Every day, for the entire month of February, I drank a cup of the richest hot chocolate ever. We are not talking Swiss Miss here. This is basically a cup of pure melted chocolate (*cue drooling).
Allow me to explain myself – The City Bakery has this Hot Chocolate Festival during February where they serve a different flavor of hot chocolate every day. Being the pleasure-seeker that I am, naturally I had to try every flavor. (Okay, I missed two days because my schedule wouldn't allow for it...but you get the point.) Needless to say, I've been super indulgent, fueling my pleasure receptors while my fitness and aesthetic goals took a back seat for a while. Why am I sharing this? To prove that allowing your body and diet to fluctuate can actually help you achieve your fat loss goals!
Let's dig into this a little further. Although I enjoyed every ounce of that chocolate without guilt, I must admit that I felt a little less than vibrant by the end of the month, not to mention a little thick and puffy. I noticed a difference in my skin, my energy levels, and my confidence. But, all these signs just made me motivated to shift my focus back to health and primed to get supercharged results.
And so, these last few weeks I've been tightening up my nutrition and fitness plan to get ready for a photo shoot with one of my favorite photographers. This is also giving me an opportunity to run a final test on my new PHOTO SHOOT PREP program before I release it to you guys.
Instead of drinking my calories in the form of rich, pure chocolate bliss, I've been eating 3 meals a day of nutrient-rich salmon, steak, greens, veggies, avocado, coconut oil, and other healthy items from my Fat Loss Game Plan. I’ve also been following secret techniques to cut and sculpt my body (all of which are outlined in my new program) in preparation for a photo shoot. The results have been pretty easy to come by. Perhaps the best part, far from feeling deprived and restricted as you would expect with any rigorous fat loss phase, I'm actually feeling super vibrant and nourished.
Here's the kicker; if I hadn’t spent the last month drinking hot chocolate every day, I may not be getting such effective results. No, I’m not writing a prescription to stuff your face with chocolate every day, but, I want to make it clear that allowing your body weight, nutrition, and fitness to fluctuate every once and a while can actually help you achieve your fat loss goals. When you are strict for too long, not only do you risk becoming grouchy and miserable, but you eventually stop making progress, as well.
Why does this happen? Well, your body is smart. In order to conserve energy and make it easier for you to survive in the wild, your body adapts to the environment it is in. Remember, your body doesn’t know you are living with the comforts of the 21st century at your fingertips…it thinks you are still in the paleolithic era where food is scarce and survival tenuous. So, if you keep yourself on a strict eating regimen long-term, even though you may get fat loss results at first, your body will eventually down regulate it’s systems to conserve energy. This means your fat loss results will slow and eventually halt. Going off a strict diet once and a while works as a reset for your body by tricking it into thinking food is abundant. All your systems start cranking again as your body doesn't fear the threat of "starvation" anymore. Then, when you come back to your fat loss tools, you can get supercharged results again. Of course, there is a technique to this game of “tricking” your body, but that is the basic idea.
This doesn't mean you fluctuate to extremes or yo-yo diet like a maniac. But, it does mean you let yourself live a little. Take yourself off the leash every now and then.
Do you need to drink a cup of hot chocolate every day for optimum health? Probably not. Do you need to be at your leanest 365 days a year? Definitely not. This is where the beauty of goal periodization comes into play:
- Figure out when you need to be lean and mean...and tighten up for those moments.
- Figure out when you need your full power for dancing...and train for your peak performance state for those moments.
- Figure out when you need to feel vibrant and healthy...and nourish yourself for those moments.
- Then, figure out when you just want to let your hair down and enjoy the pleasures this world has to offer...and jump in.
Far from ruining your progress, it may actually help you level up.
Want more info on my secret weapon for
PHOTO SHOOT PREP?
Photo credits (black and whites): Steve Vaccariello
Photo credit (color): Rachel Neville