You might have noticed that I didn’t post yesterday as usual (or not – is anyone taking that much notice of my posting schedule, anyway?!). In the 18 months I’ve been blogging I have almost always kept up a regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday posting routine.
However, in the last couple of months, it has become increasingly difficult to do this. As I’ve said many times before, I never set out to be a traditional blogger. I have always tried to keep my blog informative and useful, and never just a recap of my daily life. I want to ensure that every single time I post is for a good reason.
So I have to be honest with you. Since late last year, I’ve been losing my blogging mojo. For the first time, I had to think hard about what to post. Instead of being something I enjoy, I was now starting to resent the fact I had to write a post.
My life is pretty hectic and blogging was only adding to my stress levels. In an average week, I do 20-25 hours of gym manager work, 10-12 hours of in-person personal training, 4-5 hours of in-person nutritional coaching and around 10-15 hours of programming for my online clients. Writing quality blog posts adds another few hours to my weekly workload and takes away from time I need to relax and destress.
In order for me to work on my goals for 2013, I need to take a step back from blogging. I can’t ever imagine shutting down my blog completely so don’t worry – I’m not going anywhere. However, at least for the short term, I will be cutting back to posting twice per week. I promise to always keep the quality of my posts high and never just post for the sake of posting. As always, I’m happy to take post requests so please let me know in the comments if there’s anything you would like me to write about.
Moving on… Today I thought I would talk about how I made the shift to an intuitive eating approach.
Before I started weight lifting, I was afraid to eat. I survived on very few carbohydrates and very small portion sizes. Even when I was hungry, I would eat the smallest snack possible to ensure I didn’t gain weight.
This approach did not work mentally or physically. By clocking in at barely 1200 calories per day, my body was in starvation mode. Almost every day I would crack and want to binge on ice cream or chocolate.
When I began strength training, I shifted to a bodybuilding style of eating with 6-7 small meals a day. My carbohydrate intake increased, but it was still below what I now consider to be a healthy level. I became obsessed with eating every 2-3 hours. I thought the world would end if I missed a meal. It was a constant headache to know that I could never leave the house without a tupperware container in tow.
Again, I struggled with the all-or-nothing mentality. As I was eating more food overall, my cravings reduced during the week. I had no problems ‘eating clean’ Monday to Friday, but when the weekend hit I struggled a lot with cheat meals turning into cheat days. I would follow my diet to the letter but would reverse all my progress by eating all my 0ff-limits foods on the weekend. I was going nowhere.
It was when I told myself that no foods were off-limits anymore that I began to heal my relationship with food. Instead of saving my treats until the weekend, I told myself I would indulge whenever I had a craving. I wasn’t afraid to have a bar of chocolate on a Tuesday or a burger on a Thursday, and I broke the pattern of eating until I was stuffed on the weekend. Obviously, I didn’t eat crap every single day, but I had reached a point where I trusted myself to make the right decision between what tasted good (but left me feeling like crap) and what was good for my body (and which often tasted good!).
Since I began following a Paleo-style way of eating, I cut back to 3-4 meals per day. This style of eating has taught me SO much about my body.
Previously, I rarely felt hungry and just ate because the clock told me to. Now I only eat when I’m hungry, and that means that some days I only eat twice. I’m eating decent size meals again and I always feel satisfied after eating. If I know I’m leaving the house for five hours, I don’t worry about what snacks to pack to fuel me on the road.
Most tellingly, my cravings have all but disappeared. Because I’m only eating 3-4 times per day, I crave whole foods. Yes, I still love my chocolate, but I don’t crave it every day anymore. I’ve learnt to listen to my body, and it tells me loud and clear how it feels when I eat too much processed food.
After years of experimentation, I’ve never felt so happy when it comes to food. I have made real progress but it didn’t happen overnight. I had to learn to shut out the outside sources telling me what to eat and when, and just focus on my own body and my own reactions.
It’s funny when you try to explain the concept of intuitive eating to someone. Most responses are somewhere along the lines of, “what, you eat like a normal person?” It never fails to make me laugh. Bodybuilding (and reading blogs) can mess up your idea of what is normal – which is really as simple as eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full.
What style of eating do you follow?