This is Part Two of a series. Part one was released last week on Wednesday. You don’t have to know what happened in part 1 to understand what we are going to talk about today. I think these work really well in tandem and there is a lot of overlap.
Part one focused more on the basics. Part 2 is where we are going to get a little more into the details of things.
In January everybody feels like they have to be on a diet.
They have to start the new program; they need that new diet plan. Even though most of us have lots of diet plans.
There’s no shortage of ways to eat. Let’s really think about where we could level up. Sometimes we’re tightening things up and sometimes we are untightening. We’re loosening, we’re going on vacation, we’re taking a diet break, etc.
How will I know when to tighten and loosen things up?
This comes with practice and this comes with an actual mindset change. I am never on or off a diet. I’m simply just tightening or loosening things up. I’m just leveling up. Sometimes I’m taking a break. That’s it.
How do I practice this?
If we start to really track and plan ahead then you will have actual data that you can make decisions from. It’s very hard to tighten up something that’s only in our heads, we become unsure.
1) One day at a time.
That will help you short circuit the confusion, the overwhelm, the stress, frustration, and drama that all come with weight loss. There’s two sides to this coin.
Every day is of course one day closer to my goals and I’m just taking it day by day. I don’t have to know what I’m eating on Sunday. If today is Wednesday, I just have to know what I’m doing today.
The other side of that coin, one day that doesn’t go perfectly. One day that doesn’t go exactly to plan is not going to ruin all of my goals. It’s just not. Every single day that I do stay on plan gets me closer but just because it doesn’t go exactly as planned doesn’t mean I crumple it up and throw it away.
Stay in the day, stay in the moment. Really think about planning. Planning helps you stay in the moment.
If something doesn’t go right with the plan, what can I do next?
Remind yourself, when creating a fat loss lifestyle, I am taking it one day at a time. I’m not on a diet or off a diet and any little thing that feels like it’s not perfect is ruining my chances of weight loss.
This is just about becoming a woman who loses weight and keeps it off.
We don’t do it in just one day. We do it over many days and over many years.
2) Planning indulgences.
I talk a lot about planning and putting it in writing. One of the things that I know many people struggle with is this idea of planning indulgences. It feels really weird or wrong.
You want me to write down that I’m going to eat pizza tonight and that I’m going to have six pieces of it?
Here’s the thing. Planning indulgences, actually means now you are following your plan. You’re on track. It’s very different from eating whatever I want, whenever I want, as much as I want because I can.
It’s intentional and it takes practice, but it is part of a fat loss lifestyle. Learn to plan the indulgences and that way you actually enjoy them more.
3) Everything tastes better in your head.
When we are thinking about food, and we’re really not planning, it becomes more like fantasizing. It’s like food porn, literally.
When we sit down to have that ice cream sundae or whatever, that we were thinking was going to be so delicious, we find that it sucks. It’s not that great.
That happens to me a lot with peanut m&ms, I think I love them. I see the bag on sale at the grocery store and I want to buy it. Then I remind myself that they’re really not that great. They’re kind of average.
If you’re noticing that something that you’re eating isn’t all that you thought it was. You don’t have to eat it, throw it away. We don’t get a refund on the calories already consumed, but you can save yourself hundreds of calories by throwing it away and moving on.
4) Taking the good and bad labels off of food.
When foods are no longer bad or off limits, you might notice that they kind of lose their luster. They’re not that exciting anymore. It’s kind of like chasing boys on the playground. The chase is the fun part.
You’re going to notice if I can eat anything I want and there’s nothing that’s bad or naughty or off limits:
- Do I really want to?
- Am I really that excited to do it?
- Does it no longer give my brain that dopamine hit to go after it?
What is happening is I start to decondition the desire for those foods when they’re no longer off limits. I think that it is critical to creating a fat loss lifestyle, that we’re no longer controlled in that way, by foods that we feel have power over us.
5) Tracking versus measuring.
I don’t measure food anymore. You might measure food, you might be tracking macros, that’s all cool.
I’m talking more about:
- keeping track of your workouts,
- keeping track of your goals,
- keeping track of your thoughts and feelings.
Because then we have data to work with.
When we want to tighten up a plan I can say, I have been strength training twice a week, every week for the last six weeks. How could I tighten up my plan? I could add a strength training workout and get to three.
If I’ve been walking three days a week, how can I tighten things up? I can add a day of walking. I can add another glass of water. I can get to bed earlier.
That’s what I want with tracking. It’s not about measuring and it’s not about judging.
Tracking your workouts is very powerful. It gives your brain a really nice dopamine hit to say, look at all the workouts I’ve done.
- Type of workout.
- How many sets.
- How many reps.
- The weight I lifted.
I literally have books and books, composition notebooks like those old school black and white ones, I have years of those that I can’t bear to throw them out. They make me feel so good when I look at them and see all the time, effort and energy I’ve put into working out and taking care of myself.
Tracking will help you know when to tighten and loosen up your fat loss. We can’t track things that are just in our head. We’re busy. We’ve got a lot of different thoughts going on.
We need to put it in writing, and we want to do it in a way that isn’t about always having to do more. If we’re going to tighten and loosen we have to know we can’t just keep tightening and tightening and tightening and tightening. That’s called restrictive dieting, and that doesn’t work.
You will want to consider:
- Is alcohol a part of your life?
- Do you want it to be a part of your life?
Then decide to plan it just like a regular indulgence.
You know alcohol is a toxin and your body is going to work really hard to metabolize that and get it out of your body. When your body is busy metabolizing alcohol at seven calories per gram, you’re not burning fat.
How important is alcohol to you? Where does it fit into your life? I’m not an anti-alcohol person. I have noticed that my body and my brain doesn’t love it as much as it used to. I like a half glass of wine at this point.
I have noticed over the last couple years that alcohol gives me a case of the buckets. When I would drink, I would overeat. It always seemed to be weekends where I was still operating under the good foods/bad foods, and I would over indulge. It created a cycle of feeling horrible on Sunday and Monday. Then recovering all week and getting back on plan. Then the weekend would come and I would do it again.
Many of my clients come in with this situation where they want to figure out how to handle alcohol. It is creating a cycle of overeating and over drinking, every time, every weekend.
Figure out what role it plays in your life. I think it would be fun to say that for the next 12 weeks or the next 16 weeks or the next 24 weeks, I’m not going to drink. If you do like drinking, and you do see a future you drinking, we want to figure out how to put it into a plan right now.
Pushing it off and saying I’m never going to drink again. You can do that. But, again, if you see the future you drinking, let’s work on it now.
I’m highly caffeinated. For the most part, every morning I drink coffee. I’m going to tell you, if you want to lose body fat, be careful about how much caffeine you’re having.
Whether it is coffee or an energy drink, if it is really jacking up your cortisol or your adrenaline, it’s jacking up your body. Over a long period of time, it can do more harm than good for you. I think some caffeine before you work out is awesome. There’s a lot of studies that show that’s really good. I would just be careful with having too much.
A lot of my clients will go get a big iced coffee when what they really are is hungry. Listening to your natural hunger cues is going to be important when you evaluate your caffeine intake and, of course, tuning into your sleep.
If you are chronically:
- Under the amount of hours that you need to sleep
- Lacking sleep
You’re going to have that over indulgence and overconsumption of caffeine.
If you want to lose body fat, you’re going to find that limiting your caffeine is going to be helpful to you because of the effect it has on your overall hormones.
8) Cheat meals.
Many of us have heard of this idea of adding a cheat meal or you need to have a cheat meal or you deserve a cheat meal.
If you’ve been hanging out in the gym, if you’ve done any bodybuilding, if you hang out with guys, it’s all the dudes that are doing the cheat meals.
I found for myself, and a lot of my clients, that the cheat meal started to morph into a cheat day, a cheat weekend, overeating, binge eating, all of these things that didn’t work out well. Cheat meals are kind of a slippery slope. They feed into this idea of whether foods are good or foods are bad.
It tends to be disastrous if you’re somebody who is prone to binge eating. If you are, I would get away from this idea of cheat meals and we can call them refeed meals or planned indulgences. This takes time and practice.
When we are somebody who’s been dieting for a long time, we have a history of binge eating, emotional eating, and overeating. There’s certain foods that are trigger foods for us. This is kind of scary. The first thing I would do is just take away this idea of cheat meals. I don’t think that is helpful for someone who is struggling with binge eating.
Planned indulgences are different from planned binges.
Planned indulgences are usually written down very specifically, planned binges are carefully crafted but tend to have no limit. Buying the gazillion gallon sized bag of the peanut m&ms and eating them all. That is a planned binge that is not a planned indulgence. There is a difference.
If you’re someone who is prone to binge eating, a lot of it is coming from the all or nothing thinking. If you are struggling and this is really impacting your life, there are specialists out there for you.
If you are creating that fat loss lifestyle, you can unwind some of these things, some of the tendencies to overeat, the tendencies to sort of go hog wild with food. A lot of it is taking away this idea of a cheat meal.
We all know the difference between a bag of lettuce and a bag of Cheetos. We know some foods are better but that doesn’t mean that some foods are bad, or I am bad for eating them.
9) Diet breaks.
Diet breaks are really what I’m talking about with tightening and loosening the plan. Rather than I am going on a diet or I am going off a diet. I am going on a fat loss plan. I’m going off my fat loss plan. Just like in the year we have seasons, we have months, we have phases, we have periods of time, where we’re going to change things up.
It isn’t about anything drastic, it isn’t about doing anything extreme.
Sometimes it is time to take that diet break. That’s you loosening things up.
- Not counting macros
- Not counting calories
- Not using your food scale
- Not trying to be under 1500 calories
- Not working out six days a week
It’s you loosening up the plan to allow your body to rest and repair. Sort of reset itself.
Most of my clients are 39 to 59 plus, and we have decades of dieting, working out, low calories, lots of extra cardio etc. We don’t want our body to acclimate to these super low calories.
- We need our bodies to be fat burners.
- We need our bodies to be resilient.
- We need our bodies to hold on to muscle.
If we just keep dieting and dieting and dieting, it doesn’t work. You already know that. It’s probably why you’re here. You’re like “I need to unf*ck my weight loss. That’s why I’m here.” Part of that is taking a very specific break.
I’m not telling you to eat whatever you want, as much as you want, as often as you want. That is not a diet break. That’s a break from reality. That is a break from your true self. That is you not taking full responsibility and accountability for who you are, what you want, where you want to go.
Taking a diet break is just as much a plan, and just as much something to track as when I’m doing the workouts, how many miles I’ve walked, how many glasses of water I’ve had.
If you have been going hard for a long time, especially any of my clients who are competitors and have been on stage for five years, you’re gonna need a break. We probably needed a break after a year or two.
A diet break is one of the pieces of the track for long term fat loss. We’re going to get to a place where we’re never on track or off track. You never fall off the wagon, where we’re just constantly reevaluating. We’re laying the next set of tracks. We’re making it purposeful.
Diet breaks can be very purposeful, especially if you are:
- Not sleeping well,
- Not feeling well,
- Not recovering well,
- You have aches,
- You have pains,
- You’re not losing body fat,
Then it is time to take a break!
Sometimes we just fall into too much restriction, trying to take everything away. We want to be low carb, we want to be low fat, we want to be low in calories, and that’s a disaster. We have to reevaluate.
When we talk about creating a fat loss lifestyle, we talk about longevity. We’re not doing a six week diet right now, we’re talking about long term fat loss. I’m specifically talking to women who are in their 40s, 50, and beyond. If you’re in your 30s this is good for you to know as well.
Our hormones are constantly changing.
There might be women in their 30s right now who have been dieting a long time. Maybe you’re a former competitor, you’ve been up and down and up and down with your weight loss. Your hormones may not be optimal for fat loss.
I’m not here to diagnose. I’m not here to tell you a specific supplement or that you should do hormone replacement therapy. I’m an advocate for getting tested if you do not feel well and you suspect that things are out of balance for you. Please talk to your doctor so that you can get the proper tests to find out what might be the issue.
I want to talk about some things that you might not want to hear about, specifically high intensity interval training, things that are hard on your body like running, and just doing really high impact sports. Those are really hard on women, especially if:
- You’re in perimenopause
- You’re in your 40s,
- You’re in menopause.
- You’re experiencing all these different disruptions in your cycle.
- You have hot flashes
- Your face is breaking out
- Your body fat accumulates in different places.
You are experiencing hormonal changes which are stressful to your body.
If you then throw in:
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of water
- Lack of quality food
Then you can see why many women feel like their body is just not their body anymore.
My body’s not responding anymore. What is happening to me? It’s not just perimenopause. It’s not just menopause. It’s not just a change in that one thing. There’s a lot going on and part of that is lifestyle.
Fat Loss lifestyle means that we can’t have our foot on the gas and expect to lose body fat.
- We’re burning ourselves out.
- We’re doing too much.
- We are eating too little.
- Sleeping too little.
- The food quality isn’t great.
We do want to walk, we do want to strength train, but we want to make sure that we’re not trying to be like, my workout has to mean that my heart rate is at a certain place, I burn a certain amount of calories, I’m sweating, it was hard, and I have to do 1000 burpees.
Could you incorporate some high intensity? You could in very small controlled measures. Honestly, if we’re trying to be high intensity all the time, we’re going to find that we do not recover, we get injured, we don’t sleep well, and we don’t burn body fat.
When we talk about weight loss long term I know we love to see it on a scale, but sometimes what we’re seeing is levels of inflammation. When we’re sore all the time, and we’re not recovering, and we’re not sleeping, then we’re holding water, our bodies are inflamed, and the scale is not going down. It is going up.
You see this even with regular weight training, the day after, the scale is gonna go up. What happens is we get stuck in this crazy game of restricting, eating less, exercising more, eating less, exercising more, and watching the scale go up and up and up and up. It’s because we’re creating this very stressful environment for ourselves.
If there is one takeaway you get from today, I hope it is to really evaluate your overall lifestyle.
You know, am I doing the right things?
- Getting enough sleep?
- Drinking enough water?
- Eating quality food?
- Not pushing my body so hard that it can’t recover?
Trying to over exercise for my indulgences doesn’t work, especially going into your 40s and 50s. Sometimes we say that’s menopause and that’s what happens. All women are destined to get fat, there’s nothing to do about it.
It really is a combination of some of the lifestyle things that we pick up along the way, including our diet, our diet lifestyle, and our diet mentality. When you are 25 years old you can go workout, and not eat for a week. You can do a lot of extremes that your body recovers quickly from. When you’re 45, it’s not going to work that way.
When you do like working out, when you love a really tough class, and you love running and all of this stuff. Then you can’t do that anymore, it could make you feel sad.
The thing is, you can still work out, you can still lift heavy, you just don’t need to be in there for hours. You want to have some constraint on this. When we constrain, we actually get better results. When we constrain at work and we’re not trying to do nine different projects, but we focus on one or two, we actually do a better job. When we are constrained in any aspect of our lives, we actually get better results.
11) Intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has been around for a really long time. It is not new.
Over the last six or seven years, I see a preponderance of women come through this. I don’t know if it’s one particular program or a guru or a book they read, but it’s this idea that intermittent fasting has to be extreme. That you have to eat within a six or eight hour window, and that you have to do a 48 or 96 hour fast, and you also have to do keto with it.
You don’t and in fact, because I’ve worked with 1000s of clients who are mainly women in their 40s and 50s, this is not hormone friendly. It’s not something that I’ve seen help women keep weight loss off permanently. It definitely can help you lose weight in the short term.
I know everybody likes fast weight loss but;
- Do you want it to come back fast?
- Do you want to gain it back faster than you lost it?
- Do you want to gain it back plus extra weight?
I think the answer is no.
A lot of times, for women, we end up following programs and fasting protocols that do work pretty well for men. I will say I do see men do well with an eight hour eating window and the 16 hour fasting window. I don’t see it work well for women.
Women are built differently. We have different hormones and a lot of women therefore aren’t sleeping well. They’re very edgy, they’re very tired. That means they’re not getting enough sleep. They are over consuming caffeine and not feeling great.
I like intermittent fasting, mostly because it lets us put a self imposed stop time to eating. Instead of me eating dinner at six or seven o’clock, then eating all night long and waking up not hungry till 11 or 12, then repeating this crazy cycle of overeating at night and being full in the morning. Not being able to break that cycle.
I do like the idea of saying, I have a certain eating window. This is what I try to do. Whether I eat food in the morning as breakfast, or I’m drinking coffee with cream and that’s breaking my fast, I generally try to eat whatever it is in a 10 to 12 hour window.
I’ve said this a million times, all diets work.
They reduce or eliminate something in terms of calories. Whether it’s reducing or eliminating carbs, or reducing or eliminating fats. That’s why intermittent fasting works well.
However, when it is so extreme, it’s certainly not sustainable and it doesn’t feel good.
You’re going to create a hormonal cascade that is not fat loss friendly. There are lots of studies, and publications that you can go to and you can find evidence of this. I’m not a scientist, I’m not your medical doctor. I don’t want to make this all about the science of fat loss, but I want to help you lose body fat and enjoy your life.
My goal is to make it not be something that keeps you up at night, that makes you feel bad about yourself, that feels like an insurmountable goal, or that has you beating yourself up and quitting on yourself all the time.
I want to really help you create that fat loss lifestyle that makes sense.
That’s in line with your goals and who you want to be around food, with food, the scale, in your body. All of that is where we’re going.
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NOTES IN ANCHOR
Last week we talked about the basics of Creating a Fat Loss Lifestyle, this week we get into some of the finer details. It’s January… so naturally, everyone feels like they need to be on a new diet, a new program, or a new plan.
Spoiler alert, you don’t. I know that’s contrary to everything you’ve even been told or thought. You can thank the diet industry for that.
There is no shortage of ways to eat.
Truly….there are so many options to choose from. But choosing a way of eating that is not conducive to your likes and your life will always set you up for failure. That’s why crash diets that are heavy on restriction don’t ever work long-term. So if we don’t need to focus on being on a new diet or new plan, what is it that we need to do to achieve long-term weight loss? What gets us to the goal we so desperately want to achieve? The answer is…thinking about ways we can level up our current diet.
What I mean by this is considering things like:
Where could I tighten things up?
Where can I gain more awareness of the times I am a little looser with my diet?
How can I know when it’s time to tighten up or loosen your diet?
Honestly the ability to know when it’s time to tighten up or loosen your plan comes with practice and a mindset shift. Let’s discuss ways and reasons to tighten down or loosen up your diet to fit your needs.
It is part of a fat loss lifestyle is learning to plan the indulgences. Let’s discuss how you level up your current diet on Episode 31 of Unf*ck Your Weight Loss now!
ABOUT THE HOST
Bonnie Lefrak is a Life & Body Transformation Expert and Founder of Self Made, a program designed to help you tackle the physical aspects of health and weight loss as well as the beliefs and thoughts that drive our habits and behaviors. It is her goal to help women create certainty in their own lives, their own results, and their own abilities.
Weight loss is not about the one “right” diet – it is about MUCH more than that. Weight loss is not about the one “right” workout. Weight loss is not about being positive and putting a big smile on. Weight loss is about FEELINGS. All of them. Not trying to bury them or hide from them but knowing and allowing the full human experience.
Weight loss is not about grinding hustling and will powering your way to some end line. Transformation (when done well) is done from the inside out.
By addressing both the physical and mental aspects of dieting and weight loss, she has coached thousands of women ages 30-55+ from all over and helped them ditch the mindsets that are holding them back, achieve permanent weight loss, and get the bangin’ body of their dreams.
Bonnie is an expert at Demystifying weight loss. She helps you unf*ck your diet brain.
She is on a mission to help women love themselves, to find PEACE in the process of losing weight, taking care of themselves, and leveraging the power they do have to become who and want they want right now.
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