I'm not a huge fan of dieting or counting calories. You are usually able to keep it up for a few weeks, but then your cravings start and you want to eat the burger, the sandwich, the chocolate and everything else, which isn't included in your diet. Does this sound familiar?
If you follow or know me, you will know that I have always struggled with my weight. After having had my little boy I'm still not back to my pre pregnancy weight. I'm not far off, but I still struggle a bit to fit in my old clothes. And that's ok, I'm on the right track. I just have to be patient and keep training and eating healthy. I could fall back into my old thinking patterns like putting food into the good and bad categories or punish myself to train, because I had something bad to eat. I used to exercise, because I had a chocolate bar and I needed to work it off. I dreaded exercise and didn’t like it. But because I have a sweet tooth and like bad food, I had to exercise. That was my thinking pattern back then all those years ago.
A couple of years ago, I managed to lose over 30kg by doing a very popular online training program. During these 12 weeks I finally managed to enjoy exercise and eating better. The only thing I struggled and to this day I don’t agree with it, is the calorie restriction. You are only allowed to eat XYZ calories a day. Counting calories just didn’t work for me. Also a lot of diets are cutting out certain food groups, eg bread. I have to admit I am a huge bread fan (must be my german heritage), so cutting out bread was almost impossible for me.
I believe that cutting out food groups and counting calories is not sustainable. Who wants to count calories for the rest of their lives or never ever eat chocolate or a piece of cake again or bread? Not me. (Obviously it's different for medical reasons). Restricting yourself of these foods, just makes you crave it more. There is also the danger to categorise food into good or bad foods. Doing this would have had a really bad effect on my mindset, I would put myself down, because I wasn't strong enough to resist that chocolate bar. What's the point in going to the gym now? Or you are going to the gym to punish yourself and because it's punishment you don't see it as a positive thing, so you don't enjoy it. If I don't enjoy something, I eventually stopped doing it. Then you become depressed and frustrated and you keep eating the chocolate bar and then you punish yourself again and so on. The vicious cycle has began. I knew back then when I took part in that challenge, that I didn't want to restrict myself for the rest of my life. I still wanted to enjoy a piece of cake at friends birthdays or my birthday or just because I feel like having a piece of cake. But I would ensure I'm not having it every day. I knew I had to stop the thinking of good and bad foods and see exercising as doing something good for my body and not punishing myself for what I ate. I think we all know that a cake or a muffin isn’t as nutritional as a fruit salad, however it won’t change who we are and one piece of cake won’t affect the way we look or feel.
I also may add in regards to the calorie restrictions, every body is different and so many factors come into play to determine how much calories your body needs in order to function. So just to put out a standard number for everyone doesn’t work as for some it will be too much and for others not enough. If you don't eat enough calories, you won't be able to lose weight as your body is holding on to everything you eat.
Over the years I changed my thinking. Food is no longer categorised into good or bad food. Yes there is food with more and less nutritional value, but eating a chocolate bar doesn’t mean I have to jump on the treadmill for 45mins to make up for the bad food I had or because I had the fruit salad I’ll skip my exercise as I ate good food. I'll exercise, because it's my stress relieve and good for my body.
Obviously I won't have the chocolate bar for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I know it's not the most nutritional food. So I ensure that I eat mostly healthy and less processed as possible.
Exercise and food go hand in hand of course. The better you nourish yourself, the better your body can perform. However if I want to have a donut, I’ll have a donut. I’ll eat it consciously and not just eating it mindlessly while watching TV. I’ll make sure it’s a great tasting donut and I’ll enjoy it and I certainly won't jump on the treadmill to work it off. Remember it's just food.
The food you are eating doesn't define, if you are a good or bad person. It's just food.