Has my search for a healthy body, given me an unhealthy mind?
Take a second to think back to when you first decided to take the plunge into the world of fitness. Everyone around you was hitting the gym and ditching the takeaways, so you decided that you too were ready get your ass into gear! So you head into Penny’s and buy yourself some fab neon gym gear, and off you go! Back then, you had set out with the intention of becoming the healthiest, happiest version of yourself! And somehow today, you find yourself eating more s**t in the evenings and weekends than you did before you started. Your quest for health has led you into this never ending cycle of eating ‘super healthy’ all week, and binging out all weekend. Your quest for physical health - has led to a deterioration of your mental health! Sound familiar? Well then this article might just be what you need, to help turn things back around.
As a personal trainer and lifestyle coach, I speak to girls every day in the gym or online, who voice these concerns saying ‘I'm actually soooo healthy, but for some reason I can’t stay on track on the weekends’, ‘‘ever since I’ve become healthier, I find myself binging out and now have a terrible relationship with food’. ‘I thought fitness would make me happier, but i’m stressed, anxious, and unhappy’. You would be surprised just how many people face these problems, so believe me, you are not alone. And I know exactly how it feels, as I too have been sucked into the horrible cycle of restriction, guilt & binging! But it no longer controls me. Why? - Well, I took the time to understand it, understand what caused it, and understand what steps were needed to take to prevent it! As with any quest for improvement, comes pressure and a possibility of failure - so it's how we deal with these failures that will determine our happiness & success.
Most people start their fitness journey with SO little knowledge of nutrition, training, hormones, or how the body works, etc. They jump in all guns blazing, and usually go about things the wrong way. So, as someone who has studied nutrition, hormones, and this topic in detail, I’m here to give you my two cents.
So, how did we get here?
We start out with the intention of looking & feeling better and as we begin to lose the initial weight, we are so happy to see that our hard work is paying off! To do this we cut down our calories and start moving more - and viola..bye bye love handles!
But of course, as soon as we ‘relax’ or go back to eating ‘normally’, back they come, and the cycle begins.
‘Last time I lost weight, I ate less and moved more - so i'll just do that again’. The addiction to losing weight grows, as do the negative feelings towards gaining weight.
This new desire to constantly look a certain way, and the pressure we put on ourselves to ‘get back to our goal weight’ causes an unhealthy relationship with fitness.
So how can we prevent binges?
1. Don’t Eliminate - Replace.
Yes - eating less will make you lose weight, but what's the point, if we just put it all back on and usually more? Stop eating less, just eat better! (and more!!)
When you cut back on processed foods, excess carbs, sugary snacks - make sure to replace it with lots of veg, protein and fiber. By eating more low calorie, highly nutritious foods such as vegetables, protein, whole grains etc, your body will feel satisfied, fuller and will stop you craving bad foods. The high nutrient content in these foods will promote healthy hormone production - which will de-stress your body, give you more energy and allow your body to work optimally. This allows you to start burning fat from stubborn areas you haven't been able to shift for years!