A common struggle when making a lifestyle change that requires diet and exercise alteration is, staying the course. I can’t even list the amount of times I’ve been doing great, just to have something happen to sabotage my progress. Whether it be an emotional devastation, time crunch, travel, or family parties– it felt like I was working so hard just to have one or two slip ups that resulted in, seemingly, all my progress being erased.
But… that was flawed thinking. I’ll tell you why.
This is going to be a series of several blog posts that detail how I was able to stay the course and successfully lose 125 pounds naturally in the course of a year. More than that, this first post is going to be about how to get back on track once you’ve fallen off the proverbial wagon.
Look, first things first. No one is perfect 100% all of the time. There will be months of the year that you look and feel the best you’ve ever looked and felt and there will be months where you’ve eaten too much cake and had too many glasses of Stella Red. It’s called balance. Accept it. The little devil on your shoulder that’s telling you you need to be all in or not in at all is a clever little liar.
The truth is that eating well is a lot easier then we make it out to be. You don’t need a book (don’t tell my publisher I said that, lol), you don’t need a calorie app, you don’t need to work out five days a week. Just eat real food from the earth, in modest portions sizes, and YOU. ARE. GOLDEN.
My PT (that stands for personal trainer, yes, I have one of those because I have no ever loving clue what I’m doing in the gym.) always tells me to be the turtle. Meaning, be the one who is slow and steady to win the race. That rabbit that you’re trying to be? Yeah, cut that out. You’re not a rabbit, you’re a turtle. Pick one thing to focus on and smash the heck out of it. Who cares how slow you go if at the end you’re standing at the finish line?
If you’re always falling off of the wagon, it’s because you need to slow down. Make this lifestyle something that you can sustain forever. If the way you’re eating induces your anxiety, it’s not good for you bro! Let me tell you a secret: now that I’m on the other side of weight loss and in maintenance, my eating has to be exactly the same as it was when I was losing in order for me to maintain my weight loss. Drink a bottle of wine, have some Mickey D’s french fries, eat pizza at 2am, and I gain 7 pounds overnight. That’s no exaggeration.
In in the last month, I gained 17 delicious pounds of travel, friend-cation, and business trip weight. I’m not even mad about it because weight gain does not mean you’ve fallen off the wagon.
I’m going to repeat that for the person in the back, WEIGHT GAIN DOES NOT MEAN YOU’VE FALLEN OFF THE WAGON! It means that you’re doing an awesome job at living life. Our bodies were made to gain weight, lose it, to grow babies and birth them, stretch, wrinkle, freckle, and scar. They’re amazingly resilient things. And here’s another big ole secret… I am not 135 pounds 365 days a year. My weight fluctuates between 135 and 155 depending on what I’m doing at the time.
When I’m at my home base and I have time to go to the gym and cook the way I like to, I hover between 135-140.
When I’m traveling, vacationing, or staying with friends, I usually range between 140-155. Those extra pounds are life pounds. Late night pizza with friends, Sunday morning mimosas, birthday cake, etc. Those extra pounds are unforgettable trips, moments, and memories honoring and celebrating life.
It’s so important to let those moments have their moments. Accept that weight gain is part of life and resolve to go back to normal when you get back to home base. Now, I’m not saying you should go wild and eat/drink everything in sight. Be mindful, you know your body best. All I’m trying to say is, don’t let the small stuff make such a huge impact, that it derails you completely from where you’re going.
On Monday morning (2/25/19), I was 152.2 pounds after a marvelous, unforgettable week with some of my best friends in the world. We drank and ate and lived so hard last week, it was marvelous. On Monday, I wasn’t shocked, this is what my body does naturally anytime I’m not eating the way I do at home. I was tempted to let the indulgence live on. The sugar dragon was roaring and my heart yearned for melty glutenous pizza. But I’ve learned on this journey to let those moments be the wonderful moments they were meant to be and get back to business as usual Monday morning.
I know that it’s not easy. It requires you to deny yourself a bit, it can be incredibly disappointing to see the scale take a huge leap up, but it’s not just you. It’s that way for all of us.
Yesterday, I was intentional about being the turtle. Instead of going crazy hardcore at the gym, I got in a light 45 minute weight lifting workout so that I’d have energy to go back today. Because I didn’t go all out, I knew I’d not only have the energy but I’d also actually want to go back the next day. You have to make it fun and keep it light and consistent.
For lunch, I made scrambled eggs with some green beans, a small little salad, and a Suja green juice on the side. Keep it simple. It took me ten minutes.
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Lunch was made in ten minutes today! Y’all, it might not look like much but it was darn tasty! Eggs scrambled in a cast iron pan with a little bit of @kerrygoldusa butter. Once those were done and plated, the green beans went into the pan with a little avocado oil. Cooked them on medium-high for about 3 minutes and seasoned them with sea salt and black pepper. 1 large handful of greens with a little red onion, drizzle of balsamic vinegar and avocado oil. I had 8 ounces of @lovesuja Uber Greens on the side and I’m a happy camper! Hope y’all are having a kick butt Monday!
My snack was a Medjool Date, pitted, with almond butter, and sea salt and some nitrate-free turkey jerky from Costco.
For dinner, we had chicken thighs and green beans. After dinner, I had a my favorite Reese’s Peanut Butter Milkshake to curb my sweet tooth. I get asked a lot what I do to stop cravings, the answer is, I feed them. If I want a milkshake, I make one, just with healthier ingredients. This is how you make it a sustainable lifestyle because you’re not going to continue doing it if it doesn’t taste or feel good.
In just one day, I’m down 1.6 pounds! The weight will come off quickly if you go back to your normal routine right away! It might take a couple weeks but those pounds are not true fat, they’re bloat, inflammation, water retention, and sodium. The trick is, getting it off before it turns into fat!
If you have lost your motivation, if you fell off the wagon so long ago you can’t even find the tracks anymore, here’s how you’re going to get back on.
- Pick one thing to focus on. I always choose nutrition because that’s most important and it’s the way you’ll see results the fastest.
- Get rid of everything in your house that’s going to be a stumbling block for you. If it’s not in your cupboards, you can’t eat it.
- Find a few healthy recipes that sound delicious and put them on the menu for the week. Take time to do a bit of meal planning. Having a game plan is so important. Make sure you have healthy snack items on hand and if you are unable to meal prep or make lunches at home, make sure you have a plan for that too. Walmart has single serve organic salads for under $4. Highly recommend.
- Drink water. Aim for at least 100 ounces a day, but if you can drink your body weight in ounces, that’s ideal.
- Resolve in your mind that incorporating a healthier way of eating into your lifestyle does not require motivation or dieting. And read this post, click here, because it’s vastly important.
- Focus on more whole foods, less processed, and smaller portion sizes. I like to use this chart to help, see below.
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How do I know when to eat? How much do I eat? How do I know if I’m not tracking calories? The stomach, when not stretched out and distended, is about the size of a clenched fist. Part of eating intuitively is mindfulness. Keeping the hunger scale in mind and the “handy” guide to food portions made it easy for me to determine how much I should eat. I also began using smaller plates and bowls so that there wasn’t a bunch of extra room on my plate. I found when following these guidelines I naturally like to eat about every 3 hours. I typically consume my meals between 8AM and 7PM. After 7PM I allow my body to take a break from digesting, to divert that energy to other things, like breaking down fat stores and healing. How are your portions? Do you often forget to eat and then find yourself ravenously hungry at the end of the day? This might help! ❤️
So, how bout this… If you’ve been having a difficult time of sticking to this lifestyle change, get back on track with me! For the next couple months, I will be journaling here as I work to lose those pesky 17 pounds before my cousins wedding in April. I’ll also be sharing more in-depth posts on how to get back on track and stay the course. Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you won’t miss a post! Click here.
Remember, be the turtle. Slow and steady wins the race. You don’t have to try to do everything right this second. Little changes over time add up to BIG results!