“The only way to lose fat is to consume little to no carbohydrates and do lots of cardio!!!”
As personal trainers, this is something we hear quite often in the industry and the truth is, I used to be one of the many that followed this type of thinking.
For a long time I only consumed healthy fats like salmon, nuts, peanut butter, and lean proteins such as chicken and white fish, but I never really consumed any carbs.
I was sitting 6-7-kg heavier than my current bodyweight with body fat percentage sitting around 30%. My training consisted of running, running and more running!
I became anemic to the point that my doctor actually suggested I should skip my period for 3-4 months due to the severity.
Back then, my ideal Sunday was waking up early, going for a 10-12km run, then sitting at home waiting for Monday to roll around so I could do it all again.
I refused to socialize with friends for lunch or dinner because I was hesitant to eat out. Whenever Daniel and I would go for dinner, I would analyze the menu before we went to see if it was “healthy enough”.
As well as this, we had been to Thailand three times before I even thought about eating any type of stir-fry & rice or drank any alcohol.
Up until 2013, this was my line of thinking…
I was scared to do any weight training because I didn’t want to get “big & bulky”. Daniel would was always suggesting that I should cut down on my running and start resistance training.
Over the years I ran multiple City to Surfs and local fun runs, but when I was in training for the Blackmores half marathon in 2011, I sustained a serious injury in the form of a grade 2 tear in my right shin, which almost put me in a boot.
As a result, I was strongly advised to stop running!
I ended running the half marathon, but that was the last serious run I’ve done to this day.
I remember being brought to tears because I felt so uncomfortable in the gym. I didn’t know what to do if I wasn’t on a treadmill.
I had a goal of losing weight and reducing my body fat, but I thought cardio and carb depletion was the only way of achieving that.
It was around this time I started studying my fitness certificates to become a personal trainer. The only thing I enjoyed training was legs. So…I training legs every single day. I was still very reluctant to eat carbs, but I had also never tracked the amount of food I was consuming. I used to consume so much nuts and nut butters that my calories were ridiculously high, and I would wonder why I still couldn’t see fat loss. I do remember noticing some changes in my body shape. I started to grow a bum, which I’d never had before, and realized that I was actually pretty strong.
I was then introduced to the world of flexible dieting and macro tracking.
Once I started analyzing the food I was eating, as well as the amount of calories, I quickly realized that there wasn’t an issue with food types, just the amount I was eating each day.
I then understood that you could eat carbs every single day, as long as you controlled the intake and made it work in with your total calories.
It was at this time that I started to notice some proper weight loss. My lifestyle had changed from running ridiculous amounts, next to no weight training and consuming no carbohydrates, to heavy weight training & consuming carbs every day, and doing almost no cardio. I also found my recovery time from sessions reduced because of the changes I made to my nutrition.
I went from running marathons to being a competitive powerlifter.
Initially, it took a while to get the hang of tracking my food each day, but once I got the hang of it, it became very easy and very flexible. When I first started tracking, I was consuming around 1500 calories and sitting at around 57kgs body weight. Over the years I have done a few small diets, but I’m now consuming over 2000 a day and maintaining a bodyweight of around 50kgs.
One of the biggest benefits of tacking your food is the learning curve. You learn a lot about the foods that you consume each day. You start to get a better understanding of how foods can contribute to your diet, whether it for good or bad. This then helps you to make better decisions moving forward.
These days, I can definitely say that I don’t stress about food like I used to. I can still go and enjoy social event with my friends and go out to dinner with my husband.
Key take-away points:
- No mater how healthy or “clean” you eat, if you eat thousands of calories each day you will struggle to lose weight.
- You don’t need to do hours and hours of cardio to lose weight.
- Lifting weights is another way of burning energy and can help burn fat.
- Don’t let food stress you out! Enjoy social events and eating out. There are times to be strict and time to be relaxed. If you’re not happy with your body weight or body composition, aim to make some small changes and find a good balance that fits in with your lifestyle. Trust me, you will enjoy the process a whole lot more.
If you would like any advice or guidance on what direction to take, feel free to come and see us or drop us an enquiry at Enquiries@definitionfitness.com.au