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.
For the large majority of women, we have all been on a diet of some sort of another in our lives. Most of us who have a dieting past, have been on countless programs or attempts and have spent more money on diet programs or books or fitness products than we care to admit. We lived our lives under the scrutiny of whatever diet plan we were trying that month. Whether that was counting points, living the “Clean Eating” or Paleo life, drinking nothing but shakes and processed, overpriced “diet” products to somehow quickly shed pounds fast and fit into smaller sized clothing. At the very heart of any diet program is the relationship your body has with the scale. That number means more than anything in the world to a dieter.
I’m sure many of us have experienced the euphoria that comes when you jump on the scale and see your number go down. We internally throw ourselves a party and celebrate how proud we are that our sacrifice for that week paid off and it was “worth it.” Some of us could continue this charade for a few weeks, or months even before the Diet Breakdown begins and we either plateau or fall off our programs. As a dieter, you berate yourself, call yourself all kinds of names, get depressed that the weight came back on and more. But yet, no one ever gets rid of the scale. Somehow that stupid piece of machinery still holds more value to a dieter than anyone or anything could. And so the cycle continues. And the self worth plummets. All because a scale flashes a number the diet industry had shunned you to believe is horrible.
I know what you are thinking…
“I’m off the diet track. I found EM2WL and I’m healing my metabolism with a reset. I don’t play the diet games anymore!!”
If you are still stepping on a scale and letting that number dictate how you feel – You are still playing the dieting games.
I never considered myself a scale watcher. I weighed in once a week when I dieted and it never bothered me to see the number any other time than my weekly weigh in. It never occurred to me to weigh in any more than necessary for my diet plan. When I began with EM2WL a few years ago, I started off watching the scale number so I could follow the trend in weight vs. calorie intake. Somewhere along the way an obsession took over and I was weighing in daily. At first, I convinced myself I NEEDED to see the number daily so I could be accountable – I could make sure I was eating the right amount of calories, that my Reset number was accurate. Even when I began on my first cut, I watched the scale meticulously to ensure a downward trend was happening.
My obsession with the scale took over for the better part of two years during my journey, even though I wasn’t on any dieting program. I went from someone who never owned a scale to someone who couldn’t begin the day unless I knew what my number was. I can remember being asked the simple question “How are you?” And my answer would always be based on what the scale said that morning – If it was down, then I was happy. If it was up, I was angry/miserable/sad/confused etc. It didn’t matter if I was attempting a Cut, or sitting in a Reset trying to find my TDEE – That stupid scale meant more to me than anything.
I tried to convince myself that it didn’t mean anything, that it was just a number, but after a while, the scale started adding so much stress to my life, it was crushing me. I felt like an alcoholic trying to get another drink. I couldn’t function unless I knew if I was “up” or “down” If the scale said I had gained, I refused to believe people when they sent me a compliment. I refused to listen to my trainer who warned me my cortisone levels were skyrocketing and it would hinder my progress. I refused to remove myself from that crushing prison I had put myself into.
An inanimate object whose only purpose is to tell you what your relationship with gravity is
A hunk of metal that cannot distinguish between muscle, fat, water, bones, clothing, and bodily fluids.
A piece of dieting equipment that is used to make you feel like nothing matters but that number.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that the scale was slowly killing me. My obsession spilled into everyday life. I couldn’t give 100% to the Reset process because of that scale. I feared eating more calories would jump the scale number up to my heaviest – something I never wanted to see again. My self worth plummeted and I began to withdraw from my marriage. I couldn’t fathom how my husband still wanted to be with me and I began picking fights with him over the silliest of things. I withdrew from my friendships, thinking I didn’t belong with them, that I must be some charity case to them. I started thinking that my kids were embarrassed by me and my size. I even stupidly walked away from my trainer, because I couldn’t let go of my obsession.
All because a scale told me a number that the diet industry said I shouldn’t be.
I don’t remember why I finally put the scale away. I hit the wall somewhere along the line and decided I could no longer live like this. I went cold turkey and the cold sweats began shortly after. I suffered through weeks of doubt, wondering if my number went up or down. I would sit in the bathroom staring at the spot on the floor where my scale was and wish it would appear again. I felt like some caged animal pacing back and forth, waiting for purgatory to end.
And then it happened.
One morning I got up, started my day and not once did the thought of weighing myself come into my mind.
Slowly, I felt this weight being lifted from my shoulders, and my head was coming out of the fog.
My stress levels were vanishing.
I would get asked “How are you?” and I could actually answer with a true emotion.
I found myself smiling more.
I started to engage in relationships with my family and friends again.
I finally allowed myself to find my true maintenance level and begin on a true reset. This allowed me to make huge strength gains in the gym.
I slowly but surely started putting my life back together.
Over the last year, I have made some amazing steps to truly loving myself and my journey. (more on that in another blog:)) For the first time in my life, I found self love and the courage to love who I am right now. These things would not have been possible if I still allowed that scale to dictate who I am. My progress is not hindered in any way because I don’t know how much I weigh.
The world did not end because I stopped letting a scale dictate my self worth.
The scale cannot tell you how much muscle you have.
The scale cannot tell you if you lost fat or muscle.
The scale does not tell you anything but your relationship to gravity in that given moment.
The scale will not tell you how beautiful you are.
The scale will not show you how loved you are.
The scale will not make you a better wife/mother/sister/friend.
The scale cannot track how heavy your barbell has become.
The scale will not keep you warm and safe at night.
If you are still stepping on that scale, to “monitor” your progress, I urge you to step off of it. If you cannot handle seeing that number rise to a level you might not be comfortable with, then please do yourself one huge favor, and put the scale away. There is so much more to your journey than a number on a scale.
You are much more than a number.
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Fitspo – Fitness Inspiration. Typically found in motivational quips, pics, or tips on how to look like a fitness model that are often found on the internet, magazines, books, DVD covers, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
“Fighting against yourself…makes it much harder to reach your goals…” EM2WL interview with fitness model and author Dani Shugart
Many of us are holding ourselves, and our physiques, to completely unrealistic expectations. The obvious “self-love” response is that we honestly shouldn’t be comparing in the first place, because everyone’s situation is unique to them, and we should be happy with what WE have. However, for reasons beyond simply coveting, we often feel the need to visualize what is actually possible for us before striving for it. It’s only human nature to want to have a vision of the “end product.” While it’s often really hard to even know what our body is capable of (and it’s typically so much more than we could ever imagine), it’s also important to keep ourselves grounded in the search of our “goal body.”
In yesterday’s live broadcast we discussed 6 tips for deciphering fitspo, and finding a physique “goal” that is actually attainable for you. These tips will help you to wade through the various well-meaning motivational quips, and workout plans and actually get REAL results that you can maintain.
Obvious, but let’s keep it real. When looking at an image, or person that you “want to look like” consider their genetics. When looking at your own physique and comparing it, consistently ask yourself: what are your genetics capable (or not) of? What can/can’t be changed about your physique? Although some things can be changed through lifting and proper eating, some things are non negotiable (bone structure, height, torso length, etc). While I don’t subscribe to using genetics as a cop out, I do believe in keeping it real and moving on vs pining for what you can’t have, while disregarding all else.
How many times did they diet before achieving the results that you see? Are they in an over dieted/overtrained state (common in fitness DVDs/photo shoots)? How long did the current results take? How long have they maintained their results? How do they look on NON photoshoot days? Could it possibly be newbie gains? Are you comparing your 12th diet to their first diet (it’s like crack…never as good as the first time)? Have they ever been big?
Understand that the physique that you see before you was not the result of just one 4, 8, or 12 week cycle. How long have they actually been working out? How long have their results been compounding compared to yours? How long should you expect to work before achieving similar results? This is especially crucial to understand when looking at the current workout that a person is doing, and assuming that it gave them the current results. Bodybuilders and other elite athletes tend to move into “maintenance” style workouts after decades of working out a certain way. You may suddenly see this person doing more circuit style workouts, or CrossFit, or bodyweight stuff. If you’ve done your “background” homework on the person, you should be able to easily understand that they did NOT get the body they have from doing the program that they are promoting. If a person looked a certain way before creating the program, do not be disappointed with yourself that you don’t look like them after just 90 days. Keep putting in your time, and allow your own results to compound.
Balancing Work, Family, and a Figure Competition Diet? – FitNix Interview
Are they married? Divorced? Did they get the body they have after the divorce? Do they have kids? Are their kids young, older? Have they ever been pregnant? Had a c-section? Do they eat foods that you actually relate to and could see eating for.like.ever? If you’re going to find a “physique mentor” they’d have better have something in common with you, or else you’r setting yourself up for failure by trying to literally be someone that neither you nor your family will recognize. If you have a family, husband, job, etc., don’t get caught up trying to live the life of someone who is single, with no kids…or gets PAID to deprive themselves of life as we know it. #fail
Have they had any lifts/nip/tucks? Liposuction? Implants? Skin removal surgery? When it comes to the fitness industry, and especially the fitness model industry, there’s is a certain level of understanding. Often in order to have the lowered level of body fat that is required, yet still maintain “symmetry” of the physique some type of enhancement is needed. If a person in the spotlight loses a drastic amount of weight, it’s quite possible that they also had to get some skin removal surgery to stay within industry standards/expectations. There is also a whole host of other fixes that obviously go into prepping the model for the shoot, or the star of the DVD, but keep those thoughts at the forefront of your mind when getting “inspired” by them.
This goes without saying that a 55 year old woman who compares her body to that of a 25 year old is bound to feel depressed at the reality of gravity ;). But as we mature, we must also take time to remember that certain styles of eating and workouts are MUCH more forgiving in our youth. We could ignore the basics guidelines of lifting, eating enough protein and fiber, and despite the odds look pretty dang (deceivingly) good. But not so once we creep into our late 20s, 30s and beyond. So getting uber inspired by the 23 year old who eats whatever the heck she wants, doing tons of circuits, and seemingly loving life…is a huge mistake for mature, over-dieted population.
We simply do not know what really went into getting (or at least portraying) the images that you see strewn before you on every magazine, billboard, Pinterest, or Instagram post. One commenter mentioned regarding finding the ideal fitspo, “Sooo don’t compare yourself to others. Too hard to find one.”
Hope you enjoy this replay, fam!
PS. I’d love to chat with you!! Wanna catch me LIVE next time to ask your questions? Make sure you’re following @EM2WL on Periscope and Facebook to get notifications the second I start the next broadcast!
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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”
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 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.
Relax, have FUN, and take pics of the different styles to learn what looks best on YOUR body
EM2WL: Like so many of us, you bought into the eat less move more propaganda. You talked about being at your ideal scale weight but your body still not looking the way that you wanted. What was the turning point for you and what steps did you take to make a change?
Christie: It’s true, I ran more and ate less thinking being smaller (on the scale) would get me closer to my ideal “look.” My moment of change came when a trainer at my gym noticed my athletic drive, asked if I’d consider a figure competition (had no clue what it was, did my research and saw the look I wanted). I dived in and quickly learned I needed to eat more, run less, and train smarter to change my body. I stopped cardio almost completely, lifted 4-5 days a week hitting each body part, and made sure I was eating enough to support my goals.
E: You used to be a runner, right? Where do runs fit in your regimen now?
C: I do love what a run can do for the spirit, and will do so when I feel the need, but I do sprints mostly now, for 10-12 minutes, and that’s the extent of my running. 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off.
Here is a blog I wrote specifically to running vs. lifting and my body/mindset.
E: What advice do you have for women who are pregnant and worried about ‘ruining’ their body, or postpartum and scared that they’ll never get their pre-baby body back?
C: You aren’t ruined, changed, yes, ruined, no!! I love that I can share my postpartum journey, pregnancy takes over my body, regardless of my efforts, I gain a lot, and lose all muscle tone…basically, if I chose to accept the mentality that I was ruined, I most certainly would look that way. My advice, know what you want, do your part each day, give yourself the GRACE you would a friend to get there, and your body will take form like you never thought possible. You’re a mom now also, training is about more than a look at this point, it’s a break, a spiritual release, and being strong means more than a look…you’ll find the journey to inner strength will take you farther than any “body after baby” goal ever will.
E: Switching gears to your figure competition diet and prep…People often hear of a competitor doing a 9,12, 20 week, etc competition prep and feel that their own journey should be “finished” within similar lengths of time. How long would you say the time was between giving birth and the “official” beginning of prep for your recent return to the stage? (In other words, how much “pre-prep” prep?)
C: Great question!! I knew I wanted to compete at least once more after baby #3 so I trained with that in mind. I just recently picked a show in April and started my actual prep in January, knowing I did my part the past year to facilitate a healthy and balanced approach to the stage. So 17 months or so of training and proper nutrition, and 4 months of actual prep.
E: There seems to be a divided camp these days. Do you feel that it’s possible for women to practice both body acceptance AND seek improvements at the same time?
C: I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I wonder where I fit…and my answer is YES!!!
My self-love, acceptance, and perspective doesn’t come from how I look, it comes from God!! But God also put a fire in me to do more, be more, strive for more…for now that takes on the form of competing in the sport of Figure. While it is extremely subjective, I know that I am giving it my all and will hit the stage with that attitude. The idea of seeing what I’ve worked for on stage, taking time to assess my progress and continue to strive for more excites and pushed me!
However, competition or not, the gym is where I look to be judged, am I getting stronger, am I doing a little of what scares me, am I lifting more and moving better…being fit and striving for more has so much more to do with how you feel than how you look!!!
E: Has any of your body composition changes affected the way that you dress, clothing size/style?
C: Actually…no…I weigh the most I ever have and wear the same size pants. I naturally have a wide frame around my lats, so now I’ve embraced that and know to grab a medium top first and go from there. Doesn’t mean I’m fat, need to lose weight, or should restrict things from my diet, just means I’m better at those pull-ups I’m always trying to perfect.
E: Moms often feel the pull between fitness, career goals, and spending enough time with their family. With 3 kids of your own, a personal training/nutrition coaching business and preparing for return to the stage, how do you keep everything in balance?
C: The best part of being a fit mom, is working with other fit moms…they understand. So I have set hours for work and the rest is family time. I look at my mom duties, schedule, errand routine, and plan my fitness business around that. As for my training, its an appointment with myself also. I block off time to do that as well.
As for competition prep on top of all that…I took the past 15 months as a part-time working mom of three to fine tune the habits I’d need to do a Figure show, learning how to balance the family, training, work and meal planning. And I have to admit I’m a big fan of a meal replacement shake for on the go!!
E: Where would you suggest a new mom start with getting back in shape?
C: I love this quote, “start where you are, use what you have.” And that’s the secret, you just have to start. If you love to run, make a plan and go run, if you want to lift weights, hire a trainer and learn your way around the gym, join a cross fit box, there are so many people out there waiting to help you, invest into yourself and go for it!! Start small and build from there!!
E: How can our readers hear more from you?
C: Would love the company of any of your followers on my social media sites,
I have been around the EM2WL group for two and a half years now. My journey has been a very long road, filled with dozens of ups and downs, frustrations, anger, tears and joy. It has not been an easy road and I have almost walked away from it a few times..
But I knew that wasn’t going to help me. I knew the answer to my eventual success at sustaining fat loss was with EM2WL. I just couldn’t understand why my journey has not been a tremendous success as many of the other stories you read on here. I did everything I was supposed to. I did the metabolism reset, I did the 10% cut, I did TDEE breaks, I worked hard at keeping my diary clean but still enjoying myself. I hit the weights hard, I gave up on most of my cardio activities. Yet, the scale wasn’t budging a single pound. My inches didn’t seem to be changing much either. All I seemed to be doing was spinning my heels, getting frustrated and angry at myself and at those who were helping me and not being able to let go. I was told to ditch the scale. I was told to relax, and focus on something else. I was told to trust the process and believe in Myself.
Two long years of not listening. Two years of spinning wheels, self doubt and hatred, two years of crying almost daily about how nothing was happening and how I was still not seeing any sort of losses.
It was exhausting. It was debilitating. It was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, constantly angry and upset over not being a size “Average”, not enjoying myself or my family.
So I finally decided to listen. Really listen. And that meant the first thing I did was throw my scale away.
It took about two weeks to get over the urge to jump on the scale every morning and see if anything was happening. I was finally starting to see that my happiness that day was not decided by what a number on the scale said. Another stressor for me was tracking. I had been tracking my food intake for virtually 15 years with Weight Watchers and with MFP. I needed to let it go and try on my own for a while. I didn’t want to stress over numbers anymore. I wanted to enjoy my life and try to find a healthy balance. It was then that I realized what stress had been doing to me.
Once I eliminated two major stressors for me, I was starting to see a shift in my head towards this whole process. I was able to finally “trust the process” and really focus on what my end result wanted to be. I wanted fat loss, not a number on a scale. I wanted strength gains in the gym, not to be the gym cardio bunny. I wanted to be able to go out to dinner and not worry about how many calories or fat or carbs was in something. Above all, I was able to start loving myself. I was sleeping again, I was taking time out to do things for myself, I could feel a light in my heart again. Even friends were commenting on how happy I had seemed lately.
I had finally let go.
Its been 5 months since I stepped foot on a scale. I have no idea what my weight is, nor do I care. I track sporadically and this of course is still a huge work in progress, but I feel much more comfortable about my eating now than I did three years ago. I’m still working on calorie increases and keeping my macros in check. I’m not perfect, but I’m still learning.
This past 5 months has been a huge mental shift. And its one that has finally let me see the big picture and not focus on short term issues. I now know the scale is a hindrance to my success. I don’t need that in my life anymore. I have learned to accept who I am and not dwell on what I look like. I may not be anywhere near my end goal right now, but I am finally in the right mindset and the (physical) shifts are finally happening! Not everyone can figure this out right from the start. So if this sounds like you, let me be the one to tell you, Stick with it. Let go of the scale, learn to love yourself for YOU and trust the process.
The time is going to pass anyways, you might as well enjoy it rather than hating it.