It’s funny how your body perceptions change. When I first decided to get ‘healthy’ , I equated my progress with;
A. How far I could run, and
B. Did I have a 6-pack yet?
I was a cardio bunny, and I was very slim but I lacked curves and definition.
Next I looked at my diet, I was eating LOADS of fruit, cereals and juices… so why wasn’t I getting results? When I looked a little more closely I realised that I was consuming an excessive amount of sugar and completely under eating in terms of protein and fats. So I done some research, added healthy fats to my diet, made sure I was hitting my protein targets and swapped my sugary carbs for low GI carbohydrates.
Next step, I traded my running shoes for dumb bells. After consistently eating well and training daily, I soon developed that toned, muscular body I hoped for and my ‘6 pack’ made an appearance. However, I may have achieved what I thought I had wanted but my strict diet and intense activity levels meant that I hit a plateau and found it difficult to make any strength gains or hit any PB’. As a result of my intense regime, I also became super lean – which is not sustainable, and I felt far from attractive.
Back to the drawing board. I re-jigged my diet, pushed up my calories and carbs, completely dropped my cardio and added in HIIT once a week. I gained 5 kg slowly over 4 months. I was still wearing the same dress size, but I had gained muscle (and a little bit of body fat), looked softer, looked stronger and most of all – I was happier. I had to track my diet using my fitness pal to make sure I was eating enough every day. It became my clutch, I was planning and prepping like a boss. Tracking every snack and every meal – nothing passed my lips without getting scanned.
Then, A few weeks ago I announced that for lent I was giving up My Fitness Pal. I dreaded it. I wanted to back out almost immediately after I said it. I didn’t realise how dependent I was on it until I stopped. The first few days were rocky, I was anxious and constantly thinking about my diet. It opened up my eyes to how addictive tracking macros and calories can be – whether you’re trying to lose or gain weight.
It is a very useful tool, don’t get me wrong!, but it begs the question – is it maintainable? I don’t want to be in my 50’s weighing out my oats and plugging it into my phone! So now I am coming to the end of lent and my ‘My fitness Pal’ Detox. My body hasn’t noticeably changed, I’ve lost a pound or two, which I didn’t want to happen, but I’m okay with that and I’m okay if I gain a pound or two next week. I’m enjoying my food, and enjoying my training and I’m becoming more and more confident in my own skin. I now have a clearer understanding of what health means for me. I’m still learning and still trying new things in terms of nutrition and training, but I’m enjoying the journey and that is key. If you take away one thing from this blurb – if you aren’t enjoying your diet or your training, then it’s not for you. It’s time to take a step back, adjust what you’re doing and try again. There is no ‘one size fits all’ with this kind of thing, what works for you? Just do that. Don’t mind what anyone else is doing or says. Stay focused on your own ideas and goals. Do this for you.
Check out my ebook for more advice on motivation, dealing with failure, nutrition and training!
Lots of Love,