As long as it takes.
If anyone were to ask me how long I plan to stick to specific nutrition habits, work out along certain programs, and stay accountable to this blog, this is the answer I would give.
Have you ever noticed how many diet and fitness programs are time sensitive? You have a 6 Week Body Makeover, a 21 Day Fix, Power 90. I had considered doing a program with a local personal trainer who had a 12 week fitness and nutrition program. Even Lean Eating expects you to have your "after" happen within a year, complete with your progress photo (that they can use for their promotional purposes). People set limits as to when they want to lose weight such as a wedding or a vacation. The only program that doesn't set a time limit is Weight Watchers and that's because they are a pay-as-you-go system so they want you to stay in the program and keep paying for meetings.
The problem with putting a time limit on changing your body is that it can set you up for failure. It is certainly possible to have dramatic results in a short period of time, but real life shows it's rarely sustainable. Perfect exercise and nutrition habits are hard to achieve and if you try to force a radical change, you may find yourself feeling frustrated and deprived. I have learned over the years that if I try for perfect eating, I'll never get it right. I love food too much and I don't do well trying to cut out treats all the time. I like the approach Amber Rogers uses. It is very similar to Lean Eating, but unlike Lean Eating, she doesn't put any time limit on it. Do not be perfect. Be consistent. Make small changes, one at a time. Allow your mind and your body to adjust. Most of all, be patient. If you are consistent with your nutrition habits (eat only until satisfied, eat enough protein, eat your vegetables, get some kind of physical activity daily), you will make a change. It just won't be the kind of radical change you would see if you tried to be perfect.
I know I won't have the body I want by the time I go on my trip to Hawaii in February. I won't even have it before I go to Chincoteague in July. I'm thinking it will be a good two years before I am able to bring myself to the point where I look and feel my best. That's okay. I am not going to give up my accountability to this blog as soon as I'm finished with all 7 phases of The New Rules of Lifting for Women. I will find a new weight training program. I'm thinking either one by Molly Gallbraith or Nia Shanks. I'm sure at some point I will stop boring my readers with these fitness posts, but I will keep them up for as long as I feel they are helping me.
So I am just about finished with my eight weeks of PiYo. I feel the program did help ease me back into upper body strength training and has also helped me with endurance, flexibility, and balance - all of which I lost somewhat in the past year. I'm not sure it was particularly effective in terms of body recomp. The workout leaves me sweating like a pig and out of breath, but I don't always feel as if my muscles were truly affected by the exercises. They felt easy when I started. As the weeks progressed, they felt more difficult because once I learned the moves really well, I could concentrate on the more. I have reached the end of the 8 weeks and now my body has completely adapted and only the hardest one (Sweat) really feels difficult to me.
I plan to move on to the New Rules of Lifting for Women now. I am hoping my body can handle it. My elbow and hip still hurt, but not as much as they used to. My hand doctor dismissed me after my last appointment because my progress was so good. I'll have to go slowly and work with the lightest weights right now, but I really do want to try.
I will not be too hard on myself though because some meals I really did pay attention and stop eating. I know I'm capable of continuing to work on this.
I plan to redo the habit for Phase 3. I may split Phase 3 into two habits. The weight training phase is six weeks, long, so I may try just three more weeks of eating until satiety and move on to another habit for the next three weeks, or I may just do it for the full six weeks if I feel I am still having issues being consistent with it. That's another advantage of not setting any time goals. No one is telling me to move on to a new habit after two weeks. I can work on a nutrition habit for as long as I need to.
So what's my new routine:
Nutrition Habit: Eat only until satisfied (first 3 weeks or all 6 weeks), Eat lean protein with every meal (last 3 weeks)
Sunday: NROLFW weight training working AM, Riding PM
Monday: Dance class
Tuesday: NROLFW weight training workout
Wednesday: Zumba (either class at the gym or at home with the Kinect program)
Thursday: NROLFW weight training workout
Friday: Interval cardio on the bike, elliptical, or rowing machine
I will occasionally replace Zumba with yoga, or if dance class is cancelled one night, I will do yoga then.
What are this month's stats. I gained two pounds this month, but that's to be expected. I haven't gained anything beyond what I started with. I also ate a lot of salty food this week, which may be skewing the results a bit. I did lose a bit in my waist, hips, and thighs though. The workout is doing something.
Weight: 150 pounds
Bust: 37.5 (I didn't really lose anything here. I was just wearing a super-tight bra when I measured myself today)