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!
Leigh Anne is a long time EM2WL vet who decided to push her limits by entering Strongman competitions. This is a recap of her last event.
I am still reeling from an incredible Strongman competition weekend and I need to share! I competed in the first Strongman at a gym in Charlottesville, VA. There were over 90 competitors, it was over 90 degrees and all but one of the five events were outside.
It was a long day.
I weighed in at 242. My previously steady weight of 237 was definitely boosted by eating super well a couple days prior. I ate well that night and ended up getting some delish local grub at a farmer’s market the next morning, along with the most amazing iced coffee I’ve ever had.
I wore a tank top. I never wear tank tops, but it was HOT! I got two compliments about how “bad ass” I looked in my tank!
I did not have my best showing, but I can identify where I need to improve and where I messed up. I was not confident in my squat and I bottomed out – but I expected to. I was not confident. I skipped a 340-lb. deadlift to try for the 360, when I shouldn’t have … but I tried and it moved! The truck pull was deceptively easy from the start and I did not brace myself nor get enough momentum to pull the full 50 feet when I hit the up-hill grind. BUT … I cleaned a 100 lb. axle and never did that before! I loaded a 135 lb. stone to a 54-inch platform when my previous max was 125 to a 48-inch platform. The roar from the gym when I finally got it loaded (it was a struggle, ya’ll!) and my coach’s wife yelling in my ear to NOT STOP was life. That was amazing.
I cried several times that day. Not because I was upset with how I did, but because I was so proud of those around me. My amazing friend, Autumn, pulled the Mission BBQ truck the entire 50 feet and did not give up. She has been training for less than a year and I am so incredibly proud of her.
Then I met Mary Jacobson. Mary is 62 years young. Mary had gotten dehydrated a couple days prior, blacked out in her apartment, woke up in the hospital, pulled the IV out of her arm and told the staff that she had somewhere to be! (Please, I am not advocating doing this, but the independence, the drive and the determination of this lady was demonstrated here). Mary deadlifted 340 pounds. Mary pulled a 2.5 ton truck. Mary put on an amazing show, shared her knowledge. She was amazing. This lady is a cancer survivor. She was in a coma for two years. She won’t let anything stop her.
And I am honored to have met her.
Two days after this competition, I have signed up for my next one. It will be 10 weeks away – the first weekend in October. I plan to cut between now and then … and I have planned my meals to equate a 15% cut for now. A couple of the events at my competition in October are moving events, so I need to incorporate cardio into my training, but I hate the treadmill, elliptical and bike. My plan is to do light farmers, tire flips and truck pulls when possible. I am anxious to see what this cut does … and hoping for the best!!
Share your success, no matter how large or small. You never know who you may inspire to hang on just a bit longer. We love featuring results and journey stories in REAL time, not just before/afters. If you have a victory (scale or not) let us know and allow us to share with the fam, by submitting to success@EM2WL.com
It’s just over a year since I started following the EM2WL philosophy with a journal titled “Hoping this is the best decision I have ever made” At the time I knew I needed different approach to losing weight, my low cal, high cardio was not getting me anywhere, I grew frustrated with the lack of any real progress.
I think it is important to understand what my relationship with food and exercise was like for several years prior. It all went downhill when I developed an underactive thyroid, sadly this went undiagnosed for at least 3 years. In that time appetite decreased, yet my weight kept creeping up. How does that happen? I was perplexed that my food consumption was at an all time low, tiredness only got worse as I forced myself to exercise because I didn’t want to be seen as the “fat, lazy person.” I lost very little weight and I thought to myself no the wonder people give up trying to lose weight if it’s this bloody hard! No wonder. Eventually I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid, on the correct medication the weight fell off, as food and activity level remained the same.
By this time though, the damage had been done. My relationship with food and how much I could eat, and the amount of exercise needed was skewed, and I felt unable to correct it. Sadly, this led to a diagnosis of anorexia, periods stopped, I had sores on my body, constantly cold, tired but still managed to clock up several hours of exercise. Gaining weight became an immense fear. I liked the control aspect of it, finally something I was good at. I did attend an eating disorder clinic but it just made me worse, they constantly weighed you and as I would never let the ‘scale win.’ I deteriorated. I left to work through it in my own time. I found traveling really helped, but each time I came back my resolve weakened. In 2012 my periods finally returned after a 5 year absence.
Then the big binge happened, my willpower completely broke and went to the other extreme. Binges that went on for about 3 months. In that time, I went up to my highest weight ever 83kg a more than doubling of my anorexic weight. It was horrific. How could I let myself get to this state? Since then I’ve been trying to get myself to a more acceptable weight. Insanity, calorie restriction, insanity, cut calories, 1600, 1400, 1200… Some initial weight loss happened, but would stall quite early after slashing calories, so I’d cut again. Different workout programmes, same results. I’d binge regularly but always managed to blame this or that but never address the true reason behind those binges – lack of calories.
Then I remember the morning I was reading a forum on my way to Uni and someone’s response to someone who was struggling to lose weight mooted the idea that the person wasn’t eating enough and a link to My Fitness Pal and post in relation to EM2WL and an analogy using a flat mobile phone battery. A light bulb moment for me. I then researched further, and read loads on the EM2WL website. Could this be the answer, just as I was about to slash another 200 cals? Really? Other people maybe able to eat that amount, but me? What if I’m the odd one? What if I gain a heap of weight and the process doesn’t work? I eventually decided that doing something totally different to what I had done unsuccessfully in past was the answer. I reckoned if I continued on the same path then I’d be in exactly the same position as I was now as it had been for years previous. This change of direction offered hope, it just needed time, I mentally prepared myself for what lay ahead, this might get worse before it gets better but it would be worth it, if it turned out like what I had read on the forum. I had no timescale but knew I had wasted years on the slash and burn approach that it was only right that I gave this method the same amount of time.
And so began the reset.
I didn’t start my journal till June but started the reset process in May. That first month I stayed off the scales as I increased my calories to match my UP band over (1,000 cals increase) Emotions really swung from day to day. From hesitation and nervousness to one of hope, enjoyment, positivity, not feeling deprived. I switched from 5/6 cardio days a week to 3 days of lifting following NROLFW, that was a huge change for me and took me a while to adapt. My main focus was the years ahead, convinced I wasn’t going to be stuck in the same hamster wheel I had taken residence in for several years. This was sustainable, but I knew I had to deal with the bad before I could reap the benefits. Short term pain for long term gain. I just knew I had to ride out that particular part of the journey and go with the flow, accept that not much was going change at the start, and when the time came those changes would happen very slowly.
The support on the forum has been a key part of my success, especially from Anitra – my rock – from day one offering support, encouragement and nudging me in the right direction. Surround yourself with like minded people who have similar goals will always help you on your journey. Don’t think I could have managed this process by going alone, the concept of eating more will be alien to many of us and so easy to talk yourself out of it without the support from others.
I reset for 7 months, had planned on longer but it felt right to start a cut. EM2WL suggests a minimum of 12 weeks for reset but the longer the better really. Be realistic, 12 weeks is not going to be long enough if you have a history of restriction/severe restriction. I just enjoyed eating more after years of deprivation, I was in no rush to start a cut. When I did, I started with a 10% cut. Now, that may not seem like much but believe me you miss every one of those calories (that’s when you know the reset has been a success). I cut for 6 weeks, then went back to TDEE for a week. That’s the key to this whole process: to keep the metabolism on fire.
Notice how the frequent TDEE “diet breaks” have kept her momentum going in terms of weight loss. Also note this is over the course of 15 months.
Consistency over time = results!Three cut cycles resulted in a loss of 6kg (13.2 pounds). Cut cycles 4 & 5 have not necessarily seen a change in the number on the scale, but it’s important to remember that changes won’t always be reflected in the number on the scale. I recently decided to have a full month of eating at TDEE to give my body a break from being at a deficit, and hoped to put on some muscle during this time as well as preparing myself for another cut. When I resumed with a 10% cut, the scale started moving again. Diet breaks are so important, don’t be afraid to take them. With hindsight I should have taken an extended diet break sooner. Current total weight loss now stands at 7.6kg (16.7 pounds)! I have lost inches all over. Being consistent with food – hitting those macros and lifting regularly will get results over time. I’m a “work in progress” with the fundamental aspects in place I will get to where I want to be and I’m enjoying the process!
So a year later, I look back and I’m thinking this IS the best decision I have ever made. Changes are happening that are sustainable. I don’t feel deprived (well 10% cuts suck), I haven’t binged, and I have the freedom to eat what I want. I don’t feel guilty about going out for meals with family/ friends. I’m not treading the same old path and getting the same old results, the yo yo of losing weight and finding it again plus more all whilst eating very little. I’m learning more about my body as time goes by, what works, what doesn’t and that’s has only happened by slowing the whole process down and not looking for quick fixes with multiple changes at once. I hope that if anyone identifies with any aspect of my eating/exercise history then this will give them hope that they can make a successful change like me.
West (EM2WL Forums)
I’ve followed the EM2WL method for a few years (with great success!), and then last autumn, race season got a little crazy because I signed up for 2 half marathons. I enjoy running for the sanity-saving benefits (I have 4 kids ages 3-6!) but I LOVE lifting because I love being strong! Since I promised some friends I would run in the half-marathons, though, lifting had to take a backseat while I trained for those races. I was eating “enough” but noticing fat gain/muscle loss and started reducing my calories to try to tweak things. Obviously that was not the thing to do, as my body composition started getting worse and worse, despite eating fewer calories. I never NETTED below 1700 but with how much running I was doing, I still needed more, plus I needed to add lifting back in. (I wish I could go back in time to August 2015 when I started the crazy lowering-lowering-lowering of calories to tell myself to start increasing instead!! But lesson learned.)
Finally, this past January, I complained to my husband about how I couldn’t seem to lose the fat despite decreasing my calories and he asked “do you think you might need a reset? Are you eating enough?” and the light bulb went off. He stated that I can never claim he ‘doesn’t listen to me’ because he remembered my talking about EM2WL and metabolism resets and such a couple years ago! Haha! So at the beginning of February, I started increasing my calories to reach maintenance (2100-2200 based on my Fitbit Charge HR, plus more if I ran). I took pictures of myself before I started my calorie increase (photos on left in comparison shots).
My second half marathon was scheduled for the beginning of April, but I downgraded it to the 5k option because I really wanted to focus on regaining my lost muscle and not worrying about running.
BEST. DECISION. EVER.
I completed a 9 week reset and started a cut at 1900, which I quickly increased to 2000 due to lack of energy during lifts. I had already gained 10 pounds “at a deficit” while training last year that never came off, and then I gained 14-16 pounds during my reset. I started my cut and haven’t lost anything yet, but that’s okay because I’m still making gains in the lifts and that’s what I was mainly focused on. My lowest weight was 132 and I really loved my physique at that weight because I reached it combining running and heavy lifting (calories during cut were around 1800, so definitely following the EM2WL mentality!). Eventually I hope some of the fat will come back off since I’m currently hovering around 156-158 pounds (I’m 5’5.5”). My TDEE has also increased due to my increased weight, I suppose, so now I average 2300 without running based on my Fitbit.
This afternoon I squeezed into the clothes I was wearing when I started my reset, and those are the (tan!) pics on the right. The clothes are definitely tight, but I love how I actually have a better overall SHAPE than I did before! In a week, I’ll be starting a much-anticipated 2-week diet break. My lifting throughout February-April was starting over with StrongLifts 5×5 (since I’d lost most of my strength from running). I’m living in an apartment for about 6 months and don’t have access to my barbell but I did 3 weeks of NRoL Fat Loss 1, and am currently doing your heavy/light dumbbell workout at our apartment gym. Anyway, I just thought I’d share my in-progress story with you!
~mrs_dwr on MFP
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!!!