Well, this all feels a little bit out of the ordinary.
Sitting down to write this post I think how long it’s been since I’ve done this and it saddens me that it’s been about three months that I had the time to put pen to paper (finger to keyboard in this case) and do what I really love doing! So first of all I have to wish Fitness Digestive a (belated) first birthday and sincerely hope you’re all still enjoying my ramblings on here!
As you can probably guess, I’ve had a very busy few months which has caused my fitness journey to become somewhat of a rollercoaster, the latest escapades of which have been further ligament damage to my lower back, and then breaking two of my ribs. Freak bone breakages and unfortunate back issues aside, I’ve also enjoyed a week away in the Cotswold’s, getting a new puppy and a buying a new car! So now, a few weeks before I jet away to Mexico for 10 days with my two best friends, I am focusing very much on the typical pre-holiday jitters at the thought of being bikini body confident. As I have been out of the gym for a good 5 weeks now, and can’t see myself going back before I go away, I am focusing on making my diet as clean as possible – she says while eating some McVities caramel digestives (I’m sipping on green though, so it’s cool. Moderation.) Naturally my confidence has taken a hit as my body isn’t what I would want it to be, and nowhere near where it was on my last holiday, but I’m not panicking as much as I have done in the past in the weeks leading up to a holiday; my relationship with food is a lot healthier now and other aspects of my life are taking precedence.
Before I went to the Cotswold’s I bought myself a fitness tracker (the Fitbit Alta) and started focusing heavily on counting macronutrients & calories. For those of you that are unsure what this means, essentially it’s figuring out how much fat, carbohydrates and protein your body needs (based on exertion levels, weight and height) and then tracking these daily based on the food you eat and consequently ensuring that you reach (and not surpass) your targets.
I have been wearing my Fitbit for around 6 weeks now and still love tracking my results daily. Especially now I’m not exercising, I am keen to make sure I hit my 12,000 daily steps. The watch itself is so comfortable to wear, even when sleeping, and the app is packed full of useful information to ensure you’re moving enough throughout the day. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to gauge how much they are moving daily. It’s also great at tracking sleep, telling you how many times you are awake or restless, as well as a total of how long you were asleep for. I find it interesting to know if I’m well rested when I start to feel a bit lethargic later on in the day.
So back to food: while I have in no way been starving myself (I love food too much to ever do that) I quickly realised I was been eating more food than I needed. Based on the macros calculated for me, I should be eating around 1500-1600 calories divided into grams of each macro-nutrient group. I was eating jusy for the sake of eating, and not because I was hungry. I changed this pretty quickly and simply put, I now eat when I’m hungry – and not when time dictates that I should – and I stop when I am full. I think it’s so important to stress here that everyone is different. The daily calorie guideline for healthy women is 2000 calories, and around 1500-1600 for those looking to lose weight. Unless I exercised twice daily, 5 times a week, I would put on weight (or at the least maintain my weight) if I were to eat that much. Which is exactly what happened to me a few months back. I understand it takes time, dedication and motivation to see results but I just feel this was too many calories for me, even when I was BFFs with the gym. I now aim for around 1200 calories, but without counting every single calorie that passes my lips & instead just having a rough idea of how much I’m eating. When I am back to training and my appetite grows (naturally it always does) I have no doubt I will be eating more – clean foods, of course.
A few years back I went through a phase of tracking every calorie that passed my lips but as one could probably assume, this quickly became obsessive and I realised I had a problem when I found myself weighing out cups of lettuce. I was never competing for a body competition yet I was measuring all of my food down to the last ounce as if I were. I became obsessed with exercising to burn off any ‘extra’ calories I’d eaten, be it from piece of chocolate or slices of cucumber, and it was totally consuming my lifestyle. As I said in my previous post (Food: Building a Healthy Relationship) it is SO important to have a healthy relationship with food. Not to see food as a form of reward or punishment, but to make sensible decisions which allow you to lead a healthy, balanced and realistic lifestyle.
I’d recommend the My Fitness Pal app as a starter for anyone looking to shift a few pounds or to just generally be a bit healthier. So many people just simply don’t realise how many calories they’re consuming. Be it the 400 calorie coffee from Starbucks, or the 20g of sugar in your favourite smoothie, you may find you’ve reached your daily calorie goal by 4pm. The app is a good place to start if you’ve found yourself in a bit of a rut, but I can’t stress enough that it’s so important not to obsess over calories. Obviously 250 calories from a grilled chicken breast will be more nutritious for you than a 40 calorie biscuit, so be sensible and remember the basics about healthy eating. I’m not currently working out – my only exercise coming from around 90 minutes of walking every day – yet I’m still noticing my body drop a few pounds. It goes to show that you can always kill yourself in the gym but without a healthy relationship with food, you may never reach your goal.
There are so many FAD diets out there, do your research, experiment a little & find a long-term healthy way to reach your goal. I am 24 years old and am still figuring out my body and the way it deals with certain foods! Enjoy the journey guys & girls, it may seem impossible right now but you’ll definitely be a better you by the end of it!