My body isn’t changing fast enough!

One of my Slim & Strong ladies signed up again last month after I hadn’t seen her in over two years. She had been under a lot of stress. Work was so busy and as a result she put all her energy into getting through it. However, once all was done, she had put on more than 15 lbs and felt very unhappy in her skin. She realized she hadpretty much stopped doing all the things that had made her feel great in the past. Clean eating, enough sleep, exercise, and having fun with friends. She thought that by buckling down and just getting work done – somehow – she’d make it through. What she didn’t realize is that in the process of letting stress get to her, she gave up on her health, her well-being and ended up heavier, tired, lethargic and exhausted.

We’ve all had stress in our lives. We’ve all been there, but you always have choices when stressful events happen:

Choice 1: “Screw it. I don’t have time. Might as well just eat whatever is easy, so I can get ABC done and get through this.
Choice 2: “This is going to be a tough time, so I better make sure I stay healthy and energized and don’t end up feeling worse once all is done and over with.”
Two choices. Two completely different mindsets. Which one is yours?
My client realized that she had to make some drastic changes to get back to her healthy self, but this time around her body didn’t respond as fast as she thought it would. The stress was still sitting deep in her body. When the body is stressed, it will slow fat loss, impact digestion, thyroid function, your brain chemistry (which affects mood, appetite and cravings), hormones (changes in menstrual cycle and fat storage in areas you hadn’t stored fat before) and adrenal issues (water retention, exhaustion, sleep disturbances). Needless to say, she wanted changes fast, but her body had other things in mind. It didn’t want to be pushed more in hard workouts or feel more restricted through intense dieting. It craved what it was missing: Balance.
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When she emailed me, disappointed that her body wasn’t responding as fast as it had in past Slim & Strong programs, I had to explain to her that this wasn’t going to be as easy as: Eat less and exercise more. I needed her to understand that this time she had to work WITH her body, no longer against it. Here’s my response:

“Keep in mind that this program isn’t about perfection. There is no such thing anyways – unless you want to move into a plastic bubble and live on pills… The goal of changing your diet and lifestyle is to make yourself feel good, to be in charge of your body, your choices and that you can direct how you feel and look with your choices. That means that there will be times when all you can do is your very best and other times when your choices happen more easily. Ultimately it’s about you finding a lifestyle that suits you and makes you feel good. Anything else would just be another short-term diet that doesn’t last.

Even if you’re not yet seeing the changes fast, your body IS changing on the inside. You’re getting stronger, your blood sugar is more balanced, your hormones are balanced, your thyroid function normalizes, your fat burning hormones kick up, your fat loss hormones increase, and your stress hormones reduce. As a result you will first experience the symptoms of health and then later on, see the evidence of health your body. Sometimes the results don’t happen suddenly in people who have done a lot of yo-yo dieting. Every time you start something new that feels like restriction to the body at some level, it can be that your body holds on to body fat rather than releasing it. Once the stress lifts, usually the fat just melts off. So, be patient and stay balanced because this is about the rest of your life and not just the next big deadline. This is about YOU finding what works for YOU and that is actually a life-long process. There will always be new demands, stress, happy times, new challenges that will demand that you adapt your food choices, workouts and lifestyle. Just as long as you can accept that your body will always be a work in progress, you’re not going to go into diet mode anymore, but focus on how you want to look and feel for the rest of your life. – Ariane”