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SHOULD YOU CALL IT QUITS ON YOUR DIET?

SHOULD YOU CALL IT QUITS ON YOUR DIET?

Think back to the last time you had to deal with a period of high level stress. Now, I don’t want you to think about what exactly was causing the stress, but more so about how it affected you. Most likely, it impacted your daily life to a certain extent depending on the level of stress you were experiencing. Many individuals use food as a coping mechanism when experiencing high amounts of stress. Maybe you turned to food as comfort, maybe you went the opposite direction and simply did not have an appetite for days at a time. Neither of those options are beneficial to your health nor your goals of weight loss. On the other side of the spectrum dieting can actually induce stress in your life. Low-calorie diets have been shown to increase cortisol production which is our major stress hormone. That along with counting calories and macros can be incredibly stressful for (SOME) individuals. This is why we stress that:

  1. Dieting (or fat loss) should be a phase. Dieting is not a lifestyle, and you should not be in a caloric deficit for the entire year. Spending some time at maintenance, or even massing (gaining weight with the focus of muscle-building) is recommended to not only give your body time to recover from dieting, but also give you a mental break which will ultimately reduce stress levels. If you do however come to the realization that your diet is adding too much stress to your life, it may be time to reassess your goals in order to go through a more productive fat-loss phase at a later time. 
  2. Make sure you are choosing a diet that is a good fit for YOU. Counting macros certainly has a time and place, but it is not for everyone. Maybe you need a more general approach to start, maybe you need a more structured meal plan to follow. Chances are, if you are severely struggling with dietary adherence, it may be time to reassess your methods and try something new. (If you need help figuring out what may be best for you, email us HERE– we can help!)

With that being said, dieting is HARD. Harder for some than others, but it is also important to recognize that you are essentially putting your body into starvation mode (on purpose) when in a fat-loss phase. Your body is going to want to fight you, you will probably experience hunger, and that is normal in this phase. There are however a lot of great ways to combat these issues and in our next blog we will be discussing our favorite dieting tips so stay tuned there!

Obviously we can’t just flip to the next page of our lives and be stress-free (wouldn’t that be nice?), but there are ways to minimize your stress levels and how you handle your overall stressors. There are a few steps you can take to address this and move forward as a calmer, more efficient individual. 

step 1Identify what is stressing you out. Sometimes this is obvious, other times there may be underlying issues that you simply did not realize are messing with your head. Lack of sleep, a big life change such as moving, a restrictive diet, workplace drama or even your marital status can all cause some level of stress. Realizing what it is that is causing you higher levels of stress than normal is just as important as drawing a line between what it is that you can control versus what is beyond controllable. Be old-fashioned and grab a pen/paper (or use the Notes app in your phone is you’re more tech-savvy) and literally jot down everything causing anxiety to you at the very moment. Put a star next to what you have control over and work from there to see how you are going to start managing them. As far as those un-starred items? Simply make it aware to yourself that these are far beyond your control, and let be what will be.

step 3Structure your day. This is something that has really been life-changing for me personally as I have grown from being the most unorganized, late, “hot mess” individual to someone who utilizes a daily planner to schedule time slots for just about everything that needs to be accomplished. When you design a structured day, you are ultimately referring back to step 1 and controlling everything that can possibly be controlled. I find this method great for those who get overwhelmed with the “small stuff”. This can be as simple as using a planner, or just taking a blank sheet of paper and jotting down your daily schedule, what needs to get done and when it needs to be done by. I schedule everything from packing my lunch for the next day, to some downtime to read, to my training, and since I have started acting on living an organized life, I have GREATLY reduced the amount of stress I was perceiving. Every Sunday, I take some time to either mentally or physically take note of the week ahead and what it will consist of so that way when things DO pop up, I can be as prepared as possible to address them.

step 34Practice mindfulness. I can’t preach this one enough. Set aside even just 5 minutes out of your day- maybe after you shower at night, before your morning coffee or right before you hit the pillow- to sit in silence and just ponder your life. I start by pointing out all of the positives I can think of that I have going for me at the moment. Small things such as getting to spend some time with a certain loved one that day, hitting a new PR in the gym, or even a really delicious meal you had earlier. Let the good consume your mind for a few minutes and you won’t believe how much less stressed you immediately feel. When you focus on the positive, you will continue to act, think and be positive. 

While stress will never go away completely, you can do everything in your power to learn how to handle it best for your body and mind that are healthy, productive and will ultimately make you happier while still allowing you to achieve your goals. 

Why we hate the scale…and you should too!

Why we hate the scale…and you should too!

scale

 

The dreaded scale. We’ve all been there, stepping on it for the first time in a while only to be disappointed with the numbers that flashes up. This square piece of metal sadly can have control over your attitude, self-esteem & overall emotions. It’s time to address why we care so much about those 3 numbers we see. What makes them so special?

scale

In reality, the scale is just measuring your relationship with gravity. Who realistically cares about that? If you are stepping on what we refer to as the “enemy”, chances are you are looking for one of two things: to see if you gained, or lost weight. Luckily, there are far superior ways to measure your progressions. These include:

Measurements: Grab a tape measure and track your progress by inches gained or lost. You are much more likely to see these numbers change than the scale. We have our clients measure their hips and waist at minimum, but you can even track your biceps, thighs & calves.

Skinfold Calipers: Most gyms or personal trainers offer body fat testing. The skin fold caliper looks similar to a pair of tongs with measurements on the side. How it works is it pinches the fat on your body that covers the muscle and is closest to the surface (subcutaneous fat) and reads a measurement. The instructor testing you will then proceed to calculate your level of body fat after a series of measurements on different parts of your body.

Progress Photos: Many people make fun of all of the fitness “gurus” on Instagram who post progress photos however this can be the BEST way to track your progress. When you’re seeing your own body every single day, you aren’t going to notice differences in your physique. Taking a photo before and weekly or bi-weekly as you go, then comparing each week to the first photo is a for sure way to see any change to your body, no matter how small!

 

The scale truly does not matter when it comes to reaching your goals unless of course you are competing in a sport where you have to fit in a certain weight class. The average person however should really not rely on the scale at all when trying to lose or even gain weight. Weighing yourself daily is not only pointless but may begin to drive you into a crazy obsession. We all fluctuate weight daily because you are consuming water and food. Sometimes I weigh almost 10 pounds more at night than I do in the morning! It is absolutely normal (especially females) to fluctuate weight thanks to our hormones which is why we constantly have clients who send me progress photos of AWESOME progress yet are discouraged because the scale didn’t budge. Fixating yourself on a numerical value seems even crazier when you are actually seeing progress in your photos or measurements. In fact, to prove this theory I personally weigh about 15 pounds heavier than I did 4 years ago, yet I am smaller, and more compact and definitely in the best shape I have ever been in.

TO SUM IT UP:

The scale is truly an insignificant way to measure success in your program. Use one of the other methods to track your progress, celebrate positive changes & start to love your body!