Dieting in and of itself is a mistake in my experience
The word “diet” itself brings up lots of negative emotions and feelings. Every single time I’ve been on any so-called diet, it was unsuccessful, and I was left frustrated — wondering if anything was ever going to work for me and produce long term results. The years went by, and nothing worked — except for one thing — Intermittent fasting. Let me go through many personal diet experiences, which have navigated me towards failure thousands of times. I know that it’s a reality for many other women, and it’s heartbreaking. This led me to believe that the only way to have the physique I wanted was through challenging work (cardio for hours) and restricting my food to nothing, day in day out.I continued to do this right up until I started dieting for bodybuilding competitions. I’m not saying that this was the right way because the diet was horrible. I won’t bore you with the details, but breakfast was one boiled egg and a 95g can of tuna!
Where does it leave me when competitions are all over? Frustrated, fatter and unable to lose the weight I put on. Every day I regretted ever competing — despite how much I enjoyed it. It’s something I advise women who begin to think about taking the journey. Let’s get into some of my dieting mishaps, hoping that you don’t have to go through the hard work.
Five mistakes I made on my dieting journey that you MUST avoid
One: You are restricting food groups unnecessarily
Limiting food groups when you have food allergies (which I do) is essential. But eliminating foods like carbs and fruit is not a good idea. First of all, we all need some carbs in our diet. That can come from veggies or starches. If you are paranoid about the number of carbs you have, the “carb cycling” solution works well. You move in between high, low and medium carb days. This still allows your body to have carbs, but cycle them to encourage fat loss. If you like the keto diet, then go ahead and use that strategy. However, in my experience, the keto diet didn’t work well for me, and I found a nice balance with cycling carbs but never restricting carbs completely. When you do, you are more susceptible to putting on weight. This is precisely what happened to me!
Two: I was doing excessive cardio
Endless cardio was my downfall for many years. I was killing myself on cardio machines. While I was lean and it became easy for me to burn calories, I was not happy. My life consisted of being run down, getting an infection and feeling super tired all the time. It was frustrating because it stopped me from training. I would lose my muscle mass too, which defeated the purpose of weight training. It’s like putting water into a leaking cup. It’s not the wisest solution. But I continued to do it for years, right up until about five years ago. I had enough and decided that it had to end. So instead, I focus on weight training and fasting. My cardio was walking and has been ever since. I’ve never felt better, and I don’t get sick anymore. It’s been fantastic. Please don’t get sucked into the notion that cardio is the way. Nutrition and a proper lifestyle plan is the right way to move forward.
Three: Over-exercising in general
I used to smash it at the gym. Hour-long sessions, sometimes twice a day. Too much exercise all added up to burning out. More is not necessarily better -unless you have some sporting event you are competing in. Even so, there should be a limit. My consensus on training time is 45 minutes max. That is just straight up weight training. I don’t include my walking for a warm-up and cool down in the total. Certain body parts require a bit more time (like legs), or if you are doing a specific program, it may take a bit longer because of rest periods. That’s all ok, but pay attention to when your body gives you the sign to stop. That doesn’t mean you are a failure; leaving some fuel in the tank is training with wisdom. It should never be about how exhausted you’ve made your body. As you age, it’s necessary to pay attention to this bodily signal.
Four: I was dieting for too long
When I was competing, my diet went on and on for years. This wasn’t sustainable for me — or anyone else, for that matter. Life should be a nice balance of eating well and indulging sometimes. Health and nutrition should be a lifetime goal. This is why I choose to fast — because It caters for my fat loss and health goals. This has always been my intention for a balanced life. The best thing about this plan is that I don’t have to severely restrict the foods I love.
Five: Stress and frustration
Stress is a downfall for many people. We are getting caught up in a circle of Stress because things are not working as we want. Then we may get frustrated as a result. Women tend to get this a lot, especially during their period. We all have challenging days, and the best thing about them is we learn and grow from them. It can be hard to take, but when it’s all over, and we see it for what it is, we can understand that it’s just how life is. I always had days when I would go backwards instead of forwards. Perhaps we let things slip for a lot longer than we should. The best way to combat this is to become self-aware of what’s happening and forgive yourself for it. If it’s a wrong meal choice or a day to sleep in and not train — forget it.Do it and move on. I do hope this has helped you. I would love you to upvote it if you did.: