Ah, the amount of times I hear this whenever I talk to people who think I was just magically born fit.
Newsflash, I wasn’t. Even though I have never been severely overweight, I sure know what it is like to try completing a run with 15 kg extra on my body. I know what it is like to crave something so bad that all you do is constantly look at the cupboard where you know it is hidden. And I for sure know what it is like to throw up of exhaustion after a workout session, struggle with every single thing in the gym, and feel like you are getting nowhere.
The treadmill has been my worst enemy for years. When I decided to go to the gym every day at the age of 19, I remember I told my personal trainer then that I absolutely hated the treadmill, and would never use it. It still has its limitations in my world, but he helped me find a way to efficiently use it to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. I was once also one of those ‘I don’t want to become big and bulky’ kind of girls, who wouldn’t do weight and relied on pilates followed by a bag of candy. Yeah, that didn’t work either.
I know what it is like to mentally argue with yourself to not eat that chocolate bar until it is Saturday, and I know what it is like to make excuses to stay on the couch instead of going for a walk or going to the gym. I can still remember how I, in high school, hated the feeling of putting the gym clothes I’d been carrying around all day on, to exercise, when I’d rather be at home watching Home and Away (yes, guilty pleasure right there), and I can remember the frustration of not seeing the number on the scale drop.
‘It’s too hard to count calories, I wish I just knew everything like you do’. I don’t. Well, I didn’t. I spent a few months tracking the food I ate, estimating the amount of nutrients in various types of food, and learning how much I can eat of one good thing compared to how little I can eat of a bad thing. It just has to be done. I don’t count calories anymore, I don’t track my fat or carbs, and I don’t religiously control what I eat. But for a while, you might have to do that. It’s a learning process, and you need to trust that process. Trust that it works. The only thing I attempt to track is my meal frequency, my protein intake, and I always make sure I drink enough and eat enough fruit and vegetables. Every meal, every day. My favorite thing when I’m hungover is actually an apple. And then ice cream (but let’s not talk about that now).
‘It’s hard to eat 4 healthy meals a day’. Excuses, excuses and more excuses. It is only as hard as you make it. Sometimes I cook my meals for the next day at 10.30 pm, whilst I’m so tired I could fall asleep in the frying pan – you need to make it important. Prioritize. Even if some of my meals literally consist of random vegetables and eggs in a box, it is still food. And you can’t always expect to eat gourmet meals on the run. Nutrition is important, no matter what it looks like.
My point here is, that I’ve struggled too. I’ve been annoyed, frustrated (still happens actually, true story), upset (yeah, we all know that story about how I cried when I’d gained 2 kg…), and I’ve argued with pretty much everyone about my way of eating and exercising. I’ve drowned in sweat, I’ve failed at eating the right food, had candy on a tuesday for lunch, injured myself a ridiculous amount of times, struggled to get up in the morning, tried quick-fixes, gone for runs with guys who run 50 times faster than me, I’ve been convinced that sit-ups were the right way to get abs, I’ve starved myself, I’ve overeaten, I’ve not listened, I’ve felt critiqued, and I’ve hit the wall because I haven’t listened to my body.
But from all this, I’ve learnt to be healthy, happy and confident.
I have people say they want to look like me, and it is so important to emphasize that this has taken me a few years. My body fat didn’t just drop in a month, it has solidly been dropping a couple of percent every 6 weeks for over a year and a half. I’ve lost about 2kg or less every 6 weeks. I’ve consistently increased my fitness level, and I’ve worked hard. In fact, I’m still working. There are still thousands of things I don’t know, which is why, even I, branch out for help. I still get so sore I can’t walk properly, I still look at myself in the mirror and see the same person I saw 2 years ago, I still die running intervals, and I still doubt myself from time to time, but I also know that I’m doing something right, I’ve never felt this healthy. Ever.
When my clients tell me about nasty comments from boys, or negative friends who will try to put them down for trying to change their lifestyle, I can always relate. People don’t like it when other people do it better, or when other people try to change. Particularly if it means changing into the healthy gears, and not drinking alcohol every weekend, followed by a midnight-snack at McDonalds and a Sunday junk food binge. (The whole, ‘you have to live a little too’ tends to float around quite a bit).
And they for sure don’t like it when they see that the determination and hard work is starting to pay off. Particularly not if they know that whilst you have been out there working your ass off and making healthy decisions to get the results you want, they have been lazy, making excuses for themselves not to do it. Trust me, you’re better off ignoring those people. You don’t push your banana in their face, why should they push their crap food in your face?
Ps. I had a ‘bad’ pizza (for the first time in several months), ice cream AND chocolate this weekend, and you know what, I haven’t put all that weight back on, indulges now and then are fine. Things take time to build up, and it takes time to break it down. That’s why we start building the summer body after summer, not right before summer.