Dealing with weight gain can be hard, especially when you are eating a diet consisting solely of foods that most people would eat to lose weight. I have to admit that there have been times when I have questioned my training and my decision to allow my body to gain muscle, curves and size; Times when eating no sugar and only freshly home cooked meals has seemed arduous and nothing short of a bore; Times when I have seen people indulge in snacks and meals full of sugar and saturated fat and in my head would still have 'better bodies' than I did.
A confession: up until fairly recently, despite the huge changes in my body, strength and attitude, I have to hold my hands up and admit that there were days when I wasn't seeing progress or results. Don't get me wrong- I am immensely proud of everything I have achieved through my blog and fitness journey, but there were days or even weeks on end when sometimes I just felt like the effort I put in did not equate to the results I was getting back out. I didn't just give this whole healthy lifestyle a half hearted try, or make myself a lacklustre New Year's promise to eat a healthy diet and join a gym- I fully 100% committed every single aspect of my life to the decision I made. I do not drink alcohol, I rarely eat sugar, I pushed myself to my absolute limits in the gym around 300 times in 2015 alone, yet still there were days when all I saw was a bigger version of myself, and I am sad to admit, days when I was ashamed of myself.
Was everyone just looking at me and commenting on how 'big' I'd gotten? Did I even look like I went to the gym? How much food is too much? How much weight gain is too much? When I reach my target weight what do I do to stop myself continually gaining more?
Raw facts - when you go from nothing to something, you will see results, and you will see them quickly. Eventually, these will even out over time as your body becomes used to its new level of activity, and this then becomes the new 'norm' for your body. Everyone will hit a wall within their training and people will react differently when this happens to them. A plethora of different reasons can cause these hiccups, and although I was probably aware what was causing mine, it was something I was not 100% ready to admit to myself. Strangely enough, despite my weight gain, I discovered I still wasn't eating enough. I learnt a crazy lesson that eating more food does not necessarily equate to weight gain. Sugar and alcohol and saturated fat lead to weight gain- and more importantly lead to heart failure, liver disease and diabetes. So then I had this mini revelation - does a few extra pounds really matter if that weight is lean muscle? Yes, I could easily lose half a stone again and may feel more familiar in my body, but I would sacrifice by strength by doing so and that is not a risk I am willing to take... and funnily enough, since cutting sugar again and upping my protein intake, despite eating additional calories, I feel like my body looks better than it ever has before.
The bottom line is: Food is fuel. I remember being told once in a therapy session months and months ago 'your body is like a car, if you don't put petrol in it you can't function'. At the time the comment just washed over my head, but now I understand the true importance of that lesson. Looking ok on the outside does not equate to being healthy on the inside, and piling food into your body that is not going to nourish it will not allow you to become the fastest, fittest, strongest version of yourself.
People need to learn to stop being afraid of food (myself somewhat included), and by that I don't just mean people suffering with some sort of eating disorder. I mean anyone who would openly admit to taking the 'lazy' option when it comes to diet and health. I am currently the heaviest I have been in nearly four years, but I am also the strongest I have ever been in my life, and that is such an empowering feeling.
*P.S. I would absolutely love it if you'd click HERE and vote for me in the UK Blog Awards!