Okay so we’ve all been there – we’ve all tried the ‘less food equals weight loss’ theory, right? And sure, calorie restriction will aid weight-loss to a degree, but far too many people are doing this the wrong way.
Too often we are starving ourselves and slaughtering the cardio machines in hopes to shed the weight. Many are left disappointed with the results, still feeling exhausted, ‘hangry’, and somehow even softer and flabbier-looking.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Are you feeling exhausted, weak and fatigued most of the time?
- Are you counting down the seconds until your next coffee hit?
- Are you constantly thinking about food?
- Are you petrified to eat out, or eat something that doesn’t have the calories on the label?
- Do you find yourself chewing gum or your nails or your lips to keep your mouth busy?
- Are you experiencing interrupted sleeps, waking up hungry?
If you experience any of the above it may be a sign you are lacking much needed nutrients. I can say this because I’ve been there. I called this ‘normal’ for a couple of years. Let me tell you my story…
I started out like many girls – I turned 17, started to be exposed to alcohol and as soon as I turned 18 I began partying! My poison of choice was cheap wine ($4.99 Passion Pop to be exact). My teenage metabolism diminished, and along with the lack of physical activity in my schedule, the fat grew around my stomach. I felt crap, I felt soft and my confidence drooped. What seemed to be the solution – plastered over multiple media channels – was lots of cardio and crazy low-carb diets.
So I did it, I jumped on My Fitness Pal (app), told the app I wanted to be a certain weight and it advised me to eat the standard bare minimum of 1200 calories per day. I started doing an hour or more of cardio / Les Mills classes at 6am, and some days I returned to do another class at 6pm after work.
I became obsessed with monitoring my calories – some days, I even managed to drop down to 900. I was addicted! I was addicted to the weight loss. At this stage I knew little about MACROS, I just knew ‘carbs are bad’ and high protein / high fat was the answer to all. So yes, I lost weight, but that was just the start of what I lost. At the cost of kilos…
- I lost the energy to be myself, to make it up stairs without feeling light headed
- I lost the energy to stay awake past 8.30pm and to stay out with friends
- I lost the freedom to eat out at restaurants or enjoy food I couldn’t track
The saddest thing about my obsession was I lost the acknowledgement and appreciation of my progress. My obsession to have ‘ripped abs’ let myself blindly to shred down to 44kg. Scary…
My passion to help others create their dream body became a career goal, so I began studying a Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness. It was after I obtained these certificates that I could finally grasp the idea that CARBS AREN’T THE DEVIL. I began to learn how carbohydrates not only give you much needed energy, but they also aid in brain function as well as organ functions. I’d learnt that my carb restriction had been the reason my periods stopped. I learnt that building muscle with the help of carbs was actually going to help me create shape and get leaner!
*Yes, who would’ve thought that eating more could make you leaner!*
I changed my ways and have never looked back! With all the education and personal experiences under my belt, my calories now sit at 2,700 per day, which consists of 300-370g of carbs (from a mere 40-80g previously). My staples are turkey, chicken, beef, basmati rice, sweet potato, gluten free cereal, coconut water, green veggies and…honey! (Ironically half the things I once restricted!). I weigh a healthy 54kg and look / feel 100x better than the 52kg I weighed years before touching weights. I train with heavy weights and only use cardio as an accessory for boosting fat-loss if I am weeks out from a comp or an event.
I must passionately encourage the theory most women still cannot wrap their heads around – weight training for fat-loss – I cannot tell you enough how this is the life changer! So let me explain this in a very simple way so it seeps into your brain and never comes out:
Excessive long distance cardio (eg. run for an hour, cardio hop over the machines bopping up and down with no resistance)
- Makes you hungrier (therefore you’ll subconsciously eat more)
- Makes you exhausted (therefore you move less throughout your normal day, and therefore you’ll burn less calories – diminishing the calorie deficit you created)
- Heart rate comes back down and body slows at burning calories
- Doesn’t have the same impact on your muscles as resistance training (you’re not going to build shape)
Resistance training (eg. weight lifting anywhere between 1-30 reps at a time)
- Increasing muscle mass requires more calories to maintain (you can get away with eating more!)
- You don’t need to feel like your hearts coming out your mouth to feel the benefits
- Your body will keep burning calories fast, hours after training (those muscles take energy to heal and rebuild!)
- More enjoyable and far more rewarding feeling the strength gains in everyday life
I know what you are thinking and the answer is NO – YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY!
You do not have enough testosterone, nor eat anywhere near enough to build noticeable size
This is the million-dollar question: ‘Cardio or Weights For Fat-Loss? With all the information I have just provided you, do you think you can answer this now?
Please trust and understand me when I say; you don’t know what you don’t have. By that I mean, the way you feel daily is what you have taught yourself to be normal. Just because you have ‘done it for years’, doesn’t mean it is the healthy or best way to survive. You might not realise you’re wearing away because it was so gradual, and you’re teaching yourself to cope. I look back now and seriously ask myself HOW THE HELL DID I SURVIVE LIKE THAT!?
Our bodies are built to withstand trauma and stress, and can do magical things when running on adrenaline. Slowly but surely the damage will seep through, whether it be in the form of fat-gain, lack of sleep, mood swings / depression etc. So I beg you to please, Nourish Your Body, Do Not Punish.
Let me help you find balance and ‘sanity with food’ again.
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