I want to talk about fat loss. I want to talk about body image. I want to talk about how in the case of fat loss…nothing that is meant to last can be created overnight. If you are like me, you have been through or are currently going through a phase where you are simply not happy with your body. You spend time on blogs, reading fitness magazines, following fitness models on instagram, all while jotting down things that you think you ‘should’ be doing to achieve your ideal physique.
“So Fitchick45xo got has an inredidble body by lifting 5 days a week and she was always eating rice cakes with whey protein…but Sassygal89 did fasted cardio 5x a week, ate paleo but one day a week she ate anything she wanted…I’m going to try BOTH methods and see what works for me“
Can you relate to this?
I know that I can. We LOVE to see what our role models are eating, what they are doing day to day and especially how they are working out-in the hopes that it will work for your body.
The GOOD news about this is that it is amazing to have a role model; someone whom you look up to for more reasons than just a physique that you yearn for. Having a role model and following a certain someone can truly help you stay on track, focused and furthermore–attain all of your goals!
The BAD news about this is that you have to realize that your body is unique and fat loss takes TIME. We so often hope to see a diet, workout or a specific ‘fat burning’ food to eat and change our whole way of thinking because it worked for ‘Sally’ Well the truth is-what works for Sally most of the time won’t work for YOU.
I myself have been a victim to this as well. I have read religiously a workout plan or diet in Oxygen Magazine years ago and figured “Okay, Naomi…lets do this!” I followed the plan but was not seeing any results. It was not until working 1-1 with a coach that It finally clicked to me that my body was 100% unique. My organs, skin, body, definition, hormones, food intolerances, exercise effects are not the same as anyone else on this earth!
The truth is–we live in a world of instant gratification. We order a movie on Netflix or iTunes and we get it that instant. We order food-we get it. We text someone-we want a text right back. We’re bored, we browse social media to see what the world is up to. We. Don’t. Stop. We want things NOW.
Sometimes, it’s okay to want things in an instant, but when it comes to our bodies, we can’t even understand why that 3lbs hasn’t budged in 2 weeks. We want instant transformation.
When it came to my body, it took me some time to realize that this wasn’t going to be an overnight process. I stopped with the gimmicks such as taking CLA and fasted cardio and finally decided to commit to a plan that I know would transform me from the inside out.
My body is unique and I wanted something long lasting. I wanted to experience the highs, the lows, the journey, the excitement, the struggle, the fun, the friends, the tears and the laughter. I wanted to do this in the healthiest, happiest way possible. I was not only unhappy, but I was beyond confused with all of the suggestions of what I ‘should’ be doing by reading articles and magazines and blogs.
You have to give your body time to follow one plan and one plan only.
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this post it is the importance of consistancy. One of the main issues I see my clients do is that they will follow a plan for 3 days and then try another one, and another one. The same goes for their workouts.
“Pshh, I stopped with that because nothing happened” Ummmmm you have to be PATIENT, guys! Things worth having take TIME.
If you want to enjoy your journey, you have to weigh your options
1) Do you want to kill yourself with getting lean in a very short period of time which will probably last you only a couple of weeks until you bounce back?
2) Do you want to practice patience when it comes to fat loss, all while enjoying the process, your social life, smile, challenge yourself and stay motivated?
I’ll take option numero DOS
We all love ‘the struggle’ For some sick reason we love to beat ourselves up and make fat loss ‘so hard’. I see posts on instagram and Facebook that go something like this
“Omg I wanted that cookie so badly, but NO! I will ‘sad face’ eat my chicken and green beans while watching everyone else enjoy themselves #Icandoit”
You really CAN have the cookie, but you chose not to, so when I see these posts about making it out to seem like people should go give them a pat on the back for ‘being so good’ it makes me sad. The choice of strict dieting is in their power so one thing I can’t stand is when they take the blame out on everyone else and play the ‘victim’ card.
I can tell you right now that living on broccoli, tilapia, boiled chicken and brown rice will only last you so long. Sooner or later, your body will not be able to maintain this rigidity and you will see the opposite results of what you thought would happen. You will be grabbing that cake, bag of chips and nachos in NO time.
With this picture above, I want to explain where I was at at this point in my life. This was back in August, 2010, right when I joined Cathy Savage Fitness. I was doing probably 5-6x a week of cardio for about 40-60 minutes at a pop. I was running or on the elliptical, lifting weights here and there, but nothing crazy. I also was in an awful relationship that was taking on toll on me mentally and emotionally.
I was WAY overdoing my cardio which in itself is an issue when it comes to fat loss. Why?
- Sooner or later, the body adapts and uses energy and oxygen more efficiently during cardio, which thus makes it ineffective for fat loss. The reason we see people day in and day out running for 45+ minutes or elliptical for that same time without really being ‘out of breath’ is because the your body gets accustomed to this. Your body stops reaping the metabolic and fat burning effects after a period of time. You have to change something for your body to respond.
- You will experience tremendous muscle loss by overdoing cardio.
- Repetitive exercise stress could lead to altered hormone balance.
- Increased cardio means increase food intake. It’s not rocket science that increased cardio make increases our appetite to the max! Moderate intensity cardio will not deplete energy stores and the biggest misconception is that we have to eat extra carbs and protein pre and post cardio when in truth, this isn’t the case
- Increased cardio leads to increase in cortisol which is a growth hormone that will cause your body to hold onto fat.Cortisol can be linked to chronic stress as well which can cause our bodies to crave those sugary, fatty foods.
In the picture above, I was eating extremely clean ALL of the time. I ate all of the ‘good foods’ tons of veggies, salads, proteins, healthy fats (maybe a bit too much nut butter) but no doubt, I almost never gave in and had something that I truly was craving. I was eating clean. 100% of the time. I would try to restrict my calories well beyond what I should have been doing and only grabbing healthy foods. Bread? Cookies? Chocolate? NO WAY. I thought that the only way to drop body fat and change my physique would be doing it hardcore.
We all know this doesn’t set one up for long term success in the fat loss department and what would end up happening is I would binge on food and not only that, I was extremely unhappy with myself, my body and did nothing but beat myself up.
Bottom line–I was physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually miserable.
I felt lost, confused and out of control. I didn’t know how I let my body get to this point, but I didn’t care. I was going to do something about it and I KNEW it would take time. I never had a crazy ‘toned’ physique, but at 5’2, I felt uncomfortable with the extra bodyfat that I was not used to. Of course I saw models on fitness magazines and in complete awe of their physique, but I was also realistic.
After starting with Cathy Savage Fitness and working with a coach 1-1 who understood my body, what works for me and what doesn’t and customizing a plan that fit ME…things started happening. I also began to realize that taking a more conservative approach would yield the results that I was looking for.
- She told me I could eat bread.
- She told me I could eat chocolate.
- She told me I could still have my social life while doing so.
- She told me there was no food that I could not eat. I listened.
- I gave my body a break and starting tuning into how I was feeling after eating certain foods.
- I gained a whole new perspective on working out and eating.
- Portion control became my best friend when I realized that there was no food ‘off limits’
This Picture above was after about 6 months of following my newfound plan.
What was I doing differently that caused me to completely transform my physique?
- I stopped doing so much cardio (3x a week for about 30-40 minutes tops) When I was used to doing about 50 minutes 5x a week.
- I used moderation and ate everything using portion control–Measuring cups and the digital scale were my best friend (temporary until I figured out portions on my own)
- Variety when it came to food and exercise increased 10 fold. I was introduced to new fruits, veggies, starches, protein sources and the abundance of good fats such as avocado oil, sesame oil, tahini and udos oil.
- I didn’t spend hours in the gym. 1 hour 15 minuets tops
- I never once tracked macros/micros
- I Stopped stressing about not being comfortable in my own skin and started to appreciate my body for all that it is able to do. I GET to workout. I GET to make good choices. I GET to compete in fitness shows. I GET to be happy. These are all choices that I make every single day. These are privileges that I am so grateful for and when I realized this–stress melted away
This picture was taken about 2 weeks from my first show. I finally had my suit which I never thought would fit me in a million years. I was so proud of myself for taking my time my body needed to come in naturally.
I never once took a supplement, I never once underestimated the time it would take to get me to this place. I never once was so rigid in my routine that I gave up my social life. In fact–starting this journey made me realize many things, one of which was what a horrible relationship I had let myself get wrapped up in. New found self esteeem and happiness from the inside out meant that I had the control to take care of my body, mind and mental health.
I realized the importance of EATING. Fat loss will not happen if you do not eat!
What happens when we under eat?
When we avoid food the hormone, cortisol increases in your body, causing the body to store fat. The “eat less” approach will not get your body where you want it to be if fat loss is your main concern. When you drastically cut down calories or skip meals, this will lead to a loss in muscle, slowing of metabolism and possible weight gain in the long run. Of course, you want to be aware of your body, listen to its hunger signals and cues.
If there is one thing I know about my body having competed in 5 shows, watching my body transform and undergoing the scariest surgery/procedure of my life, I have certainly learned what my body can handle and what is too much. I also have chosen to take the path of HAPPINESS when it comes to fat loss.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there are many many ways to go about losing fat, and some are not only not glamorous, but they can put your body through some extremely unhealthy measures. Going about fat loss in this way will give you results in the short term but more serious health issues in the long run.
I for one, would never sacrifice my health on this earth for a set of washboard abs. Not only that, but I also wouldn’t miss a fun social event or skip a glass of wine because life is too damn short.
This is what my fitness/nutrition/health life looks like these days
- 4-5 days of workouts per week with two FULL REST days (yoga or a run is not ‘rest’)
- 1 hour tops for my workouts (usually 45 min. Yoga is the only form of physical activity that can go past 60 minutes but I do not take Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga because I do not like it.)
- I’m on my feet all day and rarely do ‘steady state’ cardio. I haven’t been on an elliptical in about 3 years
- I lift weights 3x a week
- I practice conditioning workouts 2x a week, 30 minutes tops (Kettbell/boxing/ calisthenics)
- I drink wine weekly
- I have dark chocolate every other day
- I make time for social events
- I smile
- I eat anything that I crave/want (of course watch portions) but I never label food as ‘bad’ or ‘good’
This picture above is my good ole’ norm these days. I am a work in progress like everyone else. I have goals to compete again in the near future but it is not the main priority in my life. ( I mentioned that because I get asked that question all the time!) While I love competing and everything that goes along with it–I also am so happy living in freedom and training for life.
I wanted to post this because I want to share that there are MANY ways to get to your physique goals, but without being happy mentally and emotionally, it will be a long road to get there. Stop comparing yourself to others when it comes to diet and workouts. Find what works for you. I would NEVER tell someone to eat chicken 4x a day with brown rice and broccoli because I KNOW that this is not sustainable, will make that person miserable and also is extremely depressing. There are so many ways to lose fat and I wanted to share what worked for ME. It is so important to be in tune with your body and how you feel after eating certain foods. If you are truly uncertain and not seeing any results or feel not 100%…think about hiring a qualified nutrition coach NOT following a diet in Fitness Magazine or that you see in a blog. This was not written for you.
Please reach out with any questions, Naomi@1fitfoodie.com
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