Dream body? This is a really hot topic amongst ladies and gents today.
Everytime I scroll through my Facebook or Instagram feed I come across different “skinny pills,” “fat burners,” ridiculous fad diets that literally cut out entire food groups and calorie obsessed fitness “gurus.” The desire to achieve this particular image is so strong that it’s become a sick obsession.
I am not innocent in the matter either. I am guilty of it too. For the past two years I have been terribly hard on myself (or obsessed) and I know many of you can relate to some of these statements:
“I am not fit enough until I reach 10% body fat.”
“My body is not good looking until I get those perfectly ripped abs.”
“There’s still a small layer of fat on my tummy. I am not in good enough shape.”
“I need to lose more body fat, maybe I should eat even less…”
“There is still a bit of loose skin on my upper thighs and buttocks.”
Sound familiar? These negative comments manage to manifest themselves physically, emotionally and mentally. I did not realise this whilst it was happening, but I do now. Half the statements are not true at all and even if they are, you should be proud of what you have achieved and how much you have improved from yesterday or last month rather than slamming everything you see wrong with yourself today.
We all need to understand that each of our bodies are different. More importantly, that they take time to change form and shape.They will only do so with positive thinking, patience, self love and consistent perseverance. Fad diets, quick-fixes and eating restrictions will only get you halfway and make you feel pretty shitty, hungry, depro and constantly wanting to binge out on your favourite pizza or chocolate bar.
The obsession to look a certain way always made me feel unhappy. I was repeatedly comparing myself to other “fit girls” with “dream” bodies on Instagram. If you’re doing this, stop and press the ‘back’ button NOW! Half of those pics are super edited and the other half are perfectly angled with the perfect lighting. And yes, even if they do look great – that’s brilliant for them! But, you do too. You’re unique and you know how hard you have worked. Your body is different and will never look the same as another body. So, comparing yourself is just wrong and provides you with a completely inaccurate judgement.
Another thing to take into consideration, is the fact that your self-esteem takes a major knock each time you compare yourself to another. I realised this by how my moods would change, or my attitude towards the day and even with how I felt about myself around my partner. Your entire perception changes with your level of self-esteem. But, when I decide that I am both looking and feeling amazing – my day, my mood, my attitude and my presence around my partner and other people is confident and happy. Therefore, their response to you as a person improves in a massive way too.
I want you to test yourself and see if you experience the same thing.
The Obsession Convinces Your Mind To Do Crazy Things
I think everybody has tried something stupid regarding their diet before. But, if you fall victim to the “fitness” obsession then you’ll easily take it to a whole other level. Even if you lose the 2% body fat, or gain some lean muscle, or start showing some definition in your arms and abs – you’ll still find a way to criticise yourself and say it isn’t enough. That’s the problem. When is it enough?
Yes you have got some tone and definition happening there. So you’re happy. Yay! But, that happiness is short-lived and before you know it you are beating yourself up and on another mission to reach your next target.
I believe goal setting is a very good thing, but only when it is positive and not going to make you miserable whilst achieving it.
I was so determined to reach my targets that I forced myself to try the craziest, most unsustainable diets. Or worse, not eat at all! I kept telling myself that the goal is more important and if I just push through another day of deprivation, I conquered it. I didn’t necessarily starve myself completely, but I was so strict that I stopped living life! That’s just wrong.
A Liquid Diet And Fasting. Does It Work?
This is what I tried whilst trying to achieve the “dream” body.
I decided to give a liquid diet a try which consisted of two protein shakes or smoothies a day and a whole meal for dinner. This was done for half a year and yes, I definitely got results. I lost body fat, which is an obvious result because you are cutting down hugely on your calorie intake by drinking smoothies and shakes instead of actual meals. My energy levels were balanced and I felt that I still got enough nutrition, protein, vitamins and minerals because I would add ingredients like; spinach, kale, banana, a type of berry, cauliflower, protein powder, peanut butter, broccoli and yoghurt to my smoothies
I was also performing better in my workouts and work commitments. However, this only got me so far. I lost the body fat that I needed. But, what began to happen wasn’t so encouraging anymore. I hit a plateau. I just couldn’t seem to improve my results anymore and just felt as if I looked the same for a long time. (Yes, the obsession kicked in big time!) In addition, I began to feel slumpy in my workouts and lacked energy to perform well throughout my day. I needed to bump up my system. This lead me to the concept of Fasting, which I spoke about in content I previously posted.
Although, I am really proud of myself for being able to complete the challenge of fasting for an entire month, I do not think it is something I personally could ever sustain. Well, not to that degree in any case, I think, I took it to the extreme by fasting for 24 hours, but if you were to implement it into your life rather take it with a pinch of salt and just fast for one meal and a snack maximum, one day a week.
Once again, I did feel a few positive changes as a result of fasting, but not any that are worth completely starving yourself over or wishing you could eat a burger for the entire day. I don’t think this is any way to live. Life should be something that you enjoy and you should go through your days feeling content, satiated and satisfied at most times.
I do believe that there are some good takeaways from the concept of fasting and that many of us do tend to overeat and indulge when we don’t need to. I also feel that we eat for the sake of eating often and don’t know what it’s like to feel true hunger and appreciation for our meals, because we’re too busy stuffing our faces with the next course.
However, I don’t think it is necessary to purposefully dedicate a day where you literally prepare for starvation. Physically it’s painful and makes you feel weak and faint, but mentally and emotionally it’s a whole other story. Instead, just take the lessons of moderation, control and appreciation from fasting and apply them to your daily routine. I promise you that the results will be a lot better and a lot more sustainable,
What Happened To My Body After The Fast?
To be honest, not much. I combined my liquid diet strategy with one fast day a week for 30 days straight. I probably cut back on my total monthly calorie in take quite a bit. However, I think I filled up pretty quickly on those lost calories when I did actually get to eat again. I did gain a massive appreciation for food and that I don’t have to eat every single planned meal. Moreover, that sometimes skipping a meal and then working out can actually improve your performance because you feel a lot lighter, However, I still opt for a pre-workout meal or snack. Lastly, that my body is super strong and my mind is even stronger than I ever knew before,
My body didn’t magically gain a whole bunch of lean muscles nor lose a ton of weight. I only felt energised for parts of the fast. But most times I ended up really hungry and wishing for food! I think that if you struggle with overeating then trying out a fast for a month is a good way to teach yourself to eat smaller portions.
The obsession forces you to push yourself really hard, even when you know it should be time to stop.
I am not degrading people that do fast regularly. But it’s personally not for me because I associate a good lifestyle with good food in moderation. I also believe that smoothies and shakes are incredibly healthy for you. However, they should never replace whole foods and meals entirely for long periods of time, Take it from me. I got carried away with this meal replacement concept and it backfired on me. My energy levels plummeted, my body fatigued easily, I felt burnt out and struggled to concentrate during my daily tasks.
Basically, I’m trying to say that there isn’t a miracle solution, What does work pretty well though is appreciation and moderation for food as well as self love and patience with your body. Frustrating, I know. I have learned to listen to it because it always ends up as my concluding answer to all the insane methods I have tried. What is balance? Well, that’s a question for another day. I think we’re all trying to figure that one out. But, we can get close to it with a little more insight and enlightenment.
Exercising endlessly and attempting the latest fitness diets might make you look “healthy.” But they certainly won’t make you feel it. I have tried some weird things and all it does is leave you craving nothing but FOOD, feeling super unsatisfied, lethargic and burnt out later on. Never compare yourself to anybody and love yourself for all that you have achieved. You are your only competition, The best way forward is to learn to accept yourself and be patient with your body. It will reward you in time.
FYI, I now follow a Mediterranean Diet which is known as the healthiest diet around the world for centuries. I cannot wait to share some amazing recipes and results with you! Stay tuned my lovelies. Send me a personal message for a meal plan that you’ll love and stick to.
Find out more about my experience with Fasting,
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