Question: How do I keep the belly fatoff I’ve lost since the holidays for swimsuit season?
Answer: I hear this from my clients all the time at Solaris Whole Health. I often say “It’s easy to lose weight; the challenge is keeping it off!“
At Solaris we work on Whole Health by balancing and optimizing each person’s unique nutritional, biochemical and lifestyle regimes while supporting their exercise goals. My clients typically know what is best to eat and once we correct the biochemical imbalances it makes it so much easier for them to stick with the best nutrition plan for their optimum health. However the third component to maintaining this great feeling is often overlooked; maintaining positive daily lifestyle choices over the long haul.
Between holidays, changes in school schedules, traveling, vacations and the typical stressors of each day there is always an excuse to ‘treat yourself’ or areas on that can throw off your routine. This is the beginning of the ‘yo-yo’ dieting cycle – wine or dessert one night and juicing it the next day to make up for the indulgence causes stress on your body. This will kill your metabolism in the longterm, cause sleep disruptions, hormone imbalances and other chronic symptoms. I always emphasize balance.
In The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, he states “Any habits, bad or good, create neurological cravings. Why? When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard, or diverts focus to other tasks. So unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new routines – the pattern will unfold automatically.” The National Institute of Health showed that this habit automation sparks a dopamine response in your brain creating a ‘feel good feeling’ regardless of whether the habit is good or bad for you. Therefore the biochemical craving of the habit is created.
40 percent of the actions people perform daily are not actual decision but habits (Duke University Study 2006). Grabbing for that snack at 3pm, nibbling off your kids plates, drinking that 16 oz coffee concoction after your workout, treating yourself to that after-noon latte or glass or two of wine after a long day or blindly snacking after dinner are habits that are not serving your body or your belly fat.
So how do you enjoy life and your beach body at the same time?
The key is consciously creating daily habits/routines/rituals and making sure there is a reward attached. I like to call them the “Solaris 3-R’s! Recognize, Replace, Reward.”
Here’s your 21-Day, Solaris 3R Challenge to keeping the belly fat off all summer long!
1. Recognize – choose ONE daily habit that is ‘weighing you down’ and seek to understand it. Why are you making this choice? A treat, loneliness, habit, stress, fatigue, relief? Habits can be changed if we first understand how they work.
2. Replace this habit with a ‘better choice’ for 21 days – replace a specialty tea or green smoothie/juice for coffee,almonds or a greek yogurt for french onion dip, popcorn, cacao smoothie for chocolate, a workout/yoga or 15 minute stretch/hot shower/change into comfy clothes for wine after work.
3. Reward yourself for doing a great job – give yourself 30 minutes to look through your favorite catalog, watch sports center, surf the web, give your self a hand paraffin treatment at night, read your favorite book in bed or snuggle on the couch. Usually what we don’t do is give ourselves the time to indulge in the simplest things, so we indulge in a food, drink or cigarettes to keep us going.
The tiny wins you will experience each day will instill new cravings for positive habits as you become conscious of your triggers and patterns, conscious of there placement and conscious of the reward you give yourself. Remember, it’s not willpower, it’s routine.
Good luck with your 21-Day Solaris 3R Challenge and see you at the beach!