After the Indulgence Meal: Re-embracing the Strategic Mindset

Oh. My. Gosh! The Super bowl food was soooooo good! Wasn’t it!? We made grilled steak, chicken, bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers, tater tots, keto tortilla chips, guacamole, and a veggie tray. For dessert, we made air fryer breaded Oreos, and air fryer Nutella filled donut bites, and maple and glazed donuts. With the desserts, we should have stopped at the Oreos, because the rest of the donut variations were mediocre next to those!

Leading up to the feast, I had done about a 21 hour intermittent fast, and then broke my fast with this delicious meal. The most liberating part of this day was that I didn’t have to log my food for the whole day (One of my indulgence meal rules is “no food journaling” for the indulgence meal)! Ahhhhh… sigh of relief! Taking a break from the rigidity of the process feels so good!

Of coarse, I did end up eating too much! My tummy hurt, and my head was pounding from all of the sugar. I made a mental note, in the aftermath, to remember the physical discomfort of eating way too much. Maybe next indulgence meal I can pull that stored memory and use it to apply a little bit more restraint in my food consumption.

Steak, veggie tray, tots, poppers

But… none of that is what I actually want to emphasize in this post.

oreo
Air Fryer Breaded Oreo

Where I find I struggle the most is the next meal or the next day following the indulgence meal. It can feel like quite the chore to re-embrace the strategic mindset after allowing yourself free rein on the indulgence type foods. I know I’m feeling it today. We still have some leftover Nutella donut bites, and it’s taken a number of pep talks to not take a snitch! In addition to that, it’s required a little bit of work to remind myself to log my food intake in my food journal.

The beauty of what I am about the share with you is that it can apply to you whether you had an unplanned binge, you’re coming back from vacation and need help letting go of vacation eating mindset, or you need help “flipping the switch” after your indulgence meal. So here we go.

Weight loss efforts take some serious concentration, right? It’s nice to have an end goal, but it is in the baby steps we take which help us to reach the final outcome that we want. It’s also while we are in the midst of our journey that we come across a million little distractions that can cause us to break our concentration (i.e. indulgence meal, birthday parties, feeding the family foods different than you feed yourself, going on vacation, unplanned treats, etc.). That’s just life. The key to success is in our efforts to constantly (and quickly) refocus our concentration back to the process.

Let’s talk Strategy

Here are three strategies which can help you to improve your concentration on your weight loss efforts, and quickly re-embrace the strategic mindset:

Self Talk

I want you to talk to yourself! No wait, hear me out! Self-talk is essential to your success! When we are feeding our mind with positive thoughts, we can increase the confidence we have in ourselves. You might give yourself some motivational self-talk which will focus on increasing your energy, effort, and positive attitude. Try repeating the following out loud: “You’ve got this”, “Come on, push yourself a little harder”, “I can make it to my next meal…”.

Or you might give yourself some instructional self-talk which focuses on technical or task-related aspects of performance to improve execution. “It’s not that much extra work to log my food intake, I can do that.” “I can say no to this food right now because it’s not in my plan. I can have it at my next designated indulgence meal.” “I can choose to eat veggies with each meal, even breakfast.”

By feeding ourselves positive thoughts, we are taking a necessary step which will affect performance. Thoughts are so powerful. They can either make or break the trajectory of our course. Shakespeare said, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

You guys, I do this all the time! I know I’ve mentioned a handful of times in these posts that I’ve had to give myself a pep-talk. I firmly believe that positive self-talk can drive us to accomplish great things. We make it through so many obstacles as we mimic The Little Engine that Could, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”

Routines

Routines are an essential aspect of maintaining concentration on the tasks which will lead to our weight loss. A Routine will also help you transfer your focus away from the non-strategic thoughts and actions, and towards the thoughts and actions which will help us see success. Having a routine in place enhances the probability that you will avoid being distracted. Routines help us create that habits, or allows our behavior to stay automatic, which will ensure our success in weight loss. Routines also give us a sense of control. Regardless of the circumstances we face, the pressures we feel, the distractions we come across, we can still take control of our weight loss by going through the routine.

I can personally vouch for the strategy of making routines. Since I’m, now, almost six weeks into my journey, habits have been created. This process feels WAY more easy now than it did in the first few weeks. It’s far easier to say no to the foods that I used to eat mindlessly. Routines have given me a liberation from my destructive food addictions. I know that I talk about feeling liberated at my indulgence meal. But the freedom that I feel because of the routines I’ve set in place far outweigh the moment of liberation that comes with the indulgence meal. I do feel in control now. I’m no longer giving myself a chastisement in the mirror at the end of the day because my actions didn’t line up with my values.

Self Monitoring

Self-Monitoring is an important tool which requires one to be completely honest with themselves. It places a mirror in front of us and helps us observe our behaviors. This “mirror” shows us how we are doing compared to the goals we’ve set. We are then encouraged to work harder to reach these goals. We can apply the tool of self-monitoring by journaling when a behavior occurs, the conditions we are in when the behavior is displayed (How we felt? What was happening? What triggered our response?).

A twist on this is Positive Self-Monitoring. This happens when we observe only the positive aspects of our performance at the time. “Okay, I stayed within my calorie goal for this meal”. “I got three workouts in this week”. Often times it might look like, “I only had one bite of the dessert when I wanted to eat the whole thing.”

We all need a pat on the back, and positive self-monitoring provides that. We are able to be kinder to ourselves and, in turn, our self confidence grows. I’m all about each of us implementing some major self-love as we are working to be the best version of ourselves. For more on mindset and self care, here is a great site with additional info.


So there you have it. Three new tools to add to your belt that you can use when you are ready to flip the switch back into a strategic way of eating. As you move out of an indulgence mindset and into a strategic one, these tools can get us there. So go ahead, give one or all of these a try!

That’s it for today. Talk to you soon!


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weigh in, woman girl fitness

Week 5 Weigh In: Perfection is NOT Required For Success!

This was one of those weeks where I tricked myself into thinking that absolutely no progress has been made. I knew that I had veered from my plan, just enough that it could have potentially effected my weekly results. My food intake has been less than perfect, and my exercise has seemed to be slightly lesser quality.

With my workouts, I’ve felt a bit less energy than normal, requiring myself continued self-pep talks to keep it up. But this can happen when we are in a caloric deficit state. Eating less means that we might be utilizing all of our food energy in other body processes. That’s ok, because the body is so smart, and adapts to the environment that we place it in. As I continue to strive to take in the most nutrient dense foods, my energy levels should balance out, and I’ll find myself dragging a little bit less.

Let’s get to this week’s results.

End of Week 5: Before and After Pictures

Week 5 Food Journal:

Here’s the log for today’s food intake. Today is one of the only few days, this week that I actually followed my meal plan. The rest of the week’s food journal entries will be at the bottom. As always, I don’t always eat the food in the order that I logged them in. (Who has time for such nit-pickiness? Not me!)

This week’s food intake was a bit all over the place. I had a couple days where my calories ended around my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), or maintenance range. There were a couple days where I did an intermittent fast as well. I feel like I had a whole bunch of mini unplanned indulgences between the bites of the Bloomin’ onion and bread from Outback Steakhouse, crackers, and homemade Mac and cheese. Mostly, I just didn’t really follow my meal plan, even with all of the food prep that I did. So the rest of the time, I was doing a bit more “winging it” by eating strategic foods, but not in the order that was planned. I’ve also caught myself drinking Diet Mtn. Dew almost daily for the last handful of days.

What the heck!?!? Haven’t I learned enough by now to know that my body doesn’t respond well to either diet soda or caffeine? When will I even learn? Today, I’m fighting the headaches, for sure!

I’m trying to decide if there was a trigger to my more rebellious eating, or a psychological reason for indulging a little bit extra. I can’t decipher anything huge. But I have recognized moments of missing my old life where I didn’t think about what I was eating (I know, totally destructive line of thought). I’ve allowed that thinking to escalate, and have recognized times when I was feeling like I was in food prison. Even with really good, strategic, food to eat all prepped and ready in the fridge. I’ve also recognized myself wanting to eat when I am feeling bored or overwhelmed.

I need to revisit my why’s for taking on this journey, and allow myself to love the process of following the rules which I know will lead me to my end goal. I need to stop allowing myself tiny tastes of the unplanned foods and need to recommit to following the meal plan, and not veering off course. Since nutrition is the largest piece of the weight loss puzzle, I need to give the rules the respect that they deserve. Time to let go of my- in the moment- wants!

But even with all of the areas I feel like I could have done better this week, progress still happened!

Week 5 bioelectrical impedance assessment results

Do you remember last week when I found myself a little bit shocked by the drastic muscle gain and fat loss? Do you remember how I questioned if my results fell within the 4% margin of error that can take place when using a bioelectrical impedance assessment machine? After this morning’s weigh in, I’m pretty convinced that was the case. Today’s progress falls much more in line with progress from Week 3 rather than Week 4. I’ll show you a comparison of both weeks in the results below. I mean, my eating and exercise were off, but really not by much.

My total body weight: 135.8 lbs (Down .7 lbs from the last two weeks, remember my weight was the same the last two weeks. Total of 7.1 lb. lost since start date).

Breaking my total body weight down into different categories of body composition

  • Total Body water: 78.7 lb. (Decrease of 3.1 pounds since last week, but increase of 1.6 lbs if we are comparing this week to week three. Total of 0.4 lb. increase since start date).
  • Dry lean mass: 29.1 lb. (Decrease of 0.9 lbs. since last week, but increase of .3 lb. if we are comparing this week to week three. Dry lean mass is the exact same this week as it was in my first weigh in. Remember that this includes muscle, organs, and bone minus any fluid)
  • Body fat mass: 28 lb. (This was a 3.3 lb. increase from last week, and 2.6 lb. decrease comparing this week to week three. Total of 7.5 lb. of fat lost since start date!)
  • Skeletal muscle mass: 60.4 lb. (Decrease of 2.2 lb. from last week, and increase of 1.1 lb. muscle compared to week three. Total of 0.4 lb. increase in muscle since start date)
  • BMI: 23.3 (Decrease of 0.1 in the last two weeks. Total BMI decrease of 1.2 since start date)
  • Body fat percentage: 20.5% (This increased by 2.4% from last week, and decreased by 2% compared to week three. Total of 4.3% decrease in body fat percentage since start date.)
  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): 1427 calories (This decreased by 38 calories.)
  • Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE): 2214 calories (Because my BMR decreased, this number decreased by 53 calories from last week)
  • Calorie target range for weight loss: 1560 calories (I’m keeping this target range the same)

Week 5 measuring tape results:

  • Right calf (measured at widest part): 14 3/8 inches (Same as last week, and down 3/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Right thigh (measured at widest part): 22 3/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week, and down 5/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Hips (measured at widest part): 38 1/2 inches (Down 1/4 inch from last week, Down 4 1/2 inches from first measurement)
  • Butt (measured at widest part): 37 5/8 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week. Down 1 3/4 inch from first measurement.)
  • Right below my muffin top: 34 3/4 inches (Down 1/4 inch from last week, and down 1 1/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Waistline (measured across belly button): 33 5/8 inches (Down 3/8 inch from last week, and down 1 5/8 inch from first measurement)
  • Chest (measured at widest part): 36 3/4 inches (Down 1/4 inch from last week. Down 1 inch from first measurement.)
  • Shoulders (measured at widest part): 40 inches (Down 1/8 inch from last week. Down 1/2 inch from first measurement)
  • Biceps: (measured at widest part): 11 1/4 inches (Same as last week, and 1/4 inch from first measurement).

This is what my workouts looked like:

Summary

I’m feeling much better about this week’s results after comparing all the numbers to both last week and the week before. If we compare to last week, it looks like I did a terrible job with my efforts. But if we compare to the week before, it looks like my progress is right on track with my efforts. I think the moral of the story is that perfection isn’t required in order to succeed at weight loss. We succeed through consistent effort. Even our tiny tastes of food, here and there, are okay when the rest of our actions are about 90% consistent with the rules around weight loss.

Thanks for sticking with me through this journey. Can’t wait to see what next week brings! Talk to you soon!


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Here are the food logs from the rest of my week:

Friday, January 29

Saturday, January 30

Sunday, January 31

Monday, February 1

Tuesday, February 2

Wednesday, February 3

white printer paper with be kind text on plants

Be kind to yourself! This is a Journey of love!

So, last night was date night, and we went out on a double date with some of our really good friends to Outback Steakhouse. I have been working to remember the last time we were able to sit down and eat inside of a restaurant, and the last I could recall was way back in early October when we took a trip out to Utah. So this was a real treat! I went into this date night thinking, “Steak house… grilled meat and veggies… I’ve got this.”

We went during the dinner rush, and as it’s COVID times, we had to wait for a table while sitting in the car for a solid forty-five minutes, or so. When our table was ready, I wasn’t just hungry, I was starving! This set the scene for a more mentally weak version of myself. “I’ll just try a tiny little sample of the Bloomin’ Onion”, “I’ll just cut a really thin slice of the delicious warm bread. I won’t even put any butter on it.” Famous last words! I will say that I didn’t go all shark frenzy on the fried/breaded onion deliciousness, or the bread (what is it, pumpernickel? Rye? Anyway, it’s something amazing). But I did eat enough that I knew I was going to have to record it, and it would take an uncomfortable bite into my calorie target range.

Indulgence meal

Dinner finally came, and I ate my steamed broccoli (which, for sure, was loaded with butter), side salad with the teeniest amount of vinaigrette dressing, and about a third of the 16 oz steak that I ordered. I was sure that this was going to place me way higher on my calorie numbers than I was wanting. But…after logging all of my food into myfitnesspal, I still finished the day 330 calories below my TDEE (Total day energy expenditure, or maintenance calories target).

I’ve still found myself chasing thoughts around, “well, should I just call that my indulgence meal? I mean, I ate way more than I meant to, and ate un-planned for non-strategic foods. Maybe I should skip out on the fun, big (sugar loaded) breakfast that I have planned for Sunday morning. I kinda suck for being so weak. I’m a little mad at myself, right now, because I just stalled my progress.”

Fast forward to this morning…

I was having a conversation with one of my personal training clients (who has become a dear friend), that helped me to see the absurdity behind those thoughts. Those thoughts were coming from that dreaded place where “all or nothing” thinking happens. They were coming as a way of punishing myself for my lack of perfection. They were not coming from a place of love.

If any of you were to come to me, presenting that exact scenario, I would never say or think those things about you. I would help you to recognize that, while some extra things were eaten, your whole strategy wasn’t even messed up! You still ended your day in a weight loss calorie deficit. You were able to enjoy some bites of foods that you haven’t eaten for a while, and they were delicious! I would work to help you reframe your unkind, and untrue thoughts into something productive. I would help you to recognize the areas that actually should be applauded. Be kind to yourself.

For example, after I ate what I had and was finished, I still had thoughts pulling me to finish off the remaining bread and onion blossom that were left on the table. Even in that moment, I was wondering if I should just finish those off, and then I could call this my indulgence meal. But by reframing my thoughts, I was able to recognize that I wasn’t mentally weak in that moment! I helped myself see that if I take that approach, I was going to disappoint my kids who were looking forward to a big breakfast on Sunday morning. Their happiness was more important to me than a few more moments of satisfying my taste buds. Thoughts reframed! Motivation restored.

This is what I want for you!

I want you to be able to give yourself these pep talks where you speak actual truth to yourself. Be kind to yourself. Where you call yourself out on your flawed, unkind thinking. Where you reframe your thoughts into something positive. This is a job that only you can undertake. No one else hears your thoughts. We are always the first responders to our own emotional emergencies. We shouldn’t even be relying on others to be the ones to lift us up when we are feeling down, anyway. Sure, it’s nice when others recognize that we need a pick-me-up, but we need to be the first ones to advocate for our positive thoughts and emotions. I want you to be empowered to love yourself in this way.

This whole process is never going to be a perfect downhill ride. Like me, you also will find yourself taking bites of things you weren’t planning to eat (Who else out there is always tempted to take a bite of their kids PB&J sandwiches)? You might miss a day of exercise (or three). You might have other areas of this process that you’re struggling with. THAT’S OKAY! Just do everything in your power to give yourself the high fives when you deserve it!

You are not alone!

To the girl who comes to the exercise class, and is so insecure about her lack of experience and abilities that she hides in the back of the room, I see you! You made it! Despite your insecurities, you were willing to come and give your body the movement that it deserves. You should be so proud of yourself for being there!

Be Kind to Yourself

To the girl at the gym who is heavily overweight, who has talked herself out of going there out of fear of judgement by others, I see you! You should be so proud of yourself! Fear of judgment is very real, but your desire to take care of your physical needs is stronger. No one else’s opinion of you matters, except your own. You loved yourself enough to show up. Give yourself a high five!

To the oversized gal at the gym who wears leggings and a sports bra while you workout. I see you! If only words could express how proud I am of you for loving yourself enough to just be yourself! You are a strong example to us all, and you should give yourself a pat on the back!

To the timid lady who has no idea how to work some of the equipment in the gym. You don’t even care if you look silly for sitting on the machine and using it wrong. You’ve reached the mindset that, come hell or high water, you need exercise. I see you! Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re determined to figure it out because you care for yourself and you know that’s what you need. Your determination is fully deserving of a standing ovation! Thank you for your example!

To the mom who managed to eat only one weight loss friendly meal today, I see you! This is still a win! That’s where progress starts! Epic job for loving yourself enough to nourish your body with that goodness!

Be kind to yourself.

Do you notice that there is not a “but…”

In each of the examples above reflecting your awesome efforts, you are working toward becoming your best self! I want you to work on eliminating your “but…” while you work to eliminate your butt (ha ha, see what I did there?). We don’t celebrate our efforts and then insult ourselves. We celebrate our efforts, period. End of sentence. Do you catch what I’m saying? Love yourself! Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. You know you’d never go and tell her good job at __________, but you’re terrible at _________! So don’t do that to yourself either!

Be kind to yourself! Love yourself! Every single baby step you are taking is worth celebrating! Please know that I see you. I am here giving you a standing ovation for all of your efforts, because THEY ARE AWESOME! Notice that I didn’t say that I’m applauding your perfection. I’m applauding the tiny actions you are taking toward becoming your best self. I am proud of you! You are doing great work. All of these tiny efforts will add up as you keep at them! You’re going to win this, I just know it!

Give yourself a high five!


Check out this post for more on how to support yourself and your small wins.


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colorful doughnuts

My First Indulgence Meal

We made it! Here we are, at the end of week three. And you know what that means!?!? Indulgence meal!!!

I was texting Adam (my hubby) earlier in the day, yesterday, telling him of the places we would be stopping to pick up food for date night/indulgence meal night. His response, “I’m not sure which you are more excited for. Date night with me, or Crumbl and Cava!” (Don’t worry, I told him that date night with him outranked the indulgent food that I was really really excited to eat)! I don’t blame the guy for wondering though… My upcoming indulgence meal has occupied a dominant amount of my thoughts in the last few days. And the outcome was just as fantastic as the anticipation! (But don’t worry, the evening out with him was even better!)

Cava and Crumbl. I know I’ve already talked about Crumbl (multiple times) in these posts. But do you know about Cava? Holy Moly! Think Mediterranean food with a Chipotle-esque concept. (Walk through the line, pick which ingredients you want to walk away with). They have about 80 stores throughout 13 different states in the US. We figured out, last night, that we’ve already spent around $250 on Cava since our Highlands Ranch location opened this last spring (maybe that’s not something I should fess up to?).

Anyway, Cava has these “greens and grains” bowls that have come to be something I can’t live without. I have probably thought about this food, almost daily since I first tried it! Without fail, I always choose the “super greens” (kale, brussels sprouts, chicory, and broccoli), a mix of brown rice and black lentils, 2 scoops of tziki sauce, 1 scoop of hummus, double servings of chicken (to make the bowl last for two meals, it really is a ton of food!), cucumbers, tomato and cucumber salsa, tomato and onion, (yes, they do have a variety of options that include tomatoes and cucumbers), kalamata olives, a yogurt dill sauce and almost the most important addition: the pita crisps on top.

Cava, Indulgence meal
How it started

Cava
How it’s going

While enjoying this delicious spread, Adam asked, “If this is such a healthy meal, what makes it indulgent?” I told him, if I were going to be picking up food from there on a day that wasn’t a planned indulgence day, the bowl would be much more simple. It would only include the veggies, chicken, maybe a half serving of black lentils (because I absolutely love those!), and only 1 scoop of the tzatziki sauce. Since it was a planned indulgence meal, I wanted all of the goodness, especially the pita crisps up top. The good news is that it is absolutely a place where I can still order a dish, with modifications, to help me in the process of weight loss.

So Cava was the first round of the indulgence meal. Since we are heavily laden in a COVID world, and Cava isn’t one of the local restaurants which have been approved for indoor dining, Adam and I enjoyed a moonlit meal from the car in the parking lot (talk about romantic!). But hey, when the oldest child is geared up to be the babysitter, you take full opportunity to spend even a few minutes away, right!?

Before picking up Cava, we picked up our online order of Crumbl. I did this to ensure this meal could all happen within the designated hour long time frame. Since this is me we’re talking about, I couldn’t miss out on an opportunity for a few tastes of one other item which has been screaming at me from the beginning of this adventure. I had a pan of cinnamon rolls all prepared for when we came home with the cookies.

Cookie
Is this Heaven? No, it’s Crumbl!

Don’t worry! Binge eater Amy stayed locked up nice and tight, last night. I did allow myself to eat a little more of the Cava bowl than I typically do, leaving just enough of the protein, veggies, grains, and one scoop of sauce to be an appropriate mini meal for another day. With the cookies, we cut them up into 6 pieces. I took 1 corner of each of those cookie flavors. As I bit into each individual flavor, I made the decision in that first bite if it would be worth it to eat the whole piece, or leave the rest on my plate. There were only two flavors that I really wanted to eat the whole thing: The Biscoff cookie (Holy smokes! This one is going down as a favorite Crumbl cookie flavor!), and the chocolate chip cookie. The other flavors were just kind of “meh”, so I intentionally chose to not finish them. I also picked out the smallest cinnamon roll in the pan. Because I was on the brink of having too much food, I even left some of that on my plate!

Cinnamon Roll
cookie

Now, this is probably the most important part of this whole post. Since I’ve had three solid weeks of eating non processed, no added sugar, no simple carbs, etc. It was within 20 minutes of eating my Cava bowl that the bloating and gassy tummy set in (TMI? Reminder: I promised full transparency). Sure it was healthy food, but the combination of pita crisps, extra sauces and grains put my digestive system in overdrive. Although I didn’t eat until I was sick, I was able to observe that the types of food I allowed myself in quantities larger than usual aren’t the types or quantities of foods we function best on. It’s way more work, and way harder on the body, when we consume these types of indulgent foods. We just might not realize it when our body is so used to constantly working as hard as it is to digest the excess less strategic foods.

Don’t get me wrong, the indulgent meal actually does more for us than just giving us a break from the boring weight loss food. It helps to reset our hunger hormones. It gives us a psychological break from the rigidity of following rules, it acts as a reward for going a certain period of time with sticking to your plan. It teaches you to respect the rules of weight loss. Lastly, it helps you to recognize the progress you make in the way that the non-strategic foods make you feel.

If you want some science backed reasons in favor the indulgence meals read these two articles: https://legionathletics.com/science-backed-reasons-why-you-should-have-cheat-meals/ and https://greatist.com/health/cheat-days-explained#physical-effects.

Overall, I am giving this indulgent meal experience a 10 out of 10! It served all the right purposes. I felt like I kept myself reigned in, and it provided a much needed date night with the hubs! Coming back from the indulgent meal feels hard! I already had to stop myself after eating about 1/8 of a leftover cinnamon roll. There’s a special kind of challenge in allowing myself to be liberal in my food intake one meal, and then reigning it all in back to a strictly strategic mindset the next. I can do this! I’ll just be giving myself a million little pep talks to not eat even one more taste of the remaining cinnamon rolls and cookies left on the counter! I’ve got this!

That’s a wrap! Talk to you soon!

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Chronicles of the two voices inside my head, installment #2 – Before the Cheat meal

Client Amy:

Today, this feels hard!

Trainer Amy:

Okay we’re going to need to get a bit more specific than that! What feels hard?

Client Amy:

I am in food prison! I just want to eat and not think or care about the nutritional value of what is going into my mouth! In fact, this is feeling daunting enough that I even took a bite of my kid’s pizza and had like eight spoonfulls of homemade Mac and cheese, yesterday!

Trainer Amy:

Okay, it’s not the end of the world. You’ve been very diligent in your nutritional approach for over two weeks now. That’s huge! That is a long time to stick with a strict regime when before that you were eating whatever your taste buds desired.

Remember that in order to meet specific goals, we need to follow specific rules to get to that point. You’re following a specific nutrition strategy which, you have seen, is actually working to change your body composition for the better.

Let’s pause and look at the bigger picture for a minute. Tell me, what do you feel you are doing well within this process?

Client Amy:

Okay… well… I’ve planned, food prepped, and stuck with a meal plan for two whole weeks. Even though it has felt like a lot of work, I do see the value in those efforts as they’ve helped me stay the course. I’ve also diligently logged my food intake each day. I usually hate food journaling, but doing so is helping to keep me on track. Also, I’ve exercised about 5 times each week, and a few of those days I’ve done two workouts!

Trainer Amy:

That’s awesome! Those are all habits which will lead you to success. Now, tell me what areas you feel like you can improve in your weight loss process?

Client Amy:

Well… For starters, I had those unplanned bites of “non-strategic” foods yesterday…

Trainer Amy:

OK, let’s talk about that. Was that your first unplanned food indulgence? Where did you end up in your calorie and macronutrient targets for the day?

Client Amy:

Yes, that was my first time eating something that wasn’t in my plans. I really tried not to be obsessive about it once I had a little taste. Ya know, “let it go”, “brush it off”, “quickly stay the course on my food plan”, and all. But I did manage to stay under 1700 calories. The only hiccup with my macronutrients were that my carbohydrates landed around 40 grams higher than I intended (Stupid Pasta!).

Trainer Amy:

Let’s celebrate this! Yes, you took a few unplanned bites of food, but you didn’t turn that into a binge-fest, and you stayed under your calorie goal! You should totally feel good about those things! Did you enjoy those tastes of pizza and homemade Mac and cheese?

Client Amy:

Yes! It was just enough to be able to enjoy the flavor without eating too much to carry frustration and guilt! Thanks for pointing that out!

Trainer Amy:

You’re welcome! Are there any other areas that you feel like you can do a little better in to take your efforts to the next step?

Client Amy:

Perhaps adding more foods to my weekly meal plan that will help me get enough potassium and iron so that I don’t worry about supplementing. Also, not beating myself up when I do happen to miss a day of working out.

Trainer Amy:

We can work on that the potassium and iron foods, no problem. But yes, be kind to yourself! If you are unkind to yourself you will lose your focus on why you’re taking on this journey. You’ll have negative feelings toward the process, and lose your desire to continue to push through. This is a journey of self love, where you are learning to instill habits which will help you feel your best both physically and mentally. You’re human. There’s room in life for “oopses”. Just as you did with the pizza and Mac and cheese, you pick yourself up immediately and keep placing one foot in front of the other. And you’re doing that! Have you seen how your body has changed over that last two weeks? Between following your nutrition strategy and doing your five days a week of exercise you are making progress!

You say that you feel like you’re in food prison. Let’s remember that you have a planned indulgence meal in three days. You’ve already made it through 19 days sticking to your eating strategy. Let’s talk about the indulgence meal, and review what the rules around that are.

Client Amy:

Uggggggh…. More rules!

Trainer Amy:

I know, I know, but rules are the safety nets which help us meet our ultimate goals! Rules are our friend. We become our best self when we adhere to rules!

First, we don’t call this a cheat meal because cheating has a negative connotation. Cheating is being dishonest and disloyal. When it is planned out, you aren’t being disloyal to your plan, it’s literally built in! There is a plan in place which invites you to have a meal which helps you feel a little bit more free. You can eat anything that you want, all within your set hour. Itching for those Crumbl cookies? Go for it! More Mac N Cheese? Down it! Really! Whatever you want, eat it! No measuring! No Tracking! In fact, I discourage you from journaling because we are working on being balanced and not obsessive about the numbers.

Doing this also acts as a psychological break. Listen to your body through this meal. Be super mindful, slow down, and stop when you feel like you’ve had enough food. But don’t make yourself sick! Remember that this will not be the last time you get to have these foods! Beginning this next week, you get to have an indulgence meal every week, if you want! Once your indulgence hour is over, you’re right back to your weight loss nutrition plan for the next seven days.

With all this in mind, will you commit to three more days without any food indulgences?

Client Amy:

Yes, I know I can do that. And I can commit to giving the indulgence meal the respect it deserves.

Trainer Amy:

Awesome! Let’s review your “why’s?”. Tell me the reasons that you’re working on losing weight.

Client Amy:

  1. I want to be my healthiest, eliminate gross tummy aches, feel my best.
  2. I want to eliminate risk of developing cancer and heart conditions that run in my family.
  3. I want to have energy to play with my very active boys.
  4. I want to feel my best in my own skin, and like the way that my clothes fit on me.
  5. I want to teach the world that this process works, and is totally doable (even for those with binge eating tendencies).
  6. I want to inspire others to make their own healthy lifestyle changes.

Trainer Amy:

Is this enough to help you focus on three more days of intentional food intake before your planned indulgence meal.

Client Amy:

Yes. My head is in the right place. I’m excited for the additional progress I’ll see on weigh in/measurement day on Thursday morning. I’m also excited to show myself that I can last all the way until Friday evening before eating my indulgence meal.

Trainer Amy:

You’ve got this! I can’t wait to hear all about that indulgence meal! Talk to you soon!


Want more info on indulgence meals? Check out this link from the University of Colorado.

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