A week after giving birth, I started on a weight lifting journey thanks to Brian (my hubby's) invitation. With a kick-butt home gym he created over the years -mirrors he found curbside in our 'hood, great craigslist finds, select purchases online- I had a great set up to get started in this foreign field.
If you missed the first posts and the last update, you can click to read how I started and what I was first doing. Monthly it has evolved and now -NOW- I've/we've found something that has made the BIGGEST difference and since I posted this transformation photo in facebook, I've gotten so many women inquiring what I've been doing -so here it is!
Note: Kinobody is geared towards men's fitness. When you're reading healthy body fat percentages, ladies, take that with a grain of salt since we have -and need to have- higher body fat percentages. To give you an idea, mine in the photo below is around 19% body fat. My personal goal is 14%. I recommend googling "women at __% body fat" to get an idea of what to shoot for. We've been using old-school calipers to do our measurements.
|Left: 1 week post-pregnancy and the start of my lifting journey, Right: 5 months in!|
Food. That has been the key to the greatest success I've found.
Your fitness level is 70% food, 30% exercise. And that, my friends, was revolutionary to truly see.
If you've read through this blog, you'll see everything we've tried, from fruitarian (yep, that's a thing) to high fat, keto to paleo -we've tried nearly everything under the sun over the years. It's all been "Eat this, don't eat this. This is a super food, these foods are THE DEVIL!," etc. Those diets/ways of eating worked to shed an initial few pounds, but I was always frustrated by the last 5-10 pounds that lingered. When I was at my thinnest, it was an unsustainable combo of barely eating+high cardio. I was thin, but I looked like a boney stick with no muscle tone. And the barely eating thing would last a month, then I'd cycle into binge eating.
Brian ran across the idea of intermittent fasting (which there are several ways you can do it) and we started following the basic principals of Greg O'Gallagher's kinobody.com site. I'm going to let you explore his articles (the free pdf is a great place to start -as well as his FAQ page) since he knows far more about what he's talking about than I do, but the basic premise that I've been following is:
1) Calculate your lean body mass, estimate what your maintenance calorie needs are and slowly decrease in 100 calorie increments to no more than a 300-400 calorie deficit. The calorie deficit is the key to fat loss. Decreasing your calories much more than that is NOT fun or sustainable and leads to binge eating because you feel deprived. Then -tada!- vicious cycle. (Greg has some great podcasts and articles on binge eating and how to format your eating so you're happy, satisfied and don't feel deprived.)
2) Intermittent fasting. By eating in an 8-9 hour block of my day, I get to eat big meals that are filling -and even have dessert (every dang night) -which is something I greatly value. So I wake up, have a cup of black coffee and as many cups of tea and sparkling water as I want. Then at noon I start my meals. My preferred eating window is noon-9pm or 1-10pm.
3) Tracking your macro-nutrients (macros.) I try to keep my day balanced at 30% protein, 40% carbs, 30% fats. Greg has lots of great articles on this, as well, so I won't go too much into detail on the philosophy, but just share my personal experience following it. Being able to have a meal of 2 eggs, thick sliced ham, pancakes with honey and topped with cool whip? It fits my macros and it's DELICIOUS! But normally I eat baked chicken, lots of veggies, potatoes or rice and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Or a huge salad with diced ham. And I always end the night with this combo: Greek yogurt and 1% fat cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon truvia, 1 serving frozen strawberries (heated), 1 serving dark chocolate chips, and a dollop of cool whip. It's my obsession... Or 2 servings of low-fat chocolate ice cream and cool whip. I know, cool whip isn't the best for you, but I'm currently enjoying it ;)
4) Lifting 3x a week. I do a few basic compound movements and I only do them 3 times a week. I have continued to press past weight obstacles and I've never had this kind of muscle tone EVER in my life. I don't kill myself in the gym. I go for brisk walks with the family as my cardio. And that's it. One of the best things about the kinobody philosophy is that you're life is meant to be enjoyed, not trapped in the gym working out 6x a week for multiple hours. I mean, unless you enjoy that... I don't.
5) Daily Positive Affirmations. This has been my rock. Even with daily dessert and going to bed feeling satisfied, I can still feel challenged mentally by being in a calorie deficit -by not eating whatever I like, whenever I like. Greg shared his daily affirmations he has his clients repeat 3x a day for 21 days and I tailored them to me and posted them in strategic places in the house. It has been the key to my sustained success. The greatest challenge has been mental, not physical. These positive guides have helped me approach fitness, work, family and life in such a healthy, powerful way. I don't let shame or guilt about body image rule me. I don't let fear or worry crush me. I live more in the moment and soak up the day and the experiences I have and the time I get to be with my loved ones. It truly has changed my approach to life -and is helping me accomplish my fitness goals.
I want to show you something. Below, on the left was me at 3 months progress. The photo next to it is month 4, less than three weeks after I started tracking my macros, capping my calories and intermittent fasting. The progress was drastic!
|Month 3 vs Month 4, a few weeks of following Kinobody.com|
But I wanted to get LEAN *and* have muscle tone. It seemed like crazy voodoo to get that way. Now, I'm not saying I've finally found the answer to it all, but it does make a whole lot of sense and is the most sustainable thing I've found. And once I'm at my desired leanness, guess what? I get to eat at a maintenance level and work out just to maintain -not keep chasing bigger and stronger. I get to live my life now and look forward to doing so in the future, not be trapped on a treadmill or in the weight room.
Meal ideas that I currently love:
|Month 4 vs Month 5, 1 1/2 months of following the Kinobody philosophy.|
Pan cooked fish/Baked chicken, steamed/roasted veggies, baked potato/sweet potato/rice
Steamed veggies, turkey meatballs, pasta sauce, mozzarella
Eggs, thick cut ham, pancakes, honey, cool whip (we actually buy the packaged pancakes since it's easier to count the calories and macros.)
BIG salad, cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, diced chicken/ham, serving of shredded cheese, balsamic vinegar, salt+pepper
4-6 oz red wine, 1 serving dark chocolate chips
Greek yogurt/cottage cheese and strawberry dessert listed above in post
2 servings low-fat chocolate ice cream with cool whip
1 serving low-fat vanilla ice cream, 1 serving heated honey drizzled on top, cool whip
Digital food scale (This is the one we bought.)
Calipers (Only measure once a month to really track your progress.)