, I came to a point where I realized that my excuses finally caught up to me.  I had to make a way to embrace my challenges and succeed in the midst of them.


2010 – I'm smiling, but can remember dreading getting family pictures done because I hated the way that I looked. My life has completely turned around!

I've been at this for about three years now.  After struggling to lose weight despite being on one diet right after the other, I learned that our whole family needed to embrace the changes that I was attempting to undertake.  Fortunately, I am blessed with a great support system in my husband and children.  Today, all of us are healthier, more active, and happier.  Instead of looking at this like a diet, our whole family's lifestyle changed.

Over the past three years, I have emphasized eating for different goals including powerlifting performance, weight loss, muscle gain, and fat loss. However, our family's approach to eating has remained fairly consistent.

Below are a few things I've learned along the way…


Ditch the Diet Mentality

This sure doesn't look like a diet to me! Big breakfasts are something our family loves to enjoy together.

This sure doesn't look like a diet to me! Big breakfasts are something our family loves to enjoy together.

There's no reason that you should have to prepare separate meals for you and your children.

Even if you're eating enough calories, preparing separate meals tends to make you feel like you're on a diet. This feeling of mental restriction may actually trigger binge eating.

With a little recipe tweaking, even kid-pleasing family favorites like pizza, tacos and spaghetti can be included into your weekly meal rotation.  Simple tweaks like adding a serving of protein, adding more veggies, or trying out a healthier twist on a recipe can ensure that you are hitting your macros.  Get creative in the kitchen!

Have a weekly meal plan and stick to it

This can be as detailed as you want! To begin with, I'd recommend coming up with a list of weekly dinners. It may be helpful to ask for some input from your family as you are coming up with your list. I usually keep a list of meals on the refrigerator, and will sometimes ask my family which meal sounds best to them in the morning.


The good, the bad, and the ugly…a typical trip to the grocery store includes lots of whole foods, and plenty of treats too!

If you're stuck in a cooking rut, you might check out our Pinterest boards for some healthy alternatives to family favorites. Your local library probably has some great cookbooks that you can check out for some new ideas.  Trying out a new recipe once a week can be a fun family adventure, and may lead to coming up with some new recipes!

If you are home all day with young children, it may be helpful to come up with a list of breakfasts and lunches that they can select from. Keep some options for easy meals on hand, and as they get older, allow them some freedom to make choices and prepare their own lunches or breakfasts.  It's a great lesson in responsibility.  As a homeschool mom whose kids seem to always be hungry, this has been a huge time-saver for me.  Now that my oldest three are 13, 11, and 10, they are pretty self-sufficient and usually select pretty healthy meals for themselves.

After you've come up with your meal list for the week, make your grocery list so that you have everything on hand you need for a successful week of cooking (and eating).

 Plan a day for food prep

After your trip to the grocery store, it may be helpful to do a little food prep make the cooking process a bit faster.

S10240_543800028973262_1527378162_nince you already have all the groceries out, why not take a few extra minutes to think about the meals you have planned for the week ahead.  It only takes a few extra minutes after you get home from the store to cut and bag fresh veggies, cook up and freeze some hamburger meat for soups and casseroles, or separate foods into single-serving containers.

I like to do this on grocery shopping day because there are already so many things to put away! I usually prep a few casseroles for the freezer to give myself some quick grab-and-go meals for those busy nights when I don't have a lot of extra time. I also tend to cook extra meats, rice, potatoes , or vegetables when I am already cooking so that I can re-purpose the leftovers into a whole other meal. Thinking ahead can save a lot of time in the long run!

Don't keep self-sabotaging foods in the house

At EM2WL, we are all about including all foods into your healthy eating plan.  Nothing is off limits!  That being said,  however, many of us have foods that tend to be triggers to throw caution to the wind. It's important for each of us to recognize our limits in this department. Keeping a lot of highly processed snack foods in the house “for the kids” may be a recipe for disaster if you are prone to occasional binges. Trust me, the kids will be okay without keeping them in the house.  Help them to come up with healthier alternatives for snacks instead! Know yourself and your limits.

Involve your kids in the kitchen

Getting your kids interested in eating healthfully can be as simple as inviting them into the kitchen.

brussel sprouts

Even my youngest loves brussel sprouts…and dark chocolate chips too…OF COURSE!

Not only does getting them in the kitchen teach them math skills, responsibility, and nutrition, it can also be a fun time spent just with you. Even very young children can help measure ingredients, pour, and stir together a recipe. An older child can be taught to make an entire recipe by themselves and will get tons of satisfaction proclaiming they made dinner “all by myself”! Spending time in the Besides, they are much more likely to try something different if they have helped you prepare it!

Take the time to educate your children about the importance of including all kinds of foods as part of a healthy and balanced diet. These important life skills will serve them well their whole lives!

Don't completely eliminate treats

Having a moderate and balanced approach to all foods, including treats, is an important part of any successful approach to eating.

Food is fuel, but it is also an important part of our family get-togethers and celebrations. Plan on including some mini-indulgences in your eating plan now and then.

Bake some cookies with your kids. Enjoy a cupcake guilt-free at your little girl's birthday party. Have a few slices of pizza during family movie night. Enjoy the freedom to pursue your health and fitness goals without sacrificing your sanity! This isn't a diet, but a lifestyle. Consistency matters! Make choices that allow you to win at consistency.1450107_693508670669063_777258812_n

Becca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts.  As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.

Secret Weapon for Success

Secret Weapon for Success

successWith all the goal setting exercises, planning and strategizing you've done since the start of the year, there's one tool in your arsenal that shouldn't be overlooked. It's the tool to beat all tools. Seriously, it's the mac daddy of tools and we all have it! It is your mindset. Your mindset, or your way of thinking, will have a significant impact on how successful you are. To be successful with your goal, you first have to believe you can achieve it.

If you say you can or you can't, you are right either way.  ~Henry Ford

To reach your goals you must first believe that they are attainable. You would think that's kind of a no-brainer,right. However, if you are wavering back-and-forth on whether it's possible you've already opened up the door to self-doubt. During the goal setting process, you evaluated your goals and determined them to be realistic. Don't waiver on your conviction. Stay committed and follow through.

Ever notice how one small negative thought leads to another and before you know it, it's grown into some big hairy thing? Negative thoughts can suck the energy out of you and can even result in physical ailments. That's right, your mind can make you sick!

successWhen we're rushing about, day to day, we may not stop to think of all the different thoughts that are running through our heads. How we think as we move about our day has an impact on everything from our bodies, to our relationships, to our goals, to our lives. These thoughts, whether positive or negative, have a tremendous influence on our behavior. Your mind will either work for you or against you in your effort to reach your goals.

In order to turn negative thoughts around you need to first become more aware of them. Try this exercise. Make a list of thoughts that run through your mind over a few days. Don't censor them, just let them flow. Now, review your notes to see if you find any negative thought patterns. If you do, focus on these and begin to challenge them. Are they legit or are they based in fear? Are you being overly critical of yourself or the situation? Is your thought reasonable? Our thoughts are shaped by our perception of situations. Does your perception reflect reality?

Thoughts become things…choose the good ones!  ~Mike Dooley

Now, let's flip the script on negative self talk, the way you communicate with yourself, with positive self talk. For example, replace a negative thought such as “It will take forever for me to reach my goal.” with “I'm making progress.” Or “I just don't have enough time to work out.” with “I am in control.  Working out is good for my body.” And, one that seems to slip in far too easily, “I am fat.”  Try out “I'm beautiful, inside and out.” and see how that makes you feel.

successAs much as possible, maintain a positive attitude. You committed to your goals, don't let self-doubt creep in. Believe in yourself and your abilities. If you struggle with being positive, make an extra effort to identify negative thoughts and turn them around with positive self talk.

Your hard work can be undone simply for failing to believe fully in yourself and your abilities or with negative thinking. Stay positive and keep moving forward. Be grateful, each day, for where you are, acknowledge how far you've come and look forward to where you're going.

Photo credit: JenniferStuart Milesjesadaphorn

February Challenge Calendar

challenge calendar

Click to Enlarge


Are you still committing to making this your best year yet?

In January, the EM2WL team enjoyed hearing about your 2014 goals. We are celebrating with you when we hear victories of overcoming obstacles. Many of our readers are experiencing the joy of living life while accomplishing their fitness goals.

In the month of February, we will continue working towards our goals in five main areas:

Goal setting

It is worthwhile to reflect upon your short term goals frequently. Remember to continue to frame those goals in a way that is positive and behaviorally-based, rather than results based. Are you making the choices and lifestyle changes that are necessary to see the results you desire?


As you work towards your goals, it is important to enjoy the journey. Many valuable life lessons are missed if we are solely focused upon a long-term goal. Reflection challenges will help you to appreciate the mini-victories along the way.

Intuitive Eating

While EM2WL does encourage the use of tracking food and workouts as a way to gauge whether or not you are meeting your unique nutritional goals, this is meant to be an educational tool, not a crutch that you will need to depend upon for the rest of your life. Your ultimate goal should be to learn to eat an appropriate amount of food while listening to your body! Intuitive eating challenges will help you to focus away from the numbers and learn to trust your instincts.

Eat to Fuel

Food is fuel! At EM2WL, we are passionate about using food to fuel our workouts and daily activities to keep those metabolic fires burning! However, we believe you should enjoy this part of your lifestyle. Trying new foods and recipes that fit into your goals can help you to ward off boredom and remain consistent. Who wants to eat chicken, brown rice and broccoli every day? Learning a few new recipes will help you stick to your plan without feeling like you are missing a thing!


Fitness challenges are meant to take you out of your comfort zone and teach you some new strategies to have fun, be more efficient, recover better, and maximize your workouts. We believe fitness should be fun!

Are you ready for your best year yet? Join us in the month of February in coming one step closer to our goals!

BeccaBecca is a busy wife and homeschooling mother to five children ages 5 to 13. About three years ago, she embarked on a journey to health and fitness that resulted in the loss of approximately 100 pounds. Today, she is a competitive powerlifter and strongwoman who loves ice cream and deadlifts.  As an ISSA certified personal trainer, she is passionate about helping women to get started on a lifestyle of strength and fitness.



STOP Spinning your wheels and Get OFF the Rollercoaster!



Download the FREE EM2WL Quick Start Guide and get...

> An overview of the Eat More 2 Weigh Less basics


> Access to our Crushing the Diet Mentality Facebook Community


> BONUS!! FREE fat loss/muscle gain workout plan.


You have Successfully Subscribed!