Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

change1Since the age of 14 I  have been subjecting myself to a series of diet plans, eating regimes and weight-loss interventions.  These include Weigh-Less, Atkins, Low-Fat, Low-Carb, medically-assisted programmes, Slender Wonder, Herbalife, Dieticians’ programmes and all sorts of combinations thereof.  And yes I’ve lost weight and inevitably gained it back (with a little extra for prosperity) to the tune of probably 100kgs, until the point of desperate hopelessness where I was ready to push through to a size 20 and be done with it…  The prescriptive nature of the programmes and a real lack of understanding about how the process actually works has been a constant stumbling block for me.

My unhealthy relationship with food over the years, periods of binge eating and complete starvation have led to awful guilt and shame around my eating habits, body image and self-esteem.   I felt defeat and self-loathing every time I was unable to stick to the plan, beating myself up emotionally and mentally at my inability to be able to “get it right”.  And inevitably this would lead to me seeking comfort in the fridge or the chip bag!  And then the cycle would repeat itself.  A “slip” would more often than not lead to a full-blown “relapse” and the weight-gain journey would begin once again.

For anyone who has not battled with food issues and weight challenges, this might be difficult to comprehend.  It’s got nothing to do with willpower, eating less and exercising more.  There have been diets when I was eating 650 calories a day and staying committed to the process until it became completely unsustainable due to emotional, physical and mental fatigue, lack of financial resources (eating that little costs a lot of money for supplements and appetite control) and feeling miserable about not being able to eat.  For me it has been about not understanding what I am doing, not being given the right kind of support and feeling like the dieticians, doctors, programme leaders and experts are not really that invested in me achieving the required outcomes.

So after years of failed attempts and a plummeting self-belief that I was ever going to be able to have a half-decent chance, I started working with Alex, of Alex Campbell Transformation.  He introduced me to the concept of flexible dieting and habits-based nutrition.  And even though it is about calorie-counting, using the My Fitness Pal App makes that easier than paging through my most recent diet-plan manual and trying to figure out what I am “allowed” to eat.  Instead of feeling deprived and constricted, I get to eat delicious food within the calorie limits, while ensuring that I get enough of the right nutrients.  There’s even room for the occasional, guilt-free chocolate, pizza or homemade burger and chips.  And I am only eating 1,500 calories a day!

Over the past two months I have lost over 6kgs,  but even better than that is that I have lost more than 50cm around my waist, hips and thigh.  I have been spending time at the gym, but rather than slogging it out on the treadmill for hours, I am doing short strength-training sessions and am noticing enormous changes in my body.  Not only that, I am feeling an incredible sense of wellness and in the way I showing up in my life on a daily basis.  Normally when I am on a “diet” I am grouchy, miserable and feel very deprived; the focus of my day on the things that I can’t eat and dreading another boring, tasteless meal.  So I am feeling grounded and motivated, and the nutrition coaching and support I am receiving is making me extremely accountable and in control of my programme (and progress).  Although when I am unsure I have the support of a coach to keep me on track and dispel my fears around whether I am doing it “right”.

There’s space for conversations about food, mood, stress, sleep and exercise.  I am not simply being TOLD what to do, which has given me the chance to own this programme and allow my ideas, experiences, and challenges to be part of the process.  Alex is always available to offer input and support, as well as introducing me to great education and information sources, as well as blogs and FaceBook pages that are in-line with what the programme approach entails.

After more than two months of eating a fairly low amount of calories, attending the gym regularly and getting back into the kitchen (which I am loving), I feel more motivated than ever to push towards my health and wellness goals, that are not simply physical, but also mental, emotional, spiritual and social. This approach feels sustainable and individualised, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach which has never been sustainable for me in the past.  I feel hope and positivity where just a few months ago there was one of defeat and futility.  And for this I am extremely grateful and thankful to Alex Campbell Transformation for the knowledge, expertise, support and no-BS approach.

I will continue to write about my personal health, wellness and body transformation as the weeks and months unfold.  I know there are no magic potions and quick fixes, but with support and accountability it feels like I am on the right path to exactly where I want to be.

Leigh-Anne Brierley

How to Love Eating and Still Lose Weight!

Food - chicken burgerFlexible dieting can transform your life.

Flexible Dieting is about how being less rigid with your diet can give you a greater chance of sustainable,  long-term success.  It is the modification and customisation of a personalised eating plan based on individual goals, as well as the food you like to eat.  There are no forbidden foods to be avoided!  In the same way that you don’t have to eat the foods you hate!

Flexible dieting is a skill which is about learning to eat mostly (so-called) healthy foods, and still being able to incorporate your favorite foods and treats.  All while still making progress with your weight-loss efforts, free of guilt and shame!

The term “healthy foods” is used here to help explain the concept of flexible dieting, which for the most past avoids discriminating against foods as “good” or “bad”.  It is more realistic to view foods as varying in nutrient- or calorie-density.

Always remember that it is not a particular food that makes us lose or gain fat.  So with flexible dieting you get to eat the foods you enjoy.  Because regardless of the food source, food is energy.  So if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight!    And if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight!

The evidence of The Energy-Balance Equation is overwhelming and that’s why it’s accepted by the large majority of the science-based nutrition community.  For further evidence of this just look to the tens of thousands of athletes, body builders and physique competitors who practice this principle to achieve peak physical condition time and again.

Still not convinced?  There have been many studies conducted to prove that it’s not about the type of food that is consumed that leads to weight loss, but rather the caloric intake that is important.  These include the Twinkie Diet and the Ice-Cream Diet which were conducted to prove this point.

However, this is not to say that flexible dieting is focused on eating junk food.  It’s about learning how to eat an overall healthy diet based on satiating, nutrient-dense foods and learning how to incorporate your favourite foods and treats, while still progressing towards your weight-loss goals.

In my next article I will look at “Flexible Dieting & How it Works” in more detail.

 

Less is More | The Power of Habits-Based Nutrition Coaching

Without action there can be no successful results.
So it’s behaviour and habits, not ideas and knowledge that are necessary for success.  Goal setting, visualisations and affirmations can be useful, but if they don’t lead to action they are useless.

So how do we keep developing the habits and taking the actions necessary to keep progressing?

We do it ONE HABIT at a time.

Research has shown that focusing on one habit at a time dramatically increases the chance of success over trying to change too much all at once.  This methodology has been popularised by Leo Babuata who wrote the  bestselling book, “The Power of Less“.

Over a two year period he:Leo Babvata

  • Quit smoking
  • Lost 40 pounds
  • Went from being a non-runner to a marathon runner
  • Tripled his income
  • Wrote a novel and a non-fiction book
  • Eliminated his debt

According to Babuata there are certain rules you need to follow in order to succeed, and these include:

  • Focus on only one habit at a time.
  • Choose an easy goal.
  • Choose something measureable.
  • Be consistent.
  • Report daily.
  • Keep a positive attitude.

The power of coaching is in how it can support the above framework to ensure success:

  • Coaching means that we work together to uncover the most meaningful habits and then how and when to implement them.
  • Coaching is about helping you measure your progress.  After all results are the biggest motivator.
  • Coaching means being accountable to yourself and to your coach which ensures consistency day-in and day-out.
  • Coaching is about giving you the necessary direction to overcome the inevitable obstacles and setbacks.

Change is difficult.  And weight loss is particularly difficult.  However, with the right coach in your corner, offering ongoing support, encouragement and direction, transformation is possible!