Food. I love food.
For a long time, however, I had a pretty unhealthy relationship with food, feeling guilty every time I ate something I deemed as ‘bad’. Since starting weight training, my relationship with food has completely changed. I was worried that when I first starting tracking my macros I would become obsessed and it would lead to some unhealthy habits. On the contrary, tracking my macros has actually made me see that no food is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and you don’t have to not eat things you enjoy to live an healthy lifestyle.
The trick with everything in life is balance. When you’re training your body needs food. By eating regularly you are also helping to regulate your metabolism. I have learn a lot about food since starting training and I thought I would share a couple with you.
Certain foods are not going to make me fat.
A calorie surplus will make you increase weight but that could be from anything. If you’re eating too much fruit and veg and going over your daily calories allowance (whatever that may be) without burning off those calories, you will gain weight. It’s all about moderation and being aware of the foods you are eating. This does not mean avoiding avocado because you read somewhere it makes you fat. It’s also important to note here that fats are your friend! Your body needs fats and so it is important you are getting enough of them in your diet.
Carbs are actually pretty important.
I used to fear carbohydrates but there was really no need. Just like your body needs fat, you also need carbs for energy. I have found that I have not needed to cut out carbs to lose weight and see results, in fact, by eating carbs I have had more energy and allowed for my body to train (and recover) to its full potential. Now, every body is different, and I like to have slightly less carbohydrates on days when I am not training. However, last week I went out for an Italian. Let’s be honest, you can’t avoid carbs in an Italian. So I treated myself. I had a fab meal and didn’t feel guilty. This leads me on to my next lesson…
You don’t have to feel guilty for eating.
With all the negative rhetoric surrounding foods, it is easy to feel guilty for eating a piece of cake – but don’t. Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about the physical but also about the mental. You also need to be happy and content and if having a piece of cake is going to do that, then go for it! I decided when I started training this was not going to be another fad diet but rather, this was going to be a lifestyle. You have to be realistic and there is no way I am going to go my whole life without eating another slice of cake. Accept it and move on.
One ‘unhealthy’ meal won’t make you gain weight (but one ‘healthy’ meal won’t make you lose weight)
You are not going to lose all of your gains if you have a pizza. You are not going to see abs after one salad. It’s about moderation and consistency. Now, I’ll be honest, I gain weight a lot quicker than I lose it but either way it doesn’t happen over night.
My body is unpredictable.
My alarm goes off, I look in the mirror, ‘ooh is that the faint outline of an ab I see?’, I eat one Weetabix… ‘False alarm’.
Bodies do not stay the same weight all day. This is why you should always weigh yourself at the same time every day. So don’t feel downhearted if you’ve worked super hard and aren’t seeing the progress. Over the day my weight fluctuates loads, it’s completely normal!
I can’t train on an empty stomach!
Food = Energy
Energy = Better gym session
Better gym session = Gains
Therefore… Food = Gains.
Now, that’s maths I can get onboard with! It is super important to make sure you’re eating enough when you’re training. It can be tempting to skip a meal to speed up the process but this will be counterproductive in the long run. Accept that it is a process that will not happen over night and give your body what it needs.
Food is good. Food is not the enemy and we need to stop attaching negative connotations to food. Mental progress is just as important as physical. Eat the cake and move on. There’s so much more to life.