It is the New Year. I am sure you are aware of this, as it is everything anyone seems to be talking about: #2016 #TheYearIAmGoingToGetFitAndHealthy. We are only six days into the New Year and I have already seen nearly a hundred posts saying everyone should go for a jog right now or stop eating pasta forever before we are too far into the year.
Oops, it’s nearly February. Well, it’s too late to start now. I’ll try again next year.
These posts are also the very reason I have not posted anything on the blog for the past 2 weeks. It is not because I did not have anything to post or say, I always do, but I just kept wondering: do you really need another health blogger reminding you you should hit the gym and drink protein shakes just a bit more frequently than you did in 2015? Over Christmas and New Year I realised how important it was to take a step back from constantly reading and thinking about nutrition and sports. Although they are two very important aspects of my life, that I am (obviously) very passionate about, I easily get too caught up in them and forget that there are other things out there that deserve my attention.
This is why I thought my first post of the New Year would have to be about something I am going to live by this year, something that is going to keep me sane.
Just like eating chocolate and pasta, eating clean and working out should be done in moderation.
Do not get me wrong, I am not suddenly going to stop posting recipes, eating healthily or working out. No no, I would turn into a very unpleasant person to be around. However, I am going to lessen the amount of attention and time I dedicate to these things in my daily life (you know, the one that is not always in my posts). I want to continue learning and trying out new things, without this lifestyle becoming something that is constantly on my mind.
These past three weeks, I only worked out about five times (including skiing), which to the ‘regular me’ is not a lot. Food-wise, I did not track any calories, I did not write down what I ate every day and I ate until I was full. Funnily enough, I did not end up going crazy and eating huge portions; I tried out portion control instead. This might seem silly to some of you, but I do not find it easy at all to know when I have had enough to eat. For the first time in a long while, I knew, I felt it. By allowing myself to eat whatever I wanted (I still do not eat any meat, fish or eggs and only very little dairy products), I finally went back to the relationship I used to have with food: it was secondary. Food was no longer something I thought about or worried about all the time. Now, it might seem that I went from obsessing with tracking calories and marco’s to living like any other ‘normal’ person, but that is not entirely true. I thought about food for a big part of my day because to me this also meant trying to come up with new recipes, worrying about whether or not they were healthy enough or if they would look in photos.
As with anything we love to do, it can easily start dominating our lives to the point where the only thing to do from time to time is take a complete break. It is not the greatest way to cope with it, but it works temporarily and might make us change our ways for the better. That is what happened during these past couple of weeks. I no longer feel like I have let myself down by not posting a photo of the food I had that day. I no longer feel guilty after eating a big portion at a certain meal because I know that my body will remember and automatically compensate by making me less hungry for the next meal.
As I have previously mentioned in my post on mindful eating, our bodies are the best indicators of how we feel after eating certain types or amounts of food. Therefore, they should be our primary indicators for knowing what, when and how much to eat. Now, you might tell me you do not feel too bad after eating some chocolate from time to time, and that is probably true because your body will know how to process small amounts of it (moderation, remember?). However, if your diet is low in vitamins and minerals and consists mostly of fatty foods (cheese and milk) and simple carbohydrates (biscuits, white pasta and bread), be honest with yourself and let yourself know how your body really feels. I do not come across many people who eat like this and feel like their food is making them feel fully energised. Eventually, everyone realises (one way or another) that our bodies cannot feed off such foods forever without starting to feel like they are lacking in energy, getting sick or experiencing other ‘symptoms’ such as acne, weight gain, weak nails etc.
The same goes for working out. If you are someone who thinks that by missing a week of workouts every 6 months or even missing two workouts every 2 weeks you are completely disrupting all of your progress, you need to take a minute and listen up. I promise you that, if your body tells you you are tired or your mind tells you the last thing it needs right now is the stress of a workout, sitting that one out is the right thing to do. If the next four days you feel the exact same way (as long as this doesn’t happen every week) it is OK to sit them out, too, until your body tells you it can no longer sit still and needs a good workout.
I am saying this assuming that you know what it is like to become a bit obsessive when it comes to fitness and health, whether this be all the time or from time to time. I have met many people who seemingly, on Instagram or Youtube, live a very balanced and healthy lifestyle but in reality are overwhelmed by the huge amounts of (mostly false or exaggerated) information on weight-loss, healthy living and fitness that is out there. There really is not much anyone can do for them (I know this because I have experienced it) as they are the ones who need the time to realise that life really is not all about low body fat percentages and kale smoothies.
-Nope, it really isn’t!
In fact, in most cases, these really are not the best indicators of good health.
I hope that by reading this post some of you may recognise yourselves and start the year off with these, slightly different, ‘New Year’s Resolutions’:
- Listen to your body.
- Have FUN (Yes, workouts are fun, but there’s tons other things you can do to stay healthy and sane).
- Do not be too hard on yourself and give your body and mind a break from time to time. You deserve it!