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Sunday, July 7, 2019

My FASTer Way to Fat Loss Experience #LevelUp - Part TWO

I sort of left ya hanging there, but I really felt like this recap deserved two separate posts! Now where was I? Okay, okay, okay (Emmy says that all the time, so it's my new thing now).... let's just cut to the before and after picture...

YES, I definitely saw results and I'm SO mad at myself for not taking measurements once again. I feel like that information would really have come into play this time around because it seems like the entire composition of my body changed. Honestly, I'm not sure how well this before and after picture even captures any of that. I can tell of course by the way my clothes fit and I see more definition than I've seen in a long time, possibly ever. 

So real quick, just a little bit about the program. It is pretty extensive, there are a lot of ins and outs. I learned the basics right away and then expanded from there and I still feel like I have a lot of room for more growth and learning. FASTer Way to Fat Loss is very science based...which is part of what drew me to it. It was totally different from anything I've tried before and I was just SO fascinated with the concepts, and excited to see how my body would respond to the combination of intermittent fasting, carb cycling and counting macros. Especially after seeing Anna's results, I was PUMPED.

Intermittent Fasting
I had been unintentionally doing this for a LONG time and I knew this would be the easy part. I wasn't doing it EVERY single day, but my thought process was that if I could do it most days, then surely I could do it all the time, right?! An 8 hour eating window and a 16 hour fast. It sounds harder than it is but you're sleeping for most of it anyway. Basically I stick to eating between the hours of 11:30 AM and 7:30 PM. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?! Turns out there's a lot of debate on that, and since I typically would force myself to eat an egg or a banana around 9:30, and most days I would forget anyway...it's not something that I missed! 

Carb cycling
Two low carb days followed by a pattern of high carb days (some higher than others) apparently turns your body into a "fat burning machine". There's much more to it than that but after reading up on it...that was my main takeaway. Since I had never done anything like that before I was all about trying it. PLUS, the idea that you're "allowed to eat carbs on such a high scale on some days was very intriguing. Talk about a major shift in the way you think about carbs! 

Counting Macros
I had been hearing about "macros" for a while and legit had no idea what it actually was. Turns out I did...it's just protein, carbohydrates and fats. Basically, you use the My Fitness Pal app to track the proportion of your intake of macros for each day. Depending on the day of the week, you're supposed to meet certain numbers for each. Again, this is just a very basic overview...but this is another thing I've never tried before and I was interested to give it a whirl. I also knew this might be the most challenging for me as I HATE measuring and I wasn't too keen on logging my food!

Workouts, Recipes & Support
When you sign up for the program you get access to a portal with workouts for every day of the 6 week program. They are broken up into either gym or home workouts which is nice. The type of workout is based on how you're eating for the day so it changes constantly. You also have access to some recipes, an online coach, and an online community with support so you're not doing this alone! I'm not a coach, but my friend Anna hooked me up with her coach Heather who was great (info linked below)! 

Okay, okay, okay...so that was a little bit about the program. Now here are my thoughts....

Pros
I LOVED the fact that there is a very clear set of rules! There is so much conflicting information, it's nice when you pick a program to stick with...you then have your guidelines, a staring point and you could just narrow your focus and get into it! I need structure, otherwise I'm all over the place. I was at a crossroad between paleo and plant-based...so you could see my overwhelm/confusion. 

Even though the rules are very specific, there is still a lot of wiggle room. If it fits into the macros for the day, you could technically eat it so you're not totally locked into a specific list of foods you can and can not eat (although there are recommendations). Anna described it as "you can eat everything...just not all at the same time". It's true. NOW, knowing this you obviously need to know which choices are optimal for reaching your goals and make your choices based on that. I'll talk a little more about this in the "cons" but my point is that you have the freedom to still eat whatever...there are no real "no-no's". Do with that what you will! 

Another major "pro" for me is that I NEVER got bored! I loved the fact that some days I was allowed to fill up on high fat foods like avocados and olives, then a few days later I was able to eat bread without feeling guilty! Even the workouts were constantly changing I never felt like I was doing the same thing. Of course there was some repetition but it cycled through the week in such a way that it felt like something new and interesting. Some days were high intensity intervals, there was some interval sprints, lots of strength training, and my fave...leg day! 

The support system and online group is fabulous especially when you're first starting out and learning the basics. Personally, I've done a lot of groups very similar to this (and even used to run them myself) and it wasn't the main reason why I signed up...BUT there's no denying that it is helpful and if you've never set out to do anything like this ever before then I highly recommend all the support you can get. 

Cons
I can not stand measuring. Helloooo, this blog used to be "Never The Same Spice Twice" for that very reason. In order to properly log your macros in the app, you need to measure, of course. I'm an "eye-baller" but I got over it pretty quickly. Still, it's not my favorite. 

Logging every little thing in the app is also a little annoying. I'm already on my phone quite a bit (workingggg on that)...and then throw this into the mix, I feel like it's constantly in my hand more than EVER. Everyone is sitting down for dinner, and you're over there plugging in all your food. It's not just annoying, at times it downright stresses me out, I've learned to be better about this by either planning ahead or just discreetly logging it when you don't feel like you're being rude. Sometimes you can't help it, and honestly it gives me slight anxiety! 

There is obviously room for error. It's not going to be 100% accurate, no matter how much you measure. At the end of the day if you're not scanning actual barcodes...things are going to get skewed a bit. As a bit of a perfectionist, I found myself getting hung up on precision. Eventually, I worked through this, but it's tough because you obviously want to meet your numbers and be as accurate as possible. I think when you become invested in something like this and you start seeing results you need to be careful not to become too obsessive. You just gotta do your best and not stress over it. 

Truth time....sometimes it's not the healthiest - at least for me I didn't ALWAYS make the best choices. This is what I was talking about before. I had days when I ate garbage food because I was either in a situation when I didn't have another option (poor planning on my part), allowing myself to be naughty on purpose because technically "it fit" for the day, OR just eating whatever I could get my hands on to reach the numbers I needed. I drank wine at certain times (prob in excess) or had spoonfuls of honey because I "needed more carbs". I also (more times than I'd like to admit) had spoonfuls of straight butter because I "needed more fats". Now, we could debate these things...I'm not getting into all of that...the point is that I found myself doing weird things and sometimes eating certain foods I may not have ordinarily eaten just to reach the daily quota. 

Okay this is going to sounds really bad, but I think I need to mention it. In the beginning I almost felt like I lost the joy for eating. I was truly eating for fuel and on the high carb days I felt SO stuffed that I didn't even enjoy it. This was in the very beginning and I eventually overcame this by being more aware on the high carb days to eat throughout the day so that I'm not cramming everything in at the end. 

Overall Thoughts
Even though it seems like I listed more cons than pros, I still HIGHLY recommend trying this program. It really works, and it didn't take long for me to notice changes! It was so bizarre because i was literally NEVER hungry. I honestly felt like it was too much food, and often questioned why on Earth was I eating so much!?!?! I was constantly being reassured..."yes, I know it's weird but stick with it, it works!!!" Many of the negatives I listed were part of the learning curve for me and as I went along, I've worked out some of the kinks and figured out how to better plan ahead. 

Soooo, what now?! I'm actually going to stick with it just a little bit longer. Eventually I'd like to shift to a new normal where I don't feel like I need to log my food and measure anymore but I probably will continue intermittent fasting and carb cycling. I'm also going to keep up the consistent workouts because...I'm kinda loving the fact that I'm starting to look as strong as a feel! 
Since January I've lost a total of 22 pounds. I swear I did not set out to lose any specific amount of weight. For me, it's just as much about feeling good and not all about weight loss. I'll probably do another post about WHY I'm up to all of this beyond the obvious. I've got some goals that extend beyond what I've done so far but in the meantime I'm just going to keep sharing what I'm learning. Stick around for more and if you don't already follow me on Instagram....click HERE

If you're interested in trying this program for yourself and need a coach...hit up my girl Anna on Instagram and she will get you all set up....OR, just click HERE to get started!

This post got a little long...I may have to do a part THREE...or just a follow up in a few weeks to talk more about how I feel, what I've learned, and give some tips for anyone starting out. Hmmmm. This is it for now, but let me know if you have questions!!!
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