2019 – The Year Of Eating Like An Adult.
Losing body fat. The holy grail. The be all and end all of life. The subject of more books, tv shows and new years resolutions than there are stars in the sky. If I were to pick a figure, 80% of clients during an initial consultation will mention weight loss as the results that they’re chasing. Phrases like the ones below echo off the walls of Cutting Edge on the daily.
“I just want to lose a few kilos”
“I want to lose this (grabs love handles)”
“I just want to tone”
“I need to look good by tomorrow for my wedding/engagement/graduation/coronation/trip to mars as one of the first colonists”
It’s not a bad thing to want to feel and look subjectively good, but what we have to ensure is that we are approaching the process in a sustainable way which means we learn how to eat and train along the way. This will ensure we are able to keep our body composition under control in the long term and we don’t just put the bodyfat back on. I should preface this blog by clearly saying – I..am..not..a..dietician. This blog isn’t about giving you guidelines or a meal plan to follow, it’s just sharing my experience and emphasising the fact that consistency, adherence and changing things slowly over time yields good results 10 times out of 10.
Here it goes!
2019 saw me become much more conscious of my own eating and training, and from May – Dec I lost close to 10kg of body fat which had been accumulating since 2011. The process started in February when my fiance and I had our first child, an awesome event that made me reconsider the example I would be setting for my son when he was old enough to register that dad “was a little soft around the edges”. I was also feeling the pressure of practicing what I preach and didn’t want to be the overweight exercise professional that no one takes seriously.
I knew that I had to start small so I began to overhaul my eating meal by meal, eating as many whole foods as I could.
- Started to eat a protein rich breakfast regularly (started as eggs on toast and changed to an overnight oats with protein powder)
- Started to eat 2 protein rich snacks (greek yoghurt and protein bar) and fruit between meals to keep me full and to modulate energy levels.
- Started to prepare basic lunch that wasn’t cheap katsu curry or sushi from up the road (a sandwich or some chicken and rice etc.).
July – October:
- Plugged a general day of eating into My Fitness Pal to see if I was close to my calorie and macronutrient recommendations and adjusted my quantities of food from there.
- Was generally consistent and stuck to the plan 90% of the time until October
Throughout this period it’s worth mentioning I was:
- Resistance training 3x per week, and walking to and from work a few days a week.
- Not being a saint. I had a burger here and there, and I deliberately found a way to fit some chocolate into my plan daily. As long as I was eating the recommended serves of fruit and veg, eating enough protein and it fitted into my calorie total I found a way. This kept me from binging as I was still satisfying my sweet tooth.
- I drank alcohol – I limited this to 2-3 standard drinks a week.
- I approached this whole process by eating much the same thing every day. This is not because I believe this to be the best way to diet, it just worked for me by eliminating choices and the need to track on the fly.
- I was eating a varied dinner, but each dinner for our house is basically structured the same, oodles of veg, 200ish grams of a protein source each and a cup of either rice/pasta etc.
I would say my compliance to the plan was 90+% and this is what resulted in such a rapid change. Taking my time altering my habits was definitely the key for me as I had tried in the past to change EVERYTHING and it just doesn’t work. The mantras that I kept telling myself were that “it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be better than yesterday” and that “any small positive change is moving me in the right direction”. That kept me grounded and allowed me to make changes progressively without wanting to jump in headfirst and failing. Like we said, consistency is key for results.
From October I started to feel more comfortable in my skin and I decided to eat at maintenance until the start of the new year. Christmas was coming up and I didn’t fancy being restrictive when I should be being social. Also…letting your body adjust to the new lower weight and body fat levels sets you up well for future fat loss/muscle gaining phases. I came out on the other side of christmas no fatter or heavier and ready to make more positive changes.
2020 – The Year of Eating like a Bigger Boy
Coming into 2020 the goal is to increase my lean mass, which will require another mental reset as I eat more and slowly regain some of the fat I have lost, the cost of building muscle. This worries me less than it has in the past as I know I’ll be able to drop that body fat again in future, because I’ve done it before 🙂