You have to understand that long term physical changes happen in phases if you don't want to continue the chronic dieting and achieve optimal health. If we are talking about the body for instance, you have to have a really good foundation. This includes a metabolism that properly fuels your body, balanced hormones, nourishing food that gives you the necessary nutrients, muscle that burns more calories and also gives you the "toned" and lean look that everyone so strives for. No matter where you are starting, these phases will always be there.
Let's take someone who already has a lot of muscle from their past but a very poor lifestyle,
poor consistency with their nutrition, and some hormonal imbalance from lifestyle or other life stressors. This person may not want to build more muscle but their foundation is lacking. A poor diet leads to poor absorption, poor nutrient status, and also poor metabolism. Blood sugar instability from poor diet leads to more storage of fat, less calories burned, and more stress on the body. In the initial phases of a client like this, we would retrain the body to start burning proper fuel instead of storing it. The majority of the foundation is just consitency with lifestyle, nutrition, and supplementation. From my experience, this is where people start to get bored. "You aren't changing my plan enough", "I feel like nothing in my body is changing", "I want to lose more weight faster", or "This should be easier since I already have a lot of muscle". This is exactly where these people are in the position they are in. Because to them, slashing calories and over training have been the success of their past. If it was successful, why are you where you are? There are far more efficient ways to get this client into an optimal place where they can consume more, take more stress off their body, maintain their goal weight even with having off days, and easily get back into thier routine after those moments. Overdieting for people that have a poor foundation only leads to a WORSE foundation because it was weak to start. You aren't going to have a better metabolism if you immediately jump into over deficiting and over training.
Now let's discuss a client who has been a chronic dieter, overtraining, undereating, a ton of life stress, and definitely some hormone imbalances because of the above. This client has to
get out of the "fight or flight" and allow the body time to get what it needs. This could be any body shape or size because too much cortisol and adrenaline can cause major thyroid issues but typically this is more of your "skinny fat" person. A body in a deficit for too long, under nourished, and overtrained has been in a state of stress for WAY too long. Pumping out too much cortisol and adrenaline as the body doesn't get what it needs and is constantly pushed further than it can handle, the body will suffer from malabsorption, hormone imbalances, and a system that is constantly activated. Your neurological system is wired for higher stress and any little thing will tip it off. This client requires a long phase of rebalancing and building a foundation where the body can feel safe, unrestrict and slowly build calories back up so the body can feel safe, and SLOWLY start to allow hormones to balance again. Hormones need calories and nourishment in order to balance. If you can't give the body this nourishment you will never balance and always fight against your system. If you can get through months of rebalancing, nourishing, allowing the digestive process to start to do it's job again, your system will slowly heal and balance. Note how I said MONTHS and for some longer depending on the state of their system. These are the clients that are upset the results aren't happening faster. They often quit and immediately jump back into restriction thinking more is better. Even if this client only has a few of the above initial symptoms, these are often the clients that cannot slow down in life and their bodies are addicted to the adrenaline and stress. Going slow and taking time away from the gym is even more stressful for them. This is a clear indication that more internal problems are present than they even realize.
So you understand that long term physical changes happen in phases, what needs to happen to get results?
Strong foundation-this could be built off of a series of months and even years for some depending on the amount of damage done in the body.
Safeness and security in the body-healing the nervous system
Nourishment and proper digestion-long term stress creates low stomach acid and a sluggish liver leading to less digestion and absorption. Lowing stress and supplementing so the body can start to properly digest and absorb is key. (Check out my other article HERE on digestion and absorption).
Hormone balance-because of the stress, under nourishment, poor digestion, and other environmental or long term imbalances, majority of people will have imbalances that need to be fixed.
After those initial 4 have been created, you then can move into more restricted phases again of deficits and greater results. Results are always happening in the initial 4 points, just at a slower pace.
I could go on and on about examples of all the people I've worked with. Initial phases happen for every person but they are a LOT quicker for those who are starting from a stronger foundation. I just want to show people how much actually goes into working with clients when you are working with a really good health coach. It's no cookie cutter program, it's based on the clients willingness to go through the initial foundaiton to rebuild and actually get those results. Because after the initial foundation, comes deeper healing, more results, better emotional state, better recovery/resilience, more physical changes, maintaining at a higher caloric state, "getting away" with more and having to be less strict, and less time in the gym slaving away just to stay in shape.
If you are interested in taking a deepr look at your system and are tired of always going through the same phase over and over again without long term results, it's time to take things in a different direction and commit to a longer term plan.
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