It’s not much of a challenge, given that it is flexible. BUT it will produce great results while allowing you to enjoy all your favourite foods regularly as well as indulging at Christmas dinner and other social gatherings.
Usually when you hear about a 12 Week Challenge, the “challenge” is restrict to very low calories, or to only eat low carb, or paleo, or “clean” (whatever that means), and if you are very disciplined and very strict you’ll lose weight over the course of the 12 weeks.
But… that’s not necessarily good.
Any of those approaches will work so long as the total amount of calories you’re taking in is less than the amount that would be required to maintain your current weight. Cutting out various food types in accordance with a clean eating, paleo or low carb plan will quite likely result in a calorific deficit resulting in weight loss.
But… that’s not necessarily good.
What are we really doing, with such an approach?
1. If that calorie intake is too low, we’re just training our body to run on less fuel, to conserve and store energy. This why many of you who are already dieting have stopped losing weight even though you barely eat. Clearly, this is no good.
2. Even if you’re still losing weight, with a restrictive approach based on food avoidance what we are really doing is training our brain to associate a whole lot of negative emotions with eating. For example, it starts with “oh, I really want an ice cream but I can’t because I’ll get fat again”. Then “I gave in and had ice cream. I failed the challenge. I wasn’t good enough. I can’t stick to anything. I suck”.
Sounds familiar, am I right?
Well screw all of that, it’s bullshit.
Especially at this time of year, I don’t want any of MY people thinking they need to stress out about their food choices and portion sizes at Christmas dinner or other social gatherings. I want people to be able to indulge and enjoy themselves, and to still be confident… no, not just confident; I want my people to be absolutely assured that they are still on the path to certain success in managing their weight and achieving their goal body shape.
You see, it’s real simple.
We’re thinking about the long term here, not each day in isolation. Over the course of 12 weeks, if you’re hitting an appropriate intake most of the time, wouldn’t you expect quite significant results? Would there be any logical reason on March 1st to be thinking “I don’t want to weigh in, I’m sure I ruined everything with that one extra potato and handful of corn chips on Christmas Day”? That’s like… 65 days ago. In the context of 12 weeks getting it “mostly about right”, there’s just no possible way you can undo or even slightly impact your efforts by throwing your targets out the window on occasion when you just want to enjoy life like everyone else.
That’s long term. What about week to week?
Again… if you get it right most of the time, you’re getting it right most of the time. The amount you would have to over eat by in a single day to really make any difference is so astronomical as to be ridiculous. Personally I have dropped 6kg this Spring even while saying “whatever I don’t give a fuck” every Saturday night and ordering an entire family sized pizza for myself alone.
Now… on a day to day basis. Obviously we do have to have a plan that meets and does not exceed our requirements that we default to most of the time. This doesn’t mean “starve now so you can eat on the weekend”, either. It just means get about the right amount to support your goal weight, most days.
I set this up with guidelines something like this:
- No less than [this amount], or you’ll be under fuelled and won’t see the best results from training.
- As high as [this amount] should be ideal for weight loss while taking your activity level into account.
- Long term, I predict we can increase to [this amount] to maintain your goal weight.
I do targets for protein, fats and carbohydrates both as a percentage of daily intake and by the gram, as well. Thanks to modern technology this stuff is REALLY easy to track and fine tune now, but total calories is the main thing. If you get it all “about right, most of the time” you WILL see better and easier results than you can possibly imagine.
And of course, within those targets there is plenty of room to enjoy your favourite foods, rather than restricting to some arbitrary list of what’s “good” and excluding anything that doesn’t make the cut. Even ice cream.
Don’t take my word for it though. Jump onto my facebook and talk to some of the people who are smart enough to have already taken my sage advice and completely changed the way they think about food and exercise.
Enough talk. Head over to my main site right now and sign up for this. It’s not even expensive. Here’s the link: 12 Week Flexible Dieting Challenge