The other day I took this picture.
If you follow me regularly on social media you will know that it is not often I would post a picture like this.
It’s not the best set of abs you will see on Instagram and also, posting these sorts of pictures is not what I’m really about.
It does seem to get attention though and you are #winningatinstagram if you can post pictures like this (or better) all the time. I took and posted this picture today because I wanted to say something about this picture…
This pictures is of me (obviously).
It’s my body.
My body hasn’t always looked like this. It won’t always look like this. But it’s what it looks like now.
The most important thing to know about this body is that I’m NOT on a diet.
I’m NOT beating myself up in the gym either.
I’m not trading food for exercise.
e.g. if I eat this it’s okay because I’ll do an extra 30 minutes working out tomorrow.
Food is NOT reward and exercise is NOT punishment for not being “good enough”.
I’m actually doing less weight lifting at the moment and I’m basically eating whatever I want (with sensible moderation)
As I am sitting here and writing this I’ve just ironed a shirt that I’m going to wear because I’m going out to dinner tonight. There will be wine and dessert and I’m going to enjoy it.
On Monday last week it was a beautiful day and I did a later afternoon walk on the beach and afterwards I ate an ice-cream.
On Friday night Ben and I got our regular Thai Take Away and I had red curry with coconut rice and we shared a bag of malteesers afterwards.
Now I’m not saying this to boast or gloat.
Not at all.
That’s not the message I want to get across.
I was chatting with Lorraine who helps me with the coaching on my Ladies that Lift, Women’s Weight Loss coaching program.
She said to me one time; you have great genes!
And I thought about it.
I don’t think I do.
My dad was diagnosed in his 50’s as a type 1 diabetic. My mum, who I love to bits, is overweight with thyroid problems and high blood pressure.
I was overweight as a child and I’ve had cellulite since before puberty.
My weight has gone up and down throughout my teenage years and my 20’s and at times I’ve been quite chubby because of choices I have made (eating too much bad food, drinking too much alcohol and staying up late partying and enjoying myself).
So no, I don’t think I have good genes.
I have just invested a lot of time and effort into finding out what really works for me and making this a habit.
There have been times when I wouldn’t have gone out for dinner and had the wine and the dessert.
There would have been times when I don’t get a take away and eat naughty chocolates everyFriday.
But I can do these things now and maintain my physique for a few reasons and THIS is what I want to share with you…
1. It is always easier to maintain that it is to lose.
You obviously have to put in more work to lose extra weight than you do to maintain where you currently are.
The problem is that a lot of women don’t lose weight in the right way and once they reach their goal weight, they don’t have a structured way to reset their metabolism which means that their only “exit strategy” is to go back to their past behaviours which creates weight gain.
Reverse dieting, is increasing calories and carbohydrates in a slow and structured way to find the threshold at which you gain weight.
In January and February this year I built my daily calorie intake up to about 2500 and 300g of carbohydrate without weight gain.
I stopped the process because I was actually finding it difficult to eat all the food. But basically, now I know that as long as I continue to exercise, I can eat on average 2500 calories a day and I won’t need to worry about weight gain. I mostly eat less than this because of my stomach capacity although I would probably go higher on special occasions when eating out or having a few drinks.
2. Don’t mess with your metabolism.
I meet a lot of women who have done a lot of dumb diets. Very restrictive, low cals or low carbs.
When you do a diet like this you will lose some fat, you will lose some water and you will lose some muscle mass.
The restriction will slow down your metabolism and the muscle loss will reduce your resting metabolic rate.
As you repeat this behaviour in what is commonly know as yo-yo dieting, you will need to restrict more and more to lose weight.
Sensible dieting is about learning how to lose on the most amount of food possible (not the least) and using the hormonal and metabolic impact (not the calorie burning) of exercise to keep your metabolic fire stoked.
This will prevent a loss in muscle mass and reduction in metabolism which will make it difficult to maintain.
3. Build good habits
I’ve mentioned that now I eat whatever I want. This is true, but probably not in the sense that you think.
Yes, I have treats, I have chocolate, I get take away and I have the occasional glass of wine, or three. But I also make smart and sensible choices to balance these out.
Today we went out for breakfast and I had avocado on toast and scrambled egg but decided to finish it off with a, very, rich gluten free brownie.
So for the rest of the day I’ve been having green tea (which I enjoy) and I had white fish and asparagus for lunch which was high in protein and low in fats and carbs so tonight I can go out for dinner.
For dinner tonight I’ll probably get a leaner, lighter protein dish with a side of vegetables so that I can have dessert or I’d get something heavy like steak and chips but then skip dessert.
This would totally depend what I was in the mood for, and you know what, if I was still hungry after the steak and chips I’d get the dessert too BUT I know that is unlikely to be the case because I’m happy to listen to my body that go home overly stuffed with a stomach ache.
4. Put the work in at the gym
I have done it all.
My exercise history started with aerobics step classes and Tae-bo (yep, I even had the tapes at home), I had a bicycle that would get me around when I was in high school and I did spinning at university, I used to run (I’ve done several half marathons), I did CrossFit semi-competitively for about 2 or 3 years and now I lift weights, do yoga, a little running/sprinting in the summer and I’ve just started to learn to windsurf as a hobbie.
Everybody has a different body but I can’t see how women would NOT get results from resistance training.
I weigh almost a stone more now than I did in my running days but my body is tighter, stronger, better shaped and more toned than it was when I was 10 years younger in my early 20’s.
When I was learning to lift I learnt to do it properly. Fortunately working in a gym at the time I had a friend who was a power lifter and a PT and he taught me how to squat, deadlift, press and do proper pull ups.
CrossFit can get a lot of bad press but we had excellent coaches at the gym I went to and I learnt do much about quality movement from my time there.
Even when I didn’t go to class I was honing my technique and putting form before strength and strength before intensity.
A lot of women are keen to jump into high intensity interval training without learning how to move properly and activate the right muscles.
Take the time to learn this stuff, if you move well and apply force properly and establish intensity by working the right muscles in your workouts you will see so much more progress than just burning calories for 45 minutes.
One of the things I notice in my coaching program is that people just don’t plan. I really don’t know why?
If you want to learn new habits and eat better and fit in your training you HAVE TO PLAN AHEAD.
I must admit now I don’t plan my food and I do wing it but that’s also because I have been doing this stuff for so long that I know how.
Each week I do an online shop and I make sure there is enough fresh protein in the house and there are ALWAYS spare chicken and fish portions in the freezer. There is ALWAYS brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat in their dry forms as well as ready to go pouches and tins of beans for when your in a rush or just plane starving. It’s really not that hard, stock up, when something runs out, replace it.
I don’t keep trigger foods in the house and we don’t buy bread or even own a toaster. If I want something sweet it will be a piece of fruit, a bowl of oats with honey or I’ll be walking to the shops.
And yes, there will 100% be times when I do walk to the shop to buy a chocolate. I tend to buy a portion sized bar around about the 30g mark so there is no chance of eating the whole bar – because I will!
6. I ferociously protect my sleep.
Sleep is so important if you want to lose weight. Not only do you need it to build that all important muscle tissue that will keep your metabolism high.
But, I don’t know about you, but I am so much more susceptible to jumping into a pile of comfort food when I am too tired. Not to mention the fact that I am probably a blubbering emotional wreck, completely unproductive at work, will make every excuse not to go to the gym and just not that nice a person to be around.
I aim to get to bed by 10pm at the latest, most of the time it is 9pm and there are times when I go to bed as early as 7. I can wake up any time from 5am to 7am but on average it’s 6am allowing for a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night.
There are some nights when I stay up later, maybe socialising with friends, but I know what my limits are and I take action to ensure that I don’t end up a broken wreck.
I know there are mum who have small children who just won’t be able to get enough enough sleep and that is understandable. It just means you have to be extra disciplined about not eating crap.
Is it in the genes?
The purpose of writing all the above is because a lot of the women I work with and speak to don’t want to sacrifice the fun stuff in their life.
I get it, you want to party with your friends and eat out and enjoy treat foods and sleep in and skip the gym. We all do!
But if you want a goal there has to be a certain amount of sacrifice that needs to happen before you can achieve it.
Achieving the goal will take a lot more from you than maintenance – provided you have the right strategy – but it should be a short term sacrifice for a long term gain.
When Lorraine said to me, I think you just have great genes, I thought to myself – do I?
Our gene’s interact with our environment (this is called epigenetics in case you like to know this stuff).
Genes express themselves depending on the environment that you expose them to.
Did you know that when comparing gene’s the biggest difference is overall genetics is between male and female. A Caucasian European woman has genes which are so similar from a black African women that there is actually no significant difference.
So do I just have “good genes” or have a put in the work and do I continue to do what most people aren’t prepared to?
There is a saying:
“Nothing worth having comes easy”.
You have to put in the work.
And if you are ready to put in the work, then we are ready to work with you and help you achieve your goals. Then please feel free to complete the application below and book in for a complimentary breakthrough call to kick start your health, fitness and weight loss journey.
[I just have to say as I final note that this is no discredit to those people who ARE putting in good work not seeing results. I do have a few clients who struggle with health related issues which affect their ability to lose weight – this is probably due to a long time of bathing their genes in the wrong environment before they had the education to know what to do to help themselves]