A food tracker can be a powerful weight loss tool. When used correctly, it can give you a ton of data about your eating patterns and caloric intakes. For many, tracking food can mean the difference between eating enough calories and eating the right kinds of calories. However, the ultimate goal for the majority of #crushers is to be able to live and eat without the aid of a food tracker.
Intuitive eating vs. Food tracker
The goal to stop tracking comes with an important caveat. You have to actually track your food for a period of time in order to stop tracking later. So for many, this means understanding that if your goal is to stop using a food tracker, then you must be able to perfect intuitive eating, by knowing how your food choices line up each day.
By tracking, this allows you to see each day where your calorie intake actually hits, and where your macros fall in. This allows you to make notes of what you need to eat daily, and how your choices affect your macros for each meal. Paying attention to your daily food habits will set you up for success when the time comes to stop tracking. Your understanding of how to hit that protein goal becomes apparent after you track consistently.
Another good reason for using a food tracker is seeing if there are patterns in your moods and hunger cues. By tracking your moods daily using the notes section of your diary, you will be able to see if there are patterns to certain issues. Things like skipping breakfast causes you to binge eat later in the day. Or a pattern in eating a certain food brings on the bloat or gives you headaches/migraines. These cues can tell you a lot about your eating habits and how to troubleshoot them long after you stop tracking.
Finally, tracking your food allows you to be self aware. It keeps you accountable to your daily required calories, and hitting those macros. Both are necessary for fat loss. It also gives you the stepping stones to make these changes in your food a habit. Habits which need to be solid before you begin intuitive eating.
The goal for everyone is to eventually stop tracking food. But take the steps now to track so your foundation is solid in the future.
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 now
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.
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.
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!
Q: I lost around 30lbs very quickly by doing over an hour of cardio/day, 7 days/week, and severely restricting calories. When I hit a plateau, I increased cardio further and decreased cals to lose the last 12lbs. Eventually 15 of those pounds came back. I found out about EM2WL, and began a reset, and I've gained a LOT of weight. Is being up 20 pounds ‘normal'? Is it normal to lift and not fit into any clothes? Am I eating too much and that's why I feel so bloated and puffy? I'm just at a loss and feeling pretty down on myself. I'm right back where I started…
A: As much as I hate to be the messenger…yes, it is normal to be gaining weight during reset. Because you were undereating for so long, it takes a while for your body to regulate (which is why we recommend metabolism resets). When we diet using extreme caloric deficits and excessive cardio, the weight that is lost comes not merely from fat, and water, but also from muscle, joints, tendons, ligaments, and brain tissue. We also deplete our bodies of much needed vitamins and nutrients. So when we increase calories, coming from an extended period of undereating, our bodies will often first retain everything, assuming that this is merely a binge. During this period of retaining, your body is seeking to replenish the nutrient deficit, as well as balance out mineral deficiencies. As noted in the Biology of Human Starvation (see our synopsis), a period of OVERfeeding is often necessary before proper balance is restored. Because most people just starting out on a reset are petrified of eating more, this re-feed period is a bit understated. Many will only eat the bare minimum (TDEE) and often undercut/skew that amount, for fear of gaining. But recall that Dr. Keys made it clear that during a refeed, calories must be in abundance in order to rehabilitate properly. This is why many choose to use their reset as a period of bulking, to purposely overfeed and rebuild lost bone and muscle. This gives their reset purpose, and helps them to have something to focus on other than waiting for the cut.
None of this means that the reset process is exceptionally pleasant, although you will surely notice some unexpected benefits. You will feel bloating and discomfort as you retain water while your body is forced to figure out how to gather the nutrition it needs while digesting larger amounts of food properly. Once your body understands that proper nourishment is a mainstay, it will then look to replenish the areas that have been depleted. The rebuilding process is necessary and essential to your well-being. However, weight gain can be less drastic when food intake is increased slowly, and done for a much longer, realistic, time frame. Rushing the reset is often the cause of unnecessarily high weight gain, causing one to quit early, and results in an unsuccessful cut. Skipping the reset altogether is also a reason why you'll see many struggle in the beginning of their cut.
Treat your reset as a bulk. Put those extra cals to work building muscle.
You are lifting heavier now, in addition to eating more, which will assist in rebuilding any muscle that has atrophied. Exercises that create strong muscles will also increase bone mass. Healing will always be your body's primary goal (unfortunately, it doesn't really care about your physique goals), although some fat loss may be happening simultaneously. As the body begins to rebuild the muscle/bone/brain tissue, etc., this will show as “gain” on the scale. But you will have so many things going on that solely judging by the scale will not give you the full story. This will seem very frustrating at first, but you will still likely notice positive changes in the mirror, pictures, and the tape measure during this time. As the rebuilding slows, you will eventually see scale movement as well.
It is most important to remember that what you are dealing with now, is what you would have dealt with anyway, the minute you tried to eat “normal” again. The fact that you are gaining weight on what should be your maintenance level calories, shows that your metabolism had completely slowed to meet the lower calorie level. This is the point of the reset. This is something that you were bound to experience, regardless. In order to keep losing, you would have kept lowering cals and slowing the metabolism further, constantly recreating your maintenance level. This means that anytime your calorie intake exceeded this level, you would gain.
So for some, the first 4-6 weeks or so may bring gain and then a gradual release as the body gains trust. But for those who have drastically undereaten for a length of time, this process can take longer. This is especially true if someone needed a reset, yet refrained from taking one (the body will attempt it's own reset by simply resetting to the cut level calories being given). We must always remember that when we chose drastic measures to lose weight, there will be consequences. Losing the wrong “type” of weight, just for the sake of seeing the scale move, tears our body down and causes it to lose trust in us. A body that does not trust us is left to it's own devices to nurture itself, deciding what will stay (fat) and what can go (muscle, etc). It also means that the loss was not true. When a loss is not true, it is essentially temporary, and we can typically expect to gain it all back…and more.
The #1 reason that weight gain during a metabolism reset is surprising for most of us, is because we forget that it's only ONE phase of the journey. The Reset Phase is about healing, not fat loss (that's a whole ‘nother phase!). For more info on the 5 phases click here.