(Image graphic from physiqonomics.com)
By Jamie Page
I have watched countless people start the process only to completely stop right before the real change can happen. And yes, I mean people I have coached personally and there was nothing I could have said or done to get them past the hump. I have also watched hundreds of people wait through "the suck" and come out the other side winning.
We can't predict how fast progress will come, we can only control how we get there. We tell all our clients who come through the CK 12 Week Challenge in the first month you are fighting against every fad-diet you've had results with. You are going against the grain of everything you see in magazines and social media. You have to ignore your friend's "20 pounds lost in 2 weeks" results with the latest-and-greatest supplement. And it sucks having to trust a process that is so simple you think to yourself, "there is no way this is right."
But that is just it. It is really so simple.
If you can be really consistent with simple, you can have amazing results, and even better an amazing quality of life FOREVER. But let me tell you 3 reasons why you think it sucks.
1: You already think you eat "fairly" healthy.
Before you go on the defense ask yourself, do I really? Am I happy with my health right now?
We hate admitting when we are wrong. To admit you do not know what the heck you are doing, when it comes to eating habits, is like saying you have no control over your own life. And when you finally decide you do want to "get control," you think you have to suffer to get there. Healthy people are not suffering. We are very happy people who love to eat.
Here at CK, we share everything with you to make eating healthy simple. Why do people love our recipes? Because they are delicious, not complicated, and very doable by even the worst cook. We are not trying to turn you into a chef, we just want you to be self-sufficent.
In our opinion, being able to cook some of your meals is pretty crucial to survival. This is why CK was created! Being fit or healthy has nothing do with whether you chose to eat the "fat-free" version of whatever-cookie, or counting points, ketosis, and staying in a permanent state of hunger. There is no suffering if you can wrap your head around a simple idea we coach in Clean Kitchen. You are doing this to learn how to live, not just to "lose" weight. For your entire life you have been in the "on a diet" cycle. Gain, lose, gain, lose. Just break the dang cycle already!
Learn and understand how and what you should eat to feel good and live a long life, not just to "look good" in a bathing suit. I promise bathing suits suck no matter what you look like. Everyone hates bathing suit season.
2: You are impatient.
It’s been 2 weeks and you expect to undo what you have been building for YEARS. Nothing is wrong except you have the patience of a 5-year-old.
Daily habits gave you the health you have today, so it is going to take a big collection of good-habit-days to start to reverse the process. We often refer to our client's journeys as "waves of progress." They usually hit a big wave of progress in the beginning and then things start to slow down, then progress picks back up, and so on the wave it goes. This doesn't mean clients are doing anything wrong, it is just their bodies adjusting to their new weight. The body is "resetting," in a way, to a new baseline.
I found this AH-mazing visual to illustrate just what I am talking about. I honestly laughed out loud when I saw it because it is so spot on. This is from physiqonomics.com. He uses some colorful language in his articles but really great illustrations of his points.
"The suck" is the span of time you are doing everything right, but you start to doubt the process. But change is still happening under the surface. Keep going.
When first starting out, it is SO HARD to wait for change. But you absolutely must. In the Clean Kitchen 12 Week Challenge, about half of our clients have a freak-out moment in about week 6 or 7 because their progress “stalls.”
Once you start the process, you plant the seed and water it daily with your new habits. Just because you can’t see the continuous changes on the surface, doesn’t mean change is not happening under the surface. You have to wait it out and keep plugging along to catch another wave of progress. Remember, this is not dieting, it is eating for life not just to lose weight. Though, the funny thing is, once you start eating what your body needs it will start doing what you want.
3: You are always trying to “lose weight.”
You should never be eating all the time with a focus of "losing weight." Believe it or not, maintaining weight (not losing or gaining) is really good for your body (and sanity). Maintenance means things are happy and this is where you want to live. When in "maintenance" your body is pretty darn good at using its energy (calories). It is so good at using energy, you maintain even when you have blow-out weekends on pizza, cake and beer.
Want to make sure your new weight-loss stays off? Try maintaining weight for 2-3 months post a weight-loss period. In other words, do not try to lose weight or let yourself gain weight for 2-3 months. Once you make it to the 2-3 month mark, you can go at it again to lose more weight if you need to.
1-3 months: In a weight-loss focus, a goal should be around an average loss of 1 pound per week. Any faster and you could be losing lean muscle and not just body fat. Some weeks you may lose more or less or none at all. What matters is that every few weeks something moves in weight or inches. 3-6 months: Try not to gain or lose weight to create a new “baseline” weight for your body. A good goal is to stay within 5 +/- pounds of your new body weight. Your weight can (and will) fluctuate between that much on a weekly basis so just stay in range. At month 7 you can start a new weight loss cycle if you want.
How do you maintain? Well, that all depends on what your daily eating habits look like. If you learn what to eat to feel satisfied and NOT deprived with mostly whole foods, you will be fine. But if you can’t change your old ways, your old habits will creep back in and so will the weight.
So if you are at a healthy weight, regularly active, eating moderately decent food choices with some weekly (here and there) treats and cheats, but not gaining or losing weight...congratulations, you are in maintenance mode. This is your happy place. Depending on what your goal is, you have the choice to stay here or ramp it up a notch to go further. It is your choice.
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes at that kind of timeline, but what is the rush? If you honestly want your results to stick you shouldn't be scared of that timeline. You have the rest of your life to make progress. I’ll leave you with a few sub-points of reasons why you think the "getting healthy/fit" process sucks.
- You still think eating healthy requires some form of misery. Either at the expense of your wallet or taste buds, you still think eating healthy is no fun. Well you can have both a full wallet and happy taste buds. Your health is your life. Don't get it twisted, you will pay sooner or later on doctor's and medical bills. If you still do not think you can't eat whole foods on a budget, here is a meal plan and grocery list you can start with, $2.10 per meal.
- You think you should have abs. Healthy people don't always have ripped abs. Majority of us do not have the genetics for it and the other 99% of us do not have the will power it takes to eat to get washboard abs. So stop looking at magazine cover models, or social media perfectly posed and filtered images. And even those you do see with abs, those are "morning abs" and by bed time they are "fluffy." Stop chasing perfection. It does not exist.
- You are stressed to the max. This correlates 100% to your success rate of changing eating habits, or changing your body composition. Too much on your plate—pun intended—no matter how good it is for you, will only result in a crash and burn. Focus on small victories you can do right now, not what you think your future-self should be doing. And realize when you do decide to change your lifestyle routine —which that is what this is—you will have to put more focus on it for a little while. So other priorities will probably take a back seat for a little while. But that is no excuse not to change. Change takes effort, but when you look back on it you realize it was worth it.