Alex – My Diet and Exercise Journey
It’s not easy to eat healthily whilst travelling. In fact, it’s extremely difficult. Travelling around the world over the last year has allowed me to try out plenty of new carb filled cuisines, as well as a couple of larger pant sizes. In December 2016, after a year of eating across the globe (and a lifetime of mistreating my body with food), I decided to make a change.
Not wanting to get in line for the ‘New Year, New Me’ resolution to fix my diet- I decided to change my eating habits in mid-December when I finished up in Europe and came to Thailand. Lots of light stir-fry’s and vegetables galore-what better place to detox my body? Weighing up all my options for which diet I should choose, I went with Paleo. My goal was fat loss and increased energy without going hungry. Also- Lean Cuisine meals taste like cardboard shavings. I have been on the paleo ‘diet’ for the past six weeks. This isn’t my first attempt at eating paleo- but this is the longest I’ve stuck it out on a diet. Ever. The reason it’s working this time? It’s all mental. I was absolutely fed up with feeling tired and lethargic, having constant bouts of unexplained nausea, a smattering of acne after eating especially poorly, and of course- my ballooning figure looking back at me in the mirror every morning. So, here’s my journey.
Starting out on the Paleo Diet
Starting was very hard; over the first few days, I had all the normal cravings for refined carbs and sugars that previously made me abandon healthy eating altogether, waving my little white flag of surrender to the pizza gods. Curries without rice. Walking past the fried doughball stand. They were all little victories.
Removing fruit from my diet also proved to be difficult. But day by day, paleo eating made me feel more energetic. After the first week, I had noticed my belly had deflated a little. I didn’t get up from the dining table consistently feeling bloated and full. This is where the mental battle comes into it. My brain was expecting that ‘stuffed’ feeling after every meal, previously provided by the generous serving of rice/pasta/bread on my plate. I stuck with it, feeling better day after day.
Feeling more confident with my deflating belly- I decided to add exercise into the mix. Whoa. The fat started melting off my body. Ironic, I thought at the time, since I was eating plenty of fats. I had more energy than ever. 5km run in the morning, weights at the gym in the afternoon. No excuses, get it done. It wasn’t long before I was itching to get my exercise in every day. I’d replaced bread with dumbbells, and never felt better.
Not every day is perfect. Being a female means I turn into a raging psychopath once a month, devouring any sweets within a 2km vicinity. What to do during these times? Make better choices. A few squares of dark chocolate do the trick and leave me feeling much better than half a dozen doughnuts. I’ve also been an emotional eater since adolescence. Something not right in my life? Enter mac and cheese. The solver of problems. A huge mental battle has been to disconnect food from emotion. Easier said than done, but so worth it in the long run.
In the last few weeks, I’ve managed to save myself from several near run-ins with a large pizza when things haven’t been going my way. Succumbed to bad food after an emotional episode? That’s ok. The main goal is to stick with it. I don’t beat myself up and throw in the towel. This is how I’ve managed to keep up my regime. It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. I must make it work for me so I’m in it for the long run.
On the paleo diet, I have lost quite a bit of fat. Looking at my recent progress photo I was stunned to see the change in myself. My torso has slimmed, legs are getting firmer and cellulite on my thighs is almost non-existent now. The paleo lifestyle has worked wonders for me so far, I have no doubts that this is an eating style I will stick with in the long run. Paired with exercise, I am very motivated to see further improvements in my physical and mental states going forward. Watch this space!