"I went from big boned to a small person, and that's something I never thought was possible".
My dieting history is a long one, if it wasn't fad diets it was rigidly trying to eat as 'clean' as possible that would consume my every thought process when it came to eating. Some of my old ways included eating what I thought was beyond healthy from Monday to Saturday; on one hand I could list my staples:
- White fish
- Eggs (mainly whites)
- Sweet potato
These staples were my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for as long as I could remember. 6 days a week, on the 7th I had zero control and zero regrets because I felt deserving of a blow out day. Needless to say on a calories in calories out basis it just wasn't cutting it and I wasn't getting results. Between the caloric density of clean food putting my intake 6 days a week much higher than I would have realised, the extra cheat day/blow out was just all in all putting me at maintenance and even some weeks gaining weight.
There was a point where this just became beyond the point of frustrating. Deciding that education was the only breakthrough I resorted to what I felt when pairing the body with nutrition would give an indisputable answer and that was science. The studies, the content, it was all mind-blowing. A stand out article being the Twinkie diet. The Twinkie diet is not at all a demonstration of what you should do to lose fat, however it's an extreme example of how calories in vs calories out will always trump food quality.
Beyond the studies and the materials that I just couldn't fault, not to mention being educated by some of the brightest most scientifically savvy, experienced individuals I could have asked for to relay the 'light' it was the proof in the pudding that stumped me. Week 1, eating over 2000 calories a day, consuming foods I hadn't touched on a day that wasn't Sunday for years, week one: down 2+kgs.
Flexible dieting took me from weighing in my 70's to 50's which for me I truly thought it wouldn't be possible. As I stood on the scales in week one I thought my first week of practising this indisputable science would result in fat gain. I just always had this perception that I was different and a body transformation and the way it worked for everyone else just wasn't applicable nor would work for me.
What I realised was I was human just like everyone else, I was no exception to the rule.
Flexible dieting gave me life. I mean that in the most truthful and deep way possible. It not only gave me parts and elements of life back that I once couldn't enjoy it also transformed me physically into a size and body shape that no longer holds me back or dictates my life.
The key changes:
Enjoying the foods I loved
This was one benefit that I would say I underestimated its domino effect of positives that came from having foods I loved again. When I was clean eating I thought I was invincible and didn’t need particular foods when in actual fact having a treat every day or even just knowing I could really better my relationship with food. I also was able to enjoy rather than dread each meal and even small things like having sauces again, or bread with eggs etc just made giving my body nourishing foods (which I still do love) just all the more enjoyable. I do think that food is fuel and some meals are just that when you don’t really care to sit down and savour the moment but when you do want to enjoy food it's nice to know that it's possible rather than force-feeding yourself chicken and broccoli unnecessarily.
Being social again
I don’t think I ever felt more isolated than when I was clean eating. To avoid the anxiety of not knowing what to eat, the embarrassment of not eating or the temptation of going off track I just wouldn’t socialise or dine out. If I had a cheat meal it was always out of control so I preferred to have it alone or with my partner or best friend who just got it. Being able to dine out and socialise once again not only gave me life but also transitioned me back into a lifestyle of normality and sustainability.
The benefits of seeing results are twofold. Firstly, it’s a morale booster and justification of your efforts and method. On the other hand it’s getting you one step closer to the end goal, results and progress is necessary or else what’s the point? For a long while when clean eating nothing was happening for me. My weight would go up or stay the same, I didn’t understand, it was frustrating and it made me crazy.
Seeing results was inevitable with the science-based approach of flexible dieting, there were weeks where with hormones (periods mainly), not enough water, change in activity, not being as diligent as I could have etc that there wasn’t much, if any, changes but in the same breath I was invested in the method and knew it worked so it was a given that I was going to keep going. When you know what works, don’t give up on it, it’s a process and WILL happen in due course.
Being in control
If someone told me years and years ago that I would be able to have just ONE treat size Cadbury Dairy Milk bar or just ONE scoop of ice-cream I wouldn’t have believed them. What flexible dieting gave me was control and empowerment when it came to food. Not only having calorie awareness which definitely does make you more aware and conscious but also having the flexibility to incorporate anything within your macros it removes restriction and the mentality that ‘it’s now or never - all or nothing’ that comes with that. It teaches you to gain control and rely on intuition and hunger cues more rather than following a strict eating regime.
On the note of the above it sets boundaries as to portion size, what actually constitutes ‘enough’ and when something is best left kept for another day as you’ve had enough that day. With a knowledge of the intake your body needs to survive, needs for fat loss, and what will cause fat gain it invaluably gives you guidelines as to limitations and what would amount to above and beyond those.
Your perspective changes from wanting quick results through a method that feels like a ticking time bomb and won’t last to understanding that with flexible dieting it’s a practice that could take you through life. It definitely provides sound and valuable tools for later life intuitive eating and changes the mentality that a diet should start and stop and take you through phases of strict and restricted to then going nuts and enjoying yourself and perhaps gaining all the weight back.
Energy and health benefits:
I remember getting a blood test done when I was clean eating and thinking I was going to blow the doctor away with my results eating as though I was the epitome of good health. I got the shock of my life when the results came in and hormonally and all the elements tested in my bloods were just out of whack. I had low iron, extremely high cholesterol, vitamin deficiencies (even though I’d have about 1 serve of vegetables a day), fatty organs and a bunch of other woes that stumped me. Even though I was eating such nutritious food, numerally I was all over the shop. It made sense because my energy levels were so low, I was always so sleepy and fatigued. Flexible dieting changed that not only health-wise in balancing everything (including my temperamental skin - I never got breakouts again!) but also improved my energy levels by 100%.
Being naked isn't scary, nor is the beach:
I am just like any other girl, I have days where I don’t like my body and days when my period is due and I look 5 months pregnant and days where I just feel squishy. It’s human nature to always see areas that you can improve. I don’t think people who transform their body ever feel fully ‘done’ but in saying that, I can put whatever clothes I want on and walk out the door, I no longer need to change 50 times or make an excuse as to why I can’t go out. Being naked isn’t scary and either is going to the beach, changing my body with flexible dieting has given me life.
How to make the change, where to start… Getting a coach!
For me, this is where it started in conjunction with getting educated. There’s only so much that online calculators and generic calculations can give. I remember finding my ideal calories from a few sources and getting a range of different responses and it was far less than what I was professionally put on in my first week which resulted in a huge weight loss. So ideally you want to be eating as much as possible and losing the most optimum amount of weight possible and the right professional can get that right as opposed to a generic calculation.
From there, when I first began I didn’t even know what to do with my intake, do I keep it the same? Should I increase? Should I decrease? You’re not supposed to have a coach forever and ever but while you’re goal chasing I truly believe you need the strategic guidance and for me personally, I had come from a poor relationship with food so I needed the accountability. What I think you can get from coaching which is invaluable is:
- A strategy that comes from experience and knowledge
- Demonstration of how to make your social life fit into your fat loss goals
- Support - it’s nice to have a cheerleader
- Accountability - because everyone feels every once in awhile like they could deviate
My journey and success is one of many that comes from flexible dieting. It changed my life and it can change yours too.
The girl who got thin enjoying foods she loved xx