If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried diets over the years…Atkins, Slim-Fast, juice cleanses. So ridiculous, and each only lasted about a week (if that). It’s unfortunate that as women, we think we need to diet, so over the last decade or so I made a shift from diets to just eating as healthy as possible most of the time. Which has been great, but I still wanted to shed a few pounds. And as much as I exercise, that only happens with nutrition for me. Last year around February or so, one of the bloggers I follow, Anna Page, shared her experience with a new program, Faster Way to Fat Loss, or Faster Way as they call it in the Insta-world. Fast forward to this summer, and I was down 10 pounds (and down 15 since the summer before!) and feeling amazing. With all the New Year’s resolution talk this month, I wanted to share my experience of what I lost, but more importantly, everything I gained with it.
How It Works
Faster Way isn’t the cheapest at $200 for new members for a six week (or so) program, but then again, I spend that on workouts, haircuts, nails, clothes, etc. so why not spend the money and try it out? Anna’s stories (see: FWTFL highlight) had me convinced. So I took the plunge and signed up, and was set up with my coach, Kristin Mills. You are put with a coach and in Kristin’s group, she hosted several zoom calls throughout the process. These were during the week but easy for me to listen and multitask while at work, taking a break for lunch. You are also set up with a portal to access the basics and a few meal ideas and workouts. I feel like now they have so many new features, too — an app, meal plans, etc. so they’ve really stepped up in the last six months. Also, Kristin had us join a private Facebook group with people in your round, to ask questions and keep us accountable.
The program has you track all your food every day, which I did via My Fitness Pal. Not always convenient but, it’s always been helpful to track what I am consuming in this app. But this time, you don’t track calories; you track macros. Macros are the breakdown of what you eat — fats, carbs, and protein. On Monday and Tuesday, you eat low carb, high fat, and protein. On other days are regular macro days, so a pretty normal day of eating a balance of all three. Then two days a week are low macro days, which is basically just a little less. They help you determine how many macros you should consume. This post explains it way better.
Prep week is an entire week to learn the program, so day 1 you are not already tracking macros but rather, learning about them. This is when the bulk of the zoom calls are, and a chance to ask all the questions. This week, I started to get into the groove of intermittent fasting, too, which is also a big component of the program (and you do this every day). This is basically you only eat during an eight-hour window during the day, then fast the rest of the time. For me, I don’t eat from 8 p.m. until noon the next day usually, so I have a 16-hour window of fasting. There’s been a lot of debate around this, but if Jennifer Aniston does it, then it must be good, right?! You can adjust your window to what works for you, so some nights I stop at 7 p.m. and others, 9, etc.
So It Begins
I didn’t time this program the best, as I had to travel for work on a Sunday and the program started on Monday. But then I thought when IS a good time? There are always things that are going to stand in the way: vacation, work, holidays, etc. So it’s now or never. The other part? I was also training for a half marathon during this time! (More on that later.) I remember traveling to my conference on Sunday with no plans for dinner, so in true-to-me style got Taco Bell for dinner. Worth it. The next morning I got up and had sessions to attend and grabbed a coffee with half & half for breakfast (you can still have coffee in the morning and a little cream if it’s under 50 calories) and fasted until they served us lunch. I didn’t know what they were serving, so I had to just wing it and eat low carb since it was a Monday. Then I had dinner with clients that night and was able to check out the menu beforehand and did some sauteed shrimp and veggies for dinner. Luckily, they are a healthy group to begin with. That first night I remember feeling STARVED. I was laying in bed just thinking about food, but it subsided and I went to sleep. The next morning, I went for a 6 a.m. run with my clients and went about the day, again with just drinking coffee to start. I was feeling pretty good, then for lunch was a salad bar, so I loaded up on bacon, chicken, cheese and ranch dressing since it was still low carb and high fat. Score! That night I flew home and at the airport did a burger without the bun and collared greens. I love loaded salads and I actually like bunless burgers, so this day was good. I kept track on My Fitness Pal and recorded every day in the Facebook group (Kristin had us post a screenshot from the app each night). The first week was tough reaching the macros and understanding how to properly meet the mix. Some days fell short and others were great. Kristin was able to provide feedback on the days I fell short and answered questions and offered tips.
Intermittent fasting is honestly something I love to do, and have kept it up for almost a year now. Of course, I am not perfect. There were instances where I had a breakfast to go to either for work or family and just ate it and enjoyed it. Every now and then I also treat myself to a bagel or Chick Fil A breakfast sandwich, too, so I do that every few months or so still since it’s a nice treat. And then when I did my long run on the weekends when I was training, I always ate. If I run five miles or less, I don’t eat. But more than that I definitely need that fuel, so I would eat a piece of toast with peanut butter or banana with peanut butter (or both, depending on the miles). Those were my exceptions. Oh and then in December there were a few mornings where I had a cookie with my coffee and then during the break, I didn’t adhere to fasting, really. I wanted to enjoy the holidays. The other concern I had was Orange Theory. I love my Orange Theory weekly workouts and always had a rice cake with peanut butter before my class, so I went in that first class fasted, fearing I would crash hard without food in my stomach since you burn so many calories. But it went fine and now I do it with ease. I also notice now that when I don’t eat very healthy, the next morning I am starving, but when I eat healthily and a mix of macros, I am satisfied and do my fast with ease.
I have to say, I wasn’t into the low macro days. I feel like I wasn’t eating enough and just kind of did regular macro on those days. And then I definitely went over either once a week (either every Friday or Saturday) and didn’t care about tracking or what I was eating. I didn’t want to restrict myself TOO much and just skipped that day and got back to it the next day. I also did not do any of the workouts. I am happy with my running and fitness class routine so I stuck to that and didn’t focus on “leg day” or whatever day it was. Maybe this is wrong, but this is what I preferred. I didn’t want to do anything that was too restrictive or enjoyable because that just wouldn’t last. I wanted something to fit into my lifestyle that was not a crazy diet, and Faster Way was just that.
All in all, I lost about 10 pounds between April and August. That’s a long time but that is a win for me. I didn’t expect to drop pounds fast and didn’t want to. When I looked back at summer 2018 vs summer 2019 in my online health portal via my health plan, it kept track of my weight from doctor appointments and I went down 15 pounds total since last year. My pants felt way better. AND…my BMI was finally in the healthy zone! Not only that, but about two years ago, I had bloodwork that showed my HDL (good) cholesterol levels were low. This year, they were in the normal range. And finally, because I was eating so healthy and a variety of good carbs, fats, and proteins, my half marathon training went so well. I had energy and felt good; something I had been lacking in recent training years. Between doing Faster Way and interval running at Orange Theory, I even set a PR at the Pittsburgh 10 Miler back in November!
I never thought I would do a program like this but I have to say, it was 100% worth it. It helped to have my husband eating well, too (he didn’t do Faster Way but ate healthy with me) and keeping accountable by entering food in the app each day and posting to the Facebook group. It also helped to follow bloggers doing the program (Anna, Kristin, and more) to get ideas of what they were eating and get a confidence boost. I absolutely fell off the wagon during the holidays (and can tell I gained a few pounds back although I haven’t brought myself to weigh in since before Thanksgiving!) so my plan is to loosely start the program again on my own this month and then if I need more accountability, to re-join again (it’s cheaper for returning members). I would definitely do it again and recommend it! Again, I don’t recommend restricting but weighing in and tracking what I eat really works for me. And this I can now incorporate as part of my overall lifestyle. It’s simple really — make smart choices in what you eat and eat a variety of healthy, whole foods. It’s not rocket science, but doing this helped me stay the path.
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Questions? Want to know more about what I ate? Drop them in the comments.