Trust me, I would LOVE for it to be a fad. It would be quick, and in the blink of an eye, I could go back to eating boxed donuts while Netflix binging. But unfortunately, I’ve tried enough fad diets to single-handedly fund the purchase of a small tropical island, and they haven’t made the fat go away and STAY away. Why? Because every plan has been treated like a temporary fix, and to top it all off, none of them have had healthy, long-term benefits or been feasibly doable for more than a few weeks.
Think about the commercials and advertisements we see every day. “Lose 20 pounds before Christmas!” “Lose 6 pounds in the first week!” Or even “If this product causes you to lose too much weight too quickly, cut the recommended dosage in half!” That last one is my favorite because it actually warns about the dangers of losing TOO MUCH weight…and quickly. PERFECT for those of us who want maximum results with minimum effort (I’ve been guilty of this…very, very guilty).
But do you know what each and every one of these did for me? Instead of helping me lose weight, they helped me pack on pounds. Yep, I gained weight with each one, even the one that warned me about losing weight too quickly. Why? Because with every one of these plans, eventually my body got to a point of being sick and tired (literally) of whatever starvation plan I put it on, and when I finally allowed myself to eat again, I ballooned back to where I was before…and then some! Not exactly what all the hyped-up commercials promise.
Lesson learned: There’s no easy fix.
The first thing we have to learn—and really, really believe—is that fat loss is not the same as weight loss. Some of us need to repeat this to ourselves about a dozen times per day. Since we can build muscle and lose fat at the same time, it makes sense that the scale won’t always rapidly dive to lower numbers. And that’s ok. For those who struggle with weight issues, however—and for those who’ve always carried around extra pounds—this can be a mental struggle. So, here’s what we need to work on saying from now on: We’re focusing on making muscle, and the scale is NOT our only means of measurement.
I’m a firm believer that life sends up wake-up calls—and sometimes, if we’re stubborn enough—it takes SEVERAL wake-up calls before we realize, “Oh, hey, you were talking to me?” Those come in different shapes and sizes for all of us, however for the most stubborn of our species (looks at self in mirror), it can take a mega dose of What-The-Hell-Am-I-Doing to shock us into making a move. Here’s how I knew it was time to get in gear:
Wake-Up Call #1: I’ve always struggled with a weak lower back. Not hurt, just weak. Kettlebells are my nemesis…oh, and holding the bar positioned at my knees…OUCH, the burn! But get this: A couple days ago, I was pushing a grocery cart, and my back started to ache. Did you catch that?? Pushing. A. Grocery. Cart. That’s unacceptable for a healthy, middle-aged woman, who is apparently WAY too out of shape. I mean, my family can pack away a lot of food, but the cart was NOT that heavy!
Wake-Up Call #3: The other day, right before leaving for work, I bent over to pick something up off my kitchen floor, and the BUTTON POPPED OFF MY PANTS. It pinged off three cabinet doors, barely missing my head in its imitation of flying shrapnel. It was desperate cry for help from my pants.
So, if the famous Cabbage Soup Diet didn’t make my wildest dreams of being thin and healthy come true, what will work? How can I lose fat and keep it off?
TOP SECRET: It’s going to take more than a week or a month or even a year. Getting healthy is more than a fad; it’s a lifestyle.
Enter Eat to Perform. I know this works. My logical mind knows it. However, my whimsical self sometimes veers off course, hoping for great glutes while munching on pans of brownies and mindlessly watching Season 12 of the latest hit series. Doesn’t work. What will work, however, is setting both long- and short-term goals that are healthy and focused on fat loss, rather than hoping for things to improve. After all, hope Is NOT a strategy!
If you have a broken metabolism, here are a few things to remember:
- Our metabolisms change all the time. Eat to Perform is full of wisdom on this topic. It can be tough to nail down what our metabolisms are doing because they have the capacity to shift, and in my case, this is a good thing, because it means I can turn things around from sluggish—and even broken—to healthy.
- Your metabolic rate should be used as a compass. It’s a guideline to help us figure out which direction to go. It’s not a crystal ball, and it doesn’t have ALL the answers, but it can help us turn things around and get on a better path.
- Short bouts of dieting compromise your metabolism. We’ve all been taught this, yet sometimes it’s still tough to believe. We need to EAT regular and healthy meals to regulate and heal our metabolisms.
- “Weight gain is caused by dieting too aggressively and too often.” (Eat to Perform)
- Losing fat with a healthy metabolism is easier than losing fat with a broken or compromised metabolism. (Eat to Perform)
How Do I Heal My Metabolism If I’m Not Ready to Eat the Number That’s on My FitBit?
Here’s the answer in plain English:
- Build muscle. Get moving. Get to the box or the gym or, for the love of all that’s holy, just get up off the couch!
- Eat adequately to support what it is you’re doing. Sometimes, eat more than adequately. Eat real food.
- Have some carbs. It’s ok, really.
- Eat fat. It’s a great energy source.
- Protein, protein, protein.
- Don’t freak out about the scale. Bloating will happen when you build muscle. Build it anyway.
Now, get up and do work. Fat loss isn’t a fad…it’s a long-term program, so get on the bus, Gus.