Looking to Tighten Up?

Looking to Tighten Up? Time for a Reality Check

With it being the new year, I know there are many of you who are looking to make some healthier changes – whether it being losing weight, adding muscle, or toning up. Maybe it’s all three.

Sometimes the hardest decision is knowing where to start?

With so many mixed messages people often feel they are already doing everything right. Rather than looking at the big picture, they focus on one thing and then when that one thing doesn’t provide them results, they think they’ve done what they can – it didn’t work – and then they give up.

“I think I’m eating clean.”
“I eat every 3 hours.”
“I don’t eat carbs.”
“I did a cleanse.”
“I’ve substituted shakes for every meal.”
“I don’t eat after 6 pm.”
“I skip breakfast because I’m not hungry. That helps, right?”

So many mixed messages. Surely one of them should work, right?

Not necessarily. We might think we are doing everything right. It seems the more we learn, the more we unlearn because sources conflict. Oftentimes they flat-out contradict each other.

When people approach me asking for help, the first thing I tell them is to forget everything they’ve read. Forget what they’ve heard and what they’ve learned…at least for now.

Instead, I ask them to evaluate their personal eating habits by logging their “typical” (unchanged) foods for a few days. I tell them to eat as they normally would. Eat their normal portions at their regular times. Don’t change a thing, but also don’t forget to log it. Skipped breakfast? Note it. Hat a Snickers for lunch? Log it. Had a seemingly healthy salad for dinner with 3 tbs high-fat dressing? Log that too. Log everything. The good, the bad, the healthy, and the unhealthy.

Why do I do this?

It’s a reality check.

“We don’t know what we don’t know.” It’s easier to rationalize our eating habits if we really don’t have a clear picture of what they are.

Even the health conscious seemingly “clean-eater” can have negative results if they’re not aware of their portion sizes.

Perhaps their  1/4 cup of “healthy” nuts is really 1/3.

Or their 1 tbs of peanut butter is truly 1.5.

Singled out neither seems like they’d cause much harm, but when you start adding those “extras” up over the course of a day – a week – a month – or even a year, those “extras” are excess and turn in to fat which translates in to more weight.

The key to successful weight-loss, muscle building, and toning is first being honest with ourselves. We can’t cheat the numbers. We can’t pretend we didn’t eat that when we know that we really did.

But we won’t know if we don’t know. Make sense?

A little bit here and there adds up over time.

I don’t log my foods every day. I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I know when I’m “on” and I know when I’m “off”. However, if I’m starting to feel a little heavier around the midsection or I know I’ve been eating horribly (this is perfect timing because I just came off of the Christmas and New Year holiday) then I give myself a reality check by logging my foods. It’s personal accountability.

So that’s my challenge to you. Give yourself a reality check. It won’t solve your weight-loss problem, but it will kick-start it. For me it’s one of the first steps. It’ll give you data you can work with. I do it too.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I’m always here.

Happy New Year and Good Luck!

Written by Jenny Grothe, DAS Labs Communications and Team Athlete

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