IP in Real Life: When You’ve Hit a Mental Plateau

Guys, I’ve been struggling.

The best way I can describe how I’ve been doing is a see-saw. Like on a playground. On one day I’d be doing great, the motivation was strong, I wouldn’t cheat, and just having a great time. The next day all I could think about was cheeseburgers, make little cheats here and there, and end the day begging Luke to take me to Wendys, or Chick-fil-a, or Dairy Queen, or anywhere really.

I’d wake up not knowing which side the day would lean towards. Ideally, they’d all lean in the positive, let’s strictly stick to the protocol direction and I’d never even think about cheating. Unfortunately, it’s been the opposite.

So I’m coming to you today not as someone who has all the answers, but as a fellow traveler who is barely hanging onto the edge. Slowly I’m coming back into a strong mental place where I can look past temptations and make the best / healthy decisions. Here’s how I’m doing it:

  1. Talk to people about how you’re struggling.

Sometimes we, especially women, feel like people don’t want to take the time to listen to our problems, or hear about what we’re struggling with. We don’t want to burden anyone with our issues. Let me honestly tell you that thoughts like that are poison and hinder more than help.

I can confidently tell you that those thoughts are poison because I’ve had them. It’s tempting for me to think that people only want to hear happy things and not the real life, nitty gritty, struggles. When I’ve actually engaged in conversation, been vulnerable and honest about what I’ve done and how I’m feeling, it’s liberating and helpful. I made it a point to engage with people that I trust and tell them that I’m struggling. Once the secret is out, I can regroup, refocus, and move forward.

2. Remember why you started.

The reason why you choose to be better, be healthier, make changes doesn’t change. It’s still there. It’s still waiting for you at the finish line. It’s been good for me to really pause and think about all the original reasons why I started this journey.

You can write them down in a notebook or post it note and leave them beside your bed. Read them before you go to sleep and as soon as you wake up in the morning.

Don’t let your reasons for starting make you feel guilty. Let them push you back into a good mental place.

3. Go back to the basics.

This has been really helpful. Being on the protocol for 11 weeks now, I’ve got a routine down pat, I’ve looked at every Pinterest recipe for Ideal Protein multiple times, and I don’t have to think about it as much anymore. For me, not thinking about it as much is actually what’s causing me trouble. I need that laser focus like I had in the beginning.

Go back to the basics. Re-read the original material. Remind yourself of how the program works and how everything works together.

4. Write about it.

Processing these changes through writing has been monumental in my journey. Maybe blogging isn’t for you, but you could write in a journal or notebook. I have a friend who started a Facebook group and it’s a safe place for her to share how she’s doing and what she’s learning. I’m so thankful I decided to consistently write about everything I’ve done so I can go back and read it when I’m un-motivated or discouraged.

5. Hold yourself to higher standards

I let myself get away with little cheats unscathed. It’s like I don’t expect myself to follow through or something. I want to rise to the challenge even if the challenge is with myself. You are valuable. You are worth good decisions. Expect change from yourself. You are worth it. You can get through the day without cheating. Hold yourself up to a higher standard. (If you couldn’t tell, I was writing this to myself)

Don’t be disappointed in yourself. Disappointment leads to not taking each day seriously. Not taking each day seriously leads to giving up. Giving up leads to not believing that you’re worth it.

I don’t want that for you and I definitely don’t want that for me! Let’s rise to the challenge and be as excited and confident as we were the day we started! I want to be that girl who cried tears of pure joy when she lost her first 8 pounds.

It’s time to get over this mental plateau! We. CAN. Do. IT. Do you have any advice on getting re-motivated? Do you have a story you’d be willing to share about getting past a mental plateau? I’d love to hear about! – JJ

IP in Real Life: Going to the Grocery Store

I have a love hate relationship with the grocery store. I love it because I need food, but I hate it because I literally hate going. I’m not a good shopper. Just because I hate it doesn’t mean I don’t go to the store every week.

This isn’t a post about how you should love going to the store. This is a get in, get out survival guide. I am always subconsciously timing myself to see if I can get everything I need, check out, and get to my car faster than the week before.

Here are a few tips that I use to get in and get out fast!

1. Know your store. 

Most people go to the same grocery store every week. I do. I’m very familiar with the layout of the store and what is on each aisle. More importantly, I know which aisles to stay away from. I know that I have no reason to glide through the candy aisle or the chips and crackers aisle.

2. Stick to the perimeter of the store. 

I’ve heard this tip for years. The healthiest food is on the outer perimeter of the store, not the aisles. Crazy right? Try to notice this the next time you go to the store.

3. Get a small buggy / cart 

The bigger the cart, the more you subconsciously fill it up. If you stick with a small buggy or a basket even, then you’ll walk out with what you need instead of what you think you need.

Those are my big strategies for going to the store, but what do I buy?

I’ve gotten to where I don’t even make a list anymore! If I need something out of the ordinary, then I’ll jot it down, but for the most part I know what I need. That’s the benefit of consistently sticking with a lifestyle change.

Here’s what goes in my buggy (for me to eat) every week. Remember, I only shop for 2 people.

  • 3-4 heads of broccoli
  • 4-5 zucchinis – I’m panicking for the fall when zucchinis won’t be so cheap or available!
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 or 2 Sweet Peppers of each color depending on the sale
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 head of cauliflower if it’s on sale. If they aren’t on sale, I’ll buy frozen cauliflower.
  • 1 bag of brussel sprouts – this one is only occasional because they aren’t in season right now. If the sprouts look nice and green, I’ll buy some though.
  • 1 Egg Plant – I’m experimenting with egg plant
  • 1 Bag / box of Lettuce
  • 1 head of Cabbage – I LOVE roasted cabbage
  • 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2-3 packs of organic chicken breasts
  • Eggs
  • Walden Farms product(s) if I need a refill – at most stores the Walden Farms products are located in the medicine section. Weird, but I get it.
  • The rest of the items in the buggy are toiletry items or food for Luke. Let me brag on Luke for a second. He isn’t as strict as me on his eating, but he’s made some significant changes too!

As you can tell, I spend most of the time in the produce section. That’s a good rule of thumb to use when you’re trying to eat healthy. Think about where you spend the most time when you’re at the store. Before this, I spent most of my time on the pasta aisle. Now, I don’t remember the last time I walked in that direction.

Do you have any tips for grocery shopping? Would love to hear! – JJ

Ideal Protein in Real Life: The Beach Trip Edition

As most Southern girls do, I love going to the beach. There’s something magical about leaving your phone in the room and getting lost in a good book while baking in the sun. I even like the smell of sunscreen.

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A major lesson that I’ve had to teach myself is how to stay on track while on vacation. I’ve done it before (twice!) and I can do it again. In the past two months I’ve lost weight during a beach trip and a road trip to Dallas.

Typically our beach trips consist of breakfast in the room, hang out at the pool / beach until lunch, come up to the room for a sandwich, go back outside, come back inside to get ready for dinner, go out for a fabulous meal, go get dessert, snack until bed time. Unfortunately, that is not the best way to stay on track.

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In preparation for my upcoming beach trip, I thought I’d share some tips on how to stay on track while at the beach!

1. Get Mentally Prepared

This is KEY to getting through the trip on plan. For me, I know that I’m going to be tempted by fried shrimp and snacks in the condo. I’m already coaching myself on saying no to old temptations. It may sound silly, but visualize yourself in situations and coach yourself through saying NO.

2. Bring your own food

The best way for me to stay on plan is by bringing my own food for breakfast, lunch, and snack. I’m not just talking about Ideal Protein products. The day before you leave cook up a bunch of vegetables and pack them in an insulated lunch box or bag. That way you aren’t stranded only sipping on a protein shake while everyone else is piling up their sandwiches. You’ll be living large with your vegetables!

3. Stick to Grilled Food when Eating Out

The first thing I want to eat when I’m at the beach is fried shrimp. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Shrimp is Phase 1 approved, but not fried shrimp. Most seafood restaurants offer broccoli or asparagus as a side. Order grilled shrimp or fish with a side of broccoli and skip the french fries, bread, and corn.

4. Focus on Yourself

The most challenging part of vacations is eating with other people who probably aren’t on your diet. When you’re the only one who isn’t eating french fries, burgers, or shrimp po-boys, it really does a number on your mind. There’s a little voice inside your head that says things like, “everyone else is doing it. one little bite won’t hurt. you’re on vacation! don’t be so strict.” That voice can be really convincing.

Focus on yourself. Focus on the food that is on your plate. Eat slow. Take small bites. Drink a lot of water. Eyes on the Prize.

I want to pause for a minute and talk about treating yourself on vacation. It’s totally fine to treat yourself on vacation! It’s just not fine for me to do that right now. I need / want to be committed to my program for the whole year. That includes vacations. I need to prove to myself that I am strong enough to make good choices while I’m on vacation.

5. Travel for Experiences not just for the Food

Vacationing is not just eating in new places. It’s all about experiences! Focus on enjoying the feeling of your feet in the sand instead of the burger you want in your hands.

Like I mentioned above, I want to stay on plan during my beach trip because I need to prove it to myself that I can do it. Am I going to deprive myself forever? No. Once I’ve lost the weight and in the maintenance phase (Phase 4), I’ll be able to splurge on vacations because I’ll be eating well during normal life. You better believe I’ll be eating a  Fried Shrimp Po-Boy when the time comes!

Do you have any other tips for staying on track during a trip to the beach? – JJ

Bonus — this is one of my favorite pictures from a beach trip last year!

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