How Stress Affects Your Metabolism

How Stress Affects Your Metabolism

Learn how stress affects your metabolism and why it can cause weight gain. Plus some tips on how to manage it.

How Stress Affects Your Metabolism


Stress is an inevitable part of life. It can be caused by both good and bad events, and it can affect our emotions, thoughts, and physical health. When you’re feeling stressed out, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol. This hormone can lead to weight gain, especially around your midsection. So if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to learn how to manage it. Take some time each day to relax, and you’ll see a big difference in your weight loss progress!

Practical ways to relieve stress in your life are:

  • Go for a walk
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Do something creative
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have some “you” time
  • Learn to say no
  • Hang out with friends
  • Hang out with your pet
  • Laugh and smile more
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Exercise
  • Clean your house
  • Breathe


Be sure to watch our video above for a more in-depth look into this issue and learn how to deal with the extra pounds caused by stress. Have you tried any of the techniques mentioned in the video? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments below.


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Newbie Diet and Exercise Mistake

Newbie Diet and Exercise Mistake

When you suddenly stop losing weight, or results appear to be getting worse, it’s flat out frustrating. You can’t help but wrack your brain (and pound the google pavement) searching for THE answer.

Should I add more cardio?

Take a special supplement?

Maybe I’m fill-in-the-blank intolerant?

Fill-in-the-blank always worked in the past…I just need to stick with it…

The DIY Dieter’s Downfall – Allowing nostalgia to override the science

Past Diet success leads to incorrect assumptions about how dieting works
Too often DIY dieters reflect back on tactics they’ve used in the past, and use it as a measuring stick for how to move forward. If a certain diet or workout plan done for a short period of time gave them some “success,” they tend to assume that any plateau, or lack of visible progress can be fixed by going “back to” or doing more of it.


Unfortunately, there is no magic diet pill, calorie level, or workout plan that will help you achieve permanent success. At least not in the way that most people believe.

The diet industry has sold discouraged DIY dieters on the dream that if you just keep searching for that one, perfect-for-you style of eating or exercising, that you can “set it and forget it.”

Plateau Reality #1: The human body will adapt to ANYTHING that you do repeatedly.

Remember that first time you took up running/did that infomercial workout/cut carbs/tried Slim-fast? Whatever the thing is that gave you that first real taste of results? You got so focused on the results, that your brain made an immediate, long-standing (and incorrect) connection:

This is what it takes to get me results.

So, you either stopped doing it once you got to your goal, and pledged your undying devotion to it as your go-to from that moment forward…

You kept doing it religiously, thinking that the results could only get better from there.

But things didn’t quite pan out as you’d hoped. Eventually the results stopped, or started going backwards.

This is because your results are never based on one specific workout program. Results come from a compounding of multiple actions, including actions taken before, during, and after the program. This is known as periodization in the strength and conditioning world.
Results viewed out of context can lead to an extremely messy situation for DIY dieters. Years are wasted chasing the onestyle of eating, the one calorie level, or the one workout plan that will solve all of their problems. If only that’s how it all worked…
Diets are meant to be short term

Plateau Reality #2 – If you want something to keep working, take a break from it.

Ok. So how the heck are you supposed to navigate this new reality that no matter what you do, your body will adapt and it will stop working?

Short answer: quit while you’re ahead.

Longer answer: know and accept the fact that anything works short term, but nothing works forever. Then you can strategically step away from something when (or preferably just before) it stops working.

Do you have to let it go forever? No. But don’t let your addiction to the short term “benefits” override the science: once your body has adapted, diminishing returns are on the horizon.

If you have a favorite workout plan, style, etc. you can still do them. But decide upfront if you’re doing it for the love of it, or because you want a physique-based result from it.

If it’s the former, then do what you love, as much as you like, for as long as you like. #noregrets

If it’s the latter, you’ll want to set yourself some boundaries. Decide ahead of time on the season, phase, or circumstances that you’ll be adding it in (ex: you love running in the summer time, or Thursday night Zumba with the girls).

But most importantly – set a designated time frame for when you will start, stop, and take a break from it so that you don’t experience diminishing returns on all your hard work. (For example: 3-6 weeks, or only ONE round of a 12-week plan, etc).

Remember, most “stubborn weight loss” plans are meant to be done short term.

You can either choose to accept this, and plan accordingly.


…stay in denial and keep trying to find the one solution to ride off in to the sunset.

The choice has always been yours, and I’m not here to judge.

Just to help you make an educated decision that you can unapologetically own.

Healing During the Messy Middle – Rachel’s Story

Healing During the Messy Middle – Rachel’s Story

healing during the messey middleHere at EM2WL we have talked in great length before about this lifestyle being a journey, not a race. We don’t reach the end result in 21 days or 90 days, or even in a year. The path to breaking free from Diet Mentality begins with a single step forward. For CTDM Workshop Alum member Rachel Perry, the first step forward was to take a step back.

Healing During the Messy Middle

Rachel joined the Fam during our first Crushing the Diet Mentality workshop over two years ago. Eager to learn how to take control of her life again, Rachel jumped right in to the materials and began her journey. She quickly realized that she had wasted over 20 years of her life by jumping on every latest diet trend. (not including the thousands of dollars in the process) After the workshop ended, the real work was set to begin. Rachel made the decision to enter a chill phase and spent the next two years relearning how to just live life again.

Rachel recently sat down with Kiki to discuss her messy middle – that part no one sees between the before and after pictures. In her interview, Rachel discusses many of her mindset shifts that occurred over her two years in chill. Some key points they discuss in this vlog are:

  • Having a DEXA scan done and seeing just how much muscle she had lost from dieting
  • Gaining 10 pounds in a year and none of it being Fat.
  • Learning that the work is being done under the surface, and that you can’t see it most of the time.healing during the messey middle
  • Understanding what it truly means to be in a Chill phase.
  • Learning that diet mentality makes you track time, not behaviors.
  • Realizing that it is a really cool journey learning about yourself.
  • Appreciating that she can now have Cadbury eggs in the house months after Easter
  • No more GUILT!

Rachel’s journey is far from over. She shares her messy middle to encourage new members that there are people who took back their life. There are members of the Fam who understand your struggles and are here to help. And there is life after the scale.


Be sure to take a few moments and listen to this amazing conversation!


Be sure to head on over to our Online Facebook Community to see Rachel and all of the Fam who have gone through, or going through the Messy Middle

Why using a food tracker can help with fat loss

Why using a food tracker can help with fat loss

Why using a food tracker for fat loss can help you acheive your goalsA 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.

Why using a food tracker for fat loss can help you acheive your goalsAnother 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.

Diets and Deadlines: Female Fat Loss Struggles cont..

Diets and Deadlines: Female Fat Loss Struggles cont..

In our previous blog post, we discussed three main reasons why many women struggle with fat loss:

– Women are more focused on “weight” loss, rather than fat loss.
– Hormones can play a big role in how fast and where the fat loss can occur.
– Women generally have a lower muscle mass than men do.

While we could have certainly ended the conversation there, (solving any one of those issues could result in a shift in fat loss for most ladies), we feel compelled to bring the topic home by pointing out the elephant in the room: The Diet Mentality.  Even if most ladies understand the central theme behind developing a less stressed, “muscle-based” mindset, they still want to go about solving their fat loss issues with extreme diets and unrealistic deadlines.

Diet Preferences

When we choose to diet in a way to lose “weight,” (remember reason #1!) we typically select very extreme methods to do so. (*cough* 1200 calorie diets!)

Whenever you embark on a low calorie diet your body is forced to make less food spread farther, so it often has to make budget cuts to survive (literally).  Because muscle requires more calories to maintain, extreme “budget cuts” can put those precious muscles you’re striving so hard to hold on to, in jeopardy.  When the body is faced with a low calorie (especially low protein) diet – it has to break down muscles in order to “find” the protein it needs to survive (essentially getting rid of those dang “expensive” muscles, so that the budget can spread further!).

Most women (whether on a diet or not) prefer a high carb, high fat diet with very low protein incorporated.  When coupled with little to no resistance training, and repeated bouts of super low calories, many women are living in a perpetual “muscle wasting” lifestyle.  Rejecting the 1200 calorie insanity, and increasing the protein is a great starting point for most ladies seeking fat loss.  Protein not only keeps you fuller longer, it helps to keep the metabolism from burning up the proteins in our muscles, thus making our workouts more effective, and allows the muscles to build up instead of break down.  Once weight lifting is sprinkled in, it’s icing on the cake! (Note: I didn’t say anything about getting rid of cake…)


Because many of the diets that we tried in the past helped us to lose weight “fast,” it’s honestly tough to NOT lack patience. Thanks to our microwave society, we tend to want alllllllll. the. things. RIGHT. NOW.  We can’t understand why men can lose weight so quickly, or why younger women are dropping pounds faster than us.  The media knows this, and makes sure to taunt/target/tempt us regularly with quick fixes (and we just keep taking the bait- even when we know better). We want things that happen as fast for us as they did in the past – to have the losses we did when we went on our first diet.

We say we’re willing to do “whatever it takes” — but never for “as long as it takes.”

Having patience is about being willing to build/maintain muscle mass and actually stop stressing about it. It means focusing less on weight loss, more on fat loss.  It’s about finally settling in and doing things right by your body.  It’s about reaching your goals in a no-nonsense way that does not backfire in the long run: eating enough food, eating enough protein, getting enough fiber, lifting and doing workouts in a way that are built to maintain the muscle mass you already have, and maybe even encourage more muscle growth along the way.

So there you have it. The five biggest reasons why women tend to struggle with fat loss.  So remember this on your journey to a better and healthier you. Dieting will lead you down a path of never ending gain/lose cycles, constantly frustrated with the lack of progress. The goal of the Diet Mentality is to make you stop enjoying your life to its fullest. A change in your diet focus, throwing the scale away, and taking the time to build your muscle mass back up while living your life now, will all put you down the path to success. The path just winds along the rose gardens, rather than plows right through them.


Guest Post – Leigh Anne’s Strongman Competition

Guest Post – Leigh Anne’s Strongman Competition

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.

Leigh1I 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.

Leigh2I 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

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