I recently came across THIS: the most beautiful article about body image. The author writes about loathing her body when she was younger and discovering self-love decades later. She couldn’t nail down exactly when the loathing ebbed, but “maybe it had something to do with having a daughter and wanting to spare her the pain of hating her own skin.” I can relate. I think all mothers can relate. We look in the mirror and focus only on our imperfections, but when we look at our daughters we see only beauty. The thing is, they learn from us . . . and if we’re constantly criticizing ourselves, our daughters will learn that too.
Although we’re inundated with images of “perfect” bodies in the media almost everywhere we look, there’s only so much we can do about them. But according to a 2015 study, 5- to 8-year-olds who think their moms are dissatisfied with their bodies are more likely to feel dissatisfied with their own bodies. THIS we can do something about. I do not want my daughter thinking I’m anything but grateful for my body. I don’t want to focus on the cellulite, wrinkles, or extra pounds — I want to focus on health. I want to model healthy eating and exercise habits because I want Greenlea to be healthy — both physically and emotionally.
After having Ozzie, though, I wasn’t feeling very healthy — physically or emotionally. The first few weeks were insanely intense. Having a newborn who wanted to breastfeed constantly, a toddler who wanted mom and dad to herself, and a body that had just gone through a C-Section was overwhelming and exhausting. Getting through the day was a HUGE win. I was breastfeeding and RAVENOUS. I ate everything I could set my sights on, and working out wasn’t even a (distant) thought in my mind. As the months went by, though, my body healed, Greenlea and Ozzie hit their stride, and my appetite returned to normal. But I still wasn’t working out (I had NO energy) and was still eating whatever was in front of me. My clothes still weren’t fitting. I was tired all the time. So when Cathy, a long-time reader, reached out with information about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss, a program I had never heard of, I figured I’d give it a try. (She had me at “more energy” and “sleeping better.”)
OK, Is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss Just Another Diet?
Nope, it’s not. Here’s why: First, it’s NOT a diet. It’s a healthy way of eating. We count macros (proteins, carbohydrates and fats), not calories. The focus is on why proteins, carbs and fats are each essential parts of a healthy diet. (Carbs are not “bad,” fat doesn’t make you fat, etc.,) It’s not like “OK, I’m going on this diet to lose weight and then go back to normal.” This way of eating IS my new normal.
Although I would have called it something else, the FASTer Way to Fat Loss (or FWTFL for short) focuses is on FAT loss, not weight loss. In fact, they want you to stay off the scale. They want you to focus on keeping/building muscle and losing fat. (Muscle weighs more than fat, but your clothes will fit better and you’ll feel better by losing fat over pounds, even if the scale remains the same.) The goal is sustainable progress, not overnight transformation.
So what is it? Basically, it’s a seven-week introduction to a healthier way of eating. It incorporates intermittent fasting, carb cycling (meaning you CAN eat carbs), whole food nutrition (over processed foods) and workouts (that you can do from home) to help you lose fat. It’s a flexible (I’ve been able to maintain it while traveling a lot) and sustainable lifestyle that focus on progress over perfection, and allowing ourselves grace. (There’s room for donuts.)
In the beginning there’s a ton of information (OVERWHELMING), but once you understand what you’re doing and, more importantly, why, it becomes easier. (This is where your coach comes in. I asked Cathy, my coach, a ton of questions, and she was great at helping me “get it.”) I don’t feel hungry or deprived . . . I’ve actually never eaten more food in my life. I have more energy (finally!) and just feel better all around. (By the way, it’s safe for breastfeeding moms. I’m still breastfeeding and my supply has not been affected at all.)
The workouts can be done from home, which is a big plus for moms of younger kids. I actually like that they’re written out (with links to examples of moves) so you can watch your favorite show or interact with your baby while doing them — I’ve even used Ozzie as my weight when he wouldn’t let me put him down. There are workouts for the gym, if that’s what you prefer, and beginner workouts (that can also be done from home) for people like me, who have gotten out of the habit of exercising. The beginner workouts are no joke, either. They’re short but effective. (This bike has come in very handy, too. You can read my review of it here.)
Before & After: My First Round of the FASTer Way to Fat Loss
My body is not perfect (that’s just not a realistic goal), but it is stronger and healthier than it was when I started. And because I liked the FWTFL so much, I actually signed up for another round. It’s nice to have a program to follow that you don’t have to think about, plus someone to help hold you accountable.
Like I said, this isn’t a lose-weight-quick diet, but a sustainable, healthy way of living. I don’t want Greenlea to see me calorie-obsessed or weight-obsessed. I want her to see her mom as someone who makes healthy choices, but isn’t afraid to indulge once in awhile. Someone who appreciates and is grateful for her body, not obsessed with the way it looks. I want to be an example of what I want for her — someone who looks in the mirror and loves what she sees.
P.S. My coach, Cathy DeZorzi, is starting a new round on March 18 if anyone is interested! I highly recommend both the program and her!