Back in the Spring of 2011 I thought I held all the keys to permanent fat release. After going from a top weight of 185 pounds at 5’1″ the day I came home from the hospital after giving birth to my son, to a stable, maintainable weight of 123, and keeping it off for three years, I thought I was home free.
I had discovered Turbulence Training, and a whole food nutritional approach that managed carbohydrate intake, along with indulgences on special occasions.
Speaking of occasions, a number of events where I would be speaking in public about my transformation gave me powerful incentives to keep my eye on the ball by training and eating consistently in the way that had worked best.
In the Summer of 2011 I started to teach Zumba and train clients, and I was lured into the false sense of security that some personal trainers succumb to. I was putting in plenty of hours at the gym or studio, I was practicing my routines in my spare time, and I was under the extra stress of wanting to make good in my new profession. I had invested a substantial amount of money and time getting certified, licensed, and insured, and the harsh voice in my head (that I could definitely do without) was suggesting dire consequences if I failed as a Trainer/Instructor.
Because I thought I was training enough to get away with it, I began to turn to food as a comfort and a reward again, and the place I would find the fancy, tempting, indulgent food was at brunch. About every two or three weeks, my husband, son, and I would go to the lovely brunch at the Seven Sisters in Tuolumne. We had a lot to celebrate: the business, birthdays, anniversaries, the change of season, the fact that it was Sunday, just about any reason would do. I had all kinds of rationalizations for why I could eat whatever I desired in whatever quantities I wanted at these meals, and they caused some visible collateral damage.
Where for the past three years my weight ceiling had stayed at 123, between the Summer of 2011 right through to this month, my top set point had moved up to 133.
(I just used the BMI calculator at the CDC website, and that weight would put me at 25.1; just inside the overweight category. Yes, I know, BMI makes no accounting for muscle, and I have plenty, but as a professional who helps individuals release fat, and as a proponent of techniques for permanent change, I was sensing a growing disconnect between what I was teaching and what I was doing.)
Up until yesterday, my recent pattern has been: Eat well and train well during the work week, indulge and overeat on the weekend. Two weeks ago, I ate according to that typical pattern. I was going to do a two week “Cleanse” starting Monday, so I ate whatever I wanted at Sunday brunch. I must have had four different desserts, and I felt awful the rest of the day. I started the cleanse on Monday, and my withdrawal headache was so bad, and my brain was so foggy, I blew off the cleanse project the very next day.
Now there is a bright spot here. I did add back my morning coffee, but I didn’t add back sugar, flour, and other foods that had triggered overeating in the past. I went back to what was working in 2011: High quality whole foods and moderate carbohydrate restriction. The result? A feeling of energy and well-being and the easing of my grinding hunger and cravings.
Yesterday’s brunch was to have been a reward for making it through the cleanse, and a chance to catch up with a young friend we had invited to join us. I had ditched the cleanse, so the meal wasn’t going to be a reward for anything. What was I going to do, treat the occasion as a sugar/flour/fat/salt-fest, or eat within the sugar and flour free boundaries I had been so happy with for the past 12 days?
Triumph! I ate a good breakfast and I made the decision that I would enjoy the delicious foods that were going to help me feel good long after the meal- not just for the short time I would spend eating it. I had some fabulous dishes, and a small plate of cheese and yes, asparagus, while the rest of the table enjoyed dessert.
I have complained loudly about that fact that while there are plenty of nutritional approaches available that can help us release fat, there don’t seem to be enough techniques available to put them into practice. Diets, menus, and Cookbooks may tell us what and how much to eat, but they rarely tell us how to motivate ourselves to choose in our own long term best interest.
Do you have a tempting meal or situation coming up? Find a quiet moment to think about how you want to behave in that situation and make a plan.
The satisfaction you will feel from following that plan will give you ten times the pleasure you could get from any kind of food or drink. This is not the hollow victory of denying yourself. It is the deep satisfaction of staying true to yourself.
The triumph? At three weeks into the 15th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest I am happy to see that I weigh 125 pounds this morning, and I am more confident every day that I can achieve my authentic ideal figure again.
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