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Lean and happy - what's the correlation?

· Health and fitness

If you’ve been following me on social media for a while, you may have realised that I’m currently the leanest I’ve ever been. What you might not know is that I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been. A few years ago making progress and getting leaner made me happier, but slipping up would make me upset and disappointed as I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to continue making progress. This meant that I was able to get lean, but never able to hold it. Although I didn’t want to admit it, I was being over restrictive and wasn’t showing my body as much love as I should have been. My diet was a means to an end, once I hit the condition I wanted to hit it was over, and that’s not sustainable.

What’s changed? I’ve held my condition for 4 or 5 months now and I genuinely didn’t think I was capable of that. I don’t stress over what I’m eating anymore, I get far fewer cravings and I think about food a little less. Why? Because happy came before lean.

I finished my degree (which was the bane of my life) and I’m now I’ve really found my groove with freelancing and teaching fitness classes which I absolutely love. Not to say that I wasn’t happy before, but I’m even happier now. I’ve also got Mark to thank for that… but I’ll not bore you with details ;)

I shelved myfitnesspal (the calorie counting app) which I swore by and used almost every day for 3 years. At first I was afraid I’d overeat, but it made me listen to my body a lot more. Instead of eating because my app told me I had a certain number of calories remaining I started eating when I felt hungry. I started to feel for when my body was in a calorie deficit vs. when I was hitting maintenance which meant that I was eating more on days where I was training more and vice versa. I now feel that I’m able to train more without feeling wiped out for a few days after (which is awesome!).

Another change was in my mentality. I started to love my body that much more, not only aesthetically but what it was capable of too. That made all the difference to the way I tackled my diet and training. Now, if I’m hungry enough to make me grouchy in the evening, I’ll eat. If I’ve done some really tough training and I don’t want my whole body to ache for a week, I’ll be sure that I at least hit maintenance that day. It was waking up starving and moody that would drive me to eat crap all day every now and then, and that would set me back both mentally and physically. I finally kicked that, and I couldn’t be happier.

This is probably stuff you’ve heard before. I remember reading countless blogs about listening to your body and only eating when you’re hungry etc. but it turns out I just had to learn it all for myself. This isn’t meant to be an advice piece, it’s more like a diary entry. I guess what I want to say is that like with most things, there will come a point where it just clicks.

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