Thinner, Leaner, Stronger: 10 things I've learned by going by the book

Thinner, Leaner, Stronger: 10 things I've learned by going by the book

I mentioned in my last post in October that I'd purchased the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and a meal plan in order to see what would happen.

So far I can say the following after using the meal plan and work outs from the book for approximately six weeks or so:

1. I have lost weight. According to the scale this morning I've lost between 7 and 9 pounds. Not a crazy amount but I also didn't have a ton of weight to lose. Plus, I think technically you're only supposed to lose 1 pound a week.

2. My arms, back and abs are getting some definition. I've seen too many articles online about how before and after pics are easy to fake so I don't plan to take any to share, but I will say that my stomach is flatter than it's been in years.

3. All my pants are too big in the waist but fit fine in the thighs. So, yes, I am losing belly fat.

4. I can Romanian deadlift 95 pounds for one set of 10 reps. Next goal? My body weight. Pretty sure I could do my body weight as a one rep max right now. I believe this is the strongest I've ever been. I weight lift 4-5 times a week with each session taken 30-40 minutes. So no super longer hours in the gym!

5. I miss carbs. Well, okay, I miss sandwiches and cookies and pie. I totally indulged in pie over Thanksgiving though. No regrets!

6. It takes me about two weeks of following the meal plan EXACTLY to stop feeling hungry in the afternoons and evenings. However, I do allow myself one or two cheat meals or drinks a week because one cannot live on salad and protein alone.

7. I am unintentionally eating gluten and dairy-free for most of my non-cheat meals (minus my daily Greek yogurt snack). However, when I eat gluten and dairy I don't notice any adverse effects.

8. It IS possible to lose weight without a ton of cardio. Seriously. My longest cardio session in the past two months has been the 10K I ran the Sunday before Thanksgiving which took me just over 56 minutes. Other than that most of my cardio has been 20-30 minutes once or twice a week and I try to do intervals as part of that.

9. You won't lose your running fitness if you take time off. Just like back in 2012 when I took several months off of running and did strength instead I am still able to go run 6 miles at a decent pace without any running-specific training.

10. Cooking for another person when you're on a limited diet is REALLY boring for the other person. Pretty sure my husband would love to have some of our old meals back.

Overall, this is an interesting experiment. It does seem to be working and I would recommend it to anyone who wants someone else to tell them what to eat and what to do in the gym to get results. However, if you're impulsive, a live-to-eat type of person, or someone who isn't interested in following a strict(ish) plan then this isn't for you.

I will say, though, that I really appreciate that this plan focuses on building strength by lifting heavy and losing body fat by eating real food. No weird shakes instead of meals (just one homemade protein shake post-strength workout and it's full of bananas, peaches, almond milk, almond butter, and protein powder) and no little pink weights (except for what I use at physical therapy because my right shoulder blade thinks it's a Barbie and can't life anything heavy).

Right now my goal is to complete the year following the meal plan and then move on to a new one that will focus on building instead of "cutting". Of course, after all the craziness that will be December I might need January to get back on track!

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    Erin Vandenberg

    I'm a 30-something who decided to get off the elliptical and expand my fitness horizons. Since moving to Chicago in 2008 I've run marathons and biked miles. I've done group fitness classes and lifted weights on my own. And now I want to share my fitness finds with you!

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