I rarely talk about my own diet or fitness regime because I feel nutrition and fitness are personal and unique to each individual. But I feel in this instance that my own approach is simple, non-complicated and something I can see myself doing every week for the rest of my life. However, I was not always like this; it was a process and a long journey. Hopefully, you can take something from this.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, I didn’t know the nutrition and fitness that I do today, and I made all the mistakes in dieting and fitness. I took all my Cosmopolitan magazine advice, The Sunday Newspaper supplements and ridiculous non-evidence principles like Slimming World and Weight Watchers. I removed carbs; I removed fat; I even went on a diet once that said I could eat unlimited amounts of rice, potatoes and pasta. Needless to say, even whilst running marathons, I still gained weight and never achieved the body I wanted.
Even up to a few years ago, I found a new wave of Bodybuilder diets like eating ‘clean’. Plain brown rice, chicken breast, coconut oil and bulletproof coffees designed for competing bodybuilding athletes, not the Real Everyday Women with busy lives, young families and full-time careers.
You see, I coach normal women who have been let down by diets over the years. Having been told to eat something to lose weight based on a prescriptive program used by athletes or models/actresses shredding for a movie, We are none of those things. Real life, for most of us, isn’t a prescriptive plan, and your diet plan shouldn’t be either. It’s no wonder we are confused, listening to downright nonsense like eating “free foods” or “speed foods” – or maybe the reason we aren’t losing weight is that we are not eating enough!!!! Lol.
I don’t know about you, but the penny dropped for me when I realised – hold on a minute, can I eat like this, not just during my dieting phase but forever, can I incorporate chocolate, Guinness, have occasional nights out and enjoy my holidays without feeling that I am “off the diet”.
The old me:
Was either “on a diet’ or ” off the diet”.
Following a meal plan or bingeing. No in-between.
Scale obsessed, weighed myself every day.
Never considering body-fat percentage or waist measurement – only ever scale weight.
Success = perfect dieting and failure was one little slip up in my day, which would have triggered a full-on blowout.
Played the blame game.
Dieted before every wedding or large social occasion to make sure I didn’t look too fat.
Would never in a million years eat a Mc Donalds or a takeaway as I viewed that as “bad”.
Doing only cardio as I thought that would make me thinner.
Starving myself to meet weight loss targets and if I didn’t meet them again, triggered an episode of overeating as punishment for being a failure.
Doing exercise and training that I enjoy and that I know make me stronger and healthier.
Eating in a way that allows for unintended over indulgences, whilst not feeling guilty.
Knowing my upper-calorie limits for indulgences that don’t lead to fat gain.
Never restricting food groups.
Take full responsibility. Stop blaming other things or events for my lack of progress.
Having a bite of something that doesn’t have to lead to a binge.
Go to McDonalds with the kids and eat a burger without feeling guilt.
Gong to the pub with Damien for a few drinks at the weekend.
Using my clothes, increased energy and positivity as a gauge for a healthy lifestyle and successful weight management and not the scales.
Ensuring that, whilst enjoying my chocolate and wine, that 70-80% of my diet is nutrient-dense from eating whole, unprocessed foods.
I love social occasions and never feel nervous or anxious about a meal out, wedding or holiday as I know I have the capacity to eat/drink in a balanced, controlled way. If I do overindulge, I don’t panic, I resume a normal balanced diet soon after.
Changing your body is actually more about your mindset than any diet. It’s wrapping your mind around the fact that it has to be a lifestyle change rather than a short term “Lose as much weight as a possible approach”. Only when you realise this, then true change in body and mind can happen.
So with the end in mind now, in my late forties, I have relaxed a bit more, I play the longer game, train and eat from an evidence-based perspective. It’s what I do on average that counts, not a day or a week. Prioritise my long term health, use exercise, not as a punishment but actually, a way to improve my mental health. In doing so, I have become probably the strongest physically and mentally and feel the best I have ever felt. It’s never too late and you are never too old.
Start with small steps, be patient and always think health, not weight. Hopefully this email today will give you some food for thought. Food and exercise are to be enjoyed and not used punishment or self-harm for unprocessed emotions, good or bad.
If you need help to move along the spectrum of constantly “dieting” to “living a real-life whilst improving your body” then reach out for coaching by clicking the link below 👇