A few years ago I weighed in at a shocking 16st 10lbs. I was a smoker, with a sedantry job and did little or no exercise. I had chronic lower back pain and had the 'pleasure' of slipping a disc at the age of 24 that I ended up having surgery for. My BMI was 30 and I was on the verge of being classed as 'obese'.
There aren't many photos of me around that time as I felt so uncomfortable with what I was becoming but whilst I had the desire to make some changes, the prospect of making the changes I needed to make made me feel even more uncomfortable so I did nothing about it. It wasn't until I started to struggle to walk up a single flight of stairs that I realised that not only was I digging myself an early grave but I also was creating a life that would put me in a great deal of discomfort whilst I was around.
Life was pretty tough back then and whilst I've made huge shifts in body and mind over the past few years I still have personal battles from time to time. As a Personal Trainer I'm often expected to be some kind of a bastion of virtue who will never falter from the 'health-living' life. In the past few months I've started to increase my level of running as I trained for the Barcelona Marathon and pushed onward to the rest of the year when I head to America for the Western States Endurance Run.
The problem is that I'm struggling with my diet. The volume I'm eating right now is scary, it's constant and it's becoming an issue. Having a plant-based diet certainly brings it's own unique challenges in terms of finding satisfaction with food but in the past couple of months I've started to build bad habits that have started to affect my body shape and my performance.
When you're running close to 80 miles a week but I'm putting weight on, I know that I haven't got my diet dialled in right! I find myself thinking about food almost constantly. When I'm eating dinner I'm thinking about what I'm going to have after dinner. Sometimes I go out for a run just because it 'justifies' going down to Tesco and buying myself the biggest bag of crisps I can find (or two) and gorging myself on them.
I feel the urge to eat and eat and eat until I literally can't fit anything else in. I do this on almost daily basis. This isn't mindless eating as such, I'm very aware I'm doing it, but it's mindless as the reason I'm doing it is through boredom. I'm conscious that eating isn't doing anything to fulfill that boredom!
So why am I telling you this? Because I want to help you understand that sometimes it's really bloody difficult to stay 100% focussed on what you're goal is. You're going to have good days and bad days, hell you're going to have good weeks and bad weeks, but when the rough times come you have to be strong enough to give yourself a break.
Now I've recognised my problem it's time to draw a line in the sand and to make some changes.
Here's what I'm doing/have done so far:
Tell you what's going on so I can release the pressure and stress of trying to hide my biggest problem. I know I can rely on the support of others to get me through this.
Try to dig into my head a bit more and understand why I'm eating beyond the point of necessity
Create a meal plan for the week
Start tracking exactly what I'm eating - this not only supports the meal plan but also makes me more aware of the extras I'm eating
Highlight the problem times and put strategies in place to stop myself eating more at those times. This could be as simple as making a hot drink rather than grabbing a handful of seeds & nuts,
Allow myself a 'treat' just once a week where I have a little of what I really want.
Over the next few weeks I'm going to keep you posted on how I'm getting on. With food as with any healthy habit I truly believe that it's 99% in your mind and that you need to win the battle that goes on up there if you're going to make strong and consistent habits that will benefit you in the future.
Do you find yourself with any particular struggle at the moment? Drop me a mail and let's chat about putting strategies in place that will help you: firstname.lastname@example.org