So in this journey I have been taking with fitness I have found that there are three spectrums of it that people can be faced with. One isn’t bad but the other two may not be seen as so favorable. The first facet is beginning the fitness journey. You may not be happy about where you are at, you haven’t worked out in a long time, put on some weight and are feeling hopeless. The second is you finally took that step to starting an exercise and eating program and you find that you like it. The first couple of weeks are tough and it’s a major change but you can start to feel the difference of eating better and liking your workouts which you stick to for a long time. Then the one that I think is most dreaded is the phenomenon of a plateau. This is where your body literally gets used to what you have been doing as far as eating and exercising and the results quit coming. You may not lose anymore weight even though you sweat buckets during your workouts. You eat good, stay away from the sweets and fried foods but this still doesn’t seem to be making a difference. This can be a NIGHTMARE but it does happen and it happens to the best of us.

I went through all three and the plateau happened to me recently and it was a real wake up call! It taught me that you have to pay attention to switching up your workouts and making sure you are getting enough calories to justify your workouts. If you are doing too much calorie restricting but still keeping up with the high intensity cardio and weight training your body will go into defense mode because it thinks it is starving. Now this doesn’t mean I was starving myself on purpose but I fell into trap of “I eat all the time so I’m good” but the trick here how much are you eating? Do you get enough calories in a day to prevent your body from doing the opposite of what you want it do to? I wasn’t doing that 😦 A part of me felt like a fraud because I try to help people stay fit and give them advice on how to keep their metabolism going by eating right and exercising and I wasn’t getting enough calories in the day to even keep my own metabolism on fire, ouch… The general rule of thumb for women is if you are getting under 1200 calories a day you can bet on that your body will slow down and protect itself from the starvation it thinks it’s under. Not eating enough calories a day is just as bad as over eating, both will do the same: cause you to gain weight. Doesn’t seem to make sense? A lot of people fall under the assumption that if they don’t eat and don’t consume calories then how can they gain weight? Well think of your body as a fireplace with a slow burning fire (your metabolism) and what keeps the fire going? The wood (food) so in order to keep this fire burning think of eating the right foods, at the right times, and the right amounts as the wood you need to keep the fireplace burning. Now this doesn’t mean you can just eat what you want and pig out because eating the wrong foods with sugars that don’t break down very easy and they can be stored in your fat stores, and this can be hard to get rid of. But even if you are eating good foods you can still over do it. For active women it’s good to try and consume between 1200 and 1700 calories a day. This is good when you are doing cardio and weights and it may seem like a lot to eat in one day but you need the energy to get through your workouts no matter how intense or long they are. Food is fuel, food is your friend! Some clues that your body will give you that you are not eating enough are: being over tired after workouts, you seem to be gaining weight even though you are eating good and and exercising, not being as hungry as often (this can be a big clue that your metabolism is starting to slow down) if you are feeling this way then take a look at what you are eating, how often and how much. If necessary make the adjustments to increase your calories and make sure you are getting enough proteins, good carbs and good fats in your diets. Don’t worry carbs and fats are nothing to be scared of if you are eating the right kind and eating the right amounts. I do have to admit that seeing I had hit a plateau and gained some weight back was a HUGE ego bruise for me. I thought I had it all figured out and that I was plateau proof because I do high intensity workouts, I make sure I hit the weights and eat good. But that’s where I got tricked by my “know it all” confidence, you may be eating good foods but you are not getting nearly enough as you need to really fuel your body. Don’t get caught up in you think you have it all figured out, write down what you are eating and pay attention to your body. If you are feeling that your energy is way too depleted or you can’t seem to explained those freaky pounds you are gaining chances are you got bit by the plateau bug. Switch up your routine and change your eating then you will be able to see the changes come back to your body and your hard work pay off.

The first two facets I mentioned especially the beginning of the workout routine I think can be the hardest. It’s like you know you need to get more active and take control of your health but you just don’t know what to do. I feel into this trap a million times and it made me feel helpless because I thought I would never get the extra 50lbs off my body. I would either get bored, feel embarrassed to go to the gym or just get lazy and figure ” I’m not going to lose this weight anyways so what’s the diff?” Don’t fall for that! Don’t talk yourself out of it! Find something that you like to do and stick with it! Whether it’s turbo jam, turbo fire, P90X or your own routine in the gym, stick with it! You will be so happy you did and determination ALWAYS pays off. Keep those negative voices out of your head, keep focus and I’m telling you now you will be able to move mountains, or make your body move in ways you never thought possible! I had so many negative things in my head when I started on this journey it’s not even funny. Like I said before the biggest doubt I had was whether or not I could even lose the weight. I thought I was stuck forever with this weight and this was the new me. 50lbs overweight, unhealthy and unhappy, I was getting ready to settle into this new miserable life of mine when I found a workout that spoke to me and I knew it would give me the results I wanted and it was no fail! The nutrition was there and everything so that got me started and three years later I haven’t looked back. If you are struggling with getting fit, getting started or sticking with it I can always help you or go on a soul searching quest and see what fits you. What kind of cardio do you like? Do you like to lift weights? The weights questions will have to turn into a yes because this is a huge part of burning off the fat and getting lean and mean!

Now that I’m done blabbing, the bottom line is stay focused, write down what you’re eating and put together a solid food plan. There are many resources to help you put one together (websites, Oxygen Magazine, Facebook groups) and stick to this like it’s your job! Once you have these set in stone you are ready to go and do not deviate! It sounds strict but you will see the results and you will not look back at your old self. One day at a time, one pound at a time and one workout at a time and you will get there…

Yours in Wellness…