The War Against the Last Few Pounds / The War Against the Mind Trap of Fatloss
In my third and last blog post in this series, I’ll be focusing on Camp B. and Camp C.
If you missed ’em, here is the first blog post (sort of an overview and introduction with basic guidelines for all) and here is the second (a very pointed post regarding the specific battles & distractions of those warring against a significant amount of bodyfat).
How about a quick recap?–and then we’ll get into the nitty-gritty, do a little workout, and get on with our day. Excellent!
We all have our own wars going on. Regardless of which war your fighting, there are battles worthy of your efforts, and there are distractions. You’ve got to pick your fights wisely if you want to reach your goal efficiently.
Ok, so we’ve already covered Camp A. Camp A is full of warriors who NEED to lose weight as their top priority. Their only battle worth fighting is the one that gets them a eating fewer calories than they are burning up. (Again, the full write-up is here.)
Camp B: Wants to lose the last few pounds and/or get super-lean.
For these dieters, the focus will need to be on tricking the body to burn fat for fuel.
Camp C: Aims to achieve general performance and/or lifestyle goals.
For these dieters, the focus will shift toward sustainability and individualized healthy eating.
Camp B. Wants to lose the last few pounds.
Description: Note the word wants. In this camp are those of you who desire to lose the “last few pounds” to get you to your ideal body. For some, that might mean finally cutting ties with your stubborn belly fat. For others, that might even mean reaching a specific–possible extremely minimal–body fat percentage. Both types of goals fall into the same camp because everyone in this camp will be facing the same biological obstacles.
Typically speaking, when this is your goal, you’ve done a great deal of the groundwork; you’re already “healthy.” Now you’re trying to nudge your body a little bit past it’s established state of comfort. Unfortunately, your body does not want to be a super-low body percentage, nor does it want to give up those last morsels of cushion insulating your abs.
Therefore, the simple advice to “eat less and exercise more” will, at best, have a fairly neutral effect; at worst, it will backfire. You need next-level stuff. You need….trickery!
Battles Worth Fighting:
- MACRONUTRIENT TRACKING (and manipulation)
**FOOD LOGS will likely be necessary to document manipulation of the variables
-You might wish to play around with low-carb, no-carb, carb-cycling, or even low-fat
-Determine your daily calorie goals, and set goal percentages for each of the macronutrients (for instance, a good place to start might be 30% protein, 30% carbs, 40% fat)
- Replacing and/or Supplementing with PROTEIN SHAKES
-Either replacing meals with shakes and/or supplementing a well-rounded diet with protein shakes can help achieve macronutrient goals with less effort.
- ELIMINATION of specific foods or food groups
-It’s not about lifetime sustainability right now, so eliminating even “healthy” foods might be an easy, doable way to keep your numbers in check
- NUTRIENT TIMING
-Fasting, micro-fasting, modified fasting, and carb-timing can be the cinnamon heart on top of the perfectly foamed milk of the “latte of bodyshape modification.”
- COMPLEMENTARY WORKOUTS
-At this point, exercise for the sake of exercise probably won’t cut it. You need workouts with a plan. Use well-programmed weight-training, high-intensity training, and low-intensity recovery activity to maximize fat loss.
- Pure, linear calorie restriction, as well as the temptation to just increase exercise
- Fitness goals that aren’t THE goal
- Following plans that have worked for someone else–When it comes to those last few pounds, individualization is essential.
- Cravings & Social Pressures–Sometimes you might have to miss out on the birthday cake. That’s ok. You’ve previously decided that it was worth it.
- Thinking this is a long-term approach rather than a short-term project in the midst of a wider-scoped long-term plan.
Camp C. Aims to achieve general performance and/or lifestyle goals.
Description: Camp C. warriors have danced around this fitness scene for awhile. They’ve had their times of specialization, and now they are wanting to settle in. Many of those who consider themselves to be in Camp C. struggle with chasing fat-loss despite having already achieved a healthy leanness.
These folks need to consciously accept their “revised” goal and not fall into previous, familiar patterns like they may have followed when they were part of the former camps. This is a letting go of the ideal in exchange for success. It can be a mental menace.
Battles Worth Fighting:
- RELEASE of dogmatic approaches
-It’s time to give up specific diets, specific protocols, etc. and start finding flexible approaches that work for YOU
-Don’t ignore your hunger signals and pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you feel cranky and underfed; instead, release your rigid restrictions in order to find your happy place.
-Your nutritional norm need not have a name. You are allowed to be “paleo-kinda” or “low-carb mostly” or “vegetarian-except-on-most-Saturdays,during-Lent,-and-on-every-5th-Tuesday.” You can eat corn but not oats. You can eat chocolate pudding but not applesauce.
- Replace strict tracking with TEMPLATES and GUIDELINES
-Once you find what works, build meals and snacks that have similar qualities in similar quantities. That’s it and that’s all.
- Eat to FUEL, especially with a performance goal
-You’ve probably gone through times where you did fasted workouts and otherwise did things in such a way to encourage fat loss; you’ve worked out with the purpose of losing, not gaining. Now, though, it’s time to think about fueling for your performance. Eat to feel strong and capable. Eat to gain.
- FUN workouts and/or training sessions
-If you’ve got performance goals, don’t hold back. Fuel up, stay consistent, and do the work that needs to be done. Enjoy your sessions! Each one is a step closer to your goal. If you hate your training, reconsider your goal and ensure that your sessions are worth it.
-If you’re just trying to create a sustainable lifestyle, find ways to workout that you enjoy. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should or shouldn’t be doing certain things a certain way. If your goal is general health and fitness, you move and groove in a way that serves that purpose.
- FAT-LOSS INFATUATION–There is always a latest, greatest method urging you to leave your true battle and instead have a little slap-fight off to the side. Do not have “shiny object syndrome.” Though you may feel tempted, resist the mind trap of re-enlisting with one of the previous fat-loss Camps.
- Reliance on the SCALE–The whole story is never evidenced by your bodyweight. Move toward assessing yourself on standards related to strength, skills, and/or overall feelings of wellness. A tighter fit in your clothing is something to notice but not to immediately freak out over. This is a learning curve, and you must allow yourself grace.
- JUSTIFICATION of your “new norm” to yourself and others. Just don’t.
Will you tell me what you think about this 3-post series? I want to know if you’ve found this metaphorical analysis helpful, or–my greatest fear–that it has been a mere self-indulgence.
If you’re looking to place yourself in a camp and/or want a plan to get started, Pat and I are always an email away. If you want Pat’s voice whispering his workout wisdom to you daily, you’ll want to sign up for that here.
If you’re just looking for a super-quick, body-weight only way to make your legs groan, you’ll want to save this 5-Minute Sweaty:
Left leg planted*:
Reverse lunge (step R leg back) x 10 reps,
Single-leg deadlift (R leg lifts) x 5 reps,