A friend of mine, who I hadn’t seen in a few months, asked me the other day when we met up if I’d lost weight. I replied that ‘no, I don’t think so’ but in all honesty, I have no idea because I don’t weigh myself. I know roughly what I weigh, but I don’t use that as a measurement of progress, so no, I don’t know if my weight has gone up or down. I have to say though, that since I upped the amount of Crossfit classes I do each week, as well as training more on my own, and sleeping more, I have noticed that my body feels ‘firmer’. Not to mention that I have so much more energy!
So I asked my husband when I got home if he’s noticed a difference in me, and he said that he has. “But imagine how buff you’d look if you didn’t eat all that crap” he also blurted out jokingly.
I had to stop him there. “what ‘crap’ do I eat?”
“Well, you know, the Hotel Chocolate stuff you bought at the weekend, and all the popcorn”
Ok, so if you have followed me for a while you know I am all about moderation. Sometimes it’s harder, and I stuff myself with a bit more than I should have, but in general I feel that I have found a good balance. I eat well. I don’t count calories religiously, but I know roughly what I eat in a day and that varies between 1800 kcal and 2500 kcal depending on my activity levels. I eat protein with every meal and make sure I get 80-120g/day. I eat lots of veg and a moderate amount of fruit. I eat a balanced diet. I know that lots of carbs in the evening makes me bloated and sluggish the next morning so I try to avoid that. But, what I don’t do is to deprive myself. If I fancy a piece of dark chocolate after dinner or half a bag of popcorn (ok, ok, a whole bag) while watching “The Good Wife”, I do. No regrets. Ever. If I happen to eat a bit more than I ‘should’, I try to learn from it and just move on.
So when my husband suggested I cut out the ‘crap’, I shut him down quick, because even if I don’t believe in deprivation, nor do I believe in over- indulging. I believe in enjoying life.
My life is not about a “deprive-binge-regret” cycle. I lived that way for years.
I love Crossfit, I love moving my body, I love having loads of energy. But I also love relaxing with my husband after a long week, cuddling up on the couch watching Netflix and have a few pieces of chocolate (from Hotel Chocolate which is my favourite!) And I love going out for dinner with friends and be able to order a dessert. I am not going to deny myself any of these things.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to put your head down and go all-in once in a while if you have a goal in mind. Diet down, do more exercise or cut out chocolate if you feel that is right for you at that moment in time. The trick is to remember that once that diet is over, you have to know how sustainably live healthy so you don’t gain weight or end up in a deprive-binge cycle.
You have to find what is right for you. If you’re happy never eating ice-cream again and to bring tupperware with your own food to dinner parties, by all means. But if dieting depresses you and while you’re on holiday you might as well drink aaaall the wine because you know the holiday will be over soon and you will go on diet when you get home, well maybe it’s time to try something different. Life doesn’t have to be lived in extremes. It doesn’t have to be carrot stick OR cake. You can have both.
Precision Nutrition had a great inforgrafic on the trade offs for getting lean. Just click on this link.
So yes, the trade off is that I am a little less firm. But I can sustainably enjoy life every day.