April 24, 2019

My New Health & Fitness Plan

I’m what you’d call a Yoyo when it comes to health and fitness. Like most of my life, I go to the extremes. There’s the proverbial wagon that I’m sometimes pulling uphill with weights while drinking a green juice. And then’s there’s times… well, forget falling off of it, I’m hiding under the damn thing hibernating and stuffing my face with Cinnamon rolls.

There’ve times that I’m in peak physical form, attending 3-4 workout classes (spin, barre, pilates) a week and jogging on my days “off”. Zach and I even got up at 7am on Saturdays to go to yoga pre-kids. What were we thinking? We should’ve be sleeping, not down-dogging! We’d also hike after work, pick up some protein or a salad and reserve drinking to social time on weekends, never drinking at home.

But, there have been many more times where working out consists of going downstairs to get a donut and back up again to cozy up in my comforter and watch Bravo. When Zach and I first started dating, we’d workout, but that consisted of me moving slowly on the elliptical while watching TV. And we’d sleep till 10 or 11, eat bagels, watch more TV, go out and binge drink…

It’s been a rollercoaster of ridiculously unhealthy and healthy habits. For my forties, I’d finally like that to change that. Along with my mental health, I’d like my physical one to balance out a bit, see some more consistency and commit to a healthier lifestyle.

As many of you have seen on Stories, about a year ago, I started on this new path. I switched out my sugary Starbucks chai lattes for regular iced coffee with almond milk (I can’t do too much dairy.), swapped some of my nightly wine with apple cider vinegar juice- it totally worked, by the way, and started drinking more greens.

But I stumbled several times over the course of the year with maintaining my new habits. I was still struggling with removing the remaining baby weight from Oliver. It was not my size (I was fitting, albeit snuggly, in my pre-baby jeans.) that was bothering me, it was how I felt. I was run down, had little energy and was really moody with my family.

But I was still hanging on to about ten-fifteen extra pounds of baby weight. And, while it’s not at all about size for me (I don’t even own a scale!), I felt sluggish and moody. So when I heard about The Faster Way to Fat Loss from one of my favorite bloggers, Beth Chappo, of Seersucker and Saddles, saw her before and afters and read all of the testimonials she shared (more energy, better sleep, skin!), I decided to give it a try.

And for the last year I’ve been dabbling in it, but I haven’t shared yet because I never want to recommend something to you that I’m not knowledgable about and don’t fully support. But the time has come to tell you about it. First, because I do believe there’s something here. I’ve seen, first hand, the results it yields. Second, because I need to kick it up a notch, get toned, stay committed and I want all of you to hold me accountable and, hopefully, go on this journey with me.

Let me preface this by saying, while I completely understand why Amanda Tress, the creator, called it The Faster Way to Fat Loss because, well, you do lose weight fairly fast is and it’s catchy, like a bait and click headline. Why wouldn’t you want to know how to lose fat quickly? It’s a savvy business and branding move and I respect her for it. But, I fear, it might turn people off because it sounds like a fad or scheme. But this is lifestyle where you’re eating whole foods and exercising. It’s all about working smarter, not harder and it’s truly changing people’s bodies and lives.

My personal journey looked a little bit like this…

I’m pretty stubborn, in general, and especially when it comes to my eating habits so I have to baby step it in order for it to stick. The first thing I adopted into my routine was intermittent fasting. For those of you not familiar with it, it’s not what you likely think. You don’t spend days fasting. You simply eat within an 8 hour window each day. We’re used to fasting while we sleep, of course, so it’s just extending the period in the morning and at night.

Experts argue that intermittent fasting drives weight loss by lowering insulin levels. It’s also supposed to improve metabolic health, protect against disease and help you live longer.

I’ve found it’s easiest to work backwards. So, if you typically finish your dinner around 8pm, for instance, you need to start your meals each day at noon. For some, that seems insurmountable and will definitely take getting used to.

For me, it was fairly easy. I’ve never been a morning person or a big breakfast eater and used to skip it all the time. Even in high school, my mom would struggle to get me to eat something before school. I just, naturally, didn’t wake up hungry.

Then, in my twenties, all I heard about was how breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, that in order to kick start your metabolism and eat less and healthier throughout the day, you should eat a big breakfast within an hour of waking up. So I became a breakfast person. I trained my body to wake up hungry and for fifteen plus years, I continued on that path.

Not so, says Amanda. She argues that in order to burn the most fat and have your body working at it’s optimal potential, that you should give it digestive rest. Hence, the intermittent fasting.

Once you’ve done it for a few days, it gets much easier. So much of it was mental for me. And, I was often dehydrated making me think I was hungrier than I was. This program has gotten me drinking so much more water, as many of you on Stories know and even joined along with me in the add more water challenge! And once used to it, you’re surprisingly sufficient while fasting. I thought I’d be sluggish and have no energy. To the contrary, I am very active in the mornings. My body has completed adapted and actually seems to be running better than before.

The program also includes carb cycling, breaking down the week into two low carb days, two low macro days and three regular macro days. With the Faster Way, you track macros, not calories. When I started this, I honestly had no idea what a macro was. For those in the dark, like me, a macro is your proteins, carbs and fats.

I also never really paid attention to what I was putting in my body. Of course, I knew if I was eating too much junk and tried to balance it out with some fruits and vegetables, but really look at labels? Know how much fiber or saturated fat was in something? No.

If I’ve gotten anything out of this program, it’s a reminder to pay more attention. The Faster Way suggests using the My Fitness Pal app to help you track your daily diet and clearly see what your macros are. It’s so nice that it does the work for you. I’m TERRIBLE at math and this is super easy for me, so if I can do it, you certainly can.

I actually kind of geeked out on tracking. To be able to input your foods (They have everything from Trader’s Joe’s, Whole Foods and other popular grocery store items, to chain and fast food restaurants.) and have it pop up within seconds of what everything contains and then play around with it so you can hit your macros was so fun for me. Then, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to know what foods and how much you can eat on a low carb day, for instance. So you can opt to keep tracking (I’d advise that.) or go it on your own with your new knowledge.

And you’re eating real food that you choose and love, just in accordance with your macros. So on low carb days, I’m consuming eggs with cheese (They recommend avoiding dairy and gluten to begin with, but I’m a rebel. Clearly, I’d get better results if I fully adhered to the program. Maybe I’ll try this next round!) avocado and bacon, salads with dressing, steak and veggies for dinner. On regular macro days, I’m eating a muffin or cookie and pasta and plenty of other things, of course. I’m actually eating more on this program than I was before, just healthier, whole foods and in the correct combination. P.S. You can drink (They advise to not do so for the first few weeks, but, again, I’ve never been good at being told what to do and Mama loves her wine! Still, it’s been good for me to cut it out a bit. Wine has so much sugar, which was not helping my cause. The alcohol just needs to fit in with your macros. So, if I’m planning to have a glass- or two- one night, I’ll watch my macros (and sugar) and opt out of that muffin or cookie. I also opt for a vodka seltzer or tequila with a lot of fresh squeezed lime and seltzer on some occasions, which is “better” for you (i.e. less caloric).

The other part of the equation for Faster Way is the fitness portion. Amanda breaks it down into what you should be doing each day (HIIT, intervals, etc.) for optimal results. To be honest, I failed majorly at this part. I was, at times, only doing cycling or jogging, not the suggested exercises. But, most of the time, I fell off the fitness wagon completely. And guess what? I still lost weight and inches, toned up and felt better!

So, if fitness is not your thing or you have specific workouts you love, be super regimented with your eating and, I promise you, you’ll still see tremendous results.

So who wants to join me? By signing up with my link, you get paired with my coach Kristen Mills, who is amazing! You’ll be on a prep week call where she walks you through everything, a Facebook group with other members where you can ask questions and learn from and support each other. It seems like a lot and super overwhelming at first since it’s a whole new way of thinking, eating and exercising. But, I promise you, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy- and kind of fun. Especially once you start seeing results within weeks.

Kristen’s super knowledgable about the program, walks the walk posting meals and talking tips on her Insta, is incredibly kind and always available for questions and help. Plus, her kids and style are adorable too! I promise you, you’ll be in good hands. And, as always, I’m here for you too!

Full disclosure, I receive a small commission if you sign up with my link. But, again, I assure you, I would never encourage you to do something to make a quick buck for myself. I’ve tried it, can vouch for it and am continuing to do it myself. Let’s all get in our best health and shape- not for summer, but for life! Don’t do it for your family, do it for yourself- and they’ll get the beneficial byproduct!

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