So as I sit here in front of a glass (bottle) of Asti and a bowl of beef stir fry I thought what better topic to talk about for my next post – BALANCE. And I don’t mean the extreme skill of walking in your heels after a crazy night out and one too many Tequilas kind of balance. I’m talking about life as a whole – food, exercise, everything in moderation. Too little of some things can be a bad thing and too much of others can also not be great so it’s all about finding that happy medium.
In particular I want to talk about food. So many people will start a journey into health in fitness with the belief that it’s all about chicken and lettuce leaves, and in some cases it can be along those lines, but only for those committed to achieving a particular goal. For example, people competing in IFBB – International Federation of Body Building - with the overall goal of winning or placing in their category based purely on their aesthetics. For the majority of us that just want to be fit and healthy and feel good and don’t want to get on a stage in front of hundreds of people in a teeny weeny bikini & high heels rocking the Ronseal tan that really isn’t the case.
The word ‘diet’ is defined as a person’s nutrition as a whole, everyone has a diet. It’s not ‘crash diets’, ‘juice diets’ or ‘sub 1000 calories’ – all of which are not maintainable and are not healthy. A person’s diet shouldn’t be determined as something restrictive, instead it should be determined by intuitive eating – the process of making food choices without feeling guilty and seeing eating food as a pleasure, not a punishment. So basically if you want to eat that Ben & Jerry’s, you eat that Ben & Jerry’s and you enjoy it!
Of course I’m not recommending people have a generally bad diet across the board and eat B&J’s every day of the week but the treats are definitely allowed and I 100% encourage them. For a healthy lifestyle the common saying is 80/20. Eat wholesome, nutritious foods 80% of the time and indulge in those naughty snacks the other 20%. Obviously for those with particular goals such as athletes or bikini competitors this won’t be the case as their goals will take serious commitment and sacrifices but for the majority of us it’s a case of fuelling the body with the good stuff most of the time but allowing those treats when you fancy them to keep you sane if nothing else.
At the beginning of this year I started religiously tracking my food. I was ‘bulking’ from January to May and then ‘cut’ from June to September. During the ‘cutting’ period where I was in a calorie deficit with the aim of losing some body fat and tightening everything up, I became a little obsessed with what I ate and didn’t allow myself many of the treats I craved. I found alternatives for a lot of things, for example I’d eat a dark chocolate protein bar instead of a Snickers (Snickers are life) but the seriously naughty stuff I steered clear of and felt I’d really deprived myself of what I wanted and if I’m honest I wasn’t particularly happy – despite the fact I’d wake up with abs every day. Food over abs all day erry day!
I’m now back in a ‘bulking’ period – calorie surplus – and I’m loving having a few extra treats here and there, it really doesn’t have to be all salad and veg. Sometimes I’ll have a huge blow out and eat everything I crave (never go food shopping when you’re hungry) and yes I’ll enjoy it while I’m eating it but I always know if I’ve overindulged and when my body needs a break from the crap so just remember, everything in moderation. Listen to your body and learn to get to know what it wants and needs. Look at food as a friend, not the enemy and enjoy everything you eat, especially Ben & Jerry’s…