Here's the type of fat loss plan I followed in 2010:
It worked ok... I gained some relative strength. I was fairly fit. But I wasn't enjoying my life. I was regularly saying no to outings with friends for fear of not sticking to my diet. I was doing two-a-days in the gym in lieu of anything else. I was active, and by anyone else's definition I was eating healthy. But my emotional + mental state was anything but healthy. A GoodLife trainer (where I was working out at the time) told me that another member had asked him "how do I get a body like hers?!" He had responded "she's here twice a day everyday... you probably won't unless you want to give up spending time with your children." I remember thinking to myself as I drove home from GoodLife - "when is this ever going to end for me?"
My strength numbers skyrocketed - I went from from 135lbs to a 300lbs deadlift.
I improved my mobility. I went from avoiding squatting because of poor ankle mobility, to squatting 230lbs and valuing my long-term joint health over the attainment of a six pack.
My time spent in the gym decreased significantly.
My time invested in friends + family increased.
I experienced a level of happiness I had never felt before.
.....but I still wasn't eating to support my fitness & aesthetic goals.
Paleo made me feel food shame...
The Zone diet was too complicated for me to do day to day...
What did 'Eat Clean' even actually mean and could the average person sustain any of these long term?
In 2015 I began counting macros. Contrary to picture #1... this is what a typical day now looks like for me:
I add in the occasional long distance run or 30min+ metcon when I'm feeling it.... but I have never felt so comfortable in my skin, and have my fitness & nutrition be so effortless and enjoyable. I eat mostly whole, natural, unprocessed foods. I can successfully have dinner out a a restaurant. I can go to a potluck without feeling deprived. I don't have to avoid a glass of wine. I can eat things without feeling instant guilt or regret.
Setting up a few non-negotiables in my day has allowed me to reap the benefits of eating whatever I want, following an enjoyable workout program that I never dread or make excuses for and build a body I am proud, confident and comfortable up. For me, these non negotiables are:
1. Move everyday.
- whether it's a spicy metcon, or a 20 minute walk, I make sure I am never sedentary.
2. Get at least 75% of my protein.
- ideally, I am hitting 100% of my target everyday, but life happens, so I am happy to arrive at this numberand know it won't throw me off track.
3. Make my nutrition fit my lifestyle.
- I am a chiropractor, gym owner, soon-to-be wife, friend, sister + daughter. These are important roles, and ones that should never be put on the backburner for the sake of fat loss. Rather, I do my best to work my healthy ideals into my day to day life. Instead of catching up with a friend over a meal on a busy day- maybe I'll ask them to go for a walk instead.
Cheers to simplicity & building a life of fitness & nutrition that you love!
- Dr. Alli
... But I felt like $h!*.
This is a picture from June 2010. After my first, (and last) fitness competition.
I had just graduated from University & College Basketball & Cross Country. I no longer had a reason to hit the gym and stay strong + fit. I longed for a measurable goal to keep my accountable. So, I turned to something everyone around me was doing at the time - fitness competitions... and I jumped all in.
$1000's of dollars spent on a trainer, fat burning supplements, powders, bathing suits, tans, protein powders etc.... and that picture is what I took to symbolize my "success."
I still remember the 100's of LIKES I got when I posted this + the comments..
"You look so good, congratulations!"
"How can I look like this?"
Well, you can start by giving up everything social in your life.
Isolate yourself from your friends.
Hating going on vacation with your family because it messed up your gym routine.
Fearing all types of foods except dry chicken breast and low glycemic carbs.
Stare at yourself every time you do a rep, willing your muscle definition to show just a little bit more than the day before.
Compare yourself to other females, and long to be someone you are not.
Annoying and worrying everyone around you with the constant questions of: "am I fat?!"
or "do you think I look ok?"
Dehyrate yourself before you snap the photo.....
((at least that's how it was for me))
It's not that the fitness competition is bad itself... Please understand this blog is not an attack on fitness competitions, or people who participate in them. I know many people who participate in these and are able to manage themselves just fine. This is a reflection of my personal experience, and belief that there is just so much poor information out there. And, as a 21 year old female, I succumbed to the thought that this ideal look would somehow make me more worthy, would make me a better person, would make me more likable, would make me more successful, would give me a better sense of self.
All this picture did, was capture what I looked like for about 12 hours on one day in June 2010. And truthfully - that was dehydrated, defeated and desperate to find value in myself.
But I didn't find value after this competition,
I don't look at this picture as an ideal version of myself.
I don't look at this picture and long to look like this again.
I look at this picture as being lost, unhappy and unhealthy.
I look at this picture as the first step away from the wrong direction of fitness, and guiding me to a better place mentally + emotionally.
I look at this picture as the best lesson I could have ever learned, as someone who sees herself as a fitness authority, and has the privilege of working with 100s of people on their health + wellness everyday.
You see, the question I am most often asked in a clinical + fitness setting is "how can I lose weight??" The majority of people are seeking my guidance in changing the way their body looks... and that's OK. It's a starting point.
However, my approach no longer revolves around the "after picture." Instead, I am steadfast in focusing on the changing of the mindset, and allowing the aesthetic changes to be a by product from developing a good relationship with food. By detaching self-worth from the attainment of abs. By focusing on changing habits, building a beautiful life for yourself, and sifting through all the BS info out there.... we actually get the body composition results that people desired in the first place!
This is your LIFE. You don't get any do-overs. There is nothing wrong with training with a certain physique goal in mind, just make sure it's not the ONLY reason you're training. Abs are nice, but you won't find your self-worth in a six pack.
- Dr. Alli
P.S. let's get personal here.
I don't have to tell you that a lot of people in CrossFit work out with their shirts off. For the longest time, I was never comfortable enough in my own skin to do this. I never longed to look like other people, but I longed for the confidence that others had in their own skin! I constantly feared judgement from gym members & colleagues that my physique was un-goddess like and therefore, how could I be the trainer that they looked too?! I finally gathered the courage one day to take my shirt off to train and never felt so liberated, free and in love with the fitness and health I had built for myself. You see, it's not about building a body for the approval of others. It's about being damn proud and loving the skin you are in. Let's do this.
P.P.S. If you're ready to eat, move & think better grab my 8 week macros success ebook.
I love the candid, honest check-ins from my clients about being successful with their nutrition while out of routine or on vacation, avoiding fast foods for the longest stretch they've ever gone, or an increased understanding regarding what foods work for them and what they should be avoiding in order to achieve their goals.
"It's getting so easy!" is common to hear after a few weeks of working together.
But guess what - it's not getting any easier - you are still having to prep, plan, track and make decisions about the food you consume- the problems are the same ones that arose when you first began this program & wanted to make a change to your eating style to hit your personal goals. What's changed is that you're better equipped with a solution - you've gotten better.
Imagine where you would be today if you'd given up after a week, or a month, or fell off track after a vacation…. just because it wasn't "easy" in that moment. You've stuck it through, grown immensely and are reaping the rewards physically, mentally and "nutritionally" because of it!
If you're thinking of getting started, close your eyes and imagine yourself in 1 month, 3 months and 12 months after working hard at going after your goal. Every change begins with the decision to start, and the commitment to stick through it. It never will get easier, but putting off your start date won't get you to your goals any faster!
- Dr. Alli
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Dr. Alli Cain Team
Our mission is to act as a catalyst for as many people as possible to make a meaningful change to their health.