TW – eating habits
In the summer of 2015 I was in a rough place in my life relationship-wise and had a dream holiday to Ibiza with my best friend lined up in August to forget my troubles. I was already going to the gym regularly but recent events in my life and the pressure to be ‘Ibiza ready’ turned my passion of fitness into a bit of an obsession, and I think it is much more common then we realise.
What changed in my habits?
I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone and entered that I wanted to lose as much weight as I could a week and it recommended for me to eat 1,200 calories a day, which is what I did for about four weeks.
*I would highly recommend speaking to a professional about how much you should be eating a day and get them to work out your macros! This is what I have done recently as I was under eating and then binging. 1,200 was way too low for me.*
It wasn’t all good food either; because I was eating so little calories I craved sugar so I would get a burst of energy. I also started extending my time in the gym doing a mix of cardio and weight training. I would go after work and at weekends and spend at least two hours in there for each session around 6 days a week. I looked great and others started to notice. I was newly single, I was lean and loving the attention, but I was completely and utterly run-down.
I actually went on my holiday with antibiotics as I was ill, and when I arrived home and caught my third consecutive bout of tonsillitis I took a long look at what I was doing to my body and realised this was not healthy at all. How I was looking on the outside was not a reflection of health on the inside.
I think at the time I used exercise for two things – a way to escape from everyday reality, but also a way to burn off the food I ate. I am not entirely sure where this mindset would have come from but sadly I treated exercise in this way. I ate what I had to in order to feel faint but it wasn’t enjoyable for me and I regularly didn’t even reach 1,200 calories which boggles my mind now. I don’t know how I made it through the days still standing.
My social life was bad as I was just always in the gym. I was living with my parents at the time but I hardly saw them due to being at the gym so late and practically going to bed straight away as I was exhausted.
When did this stop?
I got a full time job and this gave me structure which ultimately made me realise how unrealistic my current day to day schedule had been of putting the gym first and food at the bottom. I started eating a decent healthy breakfast to keep me full until lunch. I had my lunch break of an hour where I could go for a walk and eat my lunch. I would go to the gym after work which forced me out of the habit of spending two hours in there as I had to get home and do other things.
Yes I lost my abs and gained some fat, but compared to how weak and ill I was back then I am so much happier. Now I enjoy food and whilst I try to choose healthier options most of the time I won’t say no to a family bag of chocolate buttons.