This time last week I was in a moral quandary about whether or not to track my food and exercise.
When I started this fitness journey I really wanted to make sure that I was doing it from a place of self love and not restricting, limiting, or punishing myself with food and/or exercise.
Tracking my food and activity with calorie input/output didn’t seem to fit into that plan at all, so I didn’t do it, just followed the Australian Dietary Guidelines as best I could.
Except here’s the thing: after an incredible first month into my three month journey, when I lost 12 cm from my body in just 28 days, everything stopped.
My progress halted completely.
It was BEYOND frustrating to say the least.
So, this time last week, I was in a moral quandary. And after doing a LOT of research over the weekend, I decided to start (loosely) tracking calories – both what I was eating and what I was burning through the course of the day.
Here’s the shocking thing I’ve discovered:
I was under eating (severely) and, apart from my workouts, I wasn’t moving ... at all.
Now you might think the fact that I was in an extreme calorie deficit would have helped matters, if anything, right?
Initially, it did – the sudden drop in my caloric intake was what helped me get those incredible initial results.
But here’s where the wheels fell off the wagon:
My metabolism started adjusting to the tiny amount of calories I was eating. It thought I was starving, and went from burning fat to conserving as much fat and energy (calories) as it could.
Because I was eating so little, I was getting to dinner time, getting starving, and overeating.
Because my caloric intake was so low, I started feeling tired and lethargic all the time but ...
I also wasn’t sleeping properly (VLC diets fuck with your sleep).
Because I (a) had no energy and (b) wasn’t sleeping ... guess how much I felt like exercise? Yup. Pretty much zero.
Even my “non-body-composition” benchmarks, like cardiovascular progress and strength seemed to stall, because I didn’t have the energy to challenge myself in workouts.
So ... yeah. Was NOT expecting to find THAT.
Tracking my food has helped me to:
Monitor how much I’m moving in a day (and start moving a WHOLE lot more, tracking my step count and so on).
Stay accountable with my exercise routine.
Make sure I’m drinking enough water. (Things get busy and I forget ... you know? Since I’ve started tracking, I’m back up to drinking 2 L of water a day.)
Make sure I’m eating ENOUGH calories in my day to fuel my body, give me energy for my workouts, and give me nutrients to keep me healthy. Like, 1200 calories is just NOT enough, I don’t care what My Fitness Pal tells you. You will be starving all the time and you will hate your life.
Tracking calories is not for everyone, and if you have a tendency to obsess over them, it may not be for you (and there are other alternatives), but for me it’s been helpful to see where I might be unknowingly sabotaging my goals.
At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for YOUR body, YOUR health and YOUR journey. Listen to your gut and take good care.
Make sure you’re eating enough of the right foods to nourish your body and getting plenty of physical exercise.
It’s honestly a game changer.
By the way, if you're just joining me here on Day 48, for a bit of context, after a recent health scare, I'm on a mission to turn my life around and get into the best shape of my life.
I've been down this fitness road before, but this time I'm determined to do it from a place of self love, with no restriction, guilt or crazy diet rules.
You can catch up on journeys 1 through 47 by clicking the 'related posts' at the bottom of this one, and if you'd like to come with me on a fitness journey (and get an amazing FREE bundle of the fitness resources that have helped me lose 12 cm so far), click HERE and get your hands on all the goodness.
Another twofer today! I’ve been shocking with these the last week. This is the trap you fall into when you do two blog posts a day – crikey, I must be nuts.
Anyhoo, onto the Captain’s Log.
Breakfast today was my basic fast go-to: 2 Weet Bix with coconut sugar and ¼ cup skim milk. The whole thing is under 150 calories but it’s so nutritious and keeps me full all morning.
(Oh, and I had a sneaky flat white on the side.)
Rustled up some leftover steak from Sunday night’s barbecue still in the fridge, so I made this beautiful open faced steak and salad sandwich. Mmmmm ... steak sandwich.
Grab a slice of bread, load it with veggies and avocado, slap on some leftover steak and you’re good to go.
Simple, delicious and nutritious.
Dinner was another Marley Spoon special. This guy was three cheese ravioli with fried capsicum and it was SOOOOO delicious and so good.
Like, where has ravioli been all my life? I used to love it as a kid but I’ve been sleeping on it as an adult.
God it’s delicious – and this recipe actually didn’t take long to cook, which is rare for Marley Spoon. Saving that recipe card for the archives.
Greg brought home hot cross buns (and even though he loves raisin bread he brought home the fruitless hot cross buns just for me, because I just can’t with raisins).
Of course, I had to have one (and I had calories left over anyway, soooo)... Just had it plain (I know, I’m crazy) (warmed up of course), and enjoyed every bite. What a treat!
Followed this bad boy up with some Greek yoghurt – this one was passionfruit and it was divine. God, I love a yoghurt for dessert.
This morning’s workout kicked my butt! It was a Tae Bo Cardio DVD.
Geez!!! I remember first getting into shape about 15 years ago and this was the DVD that got me there.
I mean, it really whipped me into shape, if you’ll pardon the pun. The first time I tried it, I couldn’t even get through the first 15 minutes.
I finished it today, but it took some taking, let me tell you! Such a great total body workout.
In the afternoon, I did the second day of the strengthening program I’ve written myself. It’s a three day split, so I do it on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with a day of rest (just cardio) in between.
By the end of the workout, my arms were actually shaking, so I must have done something right!
I really do wish I could tell you that breakfast was something more exciting than boring old Weet Bix again but ... it wasn’t. When I find a good thing I stick with it.
Listen, I’d love to be one of those chicks who make those glorious aesthetic baked oat bowls with the little squares of chocolate inside, but realistically I just don’t have that kind of time, you know what I mean?
Lunch today was a chicken and salad sandwich (homemade). I’m trying to recreate my favourite deli sandwich and this week I gave it a good crack, but I still think I’m slightly off the mark.
I followed it up with an apple pie and custard oat bar, because I just like a little something sweet after lunch.
What’s your favourite sandwich recipe? Let me know in the comments!
Okay, so those of you who’ve been following me for a while will probably know that on Thursday nights I have a little tradition of ordering a teriyaki chicken bowl and watching Bridgerton.
Well, this night was the end of an era because:
(a) I finished Bridgerton last Thursday and I have no more to watch. (Boo.)
(b) I’d already had teriyaki chicken on Monday night, and Tuesday night, so I felt like ... maybe three nights a week was a little too much? Maybe?
(But P.S. I really, REALLY felt like teriyaki chicken. I cannot be stopped.)
Anyway, I wrestled with that decision for the better part of an hour, and even contemplated cooking myself something, but finally settled on a naked burrito bowl from Burrito Bar.
It was AMAZING! I was going to get a Guzman’s burrito bowl but they’re about 700 calories and I just felt like I’d rather graze on lighter, smaller meals than have one big stodgy one.
This guy was smaller, and it was about half the calories of a Guzman’s bowl, but with all the same flavours, so it was just perfect.
In the absence of any more Bridgerton episodes, I’ve started re-watching Sex and the City again, and I felt like I needed some TV show snacks.
Sat down with a bag of this lightly salted, slightly sweet popcorn (only 62 calories for the whole bag) and finished it off with a beautiful creamy vanilla yoghurt for dessert. A perfect way to end a relaxing night in!
Today I woke up early and did “Intro to Aerobics” – which is a fun and quick aerobics workout that really does introduce all the basic moves of aerobics and get your heart rate up.
I love that it has the different levels with modifications based on your experience level, so it’s easy to keep up with no matter where you’re starting from or how you’re feeling.
Well, that wraps us up for today, my glam babies. I hope you have a marvellous weekend. Fill it with all you love, enjoy the sunshine, and make wonderful memories.
Until tomorrow, keep shining bright.
- Xo Rhi