Over the last two years I have lost weight, became a happier person and feel the best I have ever felt (mentally and physically) in my life. I get asked a lot about my fitness regime and diet plan. The truth is, I don’t have one and here is why…
I have always been very active working out in the gym, running stairs, attending spin classes, training for runs and a lot of yoga. Unfortunately, like many of you can probably relate to, I was an emotional eater. No matter how hard I worked out, if my state of mind was not positive I could never achieve my fitness goals. Not only did my poor eating habits affect my body but my mood as well. With my struggle I fell victim to hiring ill-informed “personal trainers” who have a certification in nothing more than gaining Instagram followers and give advice that (more common than not) causes you to develop worse eating habits than you had before.
Dieting for my health rather than my appearance is what motivates me to stay on track.
I eventually realized I was setting the wrong goals. Like many, I was approaching my goal backwards. You don’t achieve health from the outside in, you achieve it from the inside out. You need to learn how to feel good mentally and physically before you can expect to see a positive change in how your body looks. I will be honest, I did not know the difference between being healthy and looking fit until I started educating myself on nutrition and a holistic lifestyle. Every part of us is connected and if one part of you is out of whack it’s going to affect how the whole system operates.
Dieting for my health rather than my appearance is what motivates me to stay on track. I learned the foods that work for me and the foods that don’t based on some personal health concerns I face (which I will get into in later posts). I love researching nutrition and learning about the health benefits to eating good, whole foods versus the consequences of eating foods harmful to my health. I don’t count carbs or “macros” (to be honest, I don’t even really know what macros are). I don’t turn down unhealthy foods because it’s not on my “diet”, I turn them down because I know how they make me feel.
What I don’t agree with are “cheat meals”, meals to give you something to look forward to when you’re on a restrictive diet plan. I believe every meal you make should be a meal to look forward to. Just because your meals are healthy doesn’t mean they have to be boring, bland or restrictive. There are tons of delicious nutritional dishes you can create in your own kitchen that will save you money (and years on your life). If you have guilty pleasures try and find an alternative recipe you can make from scratch and, if it’s something you truly can’t live without, have it in moderation. Don’t try and fit these foods into one meal a week and expect that not to backfire. This is how you develop unhealthy relationships with food and poor eating habits that encourage binging and other health concerns.
If you’re looking for someone to plan your meals for you, use someone who has the knowledge and has done the research to know what your body needs. It’s common sense that if you cut your calories and increase your cardio you’re going to lose weight, but that’s not necessarily the best for you. In my case, it put me farther back than where I started.
I eat foods that make me feel good and I eat as much of them as I damn well please! I workout when I want to and I don’t workout when I don’t feel like it. Listen to your body, not a generic plan on a piece of paper. Give your body a break when it’s asking for it and fuel your body with foods that will benefit Y O U R health (and that can be very different from person to person). I am not a nutritionist, I can point you in the direction to people who are but first, I really encourage you to just do what I did, do your own research! It’s amazing what our bodies are capable of achieving if we treat them right.