Trust the Process: Learning to Accept Change

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last January I attended a two day seminar led by one of the country's premier sports dietitians, Nancy Clark. During her lecture on weight loss and exercise she made the following comment that struck a chord with me. She said, "If what you are doing isn't giving you the results you expect, what is the harm with trying something else?"

This was such a powerful message to me because so many times in the past I was so reluctant to try anything different in fear that it would take me in the wrong direction. This was especially true when I was advised to up my caloric intake when I started increasing my running mileage last spring. I had become so accustomed to eating between 1,200-1,550 calories per day that to increase my calories to 1,500-1,800 seemed so overwhelming. Almost to the point where fear took hold of me each time I logged my food into my food tracker.

Thankfully, I do not own a scale. Trust me, had I owned one when I started this process last March I probably would have found myself weighing on a daily basis. Even though I know one's weight can vary by as much as 5-7 pounds in a single day, I am not too sure how I would have dealt with that scenario had I seen that number fluctuate. Funny how intelligence and knowledge fly out the window when it comes to changes in our own body.

However, in my 4 1/2 year journey, I have come to learn to TRUST THE PROCESS. I really concentrated on making sure I was getting in good quality food choices and did whatever I could to steer clear of the scale at the gym (the only place I weigh). I promised myself I would not weigh for the first 6 weeks after I started this new aspect to my journey. I was going to go by the way my clothes were fitting and if I noticed they were getting snug before then, I would re-evaluate my situation.

Six weeks went by and I was shocked to see that I actually lost 2 pounds. Huh? Well being the skeptic that I am, I decided that I would weigh the following week just to see if this was a fluke. Lo and behold I was still 2 pounds down. I have remained the same weight for 5 months now and yet I have lost another 1% body fat (via skin calipers done by the trainer at my gym) and I am still eating 1,500-1,800 calories a day.

So to make a long story short, while it is fearful embarking in a new direction, I have learned to let go and TRUST THE PROCESS. And if what you are doing isn't giving you the results you expect, be willing to try something new, what's the harm.

Have you found yourself fearful to change even though what you are currently doing isn't giving you the results you expect? How long would you be willing to try something new before deciding you need to re-evaluate your situation?

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Great Report
JUNETTA2002 1/6/2021
Thanks for sharing. Report
LOSER05 9/24/2020
thanks Report
PATRICIAANN46 6/22/2020
Thank You for a great article............. Report
Thanks Report
thank you Report
Keep sparking Report
Trust is hard but worth it. Report
Some times we want our results to be just as most fast food restaurants are run..... FAST! We didn't gain the weight overnight, it was time & time again then years & years of abuse of nutritional overeating. We need to be patient and I struggle in this area myself but I don't want to diet for life I want to eat to live and not live to eat. Be healthier in all that I do because my little guys are watching grandma.... Report
Nancy, I always feel great when I read your writing. I feel as though you've become a good friend even though we've not met, yet. Thanks for all you do and for your transparency. I love it.
Audri Report
trust can be hard, but usually worth it Report
This article came at a good time for me - to be willing to question my 'sure' knowledge. Recently I've been dealing with evening snacking. I really crave wheat/bread-type carbs at that time but since that is a caution food for me, I've chosen to eat proteins, etc instead. but still want the carbs. Last night it occurred to me for the first time that perhaps I actually needed more carbs. I do my walking in the evenings after dinner and usually have a protein snack afterwords. Tonight I'll try eating a protein and carb snack and see if that helps quell the snacks. Report
I'm having just the opposite problem. I can't stay with a program long enough to see any results. Six weeks seems like such a long time to wait to see results when just one restaurant meal shows a weight gain almost immediately! Report
Somehow, "Trust The Process" is the first thing we bury when dealing with change. Finally, I, myself, have come to this realization, knowing full well, that if I do what I am supposed to do, follow my food plan, log each bite that passes my teeth, exercise regularly...the scale will respond... and respond it has!

I believe that Coach Nancy said that in her talk to participants at the Spark Convention in San the plan and if it doesn't work for you, change it so that it will work! The best advice ever!... and I am living, walking, running proof that "change" is good. Thank you, Coach Nancy! Report
Wow, the exact same thing happened to me when I started running every day. I knew my calorie count had to go up because I was burning more, but it was scary at first. It seemed like I was getting hungrier than what my new calorie count was supposed to be. So I just make sure the two are in line. If I run more, I increase it and decrease it when I run less... but I'm not perfect, I still have days where I eat more than I should and end up at the higher end of my calorie range. Report
I have to change because all of a sudden (over the last year or two) my body has started to turn to mush. I always ate whatever I wanted at any given time and didn't gain an ounce. My youngest son is almost 2 now and somewhere between that and hitting my 30's, my body is not ok with garbage in any more! So, change is scary for me, but necessary. I have 'tried' but not really over the past year to make a change. This time, I'm serious. So, we will see where it goes. Also, I threw away my scale. Report
I am, after 5 years of slow steady weight loss and slow steady fitness gain, am learning to trust the process. So many of us have done this before and failed somewhere along the line so it stands to reason that we are skeptical! But the process works - as long as I actively participate in the process, it'll continue working.

great blog - thanks! Report
when I first started eating "clean" - I was terrified. It was a lot more grams of fat than I was used to on weight watchers. nuts, natural yogurt, flax, it's a lot more fat in it but it's healthy fat. But I lose more weight doing that than any other program. sometimes your body just needs a change Report
I am nervous to try new things even if what I'm doing doesn't work. Because what I had been doing wasn't helping me lose weight, but I wasn't gaining either. I was worried that eating more would make me gain. I'm still not losing the weight, but I am eating more and still not gaining any weight. So I know I'm definitely happier. If my body likes this weight, then I'm good here. Report
This story totally applies to me. I too have worked very, very hard for a long time and have not given into the scales. I refuse to own one because I know I will weigh myself too often and will beat myself up when I don't see the numbers drop. I measure myself monthly and notice a change in the way my clothes are fitting me. That's how I measure my success. I too, have recently upped my calorie intake 300 per day because of the long workouts I put in almost daily. And that freaked me out, completely. I'm still not exactly comfortable with the extra calories, but I decided to trust the process and see what happens in the next month. Report
For me, variety has been the key to my success so far. I have learned that doing the same things and eating the same food just because it is working leads to borebom. Boredom is what causes me to get tired and just quit. So far I have lost 150 pounds and I have another 36 to meet my goal weight. Report
Great blog, fortunately for me, I think what I'm doing works, but still I'm always up for trying something new. Thanks. Report
Can't wait until I hit that point. Right now I am just trying to eat within my daily range. I am getting better at it though. Report
I have been struggling in Maintenance for a few months now (since about April). My old binge eating habits are creeping back in (I'm getting back to the MD and therapist to get re-eval'd for my med and to get the issues under control), and I'm fearful that I'm eating too many of the "wrong" things (chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc.). I'm pretty anal about journaling, so after two years of journaling every day, I've taken a one-week break from writing down every BLT (Bite, Lick, and Taste) that passes my lips. I also stopped my crazy exercise routine and "only" worked out five days last week, instead of 7. And I didn't double-book my exercise (i.e., walk in the morning, bike in the afternoon). I lost more than one pound last week!

I'm still evaluating what I need to change to make Maintenance a little smoother, a little easier. I am prolly going to make a change to my exercise routine, which was getting to be too much. I was eating 3500-4000 calories a day, and exercising like I was a drowning woman! I'm supposed to eat between 1500 and 1800 a day (according to Spark), but as a post-op gastric bypass patient, I can tell you that I can easily eat 2600-2800 a day and still lose weight. But the 3500-calorie-a-day habit was really killing me.

It's hard to admit that I'm struggling, but Nancy this article really hits home and is a good reminder that I'm doing what I need to do to help myself. And that's the first step in the right direction. Report
I just recently had my caloric intake raised because I exercise had also gone up and I was scared to death to start eating more. How could you eat more and still lose weight. I discovered that on certain days when I knew my exercise was not going to equal my calorie intake I would adjust to a lower intake and on days where I was non stop all day I would eat a little more. It really works. Report
I excepted my new change in my life style & I'm so glad I did it!! Report
Thanks for giving some validation to that concept. Great blog! Report
I'm doing something that is working for me, so I'll stay with it. Report
I'm doing something that is working for me, so I'll stay with it. Report
I think it's hard to really figure out how many calories we burn through exercise. One day, you might burn 100 doing aerobics, and the next only 50, if you're not working quite as hard. Report
This is a very thought provoking article, and I really appreciate it! I am so fearful of change and of sabotaging what progress I've already made that I ignore the suggestion on my fitness tracker telling me that I've burned more calories than expected and may need to increase my caloric intake. And, lo and behold, I've been at a plateau for quite a while! I need to trust the process and remember that trying something different can't hurt. It's scary for me, but I'm now willing to take the leap. Report
This was great for me to read. I have been at a plateau for a couple of months now. Think I will increase my calorie intake and see what happens. If I gain then I will go back to what I was doing before and see what happens. Report
Thanks for sharing this. I am nearing my goal weight and have been worried about the change from losing to maintaining. This was very helpful. Report
Thanks for writing. This story was inspirational for me and helped! I, too, fear change. I've always considered myself good at being versatile and adapting to change well in the work environment, but when it comes to my personal life I have a hard time letting go. Yes, I fear change, but maybe it isn't so much the change I fear, but the control I am relinquishing letting change affect me. Report
Your blog is very informational. Thank you. Report
I don't like change, but i found if i want to lose weigh and reach my goal i need to change my exercise routine and shake things up once in awhile. Report
When I started out, "change" was the foundation of my weightloss plan. "Change One Thing" was my mantra. I'd "change one thing" until the scale stopped cooperating, and then I'd "change one thing". Now that I've been maintaining, I have no issue with changing my exercise routine and doing new activities or experimenting with intensities, but I really, really struggle with the dietary changes. I just can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that I need to eat 1900-2100 calories a day. I am trying to trust the process but, geez, that seems like alot. Report
I like change and try to incorporate new things each week. The idea of increasing calories though does scare me (even though I am eating under my targets). Report
Recently I have decided to try at least one new thing a day Report
I'm on a plateau now and have been ravenous the past few days - I wonder if my body's trying to increase my calories on its own! LOL... amazing things, our bodies - if only we'd listen to them... Report
Ummm, can't say that I have tried any of those foods. I think I would be afraid of my arteries clogging after eating them. Although, one time my son had deep fried macaroni and cheese at a resturant. As if macaroni and cheese wasn't greasy enough. He was lucky I wasn't there, since I probably wouldn't have let him order it. Report
That was a really amazing article! I am not afraid of change but I was always afraid of the result. I was thinking that it was ok to try something new but what would I do if the results wouldn't satisfy me? Now I feel that I can and I must try new things. Every body needs differents things in order to "work" more satisfactory and I suppose my body has not find the right way yet but I am still trying...
(forgive my english! I am trying to improve them! you see...I am still trying :)) Report
great blog nancy! i am still so jealous you got to see nancy clark! good job on maintaining your weight and continuing to inspire so many.
:) Report
What an awesome article Nancy! I struggle with this same issue a lot in training. Right now, I'm at a point where I really need to sit down and figure out what calorie range I need to be eating daily to lose the extra 15 lbs. I'm going with 1400-1700 but I don't know if that's exactly what I need. I run 3 days a week training with the Jeff Galloway "To Finish a Marathon" program for the Austin Marathon in Feb. 2010, I crosstrain with Jazzercise 2 days a week and take 1-2 days off. I'd like to lose that 15 lbs. to be at a good weight and size to better my training performance. I'm going to look into these theories and see if this works for me. Thanks again for a great article! Always enjoy your stuff. Report
I'm glad to have read this blog. However, the thing I'm struggling with is that it's time for me to REDUCE my calories further. As opposed to some who struggle to get in 1200-1500 calories, I struggle to stay in range (and my range has been 1550-1900).

I had a couple good weight loss weeks in a row (1.8 lbs, 2.0 lbs, 2.2 lbs), but this week I lost a mere .4 lbs. (After lots of strenuous exercise). The challenge for me is when I see a few weeks where I exercise less and seem to lose more weight, and then I add exercise (and eating an average of about 100 calories more/day than the week when I exercised less) and see results like this.

I guess for me the challenge would be to be to see if I'm okay with decreasing the intensity of my exercise. If stressing my body and pushing myself doesn't pay off in weight loss, why torture myself? If a small amount of daily activity (30-45 minutes, not 2 hrs) ends up causing a weight loss, why keep spending 2 hrs at the gym and eating more because the strenuous exercise makes me ravenously hungry?

It's hard to trust the process when you act in similar ways most weeks and don't see the same result every week. And it's challenging to know which direction to go when what you're doing doesn't seem to be working. Eat less, eat more? Exercise less, exercise more?

And for me the biggest challenge, when I've decided that it's eating less I should try, is that it's hard to imagine how I will eat less and still feel satisfied. Report
Thanks for the great article! I am a personal trainer and so many people do not believe that eating more calories actually can help you lose weight and body fat. Change can be very scary, but you don't know if something works for you until you try! Report
I'm a big admirer of Nancy Clark's work. I've read her books on sports nutrition and I read her articles regularly. She writes for many different health publications including Prevention as well as the AFAA member journal. I've always been impressed with her comments on fitness and nutrition.

I firmly believe in the importance of changing up my routine. No, I am not afraid of change. Every time I make a change, it does improve my health and workouts. While it is important to exercise regularly, you don't want to end up in a rutt. That has happened to me in past. So, these days, I try to look for new things I can do that will make my workouts more of a challenge as well as interesting.

the thing about exercise is that it's not just good for your body. it's good for your mind. So, if you challenge your body, challenge your mind too. I love trying new things. Maybe I'll like it. Maybe I won't, but I always learn something and that counts.

Thanks for a great article, Nancy ! Gosh, I wish I'd been at that lecture. Nancy Clark rocks !

I love this article and how it brings home you don't need to eat only at your minimum calorie level to lose weight, my 40 lb weight loss is proof of that I've eaten anywhere from 1200-2000 calories on various days it depended on how much exercise I got that day and actually how hungry I really was. And I also like the idea that once you see your routine isn't working for you it's always good to change it up to get the results you want. I also like the ideal of a health seminar, it's something we all can benefit from if we can get the opportunity to attend seminars such as these we should seek them out and attend. Until then I'm glad the writters seminar was shared here with us, keep up the great work. Report
As always, a very thought provoking article by Nancy!!!
So true for me as I was used to eating very low calories when dieting. Started that with Spark People and wasn't losing. After reading and finding I needed at least 1200 calories daily, I felt guilty, but did it and started losing. Lost steadily for one year for a total of 48 lbs. After another 4 1/2 mos., the next two came off. Thanks to all the Spark People and Spark Friends. Report
Thank you for the thought-provoking blog. I still am surprised that I can eat the number of calories that SP projects but you said it best 'trust the process' and I will. I know that health is worth pursuing and eating enough to make my body function properly is the right thing to do. Thanks for reminding me to keep myself on track. Report