What Is the Purpose of Phase 3?
We will go into lots of detail in other blogposts on HOW to do Phase 3. In fact, you can check out the Do-Able Way to Do Phase 3 for more on that. However, this 3 part series is dedicated to
“What’s the Point of P3?”
so we can understand why it’s important to take seriously and make choices and decisions with insight.
For sanity’s sake remember:
Don’t let whatever troubles or challenges you end up facing in P3 scare you into thinking this is how your body will be forever.
The reason P3 is part of the protocol is because this stabilization period is inherently volatile. It’s not what happens in regular life, which is why you have to live by different rules for a few weeks till your body is “back to normal.”
With Phase 3 it seems there’s basically 3 different factors that are being addressed.
- Weight Stabilization:
Stabilizing your new weight so it stays in about the same place with relative ease.
- Digestive System Adjustment:
Gradually readjusting your digestive system to eating both larger amounts of foods and more fats
- Discover Possible Food Sensitivities:
Discovering if you have any food sensitivities that could be causing inflammation and make weight maintanence difficult
#1 Stabilizing your New Weight so it Stays in About the Same Place with Relative Ease
When you lose a lot of weight very fast- say 25-30 lbs in just 6 weeks- your weight is VERY volatile when you first get into p3. It’s going to naturally want to go back to where it was AT FIRST. This is normal, expect it.
Sometimes you will find your weight stabilizes out very quickly and you don’t have any hairy scary situations with your weight freaking out, but that’s not always the case, so it’s good to be prepared for what might be, and then be pleasantly surprised if it ends up being easier than you thought.
How Hormones Are Involved
In Robin Woodall’s book Weight Loss Apocalypse she discusses how important keeping your hormones in a level state are to getting your weight stable.
She says on page 143, “The *third* phase is the vital step requiring consistent hormonal balance, which allows for the entire endocrine system to recalibrate a new equilibrium or “set-point”. Because a significant amount of body fat was lost during the *second* phase, the brain and other organs must readjust their coordinating system to match having fewer fat hormones……Without proper hormonal stabilization during the *third* phase, the body might react by inducing a return in fat.”
This is why it’s so important to keep starches and sugars out of the picture because these types of foods can have a very profound and fast acting impact on hormone levels which while your body is in an, let’s call it, “unsteady” state, can lead to rapid fat gain, more so than normal, say in Phase 4.
How Sugar and Carbs Affect Hormones
Here’s a couple articles related to how carbs and sugar affect hormones, which is even MORE true while in P3:
It’s not that you should never eat carbs or that you should always eat low carb – it’s that during P3, these types foods will have an especially strong effect on your system until you’re body has adjusted to it’s new weight.
The Endocrine System and Weight
It’s probably been AWHILE since most of us were learning our sciences, so I found a couple pretty interesting videos explaining how the endocrine system works:
Have you ever been at a weight where you feel like even if you maybe cheated a little or ate more than you probably should have, your weight still stay about the same, or perhaps it went up but all it took was a day of clean eating to put it right back where it was? My weight is like there where I’m at 124-125.
Pretty much for the last 5 months, my weight has been somewhere between 124-125 and if it went above, it was only for like a day from either water retention, overeating, or muscle soreness. This is not where you will be at the start of P3 but it is P3 that will get you TO this point.
The First Week of Phase 3
Especially this first week can be scary folks!
Your weight might easily go up and down 2lbs overnight from small indiscretions. That is why Dr. Simeons made the guidelines he did requiring that you abstain from starches and sugars for a period of time so that your weight could get used to being in this new place and get comfy there.
What Happens As P3 Continues
The scary part is worrying if it’s going to always be that changeable. It won’t. Believe me, as p3 progresses, as long as you are following the guidelines, your weight will get more and more stable with time. Eventually it will stay around the same weight quite well (barring occasional temporary gains from too much sodium one day or ovulation/period).
Carbs CAN Be In Your Future Again
That is why you can eventually eat carbs and sugars again (in moderation). You really can. I eat organic corn tamales all the time now, loaded baked potatoes, lots of fruit, refried beans, etc,- and my weight stays the same- I fluctuate consistently between 124-125 lbs. But if I were to eat any of those things in phase 3, watch out! The scale would do a number on me.
So you really will find that as time goes on, most will not be trapped into eating low carb forever.
Your New Normal
But it’s a process of gradual introduction of these higher carb foods, once you have spent some time having your weight get stable where it’s at first. But few will find that they have complete free reign when it comes to carbs either.
I think most will find one or more of the following to be true:
- You can gradually start eating carbs, but you will find that you can’t have them everyday- you may find your body stays in balance best when you say, have tamales one day, but the next day or two eat more clean/low carb.
- You may find there are certain food groups, whether higher carb or not, that your body is just sensitive to and you may find that your weight just stays stable more easily without them entirely for the long term.
You might like that’s unfair, but the truth is there are 2 factors going against most of us:
- few of us are as active as we were probably meant to be, and
- the toxins in our food and environment are also something our bodies weren’t meant to cope with and our body can use storing fat as a way to shield our bodies from those toxins we’re ingesting.
To me this means that we may not be as “free” to eat as we might have been without these 2 factors.
Take What Control You Can
You can have a some control over both these factors- I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be able to eat as freely as I feel I do without my consistent crossfitting, and we can control to some extent what’s going in our bodies by avoiding GMO’s, choosing organic etc. – however, that can be expensive and you may not always be able to afford doing that 100%.
But really, any changes you make is better than no change.
I hope this helps! Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3 discussing the other 2 purposes of Phase 3.
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