08 Apr The Five Phases Of A Transformation Journey: The Consolidation Phase – A Safe Passage Home
The consolidation phase is the lynchpin of the transformation journey, and is the difference between regression and progression. It’s the critical period that you need to master if you want to get in the shape of your life, for life.
Now you are at the top of the mountain, you have two options.
The first option is to jump off the mountain, but it will be one heck of a fall back to where you started.
The second option is to find a safe passage home, connecting the phase between you achieving your initial goals, and long-term success in building the lifestyle solutions required to stay in shape over a long period of time.
The journey up your first transformation mountain is very much your phase one and two. It’s putting one step in front of each other and using your mental and physical strength to get to the top. Once you reach the top there’s a tremendous peak, beautiful views, and you feel on top of the world.
After the initial euphoria wares off, you feel tired, hungry and ready to rest. Except you can’t, because you’re at the top of the mountain! How do you get down without hurting yourself?
The end of the process phase can feel like an anti-climax. You’ve poured everything into the grind, pushed yourself to the extreme and, and you now may be feeling a bit lost. Before the checkpoint was so clear and you had tangible results to reward your efforts. Now, what’s to keep you ticking the boxes of your transformation checklist? This is why you must take a moment to reconnect with your long-term vision, your plan, and your why.
The consolidation phase is the safe passage home, and it’s more than likely going to be harder than the way up. You’re going to be wanting to be finished, you’re going to be tired, and you’re going to need to continue to show the same resolve as you did on the way up.
You will feel the desire to reward yourself – after all, you have come all this way and have done so well, one treat won’t hurt, right? Wrong. You must resist this urge and not lose your footing. To rephrase this, you have come all this way and have done so well, so why ruin it now?
Trigger foods are everywhere, and on this safe passage home, maintaining the same rigidity that got you to the summit will be your priority. There will be time for change, variety and luxury, but this isn’t the time.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, because the time it takes to get down is typically significantly less than the way up. You can complete your safe passage home in anywhere from six to eight weeks, after which you’ll be able to add more variety, incorporate social event strategies, and consume more palatable foods without being triggered.
However, on the descent it’s critical to remember that your psychology and physiology are working against you. It will tell you to eat, it will tell you to justify your self-sabotage, and your control of your eating will completely go if you’re not careful. This is typical of someone who’s been through a period of energy restriction (i.e. a calorie deficit).
Consolidation CTP Reset
The best thing you can do right now is remain faithful to your 3Ss and stick with your CTP accelerators – these are your crutches to keep your journey steady and maintain control.
A 14 to 21 days consolidation CTP reset, albeit with a higher amount of calories, is the recipe for success here. After this period, you can test the waters with new foods and situations and add more variety and freedom. Bute tread carefully, and wait for the six to eight week period to finish before making any drastic changes that can undo your progress.
As with all other phases, implementing phase accelerators help maximise your chances of success. The consolidation accelerators are:
- Developing Meal Hygiene
- Shifting from an Aesthetic Mindset to a Performance Mindset
- Maintaining your Accountability Systems
Developing Meal Hygiene
Meal hygiene refers to your mindset and behaviours towards food, as well as your ability to create a healthy relationship around your eating practices. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you the first one to finish at the dinner table?
- Do you ever finish a meal and wonder whether it tasted good?
- Do you feel bloated after you eat?
These are just some of the questions you must ask yourself to identify whether you have a poor relationship with food, willpower, and portion control. As always, self awareness is vital to adapting behaviours and improving your relationship with food and meal hygiene.
Although the art of buffering was an accelerator of the process phase, this is only temporary to accommodate for lifestyle situations whilst undergoing that period of transformation. The consolidation phase is when you start to set positive habits in concrete to facilitate a long-term lifestyle solution. Buffering isn’t a long-term lifestyle solution, but implementing good meal hygiene is.
This is all a part of the education of the consolidation phase and becoming more mindful of food in which you will learn:
- How to exercise impromptu portion control
- Greater understanding of nutritional values, labels and contents
- What foods you like and dislike
This practice is something buffering will have taught you to an extent, but you want to be in a position where buffering isn’t necessary. You can go out, enjoy a meal, and know that you won’t overeat or overspill your daily calories. You can live life and still be in shape.
Shifting from an Aesthetic to Performance Mindset
Although we all have different reasons for starting the transformation journey, aesthetics will almost always be a contributing factor. We thrive off short-term goals to steer us in the right direction, and until your transformation checkpoint, your physique will have been your indicator of progression.
Consolidation brings with it new goals, and shifting your mindset from aesthetic driven to performance driven is one of them as the power of your performance is your new target indicator.
Strength is the best indicator of muscle retention and gain, and from now on it becomes your driving tangible indicator.
Maintaining Your Accountability Systems
Once reaching your transformation checkpoint, it is tempting to remove your accountability systems that that had taken you this far. This can be extremely detrimental to your long-term transformation. Without accountability, old bad habits can sneak back up, undoing your hard-earned progress so far. Weighing yourself and taking pictures regularly will keep you honest and accountable, and keeping objective accountability adds an extra layer of accountability to keep you focused on the journey.
To conclude, here are our five top tips to ensuring you have a successful consolidation phase:
– Try to move the scheduling of excessive social events from post transformation to post Consolidation phase. More specifically, do not plan a holiday straight after the dieting phase. It’s a recipe for disaster.
– Be mindful and stay self-aware. Practice good food hygiene, journal about how you feel, and know when you’re being exposed to triggers.
– Maintain your 3Ss. This will enable you to avoid the anxiety of losing control, which can often set you into a downward spiral and inevitably falling off track.
– There is no on and off switch when it comes to your health. If you can shift your mindset from the end of a dieting phase from being the ‘end’ to a ‘checkpoint’, you’ll be well on your way to avoid splurges.
– Value this period of time as the lynchpin to your long-term success. The tendencies to overeat and go off the rails isn’t an option, it’s simply psychology and physiology at play. There will be genetic and individual differences, but it will be felt at some stage in everyone. It’s critical to put strategies in place to avoid it.
The safe passage home is not the easiest or the quickest, but it’s a path that’ll bring you back in one piece and allow you to maintain the same feeling and shape as you had at the top. A well-executed consolidation phase is what puts you in a prime position to invest in the next phase and enable real lifelong transformation.
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