When we make a goal to change our body in some way, our main focus is usually on our diet and exercise routine. And rightfully so- having both of those components on point is really important when you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, run faster, whatever. As important as nutrition and exercise are, there are a few other components that we tend to gloss over or forget about all together when we’re looking for a total body lifelong transformation.
One thing that really bothers me about a lot of transformation stories we see on the internet are the bodybuilding competitors and coaches who put up their before and after pictures. These pictures are usually about 12 weeks apart which is a typical amount of time for contest prep. There’s no doubt that these people have to work extremely hard to get their body in shape for a competition and their dedication is absolutely amazing. The part that annoys me though is when they show off their stage pictures and tell you to sign up with them for coaching and in just 12 weeks you can look like this, too!
Don’t buy into that garbage. The women who get up on stage in those competitions absolutely do not look like that year round. They don’t even look like that for a week. That stage look lasts one or two days then they slowly increase their caloric intake to a healthier range and most often walk around looking like any normal gal walking down the street.
Any long-lasting or lifetime transformation takes TIME and while I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take you specifically, I can tell you that if you want your results to last, it will very likely will take more than 12 weeks to get you where you want to be.
Fitness is a results-driven business. People sign up for personal training, buy meal plans, sign up for 30 day challenges and 7 day detoxes so they can get the results they’ve always wanted…and fast. While I totally understand that slow and steady isn’t as exciting as the promise of losing 10 pounds in 10 days, if you want forever results, slow and steady really does win the race.
Anything worth achieving takes time, work, and patience and this is never truer than when you’re looking to transform your body. Body transformation takes a lot of trial and error which takes some time. If you’re tempted to start a new diet/cleanse/30-day challenge with the hope that it will change your body forever, ask yourself “could I eat this way forever?” If the answer is no, don’t expect long term results. If the answer is yes, then you go girlfriend! Keep it up!
Once we start a new program and the initial drop in weight is over, it’s really typical for the weight loss to slow down quite a bit. It’s also really typical for people to get discouraged that this point. We start to think that we must not be doing enough, eating well enough or what we’re doing just isn’t working anymore. Before you go down that road,though, I want you to consider the following.
When we start a new program there are lots of shifts that happen. We eat different foods or different portions, we move our bodies more or differently and a lot of times we see a nice drop on the scale. After your body adjusts to the new program and has lost most of its excess water weight, THAT’S when we tap into our fat stores. This is where we start to see the REAL weight come off and this is where weight loss can slow down a bit because our bodies aren’t as willing to give up stored fat as they are to flush out excess water.
So think about it- a lot of us quit before we even get to the good stuff!
It’s totally and completely normal for weight loss to slow down to a 1 pound per week drop. Looking at that number it doesn’t look too stellar, huh? But think about it like this- in a year that’s over 50 pounds. In two years that’s over 100 pounds. Keep going and keep reminding yourself that slower is actually better. Losing 1-2 pounds per week is absolutely more maintainable than losing 20lbs in three weeks.
What would happen if we showed ourselves some kindness during our body transformation instead of beating ourselves up when we don’t see the pounds fall off or make a less than ideal food choice?
Old habits die hard so if you’ve spent the better part of your life beating yourself up for how you look or decisions you make, self-compassion can be a tough turnaround but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on how you talk to yourself. The more we beat ourselves up about how we look or what we do, the less likely we’ll be to really change.
The hard part for a lot of us though is finding things to celebrate or thankful for to begin with. We’re so freaking hard on ourselves that if we don’t do everything perfectly, well then we’re failures. We punish our bodies with crazy workouts and restrictive nutrition plans because we don’t like something about how we look.
You only get one body to carry you through life. Just one. Why not show it some love? Stop knocking yourself down instead of building yourself up. You’ll see a whole lot more progress this way. I guarantee it.
Remember this, too: we can still love our body without necessarily being satisfied. We can love how our legs are shaping up but still want to tone them up a bit. We can be psyched that we can do 5 pushups on the ground but still have a goal of 10. We can celebrate that we ate lots of veggies today and still aim for more tomorrow.
When you’re looking to transform your body remember that along with your nutrition plan and exercise program, you have to:
- Give yourself TIME for a true transformation. Faster isn’t better.
- Be patient with yourself and with your progress. You will reach your goal because your body will begin to respond to what it’s given. Keep plugging away.
- Have a ton of self-compassion. Show yourself some kindness- especially when it’s hard. Keep working on your goals and build yourself up instead of knocking yourself down even if your progress is slower than you’d like it to be.
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