Recently I was guest on Silverdale CrossFit’s Train for Life podcast. We had a productive conversation about Ideal Protein, body image, wellness and the power of endurance. One of the subjects I discussed was a personal revelation about wanting more than just a thinner body.
I lost my weight when our practice first started offering Ideal Protein, back in 2011. Initially, it was exciting to finally live life at my goal weight and I did everything I could to ensure it. (Incidentally, this is how I know you can keep your weight off too if you make it a priority!)
I did cardio workouts three times a week at my local YMCA and I was very specific about my nutrition—keeping calories as low as possible. I spent about two years in this space—before I grew bored.
Eventually being thin was too hollow of a purpose. Like everything else, it got old.
I was skinny enough—but I was weak. I spent plenty of time on the treadmill but couldn’t run a mile on a trail without extreme fatigue or pain. It was time to change.
The shift it my thinking was subtle but resolute. Now I desired strength and endurance. I didn’t want to merely be thin—I wanted to be an athlete.
Now counting calories wasn't nearly as important as counting reps. I needed to eat more to develop musculature. It meant the scale had to travel North even though my body fat percentage stayed within range. For me, it meant embracing the body God gave me. (Hello quads!)
Life is an adventure and when one goal is achieved, it's time to set another.
I’m not here to tell you what your goals should be—but to give you options. There’s no way around the importance of good nutrition—but that’s a vague term at best. “Good nutrition” should really be defined as eating that which is in accordance with your personal goals--and our personal goals differ. Some of us want to grow muscle. Some want to cut fat and while others are content to maintain their current body composition.
In my line of work, I mostly see people who really want to be thinner. So do it. Get your body fat as low as you can and when you’ve mastered it--go beyond.
Here’s a link to the podcast: “Finish Well” Episode 7 http://www.trainforlifescf.com/latestpodcast
Keeping the weight off is easy—said no one, ever. Most of us have discovered that our bodies have a tendency to store fat—as opposed to randomly losing it, just like our homes have a tendency towards untidiness (vs. tidiness) or our money has a tendency to be spent instead of saved. It’s just so easy to consume more than our bodies need. Surprisingly, this is a good thing as spontaneous weight loss is often an indicator of a serious health condition. So does this mean we're condemned to a love/hate relationship with the bathroom scale?
It depends on the heart.
More than living out what we think and believe (choosing a salad over French fries at lunch because we know it's the healthier choice or lacing up a pair of New Balance sneakers to score five miles before dinner because we know our mood will be enhanced, for example) we will live out what we love.
We are lovers at our core, aren’t we? We rave about literature and movies that move us, encourage one another to follow (or find, or rediscover) our passions, buy homes and take vacations frequently with the adjective “dream” and seek all manner of coping mechanisms to make us happy.
We are lovers. The problem is there’s trouble in paradise—choices to make, emotions to manage, needs of others to consider—and sometimes what we say we love, isn’t what we live.
If your mind is swimming with the existential implications of this reality—fear not, I’m parking the discussion on diet and exercise.
When I hear someone confess to “struggling” with their weight—what I’ve learned to discern is their real struggle is with competing loves. Perhaps it's convenience over preparation or immediate satisfaction verses the delayed variety or a desire for a gym-honed body with zero interest in stepping foot in the gym. See the incongruity? I’m convinced most North Americans would “love” to lose weight—be it five pounds or a hundred—but are they willing to sacrifice for it? Live really differently for a time and then quite differently ever after?
If you’re a person who’d love to lose weight—are you also willing to love the work on the back end of that goal? Setting nutritional standards and abiding by them and allowing exercise to not merely be something you do--but part of who you are? Can you fall in love with nutrition and physical activity?
If the honest answer is “No,” what is it that you truly love? Because our lives are one long love story--sometimes we love wisely and other times...well, you know.
But what if the answer to the question above is "No--but I want to!"
I think that's a great response and we'll explore it on a future post.
Have you seen the movie Embrace? Australia’s Taryn Brumfitt became a body-image activist after posting a unique before & after photo on Facebook. The “before” photo showed a trim and tight Taryn posing in a sparkly bikini during a body building competition while the “after” showed a sitting Taryn, baring a nude profile and a fuller physique. The image captured the hearts of many who longed to have the confidence to simply embrace the body they have.
I confess I haven’t seen the movie—though I plan to, but as weight loss coach for Kitsap’s largest Ideal Protein weight loss clinic, I wanted to share some thoughts on why I think Taryn is on to something.
The list above doesn’t necessarily pertain to weight loss but I’d like to circle back to it because the answer to loving (or embracing yourself and others) doesn’t mean unrestricted indulgences or lack of personal care. The answer to one faulty extreme is rarely the opposite!
I think it first starts with love. I love my body. As Taryn says, it’s not an ornament (that must be flawless, adored by the masses or manipulated)—but a vehicle (to live life), and because I love it, I seek to feed it well and move it often. I want my family to see me making healthy food choices, cooking food from scratch and enjoying the meals we eat together. I want them to see me lift weights and run races and try new things that are tough. I want them to see me evolve too, so some old habits have to go to make room for new ones. Mostly, I want my joie de vivre to be obvious--and contagious so those with whom I interact are encouraged.
Time is finite—so don’t ‘kill it.’ We get one life—one chance to be 20 years old or 40 years old or 80 years old (hopefully) so be the person you’re meant to be. Your spouse, your children and your friends DO NOT CARE about your dress size—but you’ll kill their joy if you’re always the person who’s obsessing about what you eat and how you look. You’ve got to eat to stay alive and you should eat in accordance with your goals—but save the drama. Do what you need to do to go where you want to go.
Beware of those who tell you what to think and how to spend your money. You worked hard to earn it—so don’t squander it on silly gimmicks and diet fixes that are unsustainable. As one who’s been in the weight loss industry for almost 7 years I can promise you, no one product is going to make you slim. No pill, oil, supplement, wrap, tea, herb or exotic berry is going to change your body composition. Do your research by talking with those who’ve successfully managed and maintained a weight loss and follow their best practices.
Finally, what’s the purpose? I can’t begin to answer this for you, but here are some questions to ask:
Friends, just be mindful. Every choice we make has a corresponding consequence. To an extent, life is the sum total of the choices we’ve made and they ultimately reflect our values and beliefs. Finding harmony between belief and action creates a connection called peace. Where peace exists, you’ll find love.
And love is always worth embracing.
Why do so many people gain weight after losing it?
One good answer involves determining what kind of weight was lost. In our desperation to slim down, we can sacrifice quality weight loss (primarily body fat) with a partial fat/partial muscle combination—a natural occurrence if you’re not following a ketogenic diet, like Ideal Protein or if you’re exercising vigorously while drastically cutting calories. If weight loss involves a significant portion of muscle, your basal metabolic rate will decrease and your metabolism will be slower. That’s not our objective and if you’ve lost weight with us, you know that.
But that’s not what this article is about. What if you’ve lost quality weight, dropped your body fat percentage by 5 or ten percent—and you still feel your skinny jeans getting tight. Are you failing? Did the diet fail? Does your body “want” to be overweight?
Learning to maintain a healthy weight is more like doing laundry and less like going to Europe. I’ll explain.
Let’s say you went to Europe—Italy. It might have been thirty years ago, it might have been for only one day—but for the rest of your life, whenever the subject of international travel comes up, you can chime in with experiences from your incredible Italian escapade. It takes no further effort. The story is true and it’s yours.
Now let’s talk about laundry. When’s the last time you washed a load of clothes? When’s the next time you’ll do laundry? Your laundering skills may be utilized daily or weekly—but unlike a dreamy trip to the Italian countryside it won’t be once and it can’t be thirty years ago. The reality is that keeping clothing clean—especially if you have children, takes daily effort and if you turn your back on it—even briefly, you’ll have a mountain-sized pile of stinky socks and dirty T-shirts to deal with.
Keeping your weight off is like that.
We like the words natural and organic. Did you know it’s natural to gain weight? Here are two reasons:
It means you fight back. You develop a strategy. You change what doesn’t work and give yourself grace to learn in the process.
What does fighting back look like?
It means tracking your food, maybe even tracking your macros in addition to calories. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. It means promising to only eat real food—fake food won’t cut it. It means falling in love with your kitchen, because if you don’t cook most of your own meals, you’ll struggle.
It’s time to start running, join CrossFit, try a class at the Y, hire a personal trainer, buy a bike or a treadmill or a jump rope and get sweaty, consistently. Mediocre effort yield mediocre results.
Keep practicing health. I can’t say the battle gets easier but I promise that you’ll get stronger.
I’m glad you lost weight just like I’m happy you took a nice vacation. But do you care as much about the other fifty weeks in the year? If so, it’s time to roll up your sleeves—again, and wash another load.
You got this,
I learn from my mistakes and there is no teacher quite like experience. I ran the North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon from Sequim to Port Angeles in June and I used every training tip I knew to make it count. These are my favs.
I didn’t just run. My training involved early morning CrossFit WODs that included shorter runs, Olympic lifts, tons of squats and super lame attempts at pullups because--without muscle there’s no power.
I ran a lot. Obviously, running is a big part of training. I hit my shorter runs (5-9) miles early in the week and ran the equivalent of a half marathon (13-14 miles) every Friday, for a month, leading up to race day. Race day was essentially my normal, weekly 13.1 mile run.
I was well hydrated. After enduring the effects of dehydration twice (I’ll spare you the graphic details), I was as militant about water and electrolyte replacement as I was about mileage. My goal was half my body weight in ounces of water each day leading up to the race—plus an extra 40 ounces. (That’s the size of my water jug). During the race I slowed at every rest stop for water breaks. It hurt to trade time for hydration—but once you’ve felt your body’s wrath for running dry, you’ll NEVER do it again.
Kick the low carb lifestyle to the curb at least for a couple days. Carbs are quick energy and if you want to avoid hitting that proverbial wall at mile 10, eat a pasta dinner the night before. I did and it was awesome. A couple gummy bears saved me during the race too, providing just enough of a sugar rush to help me finish well—no expensive gels needed.
Celebrate the finish. After regaining brain power (it happened a lot more quickly than before, due to the training tips mentioned above) I did my best to soak up the fun by cheering other finishers, eating the post-race banquet of popsicles and orange slices, getting a massage and sipping my cold beer at the finish line. The best part though, was seeing the excitement and admiration from my husband and children. If mama can do it--you can too.
Of course, this race revealed new weaknesses that need strengthening and that's the wonder of it all. There is always room for growth and the opportunity for improvement for the next challenge.
Training is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. It often seems my mind taps out before my body does.
It’s too far.
It’s too hard.
I’m too tired.
I have too many other things to do.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a run where at least once, one of these phrases didn’t pop into my mind. The reality is—they’re all true.
Accumulating miles is hard and who doesn’t have 10,000 other priorities on their to-do list that—at times—leaves you longing for an extra fifteen minutes to lay in bed before the day begins?
Sometimes you need to push through the mental warning while other times you need to prioritize the to-do list and training doesn’t always get top billing. I said it. Sometimes the workout has to take the backseat to activities and loves and deadlines that deserve attention too. After all, who’s the boss—you or your training plan?
This week I had a fun 10 mile run with friends that quickly became a grueling five-mile slog—still with friends. I didn’t anticipate adding a bonus leg day at the gym and an early-morning CrossFit WOD (that happened to target the quads) would turn those aforementioned legs into leaden trunks that didn’t want to move. One mile into my training run and my lack of power was apparent. My mind was telling me to tap out--and I did. I completed half the prescribed run and felt no guilt. Rest is important too. Often, it's your best defense against injuries brought on by overtraining.
Bottom line—get a training plan and stick to it. Progress is going to require effort that's often sacrificial and sometimes painful. But use wisdom and assess goals in light of the big picture. You're the boss and sometimes a good, wise and thoughtful boss, let’s everyone go home early. The work will be there tomorrow.
Until next time,
With less than a month to go my training runs are progressing for the upcoming North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon in June. As a brief recap, I started running almost one year ago (as in never, ever ran as an adult prior) and set my sights on completing this particular race because a Sequim to Port Angeles run along the Olympic mountains and ending on the banks of the Strait of Juan de Fuca carried personal significance—and it sounded beautiful.
I didn’t need a year to go from a non-runner to finisher—no one does, so last year I ran both a 12K race near Halloween and my first half marathon at Christmastime.
Then I took a long break.
I kept my runs to about six miles a couple times a week and started CrossFit, the latter my priority. Lifting has always been more fun than running—even though I was getting schooled regularly and lifting the lightest weight in my class. CrossFit is crazy fun and it appeals to me because it’s grueling but not for long. Most WODs (workout-of-the-day) are completed in less than 30 minutes and in that time you bang out pull-ups, handstands, cleans, jerks and presses…talk about thrilling! Contrast that with running—the same activity… for an hour or more…and you can imagine the challenge.
I contemplated passing on the race. After all, I already completed a half-marathon and felt quite secure that running—though awesome, probably wasn’t going to be “my thing.” Not to mention early morning CrossFit workouts followed by endurance running was intimidating. Mostly, I was afraid of the work.
There’s lots of ways to manage fear. I could hide or ignore it. Or better, I could justify it and explain it away. But I didn’t want to manage fear—I wanted to crush it. So I registered for the half and am currently banging out 22 miles per week. Of course I'm still going to CrossFit (those thrusters aren't going to thrust themselves!) and for good measure, I'm still doing my regular workouts at our local Y.
And that’s where I currently find myself. My secret so far is getting enough sleep, meeting nutritional needs with good carbs, healthy fats and quality protein, and while I plan the next day I don’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on it. Today has a enough trouble of its own!
I enjoy snacking on Ideal Protein food too. Strawberry Wafers are a great afternoon snack. Ideal Complete is solid meal replacement or recovery drink and the new BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) make a great, fruity drink that helps prevent muscle loss during endurance training.
And now it’s time to stop writing and start running. I’ll check back soon!
I started running in March 2015. My first run as an adult was about five miles and it was ugly. My running partner and friend, on the contrary—former collegiate distance runner that she is, was agile and fast. So fast in fact, I still joke that she brings her wings to races. My chest felt like it would crack. My legs were aflame and I couldn’t imagine doing it again. But I did.
For several runs afterward my body hated the first two miles. I’m not entirely sure how I pushed through or why I even wanted to—but somewhere the pain gave way to strength. The runs became more consistent and mileage grew until the next challenge was to enter a race.
Around Halloween I accomplished my first 12K and during Christmas vacation,my first half marathon—a fact that completely amazes me. Equally amazing, was learning about myself in the process.
A half marathon is 13.1 miles. A really fast person might finish around one hour and 20 minutes (running a six-minute mile, by the way, is pretty darn fast!). A lot of competent runners might shoot to finish under 2 hours (about a 9 minute mile—also fast). I knew these numbers and I also knew how I performed in training and figured I’d be happy finishing in less than two-and-a-half-hours. (To put that in context, that’s running, at a sustainable pace for as long as a feature film). Of course, the faster I ran, the sooner I’d finish but in order to finish, pacing was crucial. Complicated, right?
Here’s my lightbulb moment. After about 10 miles it started to get hard. Really hard. I thought about stopping. I thought about walking the rest of the race. I said to myself, “If I hold back, if I take a break, when I don’t meet my goal, at least I’ll have a reason—an excuse.” The alternative was giving it all I had and facing the reality that my very best effort was…inadequate.
And that’s the reason we self-sabotage, isn’t it? We don’t want to give our best effort only to realize it wasn’t good enough. If we hold back, then we can excuse our “almost” and we can tell ourselves there will be a “next time.” We can hide behind our fear, keep our pride intact and feel justified in our near miss.
Somewhere around mile 10, I saw this rationale for what it is…a lie.
I would not give this race anything less than my best and whatever time I achieved at the finish line would be an honest representation of my ability. Pride be dammed.
I ran on through the rain and snow. I ran on despite soaking attire and blistered feet. I ran my fastest even though older people and heavier people zoomed past me. I did my best.
I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:06:37, 9 minutes and 36 seconds per mile, which was a faster pace than my best training run.
I earned myself a gorgeous medal and a T-Shirt but I also earned the opportunity to see what I’m made of--when I’m really trying. I learned I can be alone with myself for a couple hours and not go crazy. I learned my body—every inch of it, is faithful and wonderful. I learned that training really works—when you work it. Most importantly, I learned my best is good enough.
There is something profound that happens to you when you push your body to its limits—and live to tell the tale. So go ahead and start training for that big race and leave your fear and doubt where they belong—in the dust.
FEELING GOOD AND BEING HAPPY!
We love winners and our weight loss program is full of them! Back in October, we launched our first ever Total Wellness Challenge. The competition was intended to encourage our current roster of faithful dieters to the finish line by rewarding those who showed exceptional progress in a short period of time—only six weeks.
The results—of course, were wonderful. Our overall winner, Bob lost a total of 28.2 pounds (14.2% weight loss and 33.5% fat loss). His motivation was to feel better, live healthier and of course, “fit into smaller clothes.” When our very own Dr. Christman presented him with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, he was all smiles.
Leyna certainly didn’t need any additionally motivation—she’s a determined goal setter, yet her progress, 6.6 pounds lost (4.3% weight loss and 13.8% fat loss) garnered her $25 Starbucks gift card. I mean if you’re doing the diet anyway, why not get rewarded?
Diana had a similar experience. In six weeks, she lost 12.8 pounds (6.6% weight loss and 12.4% fat loss). She won a Starbucks gift card too.
We offered a similar contest for our coaches and Coach Debbie lost 14.6 pounds. Her motivation was simple; a healthy weight is all about “feeling good and being happy.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Congratulations to all who played. Perhaps you’ll join our list of competitors next time?
TOP FINISHER RESULTS:
You’re a real estate professional who spends a working day in a moving vehicle. A nurse banging out 12 hour shifts with 15 minute lunch breaks. A health enthusiast with a host of other interests and obligations and yet eating well and maintaining your weight loss are important to you.
You should try blending.
After working my personal blender (the one with individual cups) and my larger, Karate-chopping blender (no brand names mentioned…yet) I knew it was time to upgrade to one of the big dogs.
Either the Vitamix or the Blendtec.
I knew this because I was served some seriously awesome vegetable-protein smoothies at a friend’s house that I could drink—as opposed to chew. (A chewable smoothie, though tolerable is not something one anticipates.)
I was also concerned about my prolific vegetable waste: purchasing a ton of awesome veggies only to have many rot in the crisper because they were forgotten.
While I still think the Vitamix is the premier blender, perhaps because of its cool dials and massive base, a major retailer had a screamin’ deal on the Blendtec Classic 570 so that’s what I got.
I was skeptical so I put it to task, blending smoothies, an avocado aioli dip and a broccoli and cheese soup served hot from the blender (The “hot” setting allows the blade’s friction to heat the contents). The verdict: It’s awesome.
It’s not even the same type of appliance as standard blenders—mostly because of its ability to liquefy and puree fruits and veggie (or nuts, ice, etc.) Spinach can be blended into a chocolate-flavored smoothie—so kids get their greens and parents keep their sanity. Veggies like cucumber, carrots, celery can be effortlessly folded into smoothies that don’t taste like cucumber, carrots and celery. Whole-food soups can be made in minutes (using the hot soup function) and that says nothing of the possibilities with Frappuccino’s, dips, salad dressings and blended cocktails.
If you’ve lost weight with us and you’re determined to keep it off, a commercial-grade blender may make the whole food combining component to Phase 4 infinitely easier—tastier and more fun.
A standard blender or food processor will take you so far—but if you want to go all the way—even replacing a daily meal or snack with blended option—the Blendtec or Vitamix is the way to go!
Until next time,
Dionne is a certified Ideal Protein coach who lost 25 pounds following the protocol way back when. Since then she's learned to cook healthier meals (and actually eat them), get a daily dose of iron in the form barbells and kettle bells and is usually training to improve her time in an upcoming half marathon.