A few months ago, I realised that my weight had crept up again. Now I don’t like relying only on the scales but it wasn’t just that, it was also how my clothes felt and – how I felt. Of course, I certainly wasn’t fat but I was just feeling a bit more uncomfortable in my own skin. I’d been on holiday in Australia; enjoying food and drink and not watching anything that was going into my mouth so it wasn’t a surprise. However, I’d come back and had really started to watch my nutrition and I’d upped my workouts – so that I felt exhausted every single time at the gym. It wasn’t making a difference at all.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience before? It’s so frustrating, you spend weeks really making a concerted effort and the results just aren’t coming. It’s enough for anyone to throw the towel in and give up.
And then the unthinkable happened.
The doctor told me I had to have a mole removed and I wouldn’t be able to train for 4 weeks. What??? That was certainly going to ruin my plans of getting rid of those stubborn kilos. However, in hindsight, maybe this was actually the best thing that happened to me. During the next four weeks some interesting things happened and really taught me a couple of invaluable lessons.
Before I had found this out, I’d signed up to a macro coaching program. The program helped me figure out my idea macro nutrients for my goals taking into account my lifestyle. At first I thought, what a waste of time because I couldn’t exercise. Then I decided to continue with it to help me not put any more weight on. They adjusted my calories to take into account my exercise would be less. They reminded me that I could still walk and to keep my steps up. So instead of doing an hour of grueling training, I made sure I did a good 6km + walk. This ensured my steps were between 10,000 and 15,000 a day. I hadn’t walked this much since my kids were babies and I’d walk them tirelessly to get them to sleep.
Focusing on nutrition
Focusing on the macro nutrients I was eating was really interesting. I started eating more carbs than I had been. I also was ensuring they were of good quality. They gave me some easy and quick recipes, which was perfect for me as I really am not a good cook, nor do I enjoy it. I was encouraged to prepare them in advance. The whole time, I was satisfied, enjoyed the meals and being prepared allowed me to keep to the plan and made life easier.
Increasing my steps
Every day, I would go for a walk from about 6-8kms. I’ve been learning Danish. It was a wonderful opportunity to put my ear pods in and listen to a Danish podcast (killing two birds with one stone). Over the next few weeks, I actually lost the weight that had crept on and more. I felt better in myself, my body wasn’t exhausted as it had been (and my Danish had got better). What these weeks showed me was that I’d actually been stressing my body with workouts that had been too intense. Now I love an intense workout, don’t get me wrong. It’s as good for the mind as it is the body. What I realised was that I’d been doing too many intense workouts. Dropping the intensity actually stopped stressing my body, which in turn helped my body to let go of the weight.
You can’t out-train a bad diet
I’m sure you have head this saying and it’s 100% true. In that 4 weeks, I had focused on putting the right split of macro nutrients into my body. I’d also reduced my alcohol intake considerably. Not drinking alcohol, also helped my mental state so two positives came from it. This really showed me that nutrition needs to come first. Focus on this and the rest will follow.
In the beginning I was very careful, weighing everything and not going out so I had control over what I put in my mouth. As I got further into the programme, I used what I had learnt. I started going out to restaurants and made the best choices as possible, with the new knowledge I had. Life is to be enjoyed, so I wanted to find a way I could incorporate what I had learnt. I wanted to find a healthy balance. Isn’t that what most of us are striving for – where we can enjoy life and still be the best version of ourselves.
So, for those of you who are beating yourselves in the gym and not seeing the results you want, maybe it’s time to take a step back and see if you’re focusing on the right things. Make sure you’re giving your body some self love! Eat the right nutrients, get moving but don’t necessarily bash your body and mentally give yourself a break!