I told you guys how I used to love cardio. Until the day came when I hated it. What can I say, I’m fickle. But if there is one love I will never deny, it’s my love of carbs. Some people have a sweet tooth. I don’t. I have a carb tooth. I don’t know why, but no one seems to acknowledge this as a real problem. I can turn down dessert 99 times but put a bowl of pasta or a breadstick in front of me and I’ll malfunction every time. I’ve never met a flour tortilla I didn’t love. Yesterday we talked about exercise, and today I want to talk about food.
Before we go any further though, I think it’s important to say that I think there are a hundred different right ways to be healthy and that it will look different for each person. Every person is unique and good grief, there is no one-size-fits-all.
So I’ve been at a cabin with a bunch of my family for the last few days, as you guys know, I’m following a specific food plan right now along with my weight lifting program because I’m trying to lean out and cut some weight. Like a good little soldier, I prepared all my own food, packed it up and brought it along to ensure I had no wiggle room or excuses to not follow my plan. I thought I was so smart. What I forgot to factor in was my family and all the food that they would inevitably be bringing along.
You guys- there is a literal trash bag half full of candy bars here. What in the actual world. Luckily I was able to pass the bag along without even thinking of opening it up, you know, “just for a peek.” But I can’t lie, when the meat, cheese, and bread platter made it’s debut I may or may not have fled the room. Sometimes you’ve gotta know when to cut and run.
Before I start to sound braggy in my self control, let me clarify that the only reason I’m able to avoid the foods not on my mealplan right now is because I’m still getting a steady stream of carbs. I don’t know how many times I’ve cut out carbs completely in an effort to lose weight but it’s more than a few. Here’s the thing with that: It works. There’s no denying it. I lose weight like crazy when I’m off carbs. There’s also no denying that I become the worst possible version of myself. I’m not proud, but it is what it is. I turn beastly.
Like, laser-beams-out-the-eyes, foaming-at-the-mouth kind of beastly. It makes me miserable. I always wind up losing weight quickly and then realizing I don’t actually want to live my life without carbs and then eventually putting the weight back on. It’s exhausting.
I finally decided that I’m in my thirties now and I need to get a grip and figure it out. This yo-yo pattern is getting old and it’s not working for me anymore. I realized that maybe I need to stop making carbs the enemy, because let’s all be real here- that’s probably not a battle I’m going to win.
Food is food and food is fuel. Maybe carbs can just be another way to fuel my workouts? Maybe there is a way to get healthy and be kind to myself in the process? I wanted to believe there was, so I implemented a new plan.
As part of that plan, I count macros (my meals are composed of %40 protein/ %40 carbs/ %20 fat). I now eat six small meals a day. Four of those meals include complex carbs. Praise Jesus Halelujah!
By giving my body what it wants, in small, healthy portions and working hard in the gym I think I am slowly finding my balance. Granted, it’s no free-for-all-joyride full of buttery noodles. I eat mostly the same foods every day. Right now it’s a lot of egg whites, lean protein, rice, and veggies. But I’m satisfied when I eat and I’m actually making progress without hating the process.
The hardest part for me in this venture has been patience, as I’m taking a less extreme route than in the past. Slow and steady wins the race, yes? In the few months since I started eating and training this way, I have lost about 5 inches, gained a few pounds of muscle, lost %4 body fat, and gotten a lot stronger. It’s been refreshing to focus on what I am trying to works towards in the gym rather than focusing on what I’m running away from in the kitchen.
Did I mention that I get carbs?!
Again, I think there are a hundred different right ways to be healthy and for each person it will look very different.
For me, this seems to work. For the first time I feel like I can maintain this way of eating long term because it doesn’t make me miserable. For me, this looks like balance. This specific meal plan is only for right now while I cut weight- this won’t be forever. When I am just counting macros in general it allows me a little bit of everything in moderation.
I’d love to hear from you guys. How do you find balance? What works for you? How do you define healthy? Holler at me.
* This is Day 12 of a 31 Day series on Keeping It Real. You can find all of the posts in this series here. I hope you follow along and join the conversation! *