Warning: this post is going to be a personal one. If you have been reading this blog, or following me on social media, you’ve probably noticed that I try to stick to style and fashion-related posts. I know that’s what most of you come here for and, quite frankly, that’s the advice I’m most comfortable dispensing.
However, I have made some significant changes to my diet over the past 2 months and many of you have been asking, sooooo…I’m ready (and excited) to share with you the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program that I have been participating in.
First off, I do not believe that I was fat. I have been a lifelong athlete; as a runner and ballet dancer, I have done a combination of running, pilates, and strength-training my entire adult life. To be honest, I probably have relied too much on my athleticism throughout the years; believing that intense workouts would absolve my diet sins. However, especially as I have gotten older, I have begun to experience injuries, fatigue, and my body was not reacting like it used to to these workouts. I was getting frustrated; looking for the next exercise class or program that was going to get me back on track. Since having my last child 5 years ago (I have 3), I have gradually watched the scale creep up. At first it wasn’t significant but, over the course of 5 years, I was 10 pounds heavier than I was before she was born.
Now, I don’t eat a ton of “junk” per se. We generally eat whole foods at home and I enjoy good food. But the cliché is true, I had started eating off the kids’ plates, indulging in more snacks and desserts, and I definitely felt like I deserved that glass of wine with dinner…or after bedtime! And, as I am staring down 40, I had started to notice that my body wasn’t responding the way that it used to. I could no longer eat most everything without seeing the results of my poor eating habits. Additionally, my clothes had started feeling a bit more snug and I wasn’t feeling confident.
With this in mind (and with the looming 4-0), I was reading one of my favorite blogs and learned about her experience doing a “boot camp” like diet and exercise program. I was intrigued and, feeling frustrated in my current situation, signed up without even doing much research! Seriously, hundreds of times before the program began, I was going to write off the money I committed and back-out. Who signs up for a virtual diet and exercise program anyway? Nearly 8 weeks later, I’m here to tell you that it was the best thing I have done for myself in a long while.
Are you still with me? Allow me to move on to the details. The FASTer Way to Fat Loss program was designed by Amanda Tress. Amanda and her team create Facebook groups connecting clients. Through Facebook, Amanda provides weekly exercise plans with corresponding dietary guidelines. The groups serve as a significant motivator and you are expected to check-in daily to maintain accountability. The encouragement and support of the group (with Amanda checking-in daily) serves as the backbone to this program.
So what is “The FASTer Way”? In a nutshell, this program combines intermittent fasting and carb cycling paired with varying workouts (both cardio and weight-lifting). First, intermittent fasting. Honestly, this is what made me think I was crazy for signing-up for this program. Amanda provides a lot of information and data on the benefits of fasting. Intermittent fasting allows the body to go into digestive rest; benefits include better sleep, a healthier immune system, and increased fat loss. Basically, the program’s goal is for participants to eat 6-8 hours each day, fasting the remaining 16 hours. For me, I fast until noon (drinking lots of water, coffee, and tea – even green juice without fiber is allowed). I then eat my calories for the day (still 1750) between the hours of 12-8. I can shift this depending on what I may have scheduled for the day (for example, an event or eating out that will require me to eat later).
Carb cycling, regular calorie and low calorie days are tied to your weekly workout plans. It is recommended that you do 2 low carb days in a row which, quite honestly, I find to be the most difficult. During low carb days you eat less than 50 net carbs (carbohydrates less dietary fiber). These days correspond with a cardio workout in an effort to deplete your carb storage and burn fat. Low calorie days are rest days, 2 each week, where you take a break and eat 25% fewer than your recommended caloric intake. Finally, 3 days a week, Amanda provides weight-lifting exercises and you eat a balanced diet (50% carbs, 30% fat and 20% protein). On leg day, the most grueling day of the program, you can use your discretionary carbs and fat for a treat. I usually reserve this day for going out to eat (having a cocktail and/or dessert).
What I have enjoyed most about this program is the flexibility it has allowed me to truly make this a lifestyle change. I alternate my workouts and schedule based on my plans for the week. I feel prepared and have a plan in place each week that makes me feel in charge of my diet. And I’ve seen great results! While several members in my group lost some serious inches, I feel generally more toned and my clothes are fitting again. I didn’t lose any inches bur I did get on the scale at the end of the program (a serious “no-no” during the 6 weeks) and discovered that I had lost 9 pounds.
These are my ‘Before & After’ shots. You don’t have to share with the group, but it is recommended that you take a ‘before’ shot. Because I didn’t experience a significant change, these photos really helped me see a solid difference.
I’ve signed up for the next 6-week program beginning on April 24th. I’m hoping that round 2 will solidify my new eating habits and continue to challenge me to continue to improve. You can join me by signing up today…there are only a few spots left! Please feel free to leave a comment with any questions or send me an email directly. I’m happy to answer questions or provide more details. Truly, I wouldn’t be sharing if I wasn’t so pleased with the progress I have made and how great I have been feeling.
Thanks for reading! ~Jenn