Eat Like It Matters: The Gear Up Phase
The Gear Up Phase of the Eat Like It Matters Program is for those who would like to lose 10 – 30 pounds. This is the sexiest of the three phases of weight loss, as far as I’m concerned. It’s certainly the one that gets the most attention (shows like “The Biggest Loser” emphasize the impossibly long and difficult workouts that push contestants to their limits). As you guessed, the emphasis of the Gear Up Phase is exercise.
There’s good news and bad news about the Gear Up Phase of the Eat Like It Matters Program. The good news is that it’s a kickass good time to get fit! You’ll have more energy, you’ll see improvements in your strength and endurance quickly, and you will undoubtedly lose weight. The bad news is it’s hard work! You’re going to workout more days than you don’t (at least 4 days per week), and those workouts will be challenging.
If you read the introduction to The Transformation Phase of the Eat Like It Matters Program, you know that the emphasis for those wanting to lose 30+ pounds is on emotional eating. Again, the highlights of The Transformation Phase are:
- Unpack and understand emotional eating (primarily denial, but also fear, hopelessness and shame)
- Learn proper portion control (how much we eat is more important that what we eat, in this phase)
- Manage hunger
- Evaluate bad habits
- Establish new habits
- Set up our environment for success
- Remove obstacles to success
- Re-learn meal planning, shopping, cooking and eating out
- Educate ourselves about nutrition
- Begin an exercise program (but gently)
The Gear Up Phase assumes that you’ve mastered all of the above skills. If you haven’t, return to go, and do not collect $200. If by some chance you think you can skirt around these issues, either because you’re under the thirty-pound cut-off or because you’re just a smarty-pants and think you know better than me, you’re mistaken.
- Let’s say you’re not 30+ lbs. overweight and just want to ramp up your workouts to lose weight; what’s gonna happen when you get injured (it will happen) or sick (always a possibility) and can’t workout? What’s gonna happen when your metabolism slows down as you get older and your workouts can’t compensate for your crappy diet? (I see this all the time in guys, especially those who used to be pretty athletic in their younger days.) Emotional eating isn’t just a women’s problem; lots of guys are knee-deep in denial.
- Your body is a reflection of the following formula: 80% diet, 10% exercise and 10% genetics. In other words, you can’t exercise yourself out of a crappy diet.
Alright, now that I scolded you, here are the highlights of The Gear Up Phase in a nutshell:
- Ramp up exercise: increase length and intensity of cardio workouts and add strength training, if you haven’t already
- Seek out workouts that are fun: if you don’t’ intrinsically enjoy it, it won’t last
- Experiment with a variety of workouts: cross-training is key to overall fitness
- Invest in the best quality exercise equipment you can afford
- Become a fierce advocate for your new lifestyle – no apologies, no regrets!
- Begin exploring new recipes and expanding your palate
- Solidify your new habits as part of your everyday lifestyle
In my own weight loss experience, it was in the Gear Up Phase that I ran my first marathon. I did six 90-day rounds of P90X weight lifting in this phase. Best of all, I came to self-identify as an athlete in this phase. Yes, I lost weight (I lost 25 pounds in the first 8 months of this phase), but at least as important, I gained tremendous confidence. And truth be told, just the tiniest bit of swagger. It feels really good to be able to do things that you once thought were impossible.
From years and years of failed attempts I know that most diets approach weight loss from the point of the end game. They have it entirely backwards. They hand us a couple of weeks worth of meal plans, a stack of recipes and / or a mile-long list of eliminated foods. Instead, I know that we ignore the fundamentals at the expense of our own success. The skills we must master in The Transformation Phase mean that we can advance to The Gear Up phase confidently because we no longer have to expend mental energy battling the demons of emotional eating.
Prepare yourself to have a kickass good time in The Gear Up Phase! Your positive energy will be infectious as everyone around you starts asking, “What the heck are you doing and how can I get some?!?”