In short: I LOVED it. It's the first eating plan I've ever done that left me feeling completely equipped and motivated to continue far beyond the original 6 weeks. I wasn't looking forward to the end at all. I lost multiple pounds and multiple inches + gained muscle and energy. And mostly, I felt a freedom from food for the first time in long time.
There are four parts to the FASTer Way method, which was a little overwhelming at first. But don't worry, you catch on quickly!
1. Tracking Macros. All food is made up of macronutrients- protein, fat, and carbohydrates- and our bodies need certain amounts of each to thrive. With a few clicks in the My Fitness Pal app, you're able to see how many of each macro you should eat in a day and record them. Once most of your regular foods are in the system (including common recipes and meals you eat), logging your daily food is quick and easy, truly.
I thought this part was going to drive me nuts, but scanning foods' barcodes (from string cheese to broccoli) made it very simple and painless. It takes me less than five minutes a day and I usually do it in the morning so I can plan my day before I even begin eating.
Keeping track of macros was eye opening. I learned that I wasn't eating enough protein in a day and was substituting it with way too much fat. Balancing all this out was a game changer for me! In the future, I probably won't record every day in the app- I know what a typical day looks like now and don't need to- but it was extremely helpful to do so for 6 weeks.
My favorite part of keeping track of macros was that I began to see all food as just... food. If I wanted a bowl of ice cream I could eat one; it just had to fit into my macros. If I wanted a giant breakfast sandwich one day or pasta on date night that was okay- I just adjusted other foods and made it work. And because this is a lifestyle, not a crash diet, I felt so much grace to get back on the horse if I was off one day. No biggie!
Note: Some people buy a food scale for the highest level of accuracy in counting macros. I couldn't see myself doing that long-term so I didn't do it.
2. Carb Cycling. This is an alteration of carbohydrate intake to prevent fat loss plateaus and keep your metabolism working effectively. Basically, you cycle between low carb days (Monday and Tuesday) and regular carb days (Wednesday-Sunday) to ensure that your body burns fat effectively without causing significant hormonal damage or dips in energy.
The keto diet is really popular right now (and for good reason- people lose weight quickly!) but it can be dangerous, especially for women, and it's hard to keep up. We all want and need fruit, rice, beans, etc. I loved carb cycling because it was only for two days... and on those days I got to enjoy extra fat like cheese, avocados, nuts, bacon, etc. Yes, please. I looked forward to my low carb days and learned very quickly how to adjust my eating to match them.
3. Intermittent Fasting. On this plan, you limit your "feeding window" to eight hours a day. For me, I did 10:30-6:30, but you could skip breakfast all together and do something more like 12:00-8:00 with a snack in there.
According to the FASTer website: "Daily periods of fasting change your body at a cellular level. In addition, it helps to regulate hormones like insulin and HGH to make the fat stores in your body more accessible energy sources. The time given to your cells to repair during fasted periods allows cells to remove waste and function optimally. Intermittent fasting allows time for the body to utilize fat as its main source of energy, which means you not only lose weight, but you’ll see an improvement in your overall body composition. Intermittent fasting allows you to maintain muscle mass which speeds up your metabolic rate, while helping you shed fat."
This part was effortless and enjoyable. I had a little trouble getting all my calories in during a shorter eating timeframe (I just wasn't hungry!), but waking up and knowing I was going to fast was good for my mind and soul. It kept me praying, and it cut out my two worst eating habits- sugary coffee in the morning and pointless snacks after the boys' bedtime.
4. Exercise. The workouts come with the program and you can choose beginner, home, or gym. They are scheduled with your carb cycling days (sprints on low carb days, strength training on normal days) to help achieve the best results. I loved every one of them... and also loved the two rest days (Friday and Sunday). Ha!
I used a few different dumbbell sizes and tennis shoes. That's it!
I think the biggest question people have is what do you eat? I originally tried to find lots of peoples' meal plans and then realized I was over complicating it. There's no need to find lots of low carb meals. On those days (Monday and Tuesday) I ate my morning smoothie with half a banana instead of a whole one, a big salad for lunch with plenty of protein fat like two hard boiled eggs, bacon, cheese, olives, nuts etc, and a dinner that included meat + veggies. Some veggies are higher in carbs so we avoided those and focused on ones like broccoli. If my family was eating something that called for rice, I'd use riced cauliflower instead.
While I wouldn't like to eat low carb all the time, it was easy to do just two days out of the week and I felt great! I was also able to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate or a peanut butter cup "fat bomb" after dinner (so good!).
M/T Sample Day
Breakfast: Protein Smoothie with half a banana
Lunch: Salad with lots of protein and healthy fat or scrambled eggs and chicken sausage
Dinner: Steak, broccoli, and roasted carrots or tacos
Snack: Fat bomb
On all the other days, you eat "normal macro" or "low macro" meaning you follow your My Fitness Pal guidelines or cut them by 25% on the two days you aren't exercising (Friday and Sunday). I ate my morning smoothie with a full banana (to get more carbs in- you really need a lot on normal days!) and enjoyed sandwiches or sweet potato bowls for lunch, big bowls of fruit and yogurt with honey for snack, and basically anything we wanted for dinner-- I just watched how much fat I was eating, which was most often my downfall.
W-S Sample Day
Breakfast: Protein Smoothie with whole banana or english muffin with jelly and/or peanut butter, eggs, and fruit
Lunch: Big bowl of fruit, yogurt, honey, peanut butter, and granola or a sandwich with veggies and ranch/hummus, or a sweet potato, rice, fried egg bowl
Dinner: Basically anything, I just had to watch the fat content (like no baked potato with a ton of butter, cheese, and sour cream. Ha!) See this post for how I meal plan and choose our dinners.
Kelly, my instructor, was also so great at sharing her Pinterest boards with recipes, meal plans for the weak, Costco and Alid shopping trips, etc. I felt more than equipped to find foods/recipes that not only fit the plan for me but that our whole family would eat.
Overall, I'd 100% recommend this program and am so glad I stumbled across it.
$199 gets you the 7 week program with coaching from your trainer (mine is Kelly Stewart- she's awesome), accountability and encouragement from a small private FB group of women doing this with you (they even prayed for me when I got sick), and daily workout plans. It was more than worth it for those 7 weeks, but now I also have a huge workout plan I can continue to follow, and tons of favorite recipes.
Kelly's next round starts July 15th. If you'd like to feel freedom from food, get control of eating habits, or have accountability as you begin exercising I can't recommend this more.