My Diet Update | Being Leaner and more!
Before I went to bed last night I had fully intended on a doing a workout today, BUT my legs, ass, shoulders, triceps have some serious DOMS from yesterday’s gym workout. AND my sides are STILL sore from doing those side plank raises in my last workout. I never do those, so one set was clearly enough! Ha!
In the past week people have left comments (here, Facebook, and YouTube) saying that I look leaner and asking me what I am doing differently in my diet to explain this change. To be honest, I have been surprised by how lean I do look because I am ashamed to say I don’t think I am doing anything different with my diet. But I will talk about it a little and then I will tell you what I believe to have made the biggest difference.
In the past I have gone through all the mind-sets, all the theories and all the extremes to get what I wanted. Which, back then, was a six-pack or to be at 15% bodyfat. In all honesty, that was my ONLY fitness goal! I tried low carbs, carb cycling, low fat, then just low calories. I felt stressed that nothing was working and I felt the need to SEE results within a few days. I weighed myself all the time and measured my waist regularly too. Did this work? NO!
What I didn’t realise was that my body was still recovering from extreme weight loss from my arthritis. So my body wasn’t about to let me lose anymore weight. In actual fact, because I was weight training I started to gain weight (muscle). I believe that everyone has a weight that their body is happy with. Mine is around 60kg / 130ish lbs / 9 stone. That is what I have been for the past year. When I have tried to lose weight, I have stayed the same, when I stuff my face and don’t train for a while I stay the same, or gain like 2 – 4 lbs of water and it falls off once I start training again. This is not my good genetics, because I have the ability to be fat, I will show you before pictures of me in an up-coming article on my Body Image Story. I believe the key is weight training, which I will talk about later.
In the last six months my life has turned upside down and changed direction from getting married (would have been THIS month), to travelling across the pond to meet amazing women who I believe will change the face of Strength Training for Women, and getting the chance to be friends with some of the bigwigs of the fitness industry. All from this blog. So there has been good stress and bad stress, and I have had the odd “flare up” of my arthritis (which I hate mentioning because I had otherwise convinced myself that it had GONE), but anyway… Throughout all of this my diet has not changed for the better, it has probably got worse, but I am happier than ever and look better than ever!
I eat 2 big meals a day, with a constant flow of snacks in between (especially if I am editing a video lol, the crumbs around my computer station give it away). I reckon the calories are between 1500 and 2300 per day, depending on whether I eat out, am tired, if I am working or, if I drink alcohol. My protein intake is probably about 50-70g per day and I have no idea how many carbs or fats I eat. I am ashamed to admit that I eat a lot of rubbish; like granola bars, chocolate, cookies and rice-cakes. I am addicted to chicken legs and thighs, because I love to eat the crispy skin and I love the taste of chicken on the bone. I eat red meat maybe once a week (usually a big juicy fillet steak) and I rarely eat fish (although I LOVE it). I have nuts for snacks, I eat a fair amount of coconut oil between cooking and spreading it on my rice-cakes. I also love eggs (yolk and all) – I scramble them with baked beans mmm! I also love veges, but eat them rarely. At the minute though I am addicted to my Seasonal Summer Salad, which is just so good and very healthy.
My biggest, most evil confession is that I LOVE Aunt Bessies Yorkshire Puddings and I would eat a lot of them. This is NOT healthy!! eek!
I know I “need” to eat cleaner and be a good role model, but at the same time I train well, I am happy about not stressing and for me – IT WORKS! Why fix it, right?? Is that an excuse? I don’t know. But I think there is a point when you have to assess what adjustments and changes you can live with forever to prevent yourself putting fat on, or getting ill and what adjustments are causing you so much STRESS that that alone is undoing all the good from the diet. Maybe I am now rationalising, but since I started Intermittent Fasting, I rarely worry about my weight. I did freak out a little when I was in USA because the sodium in the food there made me blow up like a balloon and I felt crap! But since I got back, it’s like my kidneys have gone on overdrive to pump out all that sodium AND more. Maybe that is why I appear leaner LOL. I actually don’t think I am leaner, but I think the tan helps me look leaner. Out of interest I jumped on the scales the other night in work after I got all these comments and I am only 1 lb lighter. If I have have lost a little fat it is because my training has been going very well, not because my diet has!
If I was sitting here writing that I eat a pile of shite and my training was getting worse, then I might consider changing something in my diet and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be getting comments saying I have abs etc. But on a whole I do eat quite well as I eat Organic Free Range products too so I am not ingesting as many chemicals as before. I also drink A LOT of water about 3 litres (nearly a gallon).
Lately my training has got smarter. As in I am not just going in and doing the same thing as I always did. I am trying more new things and really focusing on form. It seems to be paying off. I am determined to improve my squat, deadlift, vertical press, pull ups, dips and my conditioning. Maybe my competitive nature is kicking in after seeing just how well the other girls from my USA trip train! Either way, I am happy for the boost, because my training was becoming “samey” if that’s a word LOL, now it is more fun again. In fact, maybe because it’s more fun I am putting more effort in, which also helps.
For years I believed the key to achieving your dream body composition was getting the diet right, which is maybe still “technically true” as I have got mine right, for me. However I don’t think we need to be as strict or as hard on ourselves over our diet from a weight loss stand point. Maybe from a health point of view, YES, but in relation to someone who doesn’t train and who has “tried all the diets”, then maybe it’s time to change the approach! Instead of focusing on diet and thinking about food all day long, then don’t change your diet yet, go and start training! And by training, I mean resistance training with some high intensity cardio or conditioning. If you go from not training and remaining over-weight, to only adding in the training, the extra activity alone will let you see changes in your body composition. THEN, start to think about how you can make things better and eat healthier or cut down on your treats. You will be in a better state (mentally and physically) to be able to assess what changes to your diet you can happily live with. Besides, the things you may not want to give up now may actually change with time. So give yourself that time. If it’s too stressful to give up your weekend take-away now, then don’t. Down the line you may cut it down to once a fortnight, then once a month etc.
If you keep up your training and you fall off the diet wagon, then the repercussions won’t be as severe. You will at least have more muscle and a higher metabolism to cope with the extra calories for a while longer. We hear all the time about dieters gaining back the “weight” (which is fat). Well I think that weight training will go a long way to preventing or at least reducing this. Just my thoughts. If I was to stop weight training, and eating the way I do, I have no doubt that I would eventually start to get fatter again. However if I still weight train and eat more, I gain a bit of weight, but it’s muscle! Better to gain muscle than fat, right?!
My point is that there is no magic diet or approach to looking a certain way. Although personally I think that Intermittent Fasting has a lot of great positives, even just from the flexibility point of view. Nia Shanks wrote a great post which compares different IF methods so, check it out for further information HERE.
I do strongly believe that resistance training is the key to getting your body composition to where you want it. If it’s just to be healthier, to look better or whatever the reason then lift some weights with a view to progress! Key point here: you don’t want to lift the same weight forever, you need to build up your strength and muscle to provide constant challenges for your muscles and your mind.
Boy can I go off on a tangent LOL!! I started talking about how I look leaner and it turned into advice for people wanting to lose fat! Haha! Anyway, I think the overall point is the Lifting Weight = Better Body! For me and for anyone else. Training first, then look at your diet.
I will probably get a bit of backlash from people in the nutrition industry for saying this as it looks like I am saying ignore them. But I am not meaning NEVER assess your diet. What I am saying, in a roundabout way, is let your diet evolve around your life, don’t revolve your life around your diet. Does that make sense?
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE remember that this is just my opinion (although I have been influenced by a lot of articles by experts in the fitness and nutrition worlds). Also remember that I am not perfect nor will I ever be and, I am not a nutritionist… CLEARLY All I am doing is telling you my experience and hope that you will see how being more relaxed about what you eat, at what time, and how often etc will go a long way to helping you be happy in your own skin. Stress breeds stress which breeds FAT, and do we really need any more of it?!
That’s all I have to say really. I hope I didn’t ramble too much. Let me know if any of you agree or disagree with what I am saying. No point in just reading this and not having an opinion. Coz I know you all do and you are just itching to have your say
Oh before I go I want to mention the “Donate” button that I have now posted in the side bar. I have had a lot of issues (guilt) with even posting this, but I have decided to go ahead. This is 100% optional and I remain grateful to everyone who does read and support my blog. If you feel you want to support the site further in this way, then I will view each gift/donation as investment by you into a continued service and resource. My only hope is that I can make the site better for everyone! What I have written in the side bar is my nervous humour about asking for “donations” because I hate that word in this context. I hope you know I view it as your support and thanks.
All the best for now.