When it comes to fat loss or physique transformations, many people seem to think that there is a secret to it. Whether it be fat-loss pills, insane fad diets, or trendy new workouts, people are always looking for THE FINAL answer to their fat loss woes. Well, I’m going to tell you what ‘the secret’ is, and honestly, I don’t think you’re going to like it. It’s not very exciting really and it’s actually the most difficult part of the equation. The secret is not just in what you eat, or the supplements you take, or the training you do….it’s in all of them. But the most important aspect of it all is…
The only time I ever see positive results in my body is when I’m being consistent with my diet and training. These are periods of time when I go without ‘cheating’ on my diet and don’t take long breaks in between training sessions. Training is usually the easy part for people once they start a healthy lifestyle. Consistently sticking to a diet is typically the hardest part for most.
This is because we associate food and alcohol with fun.
As a society we like to go out for food and drinks with friends and we have a difficult time coming up with alternatives to this. Oftentimes, on Facebook, I’ll see people posting something like “Just had the BEST ice cream at blah blah, but that’s okay! I’m going to the gym tomorrow to cancel it out!” I mean, that’s okay if you really like the way you look at the moment, but it’s not any way to make progress. You’re essentially taking one step forward by going to the gym, and then two steps back by gorging on a delicious, calorie-laden dish that left you in complete bliss for the total of 5 minutes. As they say, you can’t out-train a piss-poor diet. Frankly, you really don’t burn THAT much when you’re working out. Your diet is about 90% of the equation.
Now, I know that last paragraph was practically a slap in the face and might have made you hang your head in shame, but you’re not alone! Even those fitness models and competitors struggle with this! Everyone slips up every now and then. I’ve recently been making a lot of headway with my own personal transformation, but it doesn’t come without consequence. Lately I’ve been physically dragging at work (I run up and down two flights of stairs 40 hours a week), I’ve been moody and seemingly stuck in some sort of slight, foggy depression that I can’t explain and shake off. I know what’s happening and I know it’s because my body and mind are drained from being on a very strict, relatively low calorie, generally low carbohydrate diet (not too low, I’m at 1600 calories at the moment). But it’s hard going week to week without having a drink or fun meal with my husband or friends.
Here’s the truth: I hit my breaking point yesterday. I was already in a crabby mood before we left our place to visit some friends for coffee and then head to the London Aquarium. When we arrived at the coffee shop to chat with our friends, my mood was instantly lifted. I had a great time catching up on the past week and left there feeling good. Then my husband grabbed some lunch at the local market (I had a ‘delicious’ salad of canned tuna, spinach, and piccolo cherry tomatoes at home before we left vs. his sweet and sour chicken over rice…), and we shared some bites of a yummy brownie. Immediately afterward we headed to the London Aquarium where we were met with a HUGE line. At first this didn’t bother me because we had purchased our tickets online and had printed them off at home. I was sure that someone would be at the door just scanning our pre-printed tickets. But NOOOOOO…because we hadn’t purchased “Priority” tickets for an additional cost, we would have to wait in the hour-long line to get inside and have someone print NEW tickets for us to be scanned before we went in. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! I wanted to cry… I had really been looking forward to this outing all week, just for it to be ruined by standing in a line with unruly children who were just being ignored by their lazy parents. I wanted a refund and I wanted to get the hell out of there. My husband and I spent the whole hour in line with our arms crossed, just glaring at the mass amounts of people and their irritating children and mumbling swear words under our breath.
Once inside, I enjoyed the aquarium and the beautiful fish but again, the kids were an outright nuisance. Every time we go any place that might include a lot of children we declare that we are never having kids. So getting to the ultimate point of this story, my husband and I were in desperate need of a drink (or two) after this trip. Nothing was going to bring us out of this slump except a drink. It couldn’t be a beer, and it couldn’t be wine. It had to be something STIFF! Luckily, with my fabulous memory of good Mexican or South American restaurants, I had remembered that there was a Las Iguanas around the corner where we could get some genuine margaritas (not that lime green syrupy crap). We bee-lined for it and quickly decided to just go ahead and have dinner as well. We ended up having two cocktails each (Hey! It was 2-for-1 happy hour!) and a chicken burrito (which from what I could decipher actually probably wasn’t THAT unhealthy). In all honesty, our moods were completely lifted because of this meal and we had seriously saved the day from complete annihilation.
Okay, I realize that I sound like I’m contradicting myself with this story, but you have to remember that I don’t cheat like this on a regular basis. I no longer plan cheat meals in my life because they are bound to pop up just when you need them the most. My story also proves to you that I DON’T have amazing willpower and mental strength. Most people don’t. My willpower might be pretty strong, but I’m still human and I can only say “no” so many times before I break. The key is to be consistent as much as you possibly can. If you want to be less strict than I am, then that’s okay! You just have to have a bit more patience with your body. Results don’t happen overnight.
Remember, this SHOULD be a lifestyle, not a quick fix. Quick fixes don’t last forever. Special occasions pop up and sometimes it’s healthier for you to let yourself indulge. It may not be the healthiest thing for you physically, but your mental health is just as important. This lifestyle is a journey, and if you don’t enjoy the journey, then what’s the point?