I'm a big Flat White fan, so much so that I definitely know the difference between a real FW and a 'skinny' one. Interestingly, on occasion if I order one at a new coffee shop, wearing lululemon (which in most cases I am!) without asking for skinny milk, I get given one thats been made with skimmed milk. There's clearly an incorrect assumption that because I train, I must therefore follow a low fat diet. Nothing could be further from the truth!
First of all, lets clarify a common misconception about what we call 'full-fat milk' (AKA regular, full cream, whole, blue top milk). It's actually not really full fat: as it contains only around 3.25 per cent fat, which, if you’re only drinking the equivalent of a glass or two a day, is significantly less than the fat you're consuming in other foods. Interestingly whole milk sales plummeted after the big saturated fat scare of the 70's, when everything naturally creamy and buttery was replaced for processed and man-made “low fat” foods instead. I can't help but think that's when it all went wrong. The Government and the food companies/supermarket giants did such a good job at convincing people that low fat was the healthier way forward that over 40 years on and some people still think that full fat milk is bad for you?!
The truth is that fat or even saturated fat is not the enemy. Fats are an important part of a complete & healthy diet, they also help with the feeling of being satisfied after a full-fat tea or coffee, unlike skinny versions, and fat (along with protein, also found in milk) fills you up longer, which curb the sugar cravings you get when your stomach is empty. Fats also do other important things - they're highly stable, lower cholesterol, enhance the brain and even protect the liver. Obviously, that’s not a free pass to binge on burger and fries, but the small amount in natural milk will actually do you good. As a 70's child, I remember my own Mum being swayed into believing the low fat phenomena. Even in her later years, once I was better informed and educated to know better, she still insisted on buying low fat yoghurts, skimmed milk and flora margarine! Essentially I was fighting against the scientists who for years warned us off full-fat milk because of so-called evidence pointing to increased LDL levels (bad cholesterol). But new research actually suggests that dairy actually increases good cholesterol which helps metabolise LDL anyway. The “blue milk makes you fat” argument doesn’t convince me either. Infact, a significant study of subjects followed over a 12 year period, showed there was a common link with those with a higher dairy fat intake with a lower risk of dangerous belly fat, while subjects with low dairy fat intake showed the opposite! Do you or anyone you know suffer with gut issues? There are some promising studies with mice have shown milk fat globules may heal the intestinal mucosa (protective lining of the gut) and help people with leaky gut syndrome.
So the next time you order a skinny latte, think twice. The benefits of 1) the taste 2) the good fatty acids 3) the satiety and 4) the relatively low fat content/calories may well outweigh your decision to go skinny, especially if you are lucky enough to choose a grass fed, GM free, farm fresh, high quality milk like Mossgiel* from the Ayrshire Cows. Plus I can pretty much guarantee, that if you are overweight or carrying too much fat, its unlikely to be the full fat Flat White thats the issue!
*served at Southside Roasters and other fine coffee establishments in Glasgow.
So, you think you know what you WANT to be, the question is, are you LIVING life now the way you WANT to live?
You say you want more energy but are you actually BEING that change? Are you getting up in the morning and doing something that an energetic person would? Are you showing up at your work place every day and BEING the office energy?
You say you want to be leaner and stronger. But are you actually living your life like a lean and strong person would? When you go out for dinner on Saturday night do you choose what a lean person would choose? Are you showing up like a lean person would when the office birthday cake run comes round by politely saying no thanks? Do you take every opportunity you have to be active, or do you choose to sit on the sofa and eat snacks with a movie instead? Is that what the leaner and stronger person would choose to do too?
You say you want to run your 1st 10k. So, are you living your life like a runner would? Are you actually getting out of bed and going for a run before work or do you opt for that extra 30 mins in your warm bed?
What have you done so far today? Ask yourself, honestly, if you've had a moan or a bitch about someone or something today? Were you guilty of shouting at the other driver that didn't let you out at the junction when you were running late for work this morning? Have you been miserable with your partner lately, dragging other people down? Are you guilty of being part of the 'make excuses in life' team? Or are you LIVING & behaving and thinking like the person you want to be?
What do you tell yourself about yourself? Are you positive and proactive? Do you allow yourself to feel happy & relaxed. Or are you stressed and uptight? What are you feeding your senses with? Who do you choose to spend your time with/hang out with? Are the people you choose to stay friends with the right people - good people, successful, positive, happy people? What do you choose to follow on instagram, read on Facebook, watch on TV, talk about and listen to?
What ENERGY are you giving out?
How are you dressed?
Are you thinking and acting 'as if' you're already that person?
You get my gist here? Life delivers opportunities to people who make room for them and behave and live like they're ready for it. We are all the same, we all have our shit to deal with. Its how you deal with it, that makes the difference. Everything you need is there but your brain will only tune into whatever you're focused on internally. Most of the time you don't need to live anywhere else, you don't need more money, you don't need to change jobs, move to a different gym, or have a thyroid issue. You just need to BE THE CHANGE and show up differently in your day to day life, and then the things and people you need to help you make progress will appear.
One thing that surprises a lot of new clients that I work with is the fact that it is very possible to eat more and lose weight.
In fact, in some cases, this is the key to long term fat loss and results. You don’t need to starve yourself or be constantly hungry. You certainly shouldn't feel tired all the time either. But one of the hardest concepts for people to accept is that counting calories just doesn’t work. the old saying 'eat less : move more' is actually poor advice for a lot of over weight people. Why? Firstly, we are all unique, with different body shapes and will all burn different amounts of calories on a daily basis. As well as the calories we consume as food & drink, we also have to consider the different rates at which we burn calories during movement, digestion, functioning. So we all have a need for calories. When people cut calories that they consume, its likely that the body may lose weight at the start but then once it realises it’s not getting enough fuel in to keep you running properly, it starts to slow things down, you stop losing weight and instead start storing fat. Your body basically thinks it’s starving and so will do everything it can to prevent that.
Let’s also look at it another way. If you ate 2000 calories of broccoli one day and then 2000 worth of mars bars the next, which do you think would make you fat? Not all calories are equal and dropping them too low is also detrimental to our health.
Fat loss is actually more complex than just what we eat and how we move. Our hormones also play a really important role in determining our own weight and shape. Hormones like insulin, testosterone, growth hormone, estrogen, thyroid hormone, cortisol, leptin and ghrelin are some of the most important things to look at when trying to drop excess fat, change your shape and get healthier. As a result of poor lifestyle choices over time, many people are out of balance and produce too much of some hormones and not enough of others, which also results in low energy, weight gain, loss of muscle and strength, poor moods, lack of concentration, low libido and much more. Hormones are produced in places like our adrenal glands, testes and ovaries but in order to produce them we need to intake certain nutrients. As the majority of popular diets restrict calories, they also therefore restrict nutrients, which is bad news if your goal is fat loss. For example, some of the most important nutrients for optimal hormonal balance are good, quality fats. so any diet that encourages 'low fat' nutrition is flawed! Not all fat is bad and understanding this is one of the keys to getting long term results.
Eat well Monday to Friday and fall off the wagon at the weekend?
Does this sound familiar to you?
You religiously record your food in MyFitnessPal during the week, but at the weekend you tend to slack off. You try and stick to a good routine on weekdays but at the weekend you eat more junk and the routine goes out the window? Do you allow yourself a 'cheat' which ends up a cheat weekend of poor food choices and often have a few drinks too. Answer: Weekend eating is just as important as Monday to Friday eating. 2 poor days can erase 5 good ones!
The truth: weekends can kill your fat loss.
Just like snacks and little extras in between meals can also ruin your fat loss. On their own they might not seem like much but little + little + little is no longer little. In the long term, these little nibbles here and there add up and WILL put the brakes on your progress. If it goes in your mouth; it counts.
There's nothing special about weekends. If you can eat well from Monday to Friday, you can eat well Saturday and Sunday. Your Monday to Friday success proves it. There's nothing about a weekend that should mandate a lack of structure - particularly when you’re aim is fat loss and you're trying to achieve a personal goal. If you're serious about your goal, and you really want to shed the extra fat your carrying around, then you'll stick to the program. In this sense, there's no such thing as ‘everything in moderation’. That’s like being 'sort of committed'. You’re either IN, or you're not.
Remember, it was YOU who didn’t like what you saw in the mirror. And YOU chose to make a change. That comes with a responsibility to yourself to accept what is involved to stay ON IT and be accountable. Of course it's fine if you want to ‘sort of eat CLEAN’, on one condition; that you're also willing to accept the consequences of that choice, which means slow, or NO visible change to your body. So next Monday when you go back to the gym and you wonder why you still feel fat compared to other members, maybe ask yourself how much fun the weekend really was? Is it worth it? It’s not rocket science but it's the one thing we ALL need reminding of when we're talking about successful, long term CHANGE : CONSISTENCY is key.
Ultimately when it comes to nutrition, accountability is and always will be, the KEY to long-term, successful fat loss. I don't care how hard you train, or how many group classes you do, or how many extra block runs or calories on the rower you push out, if you can't nail your nutrition week in and week out, you're short changing yourself of the RESULTS you deserve. You're working hard at your training for sub-optimal, or in some cases, no, physical results. If you want great results you need to make good food choices, consistently. Week in and week out. One day at a time.
“Extraordinary RESULTS requires extraordinary effort”
There is nothing more frustrating as a Coach than someone who moans and complains about belly fat, being over weight, feeling unhappy, and not seeing results and when you look at their MyFitnessPal, there are obvious and simple mistakes.
In some cases people tell me that they're bang on with their diet, except for the odd night out and little cheats/odd glass of wine here and there. What? That's not bang on in my book. That's extra. I don't care how small it is, when 'small' is repeated often, it's no longer small.
Sometimes people complain that they feel hungry? So what? What do you expect? If you've been on holiday and got used to eating high calorie/high fat foods you're effectively detoxing and eating in a caloric deficit compared to what you have been eating and your mind (not your body) is craving the sugar and fats.
Hunger level is not always an indication of the need for more food. Look back at your food diary – if you have fuelled correctly then I promise you’re not going to starve or die. So get over it.
Everything counts, and it ALL makes a difference to the results you see in the mirror. Binge drinking nights out, little cheats here and there, additional this or that, it all adds up. If you're needing to lose a few extra pounds you can cope with the odd night out. However if you're carrying 3-4 stone excess body fat then I'm afraid it calls for some serious effort on your part to shift it. Choose the behaviour, choose the consequences. It's fine to fall short of 100% compliance, if you're willing to accept the results of those choices. If not, then don’t cheat. GREAT RESULTS are waiting for you once you're prepared to make the right choices. .
Instant gratification is the mindset of a child. The need to satisfy a WANT (not a need) “ I want chocolate” NOW, NOW, NOW. We've ALL been there; no one said it would be easy. But we can't honestly expect to see and feel results if we don't put in the work. So find ways to stay on track and stop giving yourself excuses or permissions to eat the food you want but you know you shouldn't. That food you want now will still be there in 28 days!
It's Simple, But It's Not Easy. Clearly it's not that easy, otherwise no one would have body fat issues and we'd all be ripped all-year round. But, fat loss IS simple once you realise how hard it is. When you finally understand and appreciate how much effort, responsibility, planning, creativity, intensity, discipline, thought and control the journey involves, and that RESULTS are not going to happen from a half-hearted ‘average’ or moderate effort - you will succeed. This takes work. YOU have to be willing to put in the hard graft with your nutrition!
Some people can work on a 90% rule - meaning that you have to be on plan 90% of the time, allowing you 10% off plan. Sometimes I get asked “what if you're 90% and the results aren't showing?”It might be that 90% simply isn’t going to work for you. I know for me, 90% doesn't really cut it. I’m lean but when I hit 100%, and put in the extra effort, it makes a big difference. I strongly encourage your focus to be on changing your lifestyle to become more conscious of what you eat, i.e. the process and the mindset and not the outcome. Instead of focusing on what weight you want to be, or the size 10 jeans or the number on the scales – aim to make good choices consistently in the way you eat day in and day out, and the outcome will take care of itself!
"I will nail my nutrition 100% of the time this week'. If you meet your process goals, your outcome goals (i.e. RESULTS) will take care of themselves.
Fat loss is a battle: its you versus your body.
The key to winning is NUTRITION compliance. Unless you enter the battlefield with that strategy in place, you might as well wave the white flag before you even start. We work as a Team but your success is ultimately your responsibility.