I must say that I am astounded by the results I’ve been getting from following the TAM over the last week. Mind you, it has not been easy and required a lot of extra discipline, which says a lot of a disciplined freak like myself. I am still preparing to actually plunge into the Method completely and have been mixing a trimmed up version of my gym routine (alternating upper and lower body parts) with her exercises she designed for Gwen on the web (see previous post), constantly upping my reps. Tracy does not want you to do anything else but her Method but I am still a little “shy” to fully immerse myself at this point. I look at this period of maybe another week or so as a preparation platform. Also, I have not been following her diet plan religiously but tried to stay within the calorie limits the best I could and eating mostly cleansing and light foods and reducing my fat and sugar intake to bare minimum. Below are some food related things I’ve been pondering while preparing for the Bootcamp.
On Diets & Greed
Recently while waiting for something I was browsing some gossip pages on my iPhone (yes, my favorite passive time killer pastime) and I came across a quote from Joan Collins who was commenting on the obesity epidemic in the US. She said, and I am off course paraphrasing, that people complain about being fat but they are not willing to make a change and stop eating s**t. She went even further to blatantly state that people who overeat do so because they are greedy. That comment really struck me as I have been really empathizing with people who have been working hard to loose weight but have been struggling due to various personal reasons. Collins’ comment was very bold and direct and cut right through the proverbial fat and rather than ditching it entirely, I decided to give it more thought by watching how it relates to me and why it struck me so much in the first place.
A quick word about me, diets and fitness: Since turning 15 years old I noticed, much to my chagrin, that my body was changing rapidly. I was living in Eastern Europe at the time and yes, was also obviously affected by the body image bug back then. But as I looked around and saw my aunts and uncles pack on pounds, I knew that I was not willing to give up my svelte figure so my work to preserve my youthful body commenced right there and then. I started with calorie counting and exercising every day for about 30 minutes, a routine that included a 20 minute short circuit practice from an old Cindy Crawford fitness VHS tape and doing about 500-1000 jump rope jumps in my room. Despite the effort, I saw small results but thankfully the width-oriented changes seemed to be occurring at a slower pace.
During my 20s I was on a huge discovery ride through both the fitness world and the diet world. Thus far, I have done years of yoga (about 10,000 down dogs), received a Vinyasa teaching certificate as well as hoopdance teaching credential and have tried everything else from TRX suspension cables at my gym through heavy training with champion trainers and various forms of cardio and “barre” methods. Through the last decade, I have also tried various forms of diets, mostly erring on the lighter, vegetarian side. I have accumulated 2.5 years of raw food diet and various cleanses on my record as well as experimenting with heavier protein intake periods in form of fish and powders. Overall I am happy with my body but I do believe that it could be better, much better. Call it the perfectionist in me but I think (and see) that I have a great potential to make my body stronger and healthier than ever and there is still more room to grow. I regret that there is not a TV show right now (I don’t own a TV but that could change my mind) that explores fitness training on a more detailed level to help refine bodies to reach optimal levels. My search to attaining that “perfection“ led me to Tracy Anderson and I am happy to declare that her Method so far is working great and delivering results. Time will really tell as my body is still in the process of adjusting to a new regimen, which makes it burn more calories as it is challenged in a completely new way.
Back to Eating
So, back to the daring comment by Joan Collins… I was pondering her words one day while thinking about my own habitual eating habits. I quickly realized that I often do resort to emotional eating, especially when I am not happy to be where I am at the moment (like office work) and seek quick gratification in form of a delicious snack. A small soy coffee latte here and a “healthy” energy chocolate bar there and the cals add on and so grows my feeling of tiredness (yes, digestion really saps your energy, especially sugar!).
And then, there is the greed thing – I decided to ponder it through exploring its opposite, GIVING. When I work, write, create and move, etc. in my view I give to the world in a way or work on refining my gifts that I can then offer to the world. When I eat, I TAKE from the world. “But I work hard to earn the money to then buy my food and eat it! I want to enjoy it – darn it!” yes, I’ve thought about it that way too. BUT – there are many more worthy things I can spend my money on other than a plate of spaghetti that will make me feel more sluggish and look more flabby. Namely, I would rather eat less and spend my money on gorgeous clothes that will look great on me and make me feel beautiful and sexy. I would prefer to spend it on a spa or a dream vacation rather than medication. Are you with me?
It’s All About Balance
In light of this IN & OUT principle (eating being taking things in and working & creating being putting or giving things out), I feel much more intrigued by the concept of giving more both of myself and also to myself to balance out the taking in. I’ve been feeling so great being able to slip any of my clothes on effortlessly and looking good in everything. This healthy, light and sexy feeling is sure worth the effort! I have also had much more energy to pursue my dream of being a published writer by giving my book project more attention. So, so far it is working for me – trimming the cals and upping the work.
So far, I have been really loving eating either a small cup of the instant cranberry oatmeal or (as I did this weekend) a cup of steel cut oats with a drizzle of almond milk (my favorite one is the Whole Foods 365 Original) although I know it would be much better to switch up my breakfast choices, which will have to happen when I embark on the bootcamp. I then let myself get hungry a bit and follow with two glasses of water. Light vegetarian lunch comes next that consists either from a mixed veggie medley with some quinoa or tofu or a salad. For an afternoon snack I have green tea (currently addicted to Republic of Tea Green Apple Blossom) and a sweet treat of some sort, be it a banana, NuGo chocolate protein bar (the small one) or a Lara Bar. About an hour before I work out (around 6 pm) I have either an apple (my fave is Granny Smith) or a grapefruit or an orange. Finally, I end with a small dinner salad around 8 pm and herbal tea. I usually sleep on an empty stomach and when I get up I am actually not hungry. I begin my day with two glasses of water.
The portions of these menus are quite small for me and I admit that I’ve been craving more foods as snacks but I try to steer clear of them the best I can occasionally giving in to an extra serving of fruit of some sort. My food intake is lower but I am not starving either. One thing for sure is that I can see how imperative it is to eat really healthy and not overeat when pursuing that perfect dance figure. My stomach has remained flat for over a week now – no bloat or bulging – I believe this is thanks to me not following one meal with the next too quickly. Oh, and I have given up coffee too and wonder how that is affecting my ability to retain a smaller waist.
What has your experience been with achieving that perfect figure? I’d love to hear your thoughts!