I have struggled with my weight since I can remember. Even though I was never obese I always felt ‘bigger’ compared to my friends, teammates and colleagues. I have always been self conscious of my weight and struggled with food and felt as though I was always trying to lose weight. Being in the personal training industry makes it even harder to ‘accept’ your body as personal trainers are judged on the way they look. I am walking advertisement for my business so it is so important to look the part right? I always put a lot of pressure on myself to look my best and this caused me to become obsessed with food and exercise (sadly, not in a healthy way).
Long story short, in the last couple of years I have been doing a lot of work internally figuring out what I want, who I am and what my purpose in life is. The past few months I have turned a corner with regards to accepting my body and learning to be happy even though I’m not perfect! I could go on and on about this journey but I’ll save that for later 😛
Here is a list of ‘things’ that have been responsible for the recent change in my mindset…and helped me lose weight!
1-In March, I signed up and started my Precision Nutrition certification program. As soon as I got my textbook in the mail I was reading for at least an hour a day. I completed the entire textbook in just over 2 weeks as I was sooooo interested in what I was reading! The information was a review of what I learned in university but what I really enjoyed about this program was the 2nd part which is all about nutritional coaching. The first of the 5 habits that they emphasize “Eat slowly and stop when you are 80% full” was the best tip and made me realize that I wasn’t a mindful eater! I used to always eat in a rush, be doing work, catching up on texts, talking with friends, etc and before I knew it my food was gone and I always ate wayyy too much. Even though I have always ate healthy, I was still eating too much. Practicing this habit has made a huge difference in my digestion, the volume of food I eat and my overall body composition. Such a simple concept but one I was not practicing! This program was the was the push I needed and I knew that before I would get my clients to follow the program I had to try it myself! 🙂
2-If you follow my Get Fit with Les Facebook page you’ll notice I am sharing a lot of posts and articles from JillFit Physiques. I randomly came across this article while I was scrolling through my news feed one day and it really opened my eyes…I felt as though this article was written for me! My food obsession stopped immediately after I read this…..http://jillfit.com/2014/03/04/obsession/
3- I also started reading a variety of books on happiness, personal freedom, achieving your best self, and fitness and nutrition…some were recommended reads from the Precision Nutrition program and JillFit and others were books I had been intending to read for awhile but never made time! Now there is a difference between reading self-help books and actually applying what you read in them…so I am slowly starting to make small changes to my everyday life using what I have learned in the books I have read 🙂
4- I have an online coach who designs a 6 day split workout for me and I am accountable to her every 2 weeks. I set monthly goals and send her my progress report every 2 weeks. Some days I didn’t feel like working out, but I went no matter what. Even if it wasn’t the ‘best’ workout, I still got it done! Also, my program is mostly strength training with only 20-25 minutes of cardio post workout 3-4 days week. In the past I thought that doing hours of cardio was the only way to lose weight….not true at all! I truly believe in the power of having a personal trainer, yep I said it! People with personal trainers get results 80% faster than doing it on their own. And why do you ask? Accountability!
5- I started to eat mindfully (thank you Precision Nutrition and a book called “The Power of Less”. Everytime it was meal time, I would sit down, take my time, chewed more, turned off all distractions, ate until 80% full, and then waited until I was hungry to eat my next meal instead of being on a strict schedule of eating every 3 hours…this has made a huge difference! I actually enjoy my food (the taste, textures, freshness, flavours) instead of just eating for the sake of eating!
6- Food prep a couple of times a week and making frequent trips to the grocery store. This is never a problem for me but I continue to have food prepared in advance. My diet consists of lean mostly protein, veggies, healthy fats, carbs post workout and 1 or 2 higher carb days/week.
7-I would say yes to a night out with friends, eat a nice dinner and not feel bad about it! I didn’t plan any “cheat’ meals (no do I call it that anymore as I used to feel guilty while eating it and would usually end up eating more than I should) but I do have a treat a few times a week. Nothing excessive though! I went out for dinner a few times the past couple of months (I used to say no all the time) when invited and never felt bad about what I ate. Even when I went home for Easter I ate my mom’s delicious home cooked meals, dessert and a few chocolates. I just made sure not to stuff myself like I used to as I remembered to eat slowly!
8- I have a mantra/daily reminder…Self Trust. Self Compassion. Self Love.
9- I gave myself a realistic goal…and gave myself 8 weeks of solid effort to see results….and no I didn’t weigh myself everyday but instead every 2 weeks as that gives your body enough time to adjust. I also did measurements and had a friend take photos.
10- I made sleep a priority! I got at least 6 hours of quality sleep per night, getting up at 5 am makes this difficult but I made sure to be in bed 1030pm at the latest…of course making time to say goodnight to my love on the phone every night 😉
11- Surrounded myself with positive people….Lots of healthy hangouts with friends, meeting up for tea or a good chat on the phone!
So while it has been quite a journey, but with a focused effort on being healthier (mind/body/soul), and the more I focus on being present in everything I do, I am so much happier!! It is a process, full of ups and downs, backtracking, starting over, etc it is SO WORTH IT! And yes, not everyone gets there right away nor has the same level of motivation, or knowledge when it comes to fitness and nutrition but I feel that I was born to help inspire and teach people to love themselves for who they are instead of striving for perfection and the ‘all or nothing’ mindset. Being healthy does not mean having abs, eating chicken and veggies, post gym selfies, doing hours of cardio and not having any fun….being healthy (to me) is a holistic concept….healthy body, healthy mind, healthy soul…it is more than just following a strict diet and spending hours in the gym!
Here is a recent post from JillFit to finish today’s blog….
Important reminder: “relaxing” into your eating doesn’t mean you eat with abandon. Besides, that’s anything but relaxing!
Relaxing your mindset means giving up the neurosis that comes with obsessively following every single diet rule and instead, trusting YOURSELF to simply do your best, in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
When you spend time honing your mindset, the urge to binge lessens because you never reach complete deprivation.
The ideal balance is this: never completely depriving yourself and never eating everything you want either.
THIS TAKES PRACTICE. It took me 3 years! The first step: not holding yourself to the standard of “perfect” eating. Not on Mondays. Not today. Not any day.
When I don’t have to be perfect, I’m free to stay mindful of my choices instead–I can relax into the *process*. I can navigate my sensations (hunger, cravings, energy) rather than eating according to a clock simply because someone told me I’m supposed to eat every 3 hours to lose fat. No.
Question the rules. Ask what will actually work for YOU long term. And most importantly: remember, the more strict the approach, the bigger the binge later.
I completely agree with her!! It took me 5 years!! As you can see it is quite a lot of effort but it doesn’t have to be perfect or extreme! One of the mistakes I used to make in the past was “starting Monday I will……..and my life was so focused on the gym, cooking, eating, and I made no time for fun! I was completely out of balance and always ended of breaking my ‘perfect’ plan after a week of following it. Instead I have learned to have balance in my life…and it has made a world of difference!
So stop counting calories, following the latest diet craze, striving for the perfect body, dragging yourself to the gym because you feel like you have to and instead, slow down and enjoy eating whole foods, work out because you love the way it makes you feel (not because you hate your body), learn to love your body the way God made it and surround yourself with other like minded, positive and healthy people.