Some of us might have developed an exercise regime over this period of staying home – we had the advantage of flexibility when we are working from home, being able to manage our own time. If you have been working out, you might have gone beyond keeping a strict regime and ventured into watching your diet because any fitness aficionado would tell you that keeping fit requires more than just exercise; what you put into your body is extremely important if not more vital.
However, starting out in something means that we are predisposed to overdoing certain things because we are unsure of where the line should be drawn. If you have a nagging voice at the back of your head telling you that you are working your body too hard, and packing in too little nutrients, this article is for you.
Check-in with yourself
First things first – do NOT ignore that nagging voice at the back of your head. If you are feeling tired more often, do not just put it off to working out more often. Check-in with yourself by asking some questions:
- Are you eating enough?
- Have you lost weight dramatically?
- Have you completely rejected your favourite foods because of calorie content?
Not packing the required macro- and micronutrients into our bodies can result in lethargy and the feeling of being tired all the time. If you think that you only experience food coma from eating too much, think again. Reducing carbohydrates in our diet can make you feel more tired than usual because of the reduction of sugars in our system. You might not know this, but diet stress is a thing!
It is not just the fact that you become obsessed with calorie intake and exercise, but the lack of comfort foods and important nutrients also deprive your body of the feel-good hormones to oppose the cortisol, making you feel exhausted and frustrated. If you used to love your chocolates, there’s no reason to stop loving them. You can opt for lower-calorie options like dark chocolate, and control the amount you are consuming. Moderation is key, and that means you can still enjoy them!
Guilt-tripping is a no-go
You can’t resist that second brownie at a party and now you’re just busting your butt trying to run off the brownie while swearing off breakfast and lunch for tomorrow because of the guilt. If this is true for you even to a small degree, awareness is the first step to change – because we are here to remind you that enjoyment should not lead to guilt. Food is supposed to make us happy and being too conscious of your caloric intake can deprive you of that joy. It is important to remember that while we are trying to achieve certain fitness goals, we are working towards being happier – having a positive body image, becoming stronger – whatever it is, we are working on our bodies to make ourselves feel better.
So, we say guilt-tripping yourself and depriving of the joy of enjoying your food is a no-go, in fact, it is the antithesis of going towards your happiness! We are not saying to just have that tenth serving of ice cream because you can, we are not advocating for, nor shaming binge eating, we are saying to loosen yourself a little and allow yourself the simple pleasures of eating; life is already too tough to further deprive ourselves of these little pleasures.
To our dear fitness buffs
There are no perfect body types, but of course, there might be one in your head and that is the one that you are working towards. You might or might not be making progress and it could be discouraging when your efforts are not manifesting. With regards to exercise, consistency and gradual loading is key. Many women resist weight training, but contrary to beliefs, women do not bulk up like men do and growing our muscles is, in fact, one great way to lose fats. Muscles increase our metabolism rate, which means that our bodies are burning fat at a faster rate at rest. Weight training is also a great way to tone our bodies for other exercises such as yoga. Positions like crow rely on strong and steady shoulders, which you can build up with shoulder exercises.
When it comes to diet, always ensure that you have a balanced diet, having your share of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Yes, fats too! Avocadoes and peanut butter are some favourite sources of healthy fats for health watchers. If you are cutting down on carbohydrates, try it out for one meal (usually dinner) and have your usual portions at breakfast and lunch.
There is no one size fits all answer, so test out the portions and see what feels best for you. And what feels best for you should make you happy, so introduce one or two cheat days into your routine if you haven’t already done that and let yourself enjoy your favourite comfort foods. It’s time to make a change for the better.