For the last year I have been in a coaching program with Precision Nutrition. We officially close up the year on July 4th. I can’t believe it’s almost over. It has been such an amazing year of challenges and self-discovery. So, I wanted to take some time and share my experience with Precision Nutrition and all the things I have learned. To say this year has been a life-changer would be an understatement.
Let’s start at the beginning. I entered the program with the primary motivation to learn more about habits-based coaching from a client’s perspective and to improve as a coach. I also didn’t mind the idea of shedding some fat as well. Come to find out, it was ME who needed this more than anything.
When I started the program last summer I was placed on a team of 100+ women under the care of one spectacular coach and a few well-seasoned mentors. We could communicate through email, private team Facebook group, video chat, etc. What I loved was that there were always great boundaries all around. I could reach out to anyone I wanted as often as I wanted. It was up to me to take the step and whenever I stepped there was always someone there waiting to help out. I took advantage of private emails with our coach a few times and when I needed some extra loving I scheduled some Google Hangouts with her. Most of the time I communicated with my team through our Facebook page. There was always someone willing to offer ideas, accountability, and support over there.
We were assigned a new habit to focus on about every two weeks. These habits are meant to build on each other. The habits were seemingly simple but profound enough to require thought and effort. When working on habits it was like working around a stove. The newly assigned habit was to be brought to the front of the stove and allowed to boil. Then keep it boiling for the duration of the two weeks. That is your focus for that time. However, we don’t forget the previous habits. We just put those on a simmer at the back of the stove. All the habits are always cooking away but just at various levels of rumble.
Let me take a bit of a side trail and say that a big part of this program that I loved was that we had complete ownership of the program. It was all about discovering what worked and what did not work for MY body. Like I said not too long ago, the boundaries were excellent. No foods were said to be good or bad. Nothing was forbidden. You just figure out what works for you. For example, I can tolerate gluten well but not dairy. So I avoid many dairy products for the sake of my stomach. I have teammates who can tolerate everything and that works for them. There was no avoidance of entire food groups unless it was your choice. Everything was left up to you. Boundaries.
There were weekly assigned workouts but even those were our choice. You could follow the assigned workouts or you could follow your own program. What mattered was that you were moving and challenging your body in ways that you enjoyed. I chose to follow the assigned workouts because I wanted to take advantage of the full program. I would veer off on occassion but for the most part I followed the program.
You can learn more about the Precision Nutrition coaching program by going to their website. In fact they are going to be opening the program up again for another round of clients very soon. Here is a blog post that answers the 37 most commonly asked questions about coaching. You can also go to their Facebook page or even private message me. My main point write was to talk about what I gained from the whole thing.
I went into coaching wanting to be a better coach and maybe even lose 20 pounds. Guess what happened? I lost about five pounds. Yep, five. And I danced around those five pounds for almost a year. Up a little and down a little. But I stayed at those five pounds for the most part. I also lost quite a few inches overall so there was definitely a recomposition.
There were plenty of times I was disappointed about not losing more weight. Yes, I know. We are not a number. I should follow other progress indicators. I know. I say the same exact thing all the time. But, I also very much a human. I fall down and I get back up. It is hard to completely eliminate almost 20 years of a dieting/gaining cycle. I have been either actively gaining weight and hating myself for it or actively trying to lose the weight and hating my life for it.
For almost a year I have stayed within five pounds. While knowing about my past let that sink in for a little bit. At first my thought process was that was just one of those who will always be gaining unless I am severely restricting my calories. Balance is obtainable but not for me. Or at least that was my thought process. I had no idea that my thoughts were so disordered as I entered coaching. I had already made a lot of progrress but come to find out that I had a loooooong way to go.
It took almost a year (yes, I am pretty stubborn at times) for me to clear the air and see that while I was busy seeking one thing I was finding a completely different thing.
What did I find?
I found MAINTENANCE.
Did the fact that I stayed around that same 5 pounds for close to year sink in yet? Yep, I maintained the same five pounds for close to a year. I did this while exercizing in the ways I enjoy. I did this without counting calories or macronutrients. I maintained while eating what I enjoy and what my body performed the best on. I didn’t restrict what or how much I ate.
Maintenance for me means finally finding balance. I eat when I want. I eat what I want based on what my body needs and wants. I eat until I am satisfied, not too full and not too hungry. I am rarely “hangry” (angry due to hunger) because I am satisfied most of the time. I eat what brings me joy and I move in ways that brings me joy. None of this is a chore nor do I ever resent my food or activity.
Maintenance means to be content. I am happy. It means living sustainably. I can live like this for the rest of my life. Even if I never lose a nother pound I am very happy, healthy, and active.
Maybe I will lose pounds in the future but I don’t really care anymore. Enjoying food and movement is the most important thing. It is no longer a number on a little box in my bathroom. I am not obsessed with my shape and I am not ashamed of my body anymore. I will eat the food and move my body.
Eating and exercise are not my life anymore. Eating and exercise are part of my life now.
They keep me alive so I can live my full life.
MAINTENANCE = FREEDOM