Lean Eating Wrap-Up

Has it really been almost a year?  Hard to believe, honestly. I had committed to blogging every day, but — obviously — that hasn’t happened.  But still, 158 posts later, I feel like I at least had a voice to put out in the world.  And I reckon that I’ll keep on frequenting here as long as I’m doing battle with some of the unhealthy, reckless, devil-may-care voices that rule some of my decisions.

Does this mean I got an “F” in Lean Eating?

First, let’s run the numbers, shall we?  Over the past year, my weight has been as low as 10 pounds below where I started and as high as 3 pounds above where I started.  Right now?  I’m sitting a few pounds below my starting point. Certainly not where I wanted to be, but I shudder to think what shape I’d be in now if I hadn’t been working on myself through this program.  In terms of the tape measure, things are better — I lost about 13″ in total.  Despite the fact that my weight rebounded back up, I didn’t put on the inches in tandem, luckily enough.  And the body fat caliper measurements back this up.

And let me say this for the record:  so many women — women that I got to know over the course of the year — totally ROCKED the program and transformed themselves in ways that seem almost unimaginable.  I mean, really — you should check out the finalists.  The program certainly doesn’t lack success stories.

Because I don’t know of any other way to corral my rather disorganized opinions about Lean Eating, how about a The Good, The Bad and The Ugly list?  

The Good

  • The program is about so much more than what to eat and what workouts to do; it encompasses a lot of mental and emotional work to understand underlying issues.
  • A year is definitely necessary — the program used to be only 6 months long and I would have felt very left-in-a-lurch if it had ended in January.
  • It’s all about developing a lifestyle.  This isn’t a restrictive eat-this-not-that diet but rather adjusting your outlook so it supports your goals and priorities and then building a way of life around that.
  • Gradually adding habits one at a time makes jumping in a whole lot less overwhelming than it would otherwise be.
  • It offers a lot of flexibility in terms of workouts — while they have workouts to follow, you’re free to substitute with something else that you enjoy more.
  • They have a ton of resources available if you have questions.  Not just your coach or your team, but nutritionists, physiologists and folks with other specialty skills as well.

The Bad

  • It isn’t exactly cheap.
  • It’s easy to not do the work, make no headway but still look like you’re following along.
  • Once you put your information into the Lean Eating site, it’s not altogether easy to get it back out (and once your year is up, you lose access to anything coaching-related, i.e. measurements, photos, written answers to exercises).

The Ugly

  • I believe that much of your experience depends on your coach and how well your personality matches what she provides.  My coach was awesome, but sometimes was too respectful of my space when I could have used someone to nag me (I know – I should just hire my Mom, right?).
  • If you aren’t hitting the program at the “right” time — meaning, mentally and emotionally ready to tackle your relationship with food and training — it could be an exercise in frustration.
  • You get out of it what you put into it.  And if what you put in is superficial or not challenging your comfort zone, you won’t get a whole lot in the way of results out of the program.

And to round it out, here are some of my biggest epiphanies:

  • Hunger is not an emergency!  Just because I think I’m hungry doesn’t mean I necessarily need food.
  • Eating slowly really does work.
  • As does stopping eating once I feel like I’m 80% full.
  • I also don’t eat nearly as much if I don’t allow myself to do anything else while eating — no TV, no reading, no computer, no phone.
  • Planning meals and workouts is the key to my success. I need structure!

Would I do this again?  Perhaps.  I feel like I spent a lot of time this year figuring out what my nutrition demons were and while I still don’t have them all banished, at least I’ve identified the problems and put strategies into place to deal with them.  The last year has been spent looking inward; if I were to do this again, I would spend the year looking outward.  I would take full advantage of the community — something I didn’t do — and participate fully, engaging with both my coach and with other members.

Would I recommend this program to someone else?  Probably, but with disclaimers.  If all you are looking for is a diet and workouts to follow, then it’s not worth the money.  On the other hand, if your relationship with food or healthy living needs to be evaluated and put under a spotlight, this is a great program.  Coaches are really good at working through all sorts of issues and helping you figure out the “why”‘s of eating and training habits.

And so with that, dear readers, I wrap up my Lean Eating year.  It’s certainly been a learning experience for me, chock full of all sorts of good revelations about myself.  Hope you’ve enjoyed coming along for the ride!

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