So you’ve decided on your goal – that’s great! And you are moving forward, step by step, really beginning to own and enjoy the process – you are making progress and are gaining momentum – “high-five” yourself every time you step on the scale!
Then… You stall. Suddenly – that dreaded, familiar feeling in the back of your skull manifests itself. You doubt yourself. For whatever reason, and despite your terrific progress so far, you begin to waver. Perhaps this manifests itself as an extra (unplanned) indulgence or
two… three or four. The stall may even worsen, and turn in to a reversal of your progress. You doubt your resolve. The slowing of momentum disheartens you, and you begin to miss milestones and commitments you promised yourself you would hit. Things people said that once just rolled off your back start coming back to you in the middle of the night… maybe those guys were right? Maybe I can’t do this…
You feel as if your goal is drifting further from your reach. You despair, colors seem less vibrant, birds stop singing, and you wonder: “How could I allow myself to backslide in to these old habits?”
Remember Your “Why”
Adversity is what we all face; and how we respond to it defines us. Dealing with adversity is a huge component of reinventing yourself. What you must do is persevere – remember why you set out to achieve your goals in the first place. Was it to look a certain way for an upcoming special event? Maybe you wish to be limber & able-bodied enough to do the chicken dance at your grandchildren’s future weddings? Or was it to reverse a lifetime of negative body image and reclaim your health from the clutches of obesity? Your why should ignite a fire within you. With a strong foundation to build upon, you will not doubt your motives, and will not turn back from your purpose. There is no going back.
I can attest – there will be times in all of our journeys that things just don’t go according to plan. I’ve had to remind myself these are temporary distractions, for I am truly enjoying the practice, and I revel in the process of becoming a better me. Alternately, I could have become discouraged and revert to my past self. The former of these two paths leads to attaining your goals, and the latter leads to their atrophy & deterioration. When I look in the mirror and reflect on how I feel today vs how I used to… I see greatness in how far I’ve come. You should too. Be proud. Think “wow… my past self would have killed to be where I am today… there’s no going back, I couldn’t even if I tried”. This positive attitude and shift in perspective will keep you on plan.
Time Does not Heal all Wounds
Life does not get easier with time; physically speaking, once passed our teenage years our health as a society is generally accepted to decline until death. You age, and complications that your body could handle in your early twenties become problematic in your thirties. I’ve seen many friends continue down the path of slow decline. It’s very disheartening when they shrug their shoulders and say: “Yep we’re gettin old!”. No, guys, listen to me: it doesn’t have to be that way! Wake up!
If you aren’t improving yourself, you are slowly getting worse. The longer we put off making the changes we want to see in ourselves, the more difficult making those changes becomes. We all know this! However, complacency and procrastination hold us hostage, preventing us from reaching our goals. That’s why having someone to be accountable to is so key! The secret to overcoming adversity is to improve yourself incrementally so that you are a stronger person as difficult situations in life pop up – you will be prepared to meet those challenges.
Practical Tips for a True Progress Stall
Now, it’s easy to move forward with your head held high when all you need to do is ‘execute your plan’ and – presto – you see results (aside: I can say fasting is the secret weight-loss weapon here, we’ll delve in to that in a later series). When the pounds are dropping off the scale, your belt notches are tightening, and you are fitting in to clothes you haven’t dared try on for years… yeah, sure, things are great and the cycle of discipline and reward repeats. You improve.
So what happens when you are on plan but your results stall? Achieving your goals becomes 100 times more difficult when you see no progress / results as you become less motivated and less willing to put in the work. Or worse, maybe the scale is telling you you have – gasp – put on weight since yesterday!
This is where we need to have the ability to deal with adversity. Relax, re-enter on your “why”, take a deep breath, and ask yourself some tough questions.
- Are you being honest with yourself?
- Does Your Strategy Need Evolving?
- How committed are you?
1. Are you being honest with yourself?
The absolute worst thing you can do is lie to yourself. Why would you allow excuses or indulgences when you expect your goal to be met? So what can you do to check your self-honesty?
Imagine a case study with you as the subject. Investigate exactly what that person consumes in a day. How much time is (s)he spending being active vs sedentary. Are you satisfied with the answers you find? Have you uncovered any ‘cheats’ you did not even realize were happening – just a matter of habit that you needed to wipe clean? Be disciplined and honest with yourself for a few weeks and see if you don’t get back on track.
2. Does Your Strategy Need Evolving?
Examine your plan critically. What worked to shed the first 30lbs probably won’t continue to work shedding the last 15. If you are following #1 above and are being honest about your execution to plan… and still not seeing results, you may need to re-evaluate your strategy, refine it, and see how you might improve it. What can you do?
First, embrace the chance to change. It’s likely you’ve reached your maximum potential with your original strategy, and are now ready to ‘level up’ and take things to the next level. Make it a point of pride, and be open to trying new things to reach your ultimate goals.
Some tips I found useful in refining a low carb / keto weight loss strategy? Lower your carbs, remove hyper-palatable foods, try intermittent fasting.
When it comes to weight loss through low carb / keto, many who are stalled in progress find they have allowed too many carbs to creep in. This slams the brakes on their body’s ability to burn fat. Try lowering carbs further, or track total carbs vs net carbs. Be strict with counting for a week and see if you notice how many ‘extra’ carbs you had been allowing yourself.
Nuts, cheese, dairy… these are all allowed on keto. For sure, they are tasty low-carb foods that when eaten in moderation are an amazing part of why keto is so sustainable. And that’s kind of the key there – sustainability isn’t where you are yet. When trying to actively lose fat, you may be overdoing it a little on the amounts of these delicious foods you let in. It’s really hard to eat a true single portion of nuts or cheddar. So, cutting those foods out for a time and focusing on more nutrient-dense (and less energy-packed) foods could help get you back on track. Add them back slowly to see your personal tolerances 🙂
If you’ve tried those options and still find yourself struggling, it’s time to talk about frequency of eating. I recommend intermittent fasting for all my clients, as not only does it help with weight loss, it frees up so much time spent worrying about food – it will shock you. Fasting gives us back time for ourselves, and our own development.
By limiting the time throughout the day that you are consuming food or drink (driving your insulin up), you give your body more opportunity to tap in to its fat stores. Slowly progress from a 12 hour overnight fast (dinner to breakfast – only eating at meal times so no snacks). Eventually try skipping a meal here or there (ie: go from dinner to lunch the next day for example). As you get more comfortable, you could even try eating in a 4-hour window (from 4pm-8pm nightly), or just one larger meal per day. Eventually, multi day fasting is possible especially when you have excess body fat to lose. There are tons of options available, and they may sound scary if you’ve not tried anything like it before. It was scary to me at first. I can tell you with confidence though, that fasting is an amazing skill I employ routinely with no ill effects, and it keeps me on target.
3. How Committed are You?
Really… ask yourself. How much do you want to reach that goal? If you don’t have a good ‘why’ then you will fail. Steel yourself, be prepared to look in the mirror and have that hard conversation with yourself. Are you in this or are you just gonna let it fall apart again? I challenge you – don’t make excuses. There is never a ‘best time’ and there will be days you fail. But as I have said time and time again to my friends and family… even my worst day on keto is better than my ‘best day’ eating high carb processed crap. So don’t be too hard on yourself, and keep your drive fueled by your “why”.
If you have been down the road multiple times, then consider this: would having an external force help you reach your goals? Someone or something holding you accountable? What if you invested just a little bit of time or money in your achieving goals? Is your health and well-being not worth some of your monthly budget? Remember you only get one body, maybe it’s time for a tune-up to build a few habits to keep it humming along. Lose the weight, make the change, I’m here to help.
Part 3 of this series on enjoying the process is all about your circle of control. Learning it helped me destress my life and get priorities straight. Check it out here.