Is It Time for Your Workout Routine to Evolve?

Hiking over crossfit these days!

Hiking over crossfit these days!

I'm currently on month number five with my break from Crossfit, and I continue to receive messages from women on Instagram about their fears of taking a step back from their intense regimens.

Are you allowing yourself—and your exercise habits—to evolve?✨

Or are you forcing them to stay the same, despite your body & mind telling you otherwise?✋

What worked for you then may not be working for you now.

At the very least, there's a chance it won’t in the future.

I learned this lesson the hard way last year when I had to take a step back from Crossfit.

I STRUGGLED with it.

It wasn’t used for weight management—it was used as performance/self-worth management (without knowing it at the time).

Whether you find yourself clinging to your detrimental workout routine to…

prove yourself via your performance

OR

to control your appearance

...it’s likely time for a break.🥴

Movement is something we’re designed to do (usually), and it should be a means of celebrating our bodies.

Of having FUN!💃

What to do if you’re showing up to the gym out of fear rather than love?

  1. Take a break. I promise, you don’t die!

  2. Focus on methods of moving that allow you to connect with your body. Things like yoga, dance, walking & slower weight training are great places to start.

Consider WHY you feel the need to run yourself into the ground & prove yourself.

Just as “it’s never about the food”, it’s also not about the exercise.❤️

What’s your fave way to move?

Are You Abusing Exercise?

Exercise gives us endorphins, and it’s a beautiful thing, really! 

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Having a shit day? Get that anger out, girl.

Trouble processing emotions and feel stuck? Get yo’ ass moving and see things much more clearly.

Need to transition from “part one” of your day to “part two”? Exercise is my preferred way to do it!

It’s a valid method of moving through and processing emotions. After all, emotions bring energy with them, and it needs to continue onward—lest it stay with us.

But, when do we transition from using exercise to benefit our emotional and physical well-being to using it as a scapegoat, distraction, or projection of negative emotions towards ourselves? 

When does our use of exercise turn from healthy to unhealthy?

When we’re not aware of our motivations.

Without awareness of WHY we’re exercising, we may be distracting ourselves from more deeply rooted items that need our attention.

More often than not, addressing these underlying matters is what will truly lead to contentment. Exercise is simply a band-aid.

If this sounds familiar to the use of food—either via eating or restriction—you’re right. Many women use both exercise and food as coping mechanisms, but it’s helpful to look at them in isolation. 

How do you know if your use of exercise is beneficial and healthy?

Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”

If the honest answer(s) is derived from a negative place, then we need another game plan. Examples include:

  • shame for food choices

  • disgust with your body as it is today

  • to build a body to please others

  • to distract yourself from issues at home, work, relationships, etc.

  • to prove your worthiness by being an athlete

  • to prove your worthiness by changing your body

  • to prove your worthiness by working harder than everyone else

  • to convince yourself that you’re moving towards greater fulfillment, when what you’re really seeking is deeper connection with yourself and/or others

  • to receive love, attention, or validation from others

Positive, healthy reasons to engage in exercise may include:

  • to challenge yourself and prove that you can do hard things. The key here is to ensure you’re doing this for yourself, not to prove anything to others

  • to build strength, endurance, or power in your body so that you’re a more capable human

  • to build parts of your body based on your own aesthetic preferences, while understanding that this has zero impact on your worth as a human

  • to calm or reset your mind

  • to get out of your head and into your body

  • because it’s enjoyable AF

 These will look different for everyone, and each list can continue in perpetuity.

The key is to be completely honest with ourselves when we look at our intentions, and oftentimes, this awareness is only heightened when we’re forced to take a break.

Health concerns, injuries, and various other life circumstances will force us to pause, to change our exercise routines, or to perhaps stop them altogether. 

This can be challenging, humbling, and frustrating as all hell.

We may even find ourselves in a full-blown identity crisis if exercise—especially of the intense of competition variety—has become part of who we are.

While this may sound miserable, we can use situations like this to our advantage. 

We can use them as opportunities to face ourselves, to show ourselves compassion and grace, and to identify what we truly need.

I found myself in this situation in during the Spring of 2018 when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I had been feeling terrible for months, and that diagnosis was the wakeup call I needed to finally take a step back from my intense exercise regimen and REST.

My 4-5 times per week CrossFit habit changed to leisurely walks and some weightlifting three times per week.

I didn’t become a couch potato by any means—as my body didn’t warrant that protocol—so I was shocked to discover my discomfort with zero intense exercise.

No chasing the clock.

No pushing my body to the point of complete exhaustion.

No competing with others in class.

No using exercise to get my brain to work because I was too exhausted and overworked for it to function normally on its own. 

Rather, I was forced to sit with the discomfort. 

And I pondered. 

Why is this so uncomfortable for me?

What have I been avoiding?

What am I really doing it all for?

Some of the answers that came up included:

  • avoidance & denial of feeling physically unwell when not exercising, as the endorphins made me feel better for the hours after a workout.

  • identifying with going “all out” during every workout, otherwise I felt like a wimp, pansy, and average.

  • proving my worth to the world by pushing myself harder than others.

  • an inability to show myself grace when I’m not good at something. To not push to be better was unacceptable in my eyes, even when it wasn’t making me any happier or fulfilled in the long-run.

  • making myself feel accomplished in an area I’m comfortable with—physical activity—so that I could placate my avoidance of things I’m uncomfortable with: business ventures and some areas of relationships.

We’re pretty great at rationalizing our choices and projecting them as healthy to the outside world.

After all, very few people—if any—truly know our motivations behind our seemingly healthy exercise habits.

WE are the ones with the answers.  We may be the only ones seeing all the cards.

Therefore, it’s our responsibility to ourselves to be honest about where we are & where we really want to go.

If any of this sounds familiar, consider taking the uncomfortable route. Consider sitting with the discomfort, rather than running (quite literally) from it.

Take a break—ideally a couple months—from the intense exercise you’re used to and allow yourself the opportunity to uncover what’s lurking beneath the surface.

You can always return to your current exercising ways if you so choose—perhaps in a different format, cadence, or intensity—and you’ll be doing so from a much more positive and life-enhancing place.

Don’t let something with so much life-promoting & enjoyment potential become your worst enemy simply because you’re replacing one form of discomfort for another.

New Year's Goals? You MUST get clear on this first!

Doing the deeper work might seem like the longer road, but it will actually get you to where you want to be MUCH more quickly (and more enjoyably) than superficial diets will.

Doing the deeper work might seem like the longer road, but it will actually get you to where you want to be MUCH more quickly (and more enjoyably) than superficial diets will.

This time of the year makes us ripe for the picking. 

All of the New Year, New You talk—especially when it comes to dieting—can make us feel like big ol’ piles of shit if we’re not mindful of our consumption, our responses to advertising, and our own internal narratives.

By targeting our insecurities, the gyms, diet programs, social media mavens, and supplement companies hit us where it hurts.

They serve to remind us of our physical “imperfections” and double-down on the notion that we’re here to be looked at. Nothing more.

Conversely (and as an unpopular opinion), I don’t believe there’s nothing wrong with using January 1st as a time to bring renewed attention to certain areas of our lives.

The important piece, however—the one most don’t discuss—is the intention behind the actions.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to lose weight.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with paying more attention to the food we put in our mouths.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to move more or differently than we have been.

The intentions and motivations behind these actions are what determine their health, value, and longevity.

If you have physical, health, or aesthetic goals, I ask you to consider the following:

  • Am I doing this from a place of loving myself currently? Or do I believe I’ll be able to love myself once I achieve my goal?

  • Are my choices rooted in shame, either from others or myself?

  • Is the desire to change my body due to my own preferences? Or have they been imposed on me by someone else, society at large, or both?

  • Am I striving for a different version of myself because I believe I deserve to feel amazing today and also something more? Or is it due to believing I’m inadequate and unworthy as I stand today?

  • Is my desire to make these changes rooted in a foundation of self-respect? Or self-loathing?

**Note that every single one of these takes time to unpack and differentiate between the truth, your ego (i.e. the monkey brain), and the voices & opinions of others.**

If you don’t have clear answers to these questions OR it’s clear that your motivation for change is rooted in fear, self-loathing, unworthiness, lack of self-respect, etc., then THAT is the work.

Not your physical body.

Difficult and unglamorous as it may seem, the internal work should always be the first stop.

This—of course—will indirectly impact the choices you make when it comes to your health and physical body. 

They’re the byproduct though, not the main event. 

The New Year is a magical time of the year if we choose to see it that way, and I’m a huge fan of goal-setting, getting clear on intentions, and laying the foundation for magic to happen. 

This can happen on any day of the 365 we have in a year, however. But we all know this to be the case:)

If you’re getting geared up for revamping your diet and/or exercise regimen in January 2019, and you’ve been doing the same song and dance year after year with overly restrictive diet rules and excessive exercise, consider the notion that there’s a better way.

A way in which you’re addressing the uncomfortable emotions and internal narratives on a deep level while simultaneously learning how to treat your body with love and respect. 

Isn’t that what we’re all really seeking anyways?

Let 2019 be the year you double down on yourself from the inside out, and don’t let any external influence convince you that you’re not worthy of this change.

I’d love to guide you through this empowering journey of doing the hard work—the only work that will lead to meaningful and long-lasting results

I still have a few more slots open for FREE 30-minute coaching calls, so grab yours now to kick off 2019 on a grounded and empowered foot!!

Never Miss a Monday Workout? I Call Bullsh*t

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I used to be ALL about the sentiment of this slogan, but this didn’t just apply to Mondays. I was militant about my workout regimen, and never once did I stop, sit with my body, do a fully body scan, and ask what would be best for her.

Nope. Sick, injured, run-down, stressed—none of it mattered.

I would anxiously think about my workout for the entirety of the day if I was planning to complete it in the afternoon (often the case), and I quickly learned how much I enjoyed morning workouts, as my mind was then free for the remainder of the day to think about other things.

It never occurred to me that I wasn’t actually happy in this pursuit, and I certainly didn’t consider the health of my mind or body during this time.

I was so far down the rabbit hole of hustling for a sense of worthiness—either through body composition changes or pushing through an intense workout—that I didn’t know which way was up.

This behavior encapsulates the peak of my obsession with exercise and controlling my body, but I continued to move through many other iterations as I progressed towards healing.

Not All In, but Still Too Much

Just three years ago, I was still convinced that as long as I was taking two full rest days, then it was impossible to be behaving in a neurotic or disconnected fashion. Note that these were primarily CrossFit workouts.

This frequency can certainly work well for some, and it’s largely dependent on a variety of factors—sleep, stress, nutrition, intensity and duration of activity—but it didn’t work for me. The fact that I was actually taking rest days didn’t mean shit to my body, as it was still stressed to the nines.  

I was allowing my strictly disciplined mind call all the shots and was greatly disconnected from my body.

My ego (or monkey brain) continued to play puppet master, and my body, mind, and soul were paying a serious price.

We can argue the nuances of different personality types, various life circumstances, and different goals until we’re blue in the face, but the fact remains that there are still MANY good reasons to miss a Monday. Or any planned workout, for that matter.  

  • Feeling physically run down due to emotional or mental stress

  • Illness or imbalances (such as hormonal), chronic or acute

  • Lack of adequate fuel, so it will only serve as an additional stressor

  • Injury in various degrees and forms

  • PMS

  • A general lack of downtime and rest (i.e. living in masculine energy)

  • Going to happy hour instead

  • Simply not wanting to

Some of these can be labeled as excuses, and depending on the context, they very well may be. We are the only ones who hold the answers for ourselves.

However, for those of us who are perfectionists at heart (recovering or otherwise), who often thrive in the masculine energy of constant productivity, who function with high levels of discipline, and who receive great pleasure from intense physical activity and success, these are anything but excuses.

These are legitimate, life-giving reasons that may serve us far more from a health perspective than an additional workout ever will.

Before you give credence to another #nevermissamonday social media post and throw yourself into a shame spiral for not being disciplined, hard-core, or productive enough, sit with your body and ask her what would be best for her.

Our bodies hold greater wisdom than we often give them credit for, and through this stillness, we’re able to tune into the needs of body and soul.

 Our habits and mindset related to exercise are the perfect opportunity to practice establishing and deepening this relationship.

Let your Identity Die If You Want to Reach Your Goals

The way we adhere to our unproductive and often-harmful narratives holds us back in so many ways.

The way we adhere to our unproductive and often-harmful narratives holds us back in so many ways.

  • I don’t know how to control myself around food.
  • I’m an obsessive eater.
  • I’m not a disciplined person.
  • I’m a control freak.
  • I don’t know how to motivate myself.
  • I’m too shy to talk to new people.
  • I always give up on myself, so that will never work.
  • I failed at that before, so I’m a failure.
  • I’m closed-off, insecure, lazy, unpleasant, unworthy, un-loveable, [enter negative story].

We all define ourselves with the adjectives and words we have available, and we’re usually doing this unconsciously. Oftentimes, we’ve assumed these narratives from someone else—potentially someone we held in high regard.

Or perhaps we made a decision that wasn’t in alignment with our true, deeper values, such as lying, cheating, gossiping, failing to adhere to our responsibilities, or procrastinating, and we allow that one instance to define us. Every one of us has been here!

Rather than detaching from that one behavior, or even a series of behaviors, we begin to assume these behaviors as our identities. Rather than saying “I was emotional, zoned out, and over-ate.”, we tell ourselves, “I am an overeater”.

If we tell ourselves the latter, how do you think we’re going to act next time?

We’ll likely act in alignment with what we believe to be who we are.

We’d rather not experience the discomfort of misalignment with our “identities”, despite the harm we’re inflicting upon ourselves.

The truth is, we can reinvent ourselves at any time. Sure, there are characteristics and limitations that are hardwired into us (nature), but even then, I believe we can learn how to make subtle changes that enable us to use these to our benefit. Or at least temper them.

By adhering to these narrow definitions of ourselves, we immediately remove the possibility of experiencing personal growth and evolution.

I clung tightly to my identity as an obsessive and neurotic eater who couldn’t be trusted to make my own decisions around food, and all of my behaviors were consistent with this narrative.

By assuming this as my identity, I didn’t have to take responsibility for my own decisions, and I succumbed to this definition of WHO I was, rather than looking at my choices as simply behaviors. And behaviors are malleable.

It wasn’t until I took responsibility for the ability to write my own damn story that I was able to make changes counter to this notion of myself.

Slowly but surely, I grew to understand and accept that I was perpetuating my own suffering.

As another example, we may have made “practical” decisions at one point in our lives that truly felt right to us at the time (or didn’t, but we made them anyways), and before we know it, we and others have labeled ourselves as “practical”.

There isn’t a lot of wiggle room there, so what happens when our heart and soul are begging us to make decisions that are more unconventional? An identity crisis.

Begin to Detach

Instead of clinging to these words and stories, what would happen if we began to separate them from our identities?

There would be a world of possibilities! And a lot more personal responsibility. Rather than believing we are the victim of pre-determined traits and qualities, we would then be forced to reconcile with the fact that we’re actively playing a part in our stories. Initially uncomfortable, but also liberating AF.

How does one do this?

  • Take an honest inventory and make a list of the words and narratives you use to define yourself.
  • Ask yourself if you’re happy and in alignment with them. Are they serving you today and where you want to be in the future?
  • Be radically honest about how you’re responsible for perpetuating the story. Taking responsibility for this can be frustrating and painful, but it’s worth it! (reminding myself here)
  • Write down the behaviors you prefer to exhibit. ***We don’t want to get attached to another identity here—so focus on behaviors only.***
  • Remind yourself that your identity is always malleable (and perhaps false altogether), and this is a constant process of reinvention.
  • Put these new behaviors into action! This process takes time, but the belief that they can change is hugely transformational in itself.

In order to grow beyond our current struggles and our current versions of ourselves, we have to be willing to let our labels and narratives die. To let the former and current versions of ourselves die.  This can be scary as hell, but it can also the source of a new beginning whenever we’re ready and willing.

Focusing on Food BEHAVIORS & Why Decreasing Intense Exercise is Helpful When Healing Our Relationships with Food

Yoga and walking were the only activities I did for a few months while I honed and solidified my eating behaviors.

Yoga and walking were the only activities I did for a few months while I honed and solidified my eating behaviors.

I distinctly remember my first foray into intuitive eating. I was living at home in Albuquerque, NM with my parents after graduating college while I studied for my CPA exam, and my body and mind were utterly exhausted from years of binge drinking and obsessing over my body and food.

After years of following rules, counting carbs, starving then binging, and soaking up every latest-and-greatest celebrity diet, I decided to turn inward. I declared that my body would be my guide while I leveraged a few loose (very loose) guidelines.

My main prerogative was normalizing my relationship with food, so I focused on my behaviors:

  • Eating when hungry; stopping before I was full
  • Bringing awareness to when I was eating out of boredom or another emotion
  • Paying attention to my habits of mindless eating and snacking
  • Asking myself if my choice now was worth the consequences later (it certainly was at times)
  • Only engaging in calming and stress-free physical activity, which included yoga and walking

That last item is key, because had I engaged in my usual exercise routine of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and long runs, it would have been much more difficult to practice and solidify the aforementioned behaviors.

Intense physical activity can be a hell of a lot of fun, but it forces us to pay more attention to our food, lest we risk feeling like crap, throwing our bodies out of balance, and experiencing subpar or decreasing performance.

If we’re demanding a lot out of our bodies, it makes sense that we have to fuel them appropriately via adequate calories, protein, carbs and fat. This means paying more attention to our food, not less.

For someone overcoming obsessive and neurotic food behaviors, this isn’t ideal.

Where to Start

Overdoing exercise often works in tandem with restrictive food behaviors, so releasing both at the same time can be unsettling.

However, trust me when I say that this puts you on the fast track to understanding your body, normalizing your relationship with food, and then being able to return to your usual fitness habits (if you so choose) with a much more enjoyable counterpart: the fuel.

So, where do you start?

By slowly scaling back your intense activity and replacing it with more stress-free movement:

  • Slow walking (no power walking)
  • Yoga (no sculpt or intense power yoga)
  • Strength training (that doesn’t go to failure and leaves plenty of rest between sets)
  • Leisurely hikes
  • Any mildly strenuous outdoor activity, like skiing, snowboarding, or rock climbing. Bonus points for the calming effects of nature!

If you’re currently exercising five days per week intensely, replace three of those days with one of the activities mentioned above. Please note that this doesn’t mean walking for hours either—the goal is less, not more!

Notice I’m not asking you to completely remove your favorite activity—simply to scale back temporarily.

Utilize this time to reconnect with your body and SLOW DOWN. It’s really difficult to connect and listen when we’re moving a mile a minute. Which I understand is many of our baselines, but try to keep your eye on the long-term goal here:

To be able to return to your intense activity with a newfound understanding of your body, how to fuel it, and your food behaviors—all while approaching it with a sense of calm, trust, and ease.

Weight loss is often an ancillary result of this approach too, which is shocking to most clients (as it was for me in the beginning too).

We’re taught that more is better, both in volume and intensity, but that simply isn’t true. Our bodies aren’t mechanical machines—they’re independent ecosystems that are always trying to find a place of peace and balance.

It’s amazing what can happen when we finally meet them there and decide to be on the same team.

Sounds pretty nice, right?

Before you jump into tracking macros or trying another restrictive diet that promises to provide all of your answers, ask yourself if your behaviors around food are sound.

These are the building blocks for any changes you’ll make going forward—take the time now to build your foundation.

As my dad used to tell me as a child after I attempted every short-cut in the book during my first go-round:

“Do it right the first time, and you’ll save yourself so much time in the end.”

-       Bill

 

Maintenance Caloric Intake - What It Is & Why It's Magical

The concept of eating at maintenance caloric intake is a tremendously underutilized tool, particularly for women.

In fact, when I ask women what it looks and feels like to eat at a maintenance intake, most look at me like I have two heads.

What the hell does maintenance even mean?

We work harder by cutting more and more calories, but this backfires at some point.

We work harder by cutting more and more calories, but this backfires at some point.

This is the caloric intake at which our bodies are neither gaining nor losing weight. In the land of dieting, we often forget about this magical state. We’re brainwashed and/or misled into thinking that if we’re not restricting and actively dieting, then the only other option is to gain weight.

NOT true.

Eating at maintenance provides a slew of amazing benefits, and this is especially true for women who have been dieting for extended periods of time and aren’t seeing the results they want in the gym.

1.     More energy and brain power

Under-eating, or eating below maintenance caloric intake, can cause symptoms that begin to become our new normal if we do it for long enough. A notable one is experiencing low energy in the form of brain fog or general physical fatigue, and the positive effects are often immediately felt after increasing food intake to maintenance levels.

2.     Gains in strength, muscle mass & performance

As someone who already struggles to put on strength and muscle mass (and let’s be real—most women have a far more difficult time putting on muscle than males), this is especially important. Have you been working your ass off in the gym, only to have nothing to show for your results?

I’ve been there, and it took a LOT of convincing myself to finally increase my food intake in an effort to see some gains. (Full disclosure: this didn’t happen until about 2 years ago, and progress is still super slow). However, it just isn’t possible for many of us to eat at a deficit and gain muscle mass unless we’re fairly new to training.

This is why it’s common to see transformations of women who are new to healthy eating and resistance or strength training. They lose fat and gain muscle at the same time—however, this occurs less frequently the longer we’ve been training consistently.

Aside from gaining strength and muscle mass, improved performance in conditioning workouts (such as Crossfit, Orange Theory, HIIT, endurance) can be felt almost immediately.

3.     Restoration of metabolic and hormonal function

Our bodies evolved to protect us from starvation, so hormones increase or decrease (depending on their function) while when we’re in a calorie deficit, and our metabolisms slow.

This is essentially done by decreasing our NEAT—non-exercise activity thermogenesis—i.e. we move less throughout the day. 

This means we need to decrease our intake, or increase our deficit, to continue to see fat loss. Eventually, we find ourselves in a hole, where our caloric intake is quite low, we’re not losing fat, we’re not gaining muscle, and we feel like total dog shit.

We may also experience low libido, missing or irregular periods, low thyroid function, poor digestion, and awful sleep.

At this point, the only way to go is up, and you may just gain back your hormonal and metabolic vitality. HUGE win!

4.     Establishing body fat set point

Our bodies tend to find “set points”, or body fat percentages where they’re comfortable and don’t easily fluctuate from.  Some experience this by not being able to hold a higher weight, while others experience the opposite.

The longer we remain at any given weight while consuming an appropriate number of calories (i.e. this won’t work if we’re always under-eating), our bodies adapt and re-establish the set point. This means we have more flexibility with our take when our bodies feel safe by way of adequate intake, as opposed to constantly feeling stressed.

Note: this appears to be largely anecdotal at this time, but many experience this phenomenon.

5.     MORE FOOD

I think this speaks for itself if you love food like I do, as this girl has a big ol’ appetite.

If you’ve been undereating consistently for a long period of time, as many women have been (and I did), then it can be scary to eat more out of fear of gaining weight. But it can also be magical, as your cravings will likely decrease, and you’ll settle in to a more consistent and fulfilling relationship with food.

This might include keeping your “standard” choices the same, or keeping your meals consistent, but adding in dessert more often, enjoying more cocktails, etc. OR you may want to beef up each of your meals OR any combination of these two approaches!

Overcoming Fear of Fat Gain

One of the biggest complaints I hear from women regarding this concept is the fear of gaining fat. There is absolutely nothing wrong with gaining fat, and someone women actually need to for health reasons, but we don’t have to increase our calories to the point of fat gain if we don’t want to.

How does one accomplish this feat?

By slowly adding food back. This is much easier if you have somewhat of a routine already in place when it comes to food, as you can simply add 100-200 calories every week to your daily total.

Please note that this is different for everyone, so this is very much a starting point. You will have to pay attention to the feedback from your body! A few lbs. are completely normal due to increased water and food mass—i.e. it doesn’t mean fat gain. Start with 100 calories per day, and if you’re relatively weight stable, begin to add more and repeat until you observe fat gain via the scale, clothing, mirror, etc.

Time to Build Your Balanced Baseline

After increasing calories to maintenance, we want to ensure we’re developing sound habits. After under-eating for extended periods of time, many women have skewed perspectives of how much food they actually need to eat, so re-establishing an appropriate intake is essential.

I discuss strategies to find your balanced baseline here, and it’s important to take the time to discover what this looks like for you.

Why?

Because you’ll be enjoying life while spending less time and precious mental energy thinking about your food, and you’ll also feel a million times better. What’s not to love, right?

Once you have remained at this caloric intake for several months, your hormones should be normalized—if not optimized—your energy is high, your mood and sleep are great, digestion is rocking, and gym performance is on par with your goals (or at the very least you feel great during and afterwards).

You are then in a much better position to make changes to your body if you so choose.

Want to add muscle? Great—start with 100-200 calories per day and see how your body responds.

Want to lose fat? Great—start by decreasing your intake by 200-300 calories per day and increasing your activity via walking a couple times per week and see how your body responds.

By discovering and hanging out at maintenance for at least 3-6 months, your body will be primed to make changes down the road.  This is starkly different from continuing to decrease your current caloric intake when you’ve been trucking along at a notable deficit for months or years on end, only to binge, rebound, and develop a tumultuous relationship with food.

Is this approach sexy? Not to the mainstream, as we don’t see physical fat loss results in 12 weeks.

More often than not, we’re staying the same (if not gaining a couple) BEFORE we can see fat loss results down the road.

But an elevated mood, physical performance, optimized hormones, better cognitive function, and a stable and nourishing relationship with food sound sexy as hell to me.

As much as your current thought patterns will attempt to convince you otherwise, I encourage you to play the long game. Your future self with thank you!