The holy grail and what I imagine most of us strive for, is reaching a place where you’ve hit your body goals but more importantly you intuitively knowing how to easily maintain them. No counting calories, no yo yo-ing, free of emotional eating, no feelings of deprivation or overwhelm. Just balance.
Personally I feel I have reached this place. It’s nice to sit in a space of understanding food. Intuitively eating and fuelling my body with the energy it needs minus the head game. I am not saying that the demons don’t creep in from time to time but for the most part they don’t exist. Aside from recently working back to my pre pregnqncy body, I now typically stay lean year round pretty effortlessly. What I feel is a balanced approach with some wine (a lot) of chocolate and training hard which sometimes needs a mental push but for the majority I love it.
Mind you, it wasn’t without having to go through overwhelm, confusion and unhappiness before quite accidentally going through a turn of events which landed me here. Through learning this, we now encourage our clients to take a similar Coaching journey and in this I am going to talk you through how you can do the same.
Let’s first talk about intuitively eating. A study that I have always found fascinating was one completed in the 1920’s with a group of children who were observed for 6 years around the choices they would make with food if there was no influence on what they ate. They were offered a selection of 34 foods where they made the choice of what to eat and how much of it ie intuitively eating.
What they found was even though these kids chose different foods for the most part their macros were the same. Children that came to the study who were malnourished evened this out and even to the point where a boy with severe Ricketts chose to drink cod liver oil!
An amazing study which really makes you think, ‘how is it that we have become so out of touch with how to feed ourselves?’ Is it Processed foods? Stressful lifestyles? Bad gut bacteria taking over? Social influence? Lack of body love? Changes to our food? Really it could be any of the above and the list is probably bigger than this and different for each and every individual.
So what is a modern day path that you can take to try and get back there? While I give this advice, note that this is a personal experience and the road might be different for you and it has to be a journey that resonates with you.
Back to when I felt overwhelmed and sitting in a place of not liking my body, I wanted to make a change but had no idea where to start. So with my extreme personality it was taking on a figure comp. This is certainly not the path for everyone, but this was my path which I took and I’ll explain a similar one that could work for you. Through having a defined goal and a defined date to arrive at this goal it forced change. Alongside this I had fortnightly check ins to give me feedback on how my body responded. It was definitely a test and measure method to bring me closer to my competition but along with changing my habits I was also a learning what worked for my body and what didn’t. I was also lucky that I worked with a coach that encouraged a lot of food which was also pretty good with variety.
As the journey went I reached a body fat percentage of 8.8%. Which as I said is not for everyone and you don’t have to do anything nearly that extreme for the same effect but for me the effect it had was realising the volume of work and the type of nutrition at the end point was too much work. From hitting this defined goal I was able to pull back and relax the approach to maintain 14-17%.
The point is a defined goal will force change both with your lifestyle and nutrition. As long as it is positive experience this type of journey should help you to find a place where after this is said and done you can drop the calorie counting and pull back a little to intuitively maintain the results. It taught me that I was in fact under eating and choosing the wrong types of food. I learnt how to train smarter and recover harder so that I had the best outcome.
I believe that through the test and measure and striping back as many negative aspects as possible that you become more aware and more in tune with your body. Ultimately this is the way that we are meant to function and look after ourselves.
My advice in reaching this place is to start with setting some minor goals of progress. Work with a Coach, clean up your diet while also working through mindset barriers. Then when you are ready and only when you are ready, take on some type of transformation journey. For us we run Things such as Project Bikini which is a defined goal and date. After completing your transformation the important thing is to set your next goal. A strength goal always works well at this point to give yourself a break from weight loss. At this point also watch for an all or nothing mentally creeping in and work with someone if you feel you are slipping into this.
Important aspects to include in this journey
A good Coach to work as your guide who has an understanding around nutrition and mindset and Coaches you with a no judgement approach
Go through a solid foundation phase where you are slowly adjusting habits which would look similar to this;
- upgrading processed foods to better Wholefoods options
- Eating enough and regularly through the day
- Adjusting food to remove foods that bloat you and don’t work for you
- Working through cravings and either balancing stress or your gut to overcome them and also upgrading habits
- Working to tap into your intuition of what your body needs
- Including balance ie chocolate
This is a good example of how you would approach.Remember that your check ins are just a feedback. If you aren’t happy with the result that week it is just building more awareness for you. I also believe it is important to Know your own limitations and if the journey isn’t empowering you then make the call to change the approach but as much as possible work to strip back the layers of what doesn’t work for you to hopefully find that place of just using intuition.
I hope you find these insights interesting and helpful in your own journey x