It was going to be my final ever summer of freedom and I was determined to make the most of it. I wanted to explore new places, go on adventures with my friends and enjoy every minute of it. I had to get myself to a place where I felt comfortable with myself, my body and my eating habits, otherwise I knew I would miss out on opportunities to make lasting memories.
The gym became a necessity to achieving this. I knew I had to lift the weights to lose the weight I so desperately wanted off. As time went on and I got a bit more used to the idea of training in the gym again, I started to look forward to sessions. I grew stronger and began to lift the weights that felt so heavy at the beginning with ease. I remember not being able to clean 30kg for more than 3 reps in my first session and within a few weeks I was getting 5 or 6 out. The results came in thick and fast –my strength increased and my body shape changed in a positive way. That made my confidence improve and I couldn’t’ help but start to fall in love with what I was doing. Soon enough, the gym no longer felt like a chore or just a means to look better, it was a way to feel better about myself, set goals and see what I could achieve.
With my body confidence improving and me finally finding a hobby that brought a smile to my face again, I relied much less on food to make me happy. My compulsive need to over eat stopped and I just enjoyed myself and my meals. I happily ate a piece of cake when I wanted it, because I knew I was working hard enough in the gym to account for it. But I no longer felt that inherent need to eat a second or third piece of cake when I wasn’t hungry.
Now I’m not going to pretend that all my food issues magically disappeared, because at the end of the day I knew the total calories I was consuming was integral to my weight loss. As much as I could, I used MyFitness Pal to keep track of what I consumed, ensuring that at the end of the week I was in a calorie deficit. Now, some would say this was unnecessary and obsessive and yes, I agree, maybe it was. But it actually taught me a lot about portion sizes, how much I should really be eating of each macronutrient and helped me to know I was on track. I tried as much as I could to make sure I was doing it in a healthy way so as not to restrict myself, which I was aware could lead me to fall off the wagon and start binging again. For meals where I ate out, my weekend trips and the three weeks I spent interrailing, I didn’t touch MyFitness Pal as I didn’t want food to be a deep thought or a maths problem. I learnt to trust my instincts, listen to my hunger levels and control my eyes and emotions. If I wanted something and I was hungry, I had it. If it looked average and I wasn’t really hungry, then I didn’t bother. Food just became a lot more simple and that was exactly what I needed.