I received many comments on my #SixPackMami challenge; from “way to go” to “way to alienate women” your opinions have been all over the map. My conclusion? Body image and weight loss is something we need to talk about.
If you read my previous post, I don’t take this lightly. I understand body image can lead me into tricky territory as it has in my past. However, after my last significant weight gain during my pregnancies, my path turned into a healthy one: I got off the couch and began racing triathlons. I want to be an example to my children, and refuse to play with fad diets or lose weight in an unhealthy way.
At first on the #SixPackMami challenge I went for a bodybuilder diet which restricted carbs and calories. After all, my goal was a six pack. It was awful, and it didn’t last more than a couple of days. It didn’t feel healthy and though I know that would be the quickest way to abs of steel, it wasn’t a sustainable one.
So I met with Mandy from my sponsor Fitness Together. I’ve trained with her before and always liked her style so I was thrilled to learn she did nutrition consultations. She took my measurements again and I had lost a couple of pounds. Yet, the number on the scale isn’t as important as how I feel about how I look; and to think I have the possibility of looking differently than in the past is exciting.
The first thing Mandy asked was about my goals. I pointed to the wall showing before and after pictures of a Fitness Together client who went from looking flabby to looking toned without bulking up. I don’t want to be a body builder, I want to tighten up my body. I mentioned my #SixPackMami idea and she said: “so you want to lose weight.”
I didn’t think losing weight was my goal but have come to understand that in order for there to be visible abs, the fat that lays on top of them must go. This is the belly I have grown over 40+ years and two pregnancies. It took a lifetime to accumulate it, I will need to be patient in working it off.
Mandy and I spent over an hour detailing my habits. We reviewed my food choices, schedule, training volume and intensity, where I usually ate lunch, what my family ate, how I cooked, where I shopped, and etc.
On the next session, she showed me my nutritional profile. In general I ate a healthy diet and had the nutrients I needed however my source of calories was
Alcohol: 0% I don’t drink alcohol so that’s one less thing to worry about!
She told me I must increase my protein and carbs while decreasing fats (those came mostly from nuts to which I am addicted.) My new source of calories is:
Just because this works for me, it may not work for you. Mandy calculated my needs based on my body type, goals, and training requirements. I still work out 6 days a week and need carbohydrates in my diet. However, she explained, if I get these carbs from complex sources such as whole grains or starchy vegetables I will be fuller for longer. I should restrict white rice, pasta and bread.
Mandy also broke down how many servings of Dairy, Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and Fat I could have in a day. She then gave me a list of what “one serving of x” means. So for example, one serving of fruit is a small apple or ½ cup of canned peaches where one serving of grain is 1/3 cup of barley or ½ cup of bulgur wheat.
And finally I have seven meals: three large and four snacks including one before a workout. So for example, before a workout I have one serving of carbohydrate plus two of protein (a small banana with a whey protein shake mixed with water), but for lunch I have one grain, five proteins, two vegetables, two fats and one fruit. For example a green salad with chicken and cranberries, seasoned with olive oil and lemon, and ½ cup of mashed sweet potato.
So what does this mean?
That I walk around with the booklet Mandy gave me with all of this information and try to calculate my exchanges. Sooner or later it will become second nature, but for right now I have to look up what I can eat and when, and then make choices. If I had steak at lunch, I will choose a very lean protein for dinner.
I also have to improvise as I cook for my family and hate going to the supermarket so I am not always stocked up especially with fruits and vegetables. But I now have a framework and if I follow it, I will lose weight.
The other thing that is changing is the type of workout I am doing while at Fitness Together. Whereas before I was working on muscle endurance I am now in fat burn mode. One of my weekly sessions is focused on strength training to build muscles by using heavy weights. These are heavy enough so that I have difficulty towards the end of the set. The second session is a high intensity circuit training combining weights with cardio. The idea for this session is to create EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption). Basically, my body is stressed differently than what it is used to with endurance training, and while I am sitting at my computer, it will continue to burn calories as it tries to recover its oxygen levels. It sounds almost as unappealing as running a 5k at full speed. The good thing however, is that since this is a one on one session, I don’t have a way around it.
Although I met with Mandy last week, I had to go through Thanksgiving. Having the #SixPackMami challenge helped me not over eat, however I am well aware it was a special occasion with my family and I did not play Debbie Downer. Instead I indulged in some of my favorite appetizers, filled my main course with salad more than side dishes, and skipped desert. I am hoping this same strategy will get me through the rest of the holiday season.
This process might take longer than I expected but if my ultimate goal is to be a #SixPackMami the healthy way, this is how it has to be. I am willing to go the distance, and fortunately I have the support to do so.
And since we are in this together, if you would like to get a nutritional consultation with Mandy, TriathlonMami readers have a discount! You can reach her by email at Mandy7909@gmail.com or call (401) 556-5822. And don’t forget that if you are in Miami, TriathlonMami readers also have a free session at Fitness Together and a discount on purchased sessions. For that, you should email Gabe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever worked with a nutritionist? Did that help you lose weight?