Since turning the corner from fat to fit, five years ago, I have at times struggled with overwhelming moments of guilt when consuming what society tells us are ‘bad foods’.
Segregating a food or food group as forbidden, naturally enhances its desire. The forbidden fruit complex, or in this case, the forbidden flapjack.
This was always a detail of fad diets such as ‘slimming world’ which perplexed me the most. Labelling food as ‘syns’ only makes my overactive imagination imagine an avocado shaped devil doing a striptease…. and I won’t even go into their unlimited muller light policy!
Speaking from experience, I know the power that giving labels to foods can cause on your overall mental state, and often deprivation of certain foods leads to binging, guilt and over-excessive cardio ‘compensation.’
Since deciding to compete this year, I promised myself I would enjoy the moments in my off season that usually involve foods which might not be ‘clean.’
Now I am not a fan of that term, nor am I of the IIFYM policy. Despite IIFYM working for a lot of people but having a bad relationship with food in the past, means the very idea of glorifying a mars bar, because it ‘fits my macros’ is pretty much giving me a green light to binge.
Instead of ‘squeezing’ bad meals into my plan, or sneaking in a chocolate bar because I had the ‘macros’ left, I have stuck to a routine plan which has helped me stay focused and happy. I have also allowed myself time off the diet for events such as Christmas, my birthday, and this year I shared I even shared a Cadbury’s Easter egg with my boyfriend.
These may seem tiny things to some, but it shows me how much I have turned a corner. Each time I broke off, I felt no guilt, did no cardio binge to compensate, and enjoyed every mouthful. I shared pizza with my friends for the first time in years, had cake with my mum in a coffee shop and had a glass of champagne to toast what I truly believe is going to be a magical year.
Years ago none of these social events would have been possible as the very idea of eating something unhealthy distressed me. I’d go months and months without everything to the point where once I had a ‘bit’ of something, I’d throw myself into a huge binging frenzy and wind up curled up on the bathroom floor trying to purge the guilt away. Despite knowing off plan moments won’t be possible during my diet, I can now enter prep knowing that I never missed out on the memories and moments when I had the chance.
The most destructive mind-set within the health industry, seems to be those who fall into the trap of feeling sorry for themselves. There may be times where it gets tough, where you wish you didn’t have to train or you could just dive head first into a pile of sweets, but the reality is, you could, no one is stopping you! The only thing stopping you from achieving any fitness goal is the wrong mind-set.
No one is making me diet, or prep, or pick broccoli over Battenberg, I make all these decisions because I am happiest when I’m healthy, and when I’m healthy I am confident in all aspects of my life.
I used to get frustrated that I was never one of those girls who could ‘eat whatever they wanted,’ and during my biggest stages I would often say ‘well they can, so why can’t I?!’ The truth is, everyone is different and can handle different amounts of foods and nutrients. I wouldn’t say I am completely there yet, but I am learning each day more and more about my body, and enjoying every second of the journey by surrounding myself with people who will keep me on track, and even share a cinnamon swirl with me in Starbucks ;)