“I’ll Have What She’s Having” Is Not A Great Fat Loss Plan

January 13, 2015

You’ve done it, I’ve done it. We look at someone that has the body we want and we think, “I’ll just do what they’re doing.” We fantasize that if we follow her exact diet and workout regimen that our body will eventually look just like hers. And it’s no wonder we’ve adopted this nonsense approach, that’s what diet spokespeople and fitness gurus tell you to do. They literally sell: eat this and do this to look like me!

But here’s the thing: your body, your hormones, your unique metabolic make up, your particular food allergies or sensitivities and your priorities make “doing what she does” a total nonsense approach.

Does this work for some women out there? Sure. But for most of you, it not only doesn’t work but it also does two very damaging things: makes you feel that you’re a failure after you’ve done all of Jillian Michaels DVDs and still don’t have her 6 pack AND it gets you engaged in one of the most damaging Misery Makers: comparison.

The smart, savvy women I get the pleasure of calling colleagues know this. In fact they shuddered when I even asked them to tell me their food and workout regimen for this blog. They know that what works for them won’t necessarily work for you – or may even make you gain weight. There are of course tenets of their diet or workout that you should try and I’d love for to you adopt their “I’ve figured out what works for me” attitude,  but the one thing they don’t recommend is following their plan to the letter hoping you’ll wind up with their results.

What they do want you to know, and what I hope are the lessons today:

What works by way of food and exercise for these three gorgeous, lean woman may not be quite the right thing for you AND that’s OK! When you read what your fav experts are doing, try some of it on. If it seems it fits your body type, lifestyle and preferences and if it works for you, keep doing it! If it doesn’t, move on. Basically date it, but don’t marry it.

Continue to educate yourself by learning from the pros, but sooner or later you have to get pro at being you. That’s not something any of us are experts in, only you can do that.

They all have gotten to where they are with a lot of experimenting and patience. They are all in the business of fitness so they aren’t shying away from time in the gym or eating a certain way for the long haul.  For all three of them, this is a lifestyle not a fad diet.

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If I shouldn’t do what she does, why show me what she does?

I pulled this piece together because I want to show you there are infinite ways of exercising and eating to get a lean, healthy body. I wanted to show that while all of these woman look awesome, their training and diets are totally and completely different.  If one followed the other’s plan it wouldn’t work at all – so it’s not just you that needs to find your way, we all do. Even they had to. When we get caught up in comparison we gravitate towards what we want, forget what we need and who we are and end up frustrated and miserable.

Free Misery Makers Journey

Without further ado, here are three totally unique women with gorgeous bodies that have taken three totally different routes to get there and stay there.

The Beautiful Jen Comas Keck

One of the things I love about Jen is that while she is an avid lifter of very heavy things, she’s incredibly active in just about every way. She hikes and mountain bikes in the summer and she snowboards in the winter. She can also be found sprinting with a weighted sled or being all kinds of strong-sexy awesome on a pole.  You can find her doing such things here and follower her all over social media with #embraceyes

Previously, Jen did great on a very low carb diet. She was lean and felt good. However, after developing a thyroid condition (not Hashimoto’s) she began substantially increasing her carbohydrate intake to help thyroid levels stabilize. She’s still lean and her energy is soaring. To maintain this bod, Jen says, “I have discovered that my body operates best on moderate amounts of protein, along with moderate to high amounts of carbohydrate. I now go a bit easier on the dietary fats than I was previously. I usually have one (maybe two, depending on what activities I’m doing) higher carb day per week, and one lower carb day per week.”

She trains first thing in the morning, and typical nutrition on a training day looks something like this with about 4 meals: Post workout whey protein shake with berries, banana, ice, and water. Lunch and dinner look like 4-5oz meat, 5-6oz sweet potato, and an apple or pear, vegetables OR 4-5oz meat, 2 eggs, butternut squash or rice. Her snacks are typically a Lara bar or Kind bar OR two slices of gluten-free bread with almond butter and jelly. For her workouts, Jen is usually in the gym five days a week. She trains hard three of the five doing squats, deadlifts, pullups followed by about four movements that she supersets after the heavy stuff. The other two days are spent practicing handstands and just moving her body.  Jen also walks at least 30  minutes a day and does yoga 4-5 days per week. She also gets in some type if high intensity intervals (or sprint training) 1-2 x per week.

The Lovely Jill Coleman

Jill comes from a bodybuilding background – read: a strict meal plan consisting of 5-6 meals of chicken and broccoli per day eaten out of Tupperware, hours per day in the gym and not even cheating with a stick of gum for months on end.

Jill did this for years and was of course, very lean – but she’ll admit, a little miserable.

How Jill eats now is a culmination of 3 years of tinkering to see what helped her maintain her lean physique without going crazy anymore. But she’s quick to point out that while her maintenance regimen includes wine and bacon, her fat loss regimen didn’t. She’s found what works for her to maintain, be satisfied and happy with her diet and recover from her uber-strict body building nutrition days.

But she’d be the first to tell you, “attaining is not the same as maintaining.” Jill’s current regimen is the result of 3 things: understanding her least effective dose of exercise and most automated way of eating to maintain her physique, being OK without a meal plan and shifting her mindset away from thinking she needed to constantly be losing weight. She is officially in maintenance mode. Get more from Jill by following her on social media with #moderation365.

Here’s a day in the life for Jill which is pretty low carb, moderate fat and enough protein. Her days are usually made up of 3 meals, 1 snack and usually 2 glasses of wine. She wakes up and drinks ~16 oz coffee pre-workout (sometimes black and sometimes with half&half). At  8:30am she does 30-min metabolic conditioning workout or sprints, she usually trains 4 days a week. Come 9am it’s her leisure walk time. At 10:30am a protein shake made with ~30g protein, 2 TB PB2, ½ cup frozen cherries, 10 oz unsweetened almond milk, 1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder. 11am is ½ Quest Bar and 3pm half of a huge #BAS (big ass salad) from Whole Foods Salad bar. Typically it’s 12 oz lean protein, 3-4 cups of mixed greens, 1 cup cabbage, ½ cup each onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, ¼ cup sautéed garlic, grilled corn, a few spoonfuls of shaved Parmesan cheese and a light Greek dressing on top. By 5pm she’s into the other half of her BAS + 2g fish oil. 6pm she takes another leisure walk and at 7pm she has 2 glasses of Malbec or Pinot Grigio. She will often then grab ½ Quest bar and is in bed by 9pm.

The Amazing Marni Sumbal

Marni  Marni is a triathalon coach and 9 time Ironman Finisher. Wow. She has been a lacto-ovo vegetarian since the age of ten for animal reasons and because of her training, which can be brutal, she needs quite a lot of calories and carbs. Marni also has to mix it up a bit when it comes to both food and exercise depending on which stage of triathalon prep she is in.

Right now she is in a foundation stage, so more emphasis on swimming and strength training and it looks like this:

  • Monday: 30-60 minute swim (often active recovery) or a day off cardio plus 30 min hip/glute/core work.
  • Tues: AM swim (up to 90 minutes), PM interval bike (90 minutes)
  • Wed: AM strength, followed by 60-90 minute run.
  • Thurs: AM swim (up to 90 minutes)
  • PM interval bike or form focused run or 30 min hip/glute/core work
  • Fri: AM swim (up to 90 minutes), PM Run or 30 min hip/glute/core work (pending Thurs afternoon workout).
  • Sat: AM long run (9-11 miles). 30 min hip/glute/core work.
  • Sun: AM long bike (3-4 hours). PM optional swim (30 minutes)

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With this stage of training, her eating looks like this:

  • 6am wake up: cup of coffee and glass of water (to sip on before my workout)
  • 6:30am pre workout snack: rice cake + smear of nut butter + banana slices + cinnamon or cream of wheat + raisins and cinnamon. Optional will dress up even more with honey, raisins and granola for more carbs depending on the volume of the workout and time for digestion.
  • Post workout: ~15-20g of whey protein powder + 1/2 cup Organic reduced fat cow’s milk + 1/2 cup water + handful cheerios
  • Breakfast meal: Oatmeal + raisins + frozen berries (or seasonal fruit) + 2 egg whites + 1 whole egg + handful kale/veggies. Cooked in olive oil.
  • Lunch (typically no more than 4 hours after breakfast): Typically veggies (i.e. as a stir fry) with whole grains or basmati rice or a big salad or veggie packed soup. Marni tops lunch with seeds or cheese or avocado slices for healthy fats and a side of Fage 0% Greek yogurt, 2% Daisy Brand Cottage cheese or cooked tempeh for protein.
  • Afternoon snack: Sliced fruit for munching and trail mix.
  • Pre-workout snack (similar to morning)
  • Post-workout snack: 1/2  – 1 cup cow’s milk.
  • Dinner: Veggies, whole grains or starch (ex. white potatoes, jasmine or basmati rice), olive oil for cooking and topping with nuts, seeds, a little cheese and protein (ex. lentils, beans, eggs, tempeh, tofu, etc.). Dessert: Dark chocolate with sea salt and an orange.

marni dog

There you have it, pretty different huh? With Jill being the lowest carb, Jen in the middle and Marni on the higher end. Jen lifting heavier of the three, Jill focusing on sprints and metabolic conditioning and Marni more long distance work. Most importantly, all three are doing what works for them and their goals. We should probably also note that while all three of these lovelies have doggies, none have children.

Also of note is that they have all taken on fitness as a job in one way or another at least at some point in their lives. This isn’t the case for every woman right? But we see them or see a Hollywood starlet with likely a trainer, chef and personal assistant and the motivation to look a certain way like it’s their job (cuz it is) and we think if I do what they do I’ll have that too.

I wish it was true. I wish I could follow Jill’s plan in particular because she does ALL the things I love: works out hard and fast, goes for multiple walks per day, drinks a big coffee, eats low carb and drinks wine. But right now most of those things don’t work for me. I have to watch the metabolic training, I haven’t had coffee in seven years and I really have to watch the wine. I also can often get in one blissful walk alone daily but since having kids never two walks in a day!

OK, I’ll be honest, I’d take any one of these girls physiques. They all look amazing. But here’s the trouble: Jen is about a foot taller than me, Jill started with a lean body due to her years of body building so she gets more wine than me and unlike me, she doesn’t have PCOS which makes alcohol doubly dice. And Marni is putting in a ton more time training than I even have! Oh and I’ve had two babies but no doggies 🙂

Mind you none of this is an “excuse” it’s just that we have to know, trust and believe in who we are and what our life circumstances are and figure out our own priorities and then how we can make that happen given our own lifestyle, commitments and hormone balance.

Free Misery Makers Journey

And I’m sure after a quick read of this blog you can see the differences in your lifestyle, body type, current body fat percentage, food or workout preferences compared to these girls. That’s the key. Jen eats for power and strength and to maintain her body. Jill eats to maintain her physique with minimal mental energy and Marni eats for performance and to honor her particular ethical priorities.

What’s the problem then for most of us wanting to have what she’s having and hope we get their body?

We’re all a bit different in our bodies and our minds. What Jen finds fun at for physical activity you may hate (she’s a bit of a daredevil!).  And many of you could leave Jill’s glass of wine on the table any day if you could have a piece of chocolate cake instead. OR if you had say an issue with digesting a lot of grains or diary, Marni’s diet may make you feel awful.

The take away is to honor how you are different and be inspired by how committed each of these women are to being their best – it reminds us to do the work to have our mind and muscles in that healthy of a place. Realize after seeing this that there is more than one way to eat to be/stay lean and be happy with your body and in optimal health.

A plan that YOU can continue to do has to take YOU into account.

But I get it. It’s so easy to see a pic of any one of these girls and say, “Damn, I want that body!” You can do a quick google search, find their blogs or social media outlets and pretty soon you can have their workout and food plan in your hot little hands. Then what? It’s a bit like trying on your mom’s clothes when you were a little girl, you could see the potential but…. it doesn’t quite fit.

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It doesn’t fit because it’s hers, not yours. You know this because I know you’ve tried it! I have…more than once. And perhaps what’s even more damaging than just wasting your time following a plan tailored to another woman’s body is what often comes up when we look to another woman for any insight about what we should be doing: comparison and its ugly little friend envy.

Comparison and envy are the first of the Misery Makers to transform.

We can learn from other women, we can be inspired by other women, but when we start comparing to other women we are on a one way road to feeling like total crap about ourselves.

Comparison is a slippery slope from, “Wow, Jen looks amazing in that picture” to “Gee, I really wish I had her legs…” to “I hate my legs” and often, to “I hate myself.” Comparison is not the only Misery Maker but damn if she isn’t a crafty one. And she not only shows up around our bodies we also compare ourselves to other women’s careers, relationships, vacations, wardrobe, the list goes on and way on. Master it with the tools in this 21 day email program. FREE until July 28, 2017! Get is ($37 value, yours today for zip nada!)

Free Misery Makers Journey

This hard work but work worth doing, let’s walk through it together. Get the antidotes to the comparison, guilt, unfairness and it’s too hard. Learn to take care of yourself without the misery. Grab the free program here.





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