Abs to be proud of after age 40

Think you can’t have abs after your 20’s or 30’s? Well I love a good challenge so I was up to it as I turned 40…and in turn, signed up to take on the stage for my very first fitness competition!

Yep.

As a mom of 3 and a 40 year old, I committed to donning a two piece and walking on stage amongst other fit women; who, quite honestly, were in their 20’s and 30’s.

Proud day after 6 months of hard work and eating to prove it!

You could say I was nuts…and probably still am because I don’t regret it. Yes, I got flack for being an “egotist” and embarrassing my family but they were all supportive – especially my dear hubby! He was darn right proud!

Why? Because let me tell you what you are seeing when you look at someone with toned abs and a tight physique. You may be thinking they are naturally leaner, fitter and just more lucky…but you’d be wrong.

It takes hard FREAKING work! Every day.

I haven’t done another fitness competition since and it’s now been 5 years. It’s not that I didn’t want to continue; heck, I placed 2nd in my division and 3rd overall (which included those 20 and 30 year olds, thank you very much!) and qualified for Nationals that same year.

The reason I didn’t compete again is because it’s a full time job.

You need to train like a “mother” (and I don’t mean someone who’s had children) and you have to eat like an athlete. The time and energy it takes to cook, workout, rest, recover and continue is time consuming and I’d rather spend that time with my family while they still need me. 🙂

But I did learn quite a many lessons from those intense 6-months of training and counting every macro and morsel that I ate. In case you think you can’t have abs – most likely because of what you’ve been taught over the years and what other people have said – I’m hear to debunk every one of those crazy negative issues and tell you that it’s most likely because you’re not informed well-enough.

Intrigued? Follow along…

My abs today. 45 is no excuse!

1. Squeeze in “sneaky” cardio. You’ve heard the saying that in order to lose weight, you’ve got to ‘move more and eat less’, right? Well the moving more part can help trim those abs, buns and everything else across your body but if you’re like me, it needs to not feel like cardio. I can easily fit in a 5 minute jump rope session in between a busy day’s schedule or add some sprints or burpees in between my weight lifting routine to up the calorie burn and get it done in increments. If you detest long cardio sessions like I do, then fitting in these sneaky cardio burns can make all the difference in showing off those abs come summer season!

2. Combine core work and cardio. As I said before, I love fitting in small increments of cardio in between my weight lifting sessions. In order to get into the shape I needed to for my competition, I committed to circuit training on most days. This meant that while I’d perform my typical chest, back, leg, etc, days; I’d follow up a set of weight work with 30-60 seconds of jump squats, mountain climbers or jump rope which allowed me to get the most out of my workout sessions. Bonus? While these aren’t technically “ab crunches”, they do indeed involve core activation and help to carve out those abs!

3. Start with planks & not crunches. It’s not that I don’t like doing crunches – because I do – I prefer engaging my core entirely and “feeling the burn” is a great indication that work has been done! Did you know that your booty is actually part of your core? True story. But doing crunches doesn’t activate the glutes like planks do and most people usually resort to momentum while doing crunches and feel it in their neck. Not really the goal, am I right? It’s important to strengthen the entire core – imagine you have a wide girdle that covers the areas below your chest and stops just under your booty (this is your core) – before you progress to moves like crunches so you can master the moves instead of just the stuff on top. 😉 Along with planks, I’d suggest also beginning by lying on your back and raising your feet up and knees bent at 90 degrees. Place your hands on your quads (front part of your thighs) and push them away from your body as you engage your core to keep the knees over your hips. (you’ll feel these if done right)

4. Work your abs every day — but not in the same way daily. Your core muscles recover quite quickly so you can actually work them more often than other parts of your body without over-training. The secret however, is to change it up. For example, if you do planks on Monday, try doing C-curves (a Pilates type exercise) on Tuesday. How? Sit with your knees bent and the soles of your feet on the floor. Prop your upper body onto your forearms. Then, without changing the angle your upper and lower body have to the floor, place one hand at a time behind each thigh. Hold as long as you can, just as you would in plank.

5. Eat for awesome abs. Here’s where most of us get lost. We think that by workout out with enough cardio and performing our ab routines daily, we can get away with eating our favorite foods and just “eating better”. What the heck does this mean, anyway? LOL I’m guilty of saying this before too so I’m not calling you out in any way. I found that just by honing in on a few key areas, I was able to lean out sooner and much easier than when I ate “clean” and counted calories. Want to know how? Start with getting in a protein drink no later than 30 minutes after your workout since the quickest way to recover the tears in your muscles after you workout is to get protein into your body quickly. I use either a clean whey protein (no sucralose or unhealthy ingredients added) or Shakeology for my fuller-packed nutritional punch. Follow that up by drinking at least 4 liters to a gallon of water each day and eating whole grain carbs and healthy fats. If you need some help with foods, check out my healthy food list to plan out your meals for the week or month.

BONUS!! I’m super excited to bring my all-new FITNESS MEMBERSHIP SITE to you!! It’s been something I’ve dreamed of launching for almost a year now and I’m set to open this coming June! If you’d like priority information, please shoot me an email and title it “MEMBERS ONLY” and I’ll get you all the info as it rolls out! LIVE workouts, meal plans, personal help and more! Community like no other with support, accountability and TONS of content! 

Stressed, Overwhelmed and Anxious? Oh MY!

I’m going to be honest with you today!

I’m growing tired of talking about fitness, health and eating all the time.

You probably didn’t expect that from me, did you? Well, honestly, neither did I! But the last few years have been quite interesting and brought me to a realization this past year that I wanted to share with you.

I know that it’s important to take care of our health and I know you already understand that too. The truth of the matter is, I always figured that the more I talked about my journey and tips on these health and weight loss goals, then others would eventually start to live the life too.

But I started to notice a rather common pattern, instead. Many people would be excited to start a healthy plan – only to fall short somewhere along the line.

Was it their fault? Was it mine? What were the missing links between starting on a said goal and actually achieving (not to mention, maintaining) that said goal?

I then began to research what was different from where I am today versus who I was when I began this crazy ride 25+ years ago. What had changed from then to now?

Or a more realistic question would like be, what HASN’T changed since then?

There seems to be one underlying common issue for our ups and downs throughout life. It’s called, “LIFE”…
Or more accurately, STRESSES OF LIFE.

So why would I continue to push health and fitness tips and plans with those who continue to come up against another one of life’s roadblocks, time and again? No, I would need to restructure the way I work with my clients and customers based on their personal stress levels, struggles and common barriers instead.

The result? My own personal plan for eliminating our stress levels and finally getting to the core of our best selves.

Are you ready to cut the crap and start to live your life, once and for all? Stop second guessing if you should be doing more of “this” or less of “that”. Stop putting all of your focus on one area and then being frustrated when that doesn’t turn out exactly as you’d planned.

Are you currently dealing with any of the following:

  • caring too much about what others think of you
  • dealing with toxic people daily
  • procrastinating on things you know you ‘should’ do
  • feeling overwhelmed with all that needs to be done
  • wishing you could just fast forward until the next weekend or vacation
  • not knowing what you really enjoy anymore
  • feeling as though the person you used to be is “lost”
  • feeling like a failure when you continue to sabotage yourself in any goal you set
  • too embarrassed to share your true thoughts and shortcomings because you think that nobody else will understand
  • thinking that success and happiness is only for those who “earn” it

The thing about life is that, nothing will ever truly turn out exactly as we planned. We can either accept that fact and find another way; or just give up and throw our hands up as we look for the next magical solution. (which doesn’t exist) But before you decide to give up completely; there is another solution…and it’s so much simpler than we have been making it out to be!

Are you ready? The 5-Day Back to Basics challenge starts next week!

 

I’ve put together an amazing program that will not only help you lessen your stress levels, but it will also help you to succeed more than before. Sounds crazy, right? I know! I thought the same thing at first, until I started to implement these strategies into my life.

I cannot imagine living and thinking the way I used to because it brought me anxiety, unhappiness and lots and lots of stress.

No thank you!

I’m inviting you to join me for this first official launch next week! It’s FREE, it’s only 5 days and it’s easy – what is there to lose? (except stress and doing too much with less than stellar results!)

You can sign up right here (it takes less than a minute!)
JOIN THE 5-DAY FREE BACK TO BASICS CHALLENGE!!!

As a THANK YOU, I will send you my first video and assignment starting Monday, March 6th that will help you find your own success formula. There are no “one size fits all” ways to succeed but these little tips will show you how you can start now.

Ready? I’m so excited for this! I know it will be worth the few daily check-ins as it sets the tone for the rest of our lives!  Just click HERE and get the info you need to see what’s in store for this challenge and sign up in less than 30 seconds!

Enjoy your day and looking forward to helping you succeed more in the coming year than ever before!

Your friend,

Kathy P.
http://www.kathyprofitness@gmail.com

Month 1 Results!

My month 1 picture results! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this should really say a lot!
My month 1 picture results! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so this should really say a lot!

I can’t believe it’s already been a full month on this program! I can honestly say that I feel like I just started and the fact that you are following my journey is helping me to stay on track and continue to post and push forward.

Week 1 seemed like a breeze. But isn’t everything exciting when it’s new again? The workouts were fresh and eating my meals and tracking them on MFP seemed like a fun game.

Week 2 wasn’t so fun. First of all, there were those nasty hormones to deal with :p and cravings were out of control! I remember a few times indulging in foods not on my plan and just saying (out loud too) “Who the heck cares?” Cuz I know I didn’t! Have you ever had a craving that was so powerful that nothing else mattered in that moment? While I’m not as easily thrown off my plan as I was in the beginning stages of this lifestyle journey (and that was like a hundred million years ago!), I still find myself overwhelmed with an emotional craving along the way.

You know what’s kinda cool about this, though? I realize that in that moment when I’m feeling defiant and needing a quick “fix”, giving in isn’t always the end of the world. As a trainer and someone who’s been working in the fitness field forever, I understand that a change of any kind is sometimes helpful to our bodies’ results. But what’s more important to understand about that crazy moment, is that giving in to a quick “fix” is most definitely more beneficial to our lives than jumping out of a window.

Just saying 😉

I also had a small weight gain in week 2 but knowing what I know, I let it blow over (and was happy it wasn’t any bigger of a gain with the extra eating I did!). I had a better week 3 in results but I realized my eating needed to get back on track.

For example, I’d start every day with the best of intentions (sound familiar? LOL) and then by mid-afternoon, I’d just tell myself that I’d “update my meal log-ins when I had more time”…

ya, right! That doesn’t ever happen so by this last week, I was definitely more mindful of tracking and listening to my body’s cues. For example, most of us start a “diet plan” (which I despise but this is an example) and once a few days passes, we realize that our bodies are screaming for MORE FOOD!

Right?

So what do we do? We buckle down and decide that we are going to have “more willpower”…

How well did that work for us? haha

So we finally give in and eat the entire refrigerator and freezer, only to feel like a ginormous blob of a failure after. Sound familiar? It is cuz WE ALL HAVE DONE IT!

and probably will do it again for sure! This is no secret so let’s stop acting like we are the “only” person in the whole entire world to ever struggle like this and feel like a failure.

What would have happened if we decided to change the previous scenario? (aka: what I decided to implement in this last week)

For example, you’re humming along on days 1 and 2 on your new “diet” and then all of a sudden (like it’s a surprise we hadn’t anticipated…) we are hit with this overpowering desire and hunger to EAT ALL THE FOOD!

So we say, NO! I am strong and I have willpower and my goals are more important to me than this instant glorification.

B.S.

Seriously, that won’t work and you know it. It never did and it never will. There are only 2 other ways to handle this situation so you can continue to succeed and move forward;

#1) Eat more food! Duh! Although this sounds simple to do, it’s not! Most of us are stuck in the “DIET” mode that we berate ourselves for even contemplate more calories. For crying out loud! Our bodies are only trying to LIVE. It has needs and works hard for us every minute of every day so if we can’t just fathom that some days (and times of the month), we will require a bit more or less, then so be it. One word of caution though, I don’t mean to just go out and eat whatever and however you want. In order to succeed, imagine taking care of a brand new car that cost you $100,000. Would you just fill it up with whatever type of crap you could come across because it was low on fuel? Or would you plan to invest in the most precious fuel (with the octanes and stuff…I know nothing about cars so that’s all you get for this analogy) so that your car could last forever and run smoothly?

I’m thinking you chose the latter option and you’d feel confident it was the right choice. That being said, why on earth would we think it’s okay to shove ding dongs and crusty week old pizza down our pieholes when we’re hungry and have waited too long to eat something better for us? Next time you feel hungry, understand that your body might need it and choose wisely. Heck, even if you have an extra apple and a handful of almonds, you’re not going to harm your body OR your results. Trust me.

#2) Have a cheat if you must but have dignity and use a fork! I’m not kidding; many times when we’re hit with the starving body and have put off eating for way too long, we get to the point of just eating whatever is in arms length and looking like a complete lunatic. (and not to mention a bit disgusting) Right? So in case you aren’t up to “fueling your car” with quality nutrition in that heated moment, then pick up a plate and a utensil and eat in front of people so that you look less crazy and more like you love your food! Why wouldn’t you want to anyway?

I’m now winding down on week #4 and will begin my 2nd month on Monday. I have to say that this past week was my “recovery” week and it has given me more oomph to kick start another month and not feel like I’m killing my body with new challenges in these quick and effective workouts. If you haven’t taken a week to recover in awhile, may I recommend you do that now? Go do some yoga, pilates and use a foam roller for crying out loud! Your body totally deserves this! (or you risk some bad stuff and that’s not going to be fun if you get injured)

I’m sharing my results with you but realize that I most likely won’t lose much more weight on the scale in the coming 2 months, but I know the changes will show up in the pictures, measurements and body fat testing. I am 5’6″ and my weight never goes below 145. Even when I drove myself to the leanest point of my life at age 40, and took on the stage in a bikini no less! GASP! I stopped having my periods for 6 months because my body fat was way too low and I felt so bad and suffered from burnout and adrenal failure.

Fun times!

And throughout that time period, the freaking scale still stared at me with that stubborn “1-4-5” and nothing less. Crazy how our body’s work, right?

I’m super pumped for the new month and hope you are taking some of these tips into your own life for better results if you need them! Please leave me a comment or shoot me a message if you need some tips that I have not addressed yet.

Here are my measurements and weight updates from week 1 to week 4:

Day 1 weight/end of month 1: 150.1/ 147.2

Waist: Day 1 – 28.5   End of month 1 – 28.25

Hips: Day 1- 38.5      End of month 1 – 38

Thigh: Day 1 – 19.5   End of month 1 – 19

All in all, I am down almost 3 inches and over 2 lbs. From my pictures though, I am really happy with my month 1 results!

One of my "emotional" days...I actually cried in my workout because so many things were going wrong and I felt absolutely NO energy or desire to complete the workout. Still think other people don't struggle too?
One of my “emotional” days…I actually cried in my workout because so many things were going wrong and I felt absolutely NO energy or desire to complete the workout. Still think other people don’t struggle too?

Week 1 Wrap-Up

I made it through week 1 with limited struggles and hunger cravings!

I’m actually a little surprised because I usually struggle mentally in my first week of a new plan only because my calories are being cut back a little.

But that all stems from diets and feeling deprived of what I love to eat. In the past week, I’ve counted every food and macronutrient that I ingested. Even those “small tiny bites” that most of us usually discount as “too small to count”…unh uh. It’s all getting counted and I’m sharing it all with you, me dear reader. Aren’t you feeling fab? 😉

So let me start with each day’s workouts and calorie breakdowns (I am set at 1800 calories a day):

Monday, Day 1: 1684 – Total Body Synergistics 30 minute workout

Tuesday, Day 2: 1842 – Body Barre class (which I lead) and 30 minute upper body workout 

Wednesday, Day 3: 1699 – Yoga and Pilates 

Thursday, Day 4: 2176 – Body Pump and Pilates classes (which I lead) and 30 minute workout

Friday, Day 5: 1749 – 30 minute circuit training workout 

Saturday, Day 6: 2616 – Cycle and Body Pump classes (which I lead) and 30 minute body weight training 

You could see that my calories fluctuated up and down depending on the activity I did that specific day. It helped me to listen to my body’s hunger cues and eat as needed. I’m tracking my protein, carbs and fats so I know how to break them down each day to give the best results. If you’ve never heard of this before, it’s basically called “macro counting”. My daily goal is to get in 40% of my calories from carbs and 30% from fats and proteins. This allows me to get the best quality nutrition and best results as I progress through the coming 3 months.

A calorie is not just a calorie. Our body uses the nutrients we eat and if it’s empty calories (aka: sugar and processed adds) or too many of one nutrient; our bodies are forced to store the extra calories to fat storages if they can’t be used efficiently at that specific time. That’s why it’s so important to find out how many calories our body’s require (and it’s going to change along the way), how we should break down our meals (in terms of macronutrients and timing of meals) and what to do when we get hungry or start to crave the foods that our body’s are used to eating.

I’ll talk more about how I handle these areas along the way as they come into play. What I’d like to leave you with today is that when we follow what our body’s need to survive and thrive and change the habits that are pulling us into the land of unhealthy and illnesses; we have no options but to succeed. The scale is one small area to show changes but it’s definitely the least accurate along the way as it can only show a number and not what that number means in a specific time period.

If you want to learn more about the scale and how it can hinder us if we give it too much credit, please check out this post from last year: How to understand the scale 

 

Results in the first week on the scale.
Results in the first week on the scale.
Getting my 30 minute workouts done at home.
Getting my 30 minute workouts done at home.
Ready for my Super Burpee!
Ready for my Super Burpee!

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Made sure my nutrition was met with daily Shakeology!
  Made sure my nutrition was met with daily Shakeology!
My favorite breakfast choice!
  My favorite breakfast choice!                            

 

Day 3: Cravings can kiss my booty!

I’m seriously stubborn and competitive by nature. I don’t like being told what to do and I don’t like feeling like I’m letting myself down from being and doing my best. (and better than everybody else…just being honest!)

Crazy? Maybe…but I figure if we focus on our strengths and weaknesses and work on creating new strengths out of our weaknesses; the sky is the limit on what we can achieve.

What the heck is Kathy talking about? 😀 LOL

Let me explain how this relates to my cravings blog. I’m on day #3 of my 90 day program. I need to be this accountable to you so that I stay on track (remember the competitive nature? well I also don’t like looking like a failure or a liar..yes, I have issues!). My competitive nature makes it easy for me to stick to and push forward in my fitness plans. Although there are days that I don’t want to work out or workouts that I don’t want to do; I won’t be satisfied unless I just do it.

Take yesterday for instance; it was agility training day. That means lots of cardio stuff. I hate cardio. It is awful and evil and makes me want to cry.

But I do it anyway because I need to beat my inner negative voice. I need to persevere when my mind is telling me not to. I’m sharing this with you in case you wonder how I love fitness so much. I just love weights. Heavy lifting is my BFF and now that I’m better at stretching; so is yoga. Yoga used to be my nemesis though too because it made me cry and hurt and keep looking at the clock hoping the practice was done. But I kept at it and it’s not as hard and I found that I actually do better with everything else when I continue to do yoga.

So, moral of that last paragraph is to do yoga. Or stretch. Don’t neglect this or you will be sorry one day.

Anyway, my challenge for the next 3 months isn’t going to be sticking to my workouts…it’s going to be sticking to my meal plans and calorie range and macros. We are not BFFs but I know we will soon be.

You see, I relate following meal plans with diets 

BWAHHHHHAAAAHHHAAAA

And diets are bad words and bad, evil practices. They rob us of happy stuff and results and basically; success. So I fight the battle against diets because it ruined my younger years and made me a hostage of feeling bad about myself. Although I now understand that following a meal plan is healthy; heck, I get 1800 calories a day right now and that’s no joke….but it still reminds me of feeling deprived of more. 

More food, Kathy? Why thank you! I don’t mind if I do! I love eating!

I digress, back to my point…since food plans usually challenge me more than anything else in the whole entire world; I decided to share with you, my dear reader friend, the good the bad and the ridiculously ugly stuff to help keep me accountable.

So far, so good. But that’s not going to last forever once my body decides that it wants something off my healthy food plan. I know that one day soon (and it can happen in the blink of an eye), I’ll be sitting there all happy and feeling all badass about myself sticking to my plan…

and then BLAM!

“Let’s go have some chocolate stuff, Kathy” (says my mind) but I counter with my strong self and say, “but that’s not on plan let’s eat brussel sprouts instead”…

And off point again but I have been treating myself with brussel sprouts to get my mind off food with a filled tummy and low calories…

Back to point:

My mind will allow me to eat the veggies and act like it allowed me to “win” this time but then it will hit me up again at a low point or a stressful time or a busier period and say, “Pssst! Kathy! You’ve been doing so good so far…you totally deserve that carb, sugar and greasy loaded truckload of food you’ve been missing”…

And if I don’t share this with you, I will look like a lying ass liar.

I’m not a lying ass liar and I’m not weak and I’m going to kick butt…

Just wait and see!

(my competitive streak there…)

So here are my foods from today. I’m kind of stupidly proud so far cuz on day 1, I ate about 150 calories below my goal range (which isn’t good but makes me feel stronger than going that much over!) and then on day 2, I was just 42 calories over (which basically means nothing after day 1) and today here are my macros so far…before dinner and my evening snack. (I NEED a snack!) I’m kind of proud…what do you think?

Ridiculously proud of this pie chart that I'm sharing with you today!
Ridiculously proud of this pie chart that I’m sharing with you today!

 

And today was not agility training so I was happy…it was blissful yoga day. Here is how happy I feel after yoga day…and no cardio day! 🙂

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and yes, I drank my shake before making dinner so I didn’t take “B.L.T’s” or “bites licks and tastes as I cooked! 😀

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New week’s goals

It’s a new week and I’m making a commitment for the coming 2 weeks to post daily about my progress in all areas. I like to write my blog posts more often and it seems like I get on track for a bit and then off again. My goal is to share a bit of my world with you in the next 2 weeks so you can glimpse what I struggle with and where I succeed at. My hope is that this inspires you to keep going every day; week and month…even when things are going as “perfectly” as you hope they do. 🙂

I didn’t sleep very well last night due to my daughter’s recent bout with strep throat and now an abscess on her tonsil. You’d think by that last sentence that my daughter was a young girl, right? Well, honestly, she’s 20 years old and when my little girl is sick this momma is going to overdo it on worry, care and soup making. lol

Chicken Enchilada soup

I had also planned to train my bootcamp group of ladies this morning at 5am before our appointment at 9. Since I was waking up every hour on the hour, to check on my daughter (yes, I slept in her room!); I heard a strange dripping sound around 3am and wondered if our sprinklers were stuck or mis-programmed.

No sprinkler issues whatsoever…it was actually raining. 

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In Southern California? That is absurd! LOL So I messaged the bootcamp ladies and we agreed to postpone this morning’s workout for tomorrow since we’d be outdoors in the wet and slippery morning. I tried to go back to sleep but to no avail…so here I am, writing this blog and drinking my coffee before I get my 5:30 workout done in my living room. I’m also kicking off this week with a NO SUGAR challenge for 2 weeks.

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This is my 3rd round of the NO SUGAR challenge this year and I have to say that I’m actually looking forward to this more than ever. I realize that even though I’m a healthy eater who choose “clean” foods about 90% of the time, when I cut out all of the sugars completely; I feel lighter, more energetic and immediately drop any extra “bloat” or weight that can creep up at any time of day or night. You know what I’m talking about, right?

I may or may not go through withdrawals because I’ve done this more than once this past year and each time it gets easier to do. I’ll share with you why you should take on a challenge such as this soon too (even now!) and why sugar is one of the main reasons for our obesity epidemic and all of the health issues rising up in our lives.

I’m drinking my coffee with 1 Tbls of half and half. Yes, there is cream in it but no sugar! 🙂 My tip for you today is to cut out the crappy coffee creamers that are filled with awful preservatives, sugars and things that aren’t even in my vocabulary. Use cream, half and half or milk instead. You’ll thank me later.

My workout is going to be from Beachbody’s Master Hammer and Chisel. I’ll be doing Hammer Power today and you’ll have to see how it went in tomorrow’s post.

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Today’s big plans:

workout at 5:30am

Dr. appt at 9am

No sugar all day

Dinner plans: Mediterranean Chicken with pasta (for the family- I’ll stick to the chicken and veggies)

Want the recipe? Check out tomorrow’s post!

When you need to lose those last few pounds

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight before (and that would be 99.99% of us, right??) then you know it’s those last few pounds that seem like they are stuck like glue to our bodies!! What gives? It’s not like those 5 or so pounds are going to rock our worlds, or that our abs need to be shredded duuuude!…but then again it’s so much more rewarding to know we met our goals completely and can enjoy the results of  not giving up. There are times that we really want more results. Like for example, if you have a special event coming up; or training for an endurance event; or training to take the stage for a fitness competition or you want to rock your wedding gown! Whatever the reasons (and they are all important if they push you!), did you know that your best solution is what you would typically not do? It’s simply to EAT MORE FOOD!!!!

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and a gasp was heard!

No, I haven’t lost my mind. I’m not going crazy or trying to throw you off track. It’s when we change things up again that our bodies take notice and in return, change things up. You will drop weight again. I know most people think this type of thinking is completely nuts and many are too wired into the dieting mentality to give it a go (and just keep repeating the maddening deprivation and binge cycle) but if you trust me and take this challenge for yourself, you’ll be dancing into your next success phase.

In order to help you understand what I’m saying is legit, I’m going to share with you how and why your body won’t change within the last few pounds of our target weight loss.

I have to repeat that this is for those of you who need to lose the last few pounds and not starting out or following a current plan that is working. This helps those of us who have hit a weight loss plateau while already eating at a calorie deficit and still not happy with our results.

#1: Hormones can wreak havoc on us

Hormones are whack. Seriously, I wish I had a dime for every time my (or someone’s I’m working with) hormones are responsible for an issue or struggle. When our bodies are working hard to digest and metabolize our foods, hormones are involved. They are responsible for shifts in our results depending on how much and what we are eating. This becomes a bigger issue when we continue to cut more calories in order to lose weight. It sounds pretty simple that cutting calories will lead to more weight loss, YES? But I have to tell you that it’s not that simple. And hormones are responsible.
Logically, our brains may want to lose those last pounds of YUCK sitting on our bodies but our body actually does not. Our endocrine system (hormones) don’t understand that you’re not simply dying, and it’s main purpose is to help us not die! That’s really pretty cool that our body has our back (so to say). It helps to understand these basic principles so we can confidently change up what we are doing when it’s not working any longer. When we continue to restrict calories and nutrition, our body isn’t aware how long the starvation phase will continue. As we lower our caloric intake, the hormones can start to increase our appetites (hello BINGE FEST!) to help motivate us to EAT MORE (and the choices are usually not good!) and we wonder why we turn into the HANGRY monsters! #hormones As this is happening, you know what else is going on? Our body then slows down our metabolism (uh oh!) and promotes the breakdown of lean muscle tissue in order to conserve for the emergency of keeping our body fat supplies around longer.

It sounds like the drama scene in any action packed movie; everything is working to stop the good guys goal.

Let’s talk about the hormones responsible for appetite. The first one is called, “ghrelin” and is produced in our guts. (yayyy!) This hormone promotes hunger and can increase when we are in a fasting period. The second is called, “leptin” and is produced by adipose tissue (or FAT). This hormone decreases our hunger; it shows up in fewer amounts when you have less body fat available to produce it.

When energy levels are restricted, it puts more stress on our bodies. As this happens, it increases the hormone “cortisol”. This stress hormone helps us in tough situations. Think the “fight or flight” scenarios or when we are in actual danger. (cue horror movie type music). It becomes problematic, however, when we are constantly stressed out within our daily lives. What happens? It starts to suppress the hormone “leptin” (remember that one was helping to decrease our hunger) and it also saves more body fat stores by helping our bodies to break down more muscle protein as a source for fuel.

This is exactly what we don’t want. If we don’t know what’s going on within our bodies at these stages, we actually start to harm ourselves with what we believe is helping us “lose more weight”.

Not that we need one more areas to go wrong, but super low-calorie diets and super low body fats have been shown to reduce our blood sugar-regulating hormone, “insulin”. Insulin helps to metabolize and regulate our thyroid hormones and helps to prevent muscle protein breakdown.

So when you add this all up it equals chaos going on in our endocrine system. Any questions? Beuhler?

BLOGGING IS THE ONLY WAY!

 

#2: Metabolism slows down .

Let’s talk about our metabolism when we undereat. Like I said before, it seems pretty basic to think restricting more calories will simply result in more weight loss, right? WRONG! Our bodies require a specific amount of calories to just run efficiently to help in our bodily functions and in keeping us alive. #bonus This is referred to as our BASAL METABOLIC RATE, or “BMR”. It is basically like the fuel you put into your car or it won’t run. We know we burn calories when we are working out and being more active, but we also burn calories when doing anything, nothing and sleeping too!

It’s when we don’t eat enough, however, energy levels are lowered and our basal metabolic rate (BMR) does too. Why does this matter? Because it’s at this point that energy becomes less prevelant and our results slow down and eventually stall.

 

#3: You are not active

Your BMR is where most of your calories are burned (about 70%). The next is the daily stuff we do that seems almost boring; things like walking around, talking, crossing off tasks on your “to do” list. If you are low on calories, your body will then try to conserve energy and reduces this energy burn. Simply put; you burn less calories all the time.

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Now that we know…what do we do??? 

As you know from above, just start to eat more. When we lower our deficit in calories, then these problems also lessen. Let’s talk about a study on women who were fed 1200 calories per day for 3 weeks.  This is nearly 600 calories less than the average intake for most women.  The study showed an increase in the hormone, cortisol in these women. Let’s compare another study on overweight men and women who were restricted just 200-300 calories a day less than the average daily intake. In this study, and combined with exercise, the results did not show an increase in cortisol (stress hormones). When we are eating enough to fuel our body’s needs throughout the dieting and exercise plans, we create less stress on our bodies and this makes it easier for us to maintain the caloric deficit without adding undue increases in cortisol levels.

It’s suggested at this point to increase your calories by 200-300 a day until you start to see results again. For example, if you’re following a plan that is 1,500 calories a day and not seeing the results you want, go up to about 1,700 calories and see if that creates better results. If that doesn’t work, then go up again to 1,800 calories and continue adding another 200 or so calories per week until your plateau is cracked.

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When you break it down, 200-300 extra calories are not much more foods but will give you better results in the long run. It may mean adding in a piece of fruit and some raw nuts into your day. Choose the right balance of foods to keep your macros balanced as you are adding the extra calories.

The focus should be on long term results at this point and not a temporary loss (and ultimately that dreaded gain soon after). Since what you’re currently doing is no longer working, you really don’t have much more to lose (or do you??) 🙂

Have you ever gone up in your calories when you hit a plateau? If so, please share with me below! I’d love to hear your story!