I have been thinking a lot about sustainability, in terms of health and lifestyle lately. I have been doing the Faster Way to Fat Loss Program for about 6 months now. I began this program for two reasons. One, to support my middle daughter who had just become a certified coach and two, to hopefully lose some weight.
Back in September, I wrote a Torture Report about what my 6 weeks in the program looked like and what my final results were. At the end of my blog, I even told you I was ready for my second round. I continued along pretty well through Thanksgiving. We even participated in the virtual Thanksgiving Day 5K and got the whole family involved. December, however, began the slippery slope into old habits, as the holidays often do.
When January arrived I was ready to start hardcore, but leaving old habits behind in the midst of real life, felt difficult. I was still working out daily, but I wasn’t getting the food just right.
I started again March 1st with a renewed vigor and outlook. The difference this time was that I wasn’t starting over from the beginning, I was just tightening up my eating and working out harder in the gym. I am not losing massive amounts of weight, in fact, I rarely weigh myself, but I am getting much stronger. I am lifting heavier weights and I am able to do things I wasn’t able to do in the beginning. What I love about this program is that it isn’t exactly what it sounds like. While people do lose a lot of weight on this program, they mostly gain a new lifestyle. I have always had a tendency to find something I want to do and go full bore. For example, I have only run a couple of 5Ks in my lifetime, but I have run ultras, marathons, half-marathons and done a few other crazy multi-day adventures. I don’t like to mess around with the small stuff which for me doesn’t always equal sustainability, which is okay if I’m training for something specific.
At almost 51 years of age, I needed something to hold onto that really changed the way I did things daily, but also challenged me. So, for 6 months (even when I wasn’t eating perfectly) I have been doing intermittent fasting. I eat between the hours of 11am and 7pm. I have done four 24-hour fasts and I am coming up on my 5th this week. I walk 7 days a week, I workout for 45 minutes, 5 days per week and none of this feels hard. It feels sustainable. Why? Because it is something I can do for the rest of my life. I am not giving up anything completely. I am eating whole foods and working out. When I have done workout programs, trained for a race or done a diet program in the past, it was never with the intention of forever. Running 45 miles a week or giving up a certain food groups always felt like they had a beginning and an end date.
When I started this program, I honestly didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. I thought it would be a 6-week program and maybe I would lose some weight, but there was an end date in my head. Instead, I started getting a weekly menu, a grocery list, 7 days of hard workouts, constant support and an ever changing macro calendar that keeps my body guessing rather than plateauing. I started sleeping better and I felt amazing. For the first time ever, I wasn’t thinking about an end date; I wasn’t counting down the days until I could stop. In fact, other than the challenges that occur monthly, I don’t even register anything has changed from month to month. This is just my new way of being.
It has taken me this long, but I have finally found a way of being that feels good. I have found something that allows for treats, birthdays, nights out with friends, vacations and a way back in the very next day without any guilt or having to find something new that works better.
We all want a quick fix to whatever ails us and there is a plethora of programs out there that will sell you the thing you need to achieve that quick fix. The problem is that most of them aren’t sustainable. Without some level of sustainability we end up right back where we started or even worse. The reality is that to get strong and healthy, you have to be willing to put the work in every damn day. You have to be willing to say no to the second glass of wine, the dessert every night and get up and do the workout. Getting healthy and strong takes commitment, but you have to find the way that works for you. Find the program or the thing that allows you to have sustainability; that allows you to get healthy for the rest of your life and keeps you doing all the things you love.
Sunshine & Saracasm,
Lowi & G