Tired. Low energy. Over it. It was a good run. All thoughts and feelings that may be crossing your mind as you reach the “half way” mark of this transformation. I know I have. If this is brand new for you, your body has been accustomed to a certain lifestyle and way of eating for this long, creating new habits or even better, creating a physical change can have many frustrating, scary moments along the way. Thoughts of wanting to give up, of feeling why do this anymore, it’s “not easy”. Without trying to sound too cliche, you should know that if it were easy, everyone would look and feel the way they wanted and everyone would be doing this. Anyone who needed to lose 50lb would walk into a gym, walk out, eat the right foods and *bam* they’re exactly where they wanted to be. Nope, it doesn’t work like that. The truth is most people won’t do this. There’s a minority group of people who understand the efforts it takes to not only make the necessary changes but to maintain that as a lifestyle.
Think about a toddler. What do they really know about life? Nothing. They think they know it all (at least my kids do), but we’re here as their parents to teach them. Brushing their teeth, eating the “correct” meals, getting dressed, putting on shoes, putting on their seatbelt, the list goes on. None of those things are “second nature” from birth. We teach them. As they get older and they become teens, young adults and adults, all of these behaviors are then second nature. When they wake up they know you brush your teeth (hopefully) and follow the remainder on that list. We can apply that same concept to how we live our daily lives. If no ones been there to teach you proper nutrition, that exercise is good for you and that self care is an important aspect of life, then you will continue on living the way you’ve thought life should be like. Now that you are into your transformation, you are literally learning brand new healthy habits and way of living. People believe diets fail. And they do when there’s no follow-up. What you are doing right now is priming yourself for the rest of your life and how life should be lived. With intention to care for your body. Doing this monthly, weekly, daily, will then instill some wonderfully healthy habits that do become second nature. Taking myself as example, I’ve had many years of training and learning what nutrition works for me. On a typical “non-diet” day, I know the choices to make because thats just what you do to live a healthy lifestyle. I compare working out for myself like brushing my teeth, it’s just part of my day, or part of my week as I do have rest days.
Why am I telling you this? Because those of you that are beginning to doubt the process or feeling “over it”, just remember this is not ending after 12 weeks. This is training for a LIFE change. Have you had a cheat meal? No? Enjoy one. Craving a glass of wine? Pour yourself a glass. But get your mentality back to 100% come the next morning. And keep this in mind: with the correct daily choices through diet and exercise, you can enjoy what you like in moderation (when the diets over). People are shocked to hear I’ll get myself an ice cream cone every Sunday (again, when I’m not dieting) with my kids after we’re done with the beach. I do not in any way swear off certain foods as “evil”, there are just certain foods that should be eaten sparingly. There’s nothing wrong with that. And why am I telling you this? To assure you that this is not the end all to all foods you love. Mentality is most of the battle when it comes to these changes, so knowing whats in store ahead can help with the remainder of this transformation!
So, you’ve got 5,6,7 weeks left? That is NOTHING compared to the rest of your life. This is such a short amount of time in the scheme of everything and you are more than capable of focusing your efforts on this goal for that length of time. As my dad has always said, “short term pain, for long term gain!”
If issues of a plateau are starting to surface, then it’s time to reevaluate what you are doing. Did you do too much too soon? Are you not doing enough? Is your body adapting to what you introduced it to 6 weeks ago? There are many ways to go about assessing what move to make next when that plateau has hit. I will lay out for you what I am currently doing compared to where I started and hopefully you can grab some useful info from my personal changes made!
My diet plan for these 12-weeks has been a carb-cycling plan, which means my diet depends on how my body is responding over multiple days. It varies between high, baseline & low carb days. Over the last couple weeks, my days have been mostly LOW carb and that diet is as follows:
1 EGG + 4 EGG WHITES
1 scoop MRE Lite (in water)
100g GROUND TURKEY
50g JASMINE RICE
75g GREEN VEGGIES
100g GROUND BEEF or chicken
1 Scoop MRE Lite
1 teaspoon ALMOND BUTTER
100g SWEET POTATO
3/4 scoop MRE Lite
1 teaspoon NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER
The highlighted carbs would be what changes on any alternate day that I’d increase to high or baseline. So to give you an example, on my high carb days, I’d have 50g of Oats, 100g of Rice & 175g of Sweet Potato. Baseline would be somewhere in the middle.
When I began this transformation I stuck to the baseline plan for a solid week to get my body accustomed to the same calorie intake for at least 7 days. Since then, we’ve varied the days to either have multiple high days or 5 days straight of low, followed by 1 or 2 high days. Going into the second half of the transformation, I am seeing more low days than high, and doubling my cardio. When you a hit a plateau it could be for many reasons, but a main one would be that your body is getting accustomed to whatever you’ve been doing. At times you may have to “shock” your metabolism with an increase in calories whether that be a re-feed (a big increase in calories through what you’ve been eating) or a good ol’ cheat meal, which I believe has mental benefits on top of physical. In addition, the energy you’re burning through exercise may also be hitting a plateau and your body absolutely adjusts to repetitive movement. For this reason, you would increase your cardio to burn more calories. This is why you would not want to begin a diet with an hour plus of cardio because where do you go from there if you do hit a plateau (which most people will).
When I began this 12 week challenge, I was doing 20 minutes of cardio every day in the morning or post workout. With gradual increases over the last 6+ weeks, I’m now at 25 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night or post workout. So I’m at a total of 55 minutes, up 35 minutes since I began, and that is because my body wasn’t responding right away. Since I began at a different starting point than others may have, my body required more to respond. On a normal (non-diet) week for me, I do about 3 days of cardio so I am not starting completely fresh.
This is why it’s important to write down everything you are doing and stick to the numbers 100%. I spoke with a friend recently who is trying to lose weight and asked her about cardio. She tells me some days she’ll do 20 minutes, some days she’ll do 30 minutes, just depends on the mood of the day. I had to tell her that she needs to pick a number and stay consistent with that for the next week. It even could be 20 minutes, wouldn’t have to be the higher of the two. Just pick an amount of time and commit to it! Then she can see if she needs to increase the cardio, adjust her diet or even increase the intensity of her weight training workouts! There are quite a few variables so going into a plan without a plan can make it more confusing than it should be!
If you’re at a point where you feel you’re getting defeated, keep going and remind yourself how far you’ve come already, and how much more can be accomplished in just 6 more weeks! We ALL have moments of weakness, but let it be just that..a mental moment..and then get your focus back on that prize, and remind yourself WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS.
Mom of 3