2017 for me is the year of lifestyle. There are changes I have created in my everyday life, to help me reach my full potential each day. For the last few years I have struggled with my weight and wellbeing, reflecting on my overall health. After trying every ‘diet’ on the planet I have finally realized how important your mind is at determining your health. I have done my research and continue to read all the information I can about mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Last year I spent 6 weeks in USA & Canada, putting on the kgs with every meal. I was very strict with my diet leading up to my trip (regrettably) as I knew I wanted to splurge like crazy and reward myself while I was away. ‘Splurge’ turned out to be a severe understatement! After just 7 days I noticed changes, to my whole body. However that didn’t stop my temptation and love for donuts and burgers and convincing myself I had earnt it. I felt like someone had taped a bag of sugar to my stomach, and every other limb on my body.
Clothes I took with me weren’t fitting by the end and I needed to buy more. I then realized my body had gone into shock, especially from the drastic change to my diet as I went from being so strict before my trip to a giant 6 week feast. My on and off dieting and crashing schedule had screwed up my metabolism which I now realize could have been a useful tool in preparing for my trip.
I don’t regret my holiday, however it definitely made me more aware of how food alone can really impact your body. I was convinced I needed some sort of ‘teatox’ on my return home but soon realized it wasn’t going to be sustainable. Those 6 weeks were a real wake up call, and I now understand why American’s have such a bad reputation when it comes to anything under the obesity umbrella. When I was away I still tried to have fruit, vegies and salads when I could but I now question what the hell was really in them.
This year the reality has kicked in and now over 6 months since I returned I am approximately 10kgs lighter. Although I do my best to limit any packaged foods, when I do I read the ingredients which sometimes leaves me surprised to find ‘sugar’ listed in some salads and ‘healthy’ marketed products. Educating yourself and being aware is very important as what’s in your trolley can be very misleading.
Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a chore. I used to hate cooking but the more I do the more I love and have gathered a passion for preparing different meals. It can be a lot easier than you think and although it requires determination and preparation, it is achievable even when juggling a busy schedule.
Here are some of my tips to think about when wanting to make some healthy lifestyle changes (not just go on a diet).
- Sustainability – I walked into a health food shop one day and was tempted by a product marked ‘sugar craving spray’. To my surprise even the sales assistant wasn’t keen to sell it to me as his reaction was simply to eat more carbs. Carbs are given a bad rep in terms of weight loss but they are a key element to sustainability of your diet. I am referring to good carbs of course, brown rice, whole meal bread, quinoa etc. To achieve sustainability you also need to listen to your body and your mind, sometimes it isn’t the end of the world to give into your cravings. Especially when participating in regular exercise, you need to make sure you are eating enough to give yourself energy and replenish your nutrients. Allowing regular cheat meals is important to avoid crashing, however if you are committing to a sustainable lifestyle change you will find it easy to recover from those cheat meals, sometimes days or weeks as it is in your natural routine.
- Awareness – Educate yourself on what is really in your food. To start, download a calorie counting app, I like to use my fitness pal. This doesn’t mean you have to adhere to a strict calorie restriction regime if that doesn’t suite you, however it is really helpful especially when starting fresh to help you understand how many calories is actually in your food. It also helps you to understand portion control and serving sizes as some people’s measurements of approximate servings can be very inaccurate. This can also be beneficial to help you realize you can perhaps afford to eat MORE than you are in a day, by following recommendations of what your body type needs.
- Finally, look after your body, it does it’s best to look after you. Get your head in a healthy mind frame and do not be too harsh on yourself. All changes take time, be patient.
The next overseas trip is due in less than 4 months and I know this time my body will be prepared for the splurge, however my mind is now so aware of the effect on my body that I think and hope I will make better choices this time around. I will still be enjoying myself, but will be naturally more aware and in a sustainable routine that will reduce the effect on my body.
On May 1st I will start an 8 week challenge via my F45 Studio in Essendon, which includes 7 day meal plans and tips. My goal is to use this challenge to keep me motivated to sustain the lifestyle I have developed so far this year. Part 2 of this blog will be posted after the challenge to share my results and continue to emphasize the importance of food!
Until next time…
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