How many of you started a diet for the New Year? Or resolved to eat better and lose weight? A lot of the diets out there claim that all we need to do is “eat less and exercise more”. This should be easy, right? Then why is it so hard?What happens is you get so tired that you feel like crap during your workouts (or you are on a plan that suggests that you DON’T workout at all). You may feel sluggish, weak, hungry and just about the only thing you can think about is the foods aren’t on your diet. Have you been here? I know I have. Anytime something is “off-limits” to me, I want it. Even if it was something that I wouldn’t normally want!
Back in 2007, I started training for fitness competitions. Basically glorified bikini contests. I ate 6 small meals a day, protein at all meals, limited starchy carbohydrates, a gallon of water a day and 6+ workouts a week. I got in pretty good shape I guess. Lean enough where I felt confident walking on stage in front of an auditorium full of strangers in about a yard of fabric and clear 4 inch heels. At that time, I felt the best I had ever felt physically, but mentally I. WAS. MISERABLE. I didn’t socialize much because I was afraid of being too tempted to eat things not on my plan. I’d rather stay in the comfort of my home with my chicken breasts and broccoli than go out to a bar where I had to drink water and watch my friends have beer and wine and nachos. I couldn’t wait to be done and not have to plan and track every single ounce of food I ate. This was just MY experience. One of my close friends did everything while she was prepping and never missed a beat. Not me. I liked dieting for about 4 days. I’m sure if you follow any other past competitors you’ve read this same story before. I think a lot of us have written about our post show experiences.
Why am I telling you this?
I was on a plan that “worked” in that I was dropping body fat and getting leaner, but I couldn’t wait to get OFF the damn plan!! Finally, when the shows were over, I would eat all that I couldn’t have while prepping for my shows (pasta, brownies, wine, beer etc) only to gain the body fat back and feel gross. It was back to square one. Obviously the best way to lose the weight is to go on another plan right, just do another show. So I did another show…and another, and another, and another! Now, don’t get me wrong, there were definitely parts of this experience that I absolutely LOVED and wouldn’t trade for anything. The sense of accomplishment I felt after my first show is something I will never forget. I remember telling people that it was “my marathon”. But I got way too caught up in what foods were “good” and “bad”. I forgot how to just EAT like a normal person. I forgot what it felt like to be hungry because I thought I had to eat every 2-3 hours or my metabolism was going to shut down. I thought that I HAD to have protein at every. single. meal or else I would be starving and lose all my muscle. Regrettably, I told people that this is how THEY should eat too. Whether or not they wanted to or not, this is what works. I thought if it worked for me, it’s going to work for them too.
Well, if you are one of those people, I apologize. There is no one way to eat for weight loss. What works for one person may or may not work for YOU. Some people can drink their meals, and they love it. It works for them. They can do it forever. Others would rather poke their own eyeballs out than drink a meal. Some people only eat 3 times per day and are completely fine. They feel satiated and get results. Others need to eat 4 or 5 times per day. I think I’ve tried just about everything: 2 shakes a day, 6 meals a day, Intermittent fasting, high carb – low fat, low carb – high fat, counting points, tracking my calories, paleo (for about 5 hours ha!). I’ve worked with hundreds of women who have done the same! Cleanses, fasts, diets, tracking, the list is endless! What I’ve found is that you have to find what works for YOU and your goals. If you just want to be a smaller version of yourself and not get any leaner, then counting calories with no regard to your macros is great. If you want to get leaner, the TYPE and amount of calories you consume will definitely make a big difference. If you have just had a stroke, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, you may need to eat a lower sodium diet. If you are training for a marathon, your goals will be different than a new mom who is breastfeeding. You get it. Yet, most of these plans are one size fits all. Drink this, take that, eat ONLY these foods. It’s CRAZY! Yet we do them, over and over and over again.
So if you are 9 days into a plan that you absolutely hate, chances are really good that it’s not for you. If you are following a diet that worked for you once before and to get “back on track” you are going to do it again, ask yourself why you weren’t able to keep the weight off in the first place. Is your plan something you can do long-term? Would you want to?
I wish I could end this with a great discount to my new diet plan that works for everyone 🙂 Unfortunately it’s not the case (although I do offer nutritional coaching if you’re interested). I guess my goal is to get you to understand that you have to find something that is sustainable for YOU. You may not know what that is yet, but if you are following a diet and you’re miserable, it’s a sure bet that in 6 months you are still going to be searching for the best NEW thing that everyone else is doing and you’ll be in this same boat.
Stay tuned for my next rant on exercise. Lord knows that I’ve tried just about every workout that has been out there. Like dieting, it doesn’t come in one size fits all.
If you have any questions about my online nutritional coaching program to help you once and for all figure out what works, don’t hesitate to email me 😉