If you’ve been following along for a bit, you will remember that back in April I decided to start working with a nutrition coach. The program I chose required a 3 month minimum commitment, which I have fulfilled, and have decided not to continue. I want to be real for a moment and talk about why.
It has nothing to do with the company – in fact, I would recommend Working Against Gravity to EVERYONE! My coach was unbelievable – she pushed me, but encouragingly so. When I messed up, she simply reminded me I was human, and gave me tips and ideas that I could adopt for the next week. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, hands down.
So what happened then?! What about all that accountability you wanted?
I know, I know. The whole reason I launched into this crazy adventure was for the accountability, after all! Which let me tell you was amazingly effective. I’ve never been more dedicated in my life. I saw abs creeping through. That’s never happened before. Consistency was definitely the key component missing in my body composition, and now that’s clear to me.
Those of you that have read my bio know I struggled with some unhealthy eating habits in the past before I discovered lifting (and then, Crossfit). I suffered many months of guilt as I learned to eat more freely and in larger quantities before I re-established a good relationship with food. This took a long time before my comfort level came back with not only my body but the choices I was making! Re-learning to stop labeling foods as “off limits” and “bad” was a complete 360 to where I was. I was grateful to try flexible dieting through WAG and still eat the things I loved while staying within my macro ranges. Flexible dieting will always be for me.
While accountability made the biggest dent in my progress, for me, personally, it felt too reminiscent of my “old days”. Suddenly, having a bad day of eating was less personal – it was being shared with someone else, and this was hard. My coach never – EVER – made me feel bad about this, I want to emphasize – this was all internal and on my end only, as a result of my history. I fell off track on the weekends (I am a foodie, what can I say), and I realized that logging these failures for someone to review harbored old, buried feelings of guilt I thought I had shaken off. Certain foods started becoming “off limits” again, and I started sneaking bites here and there of things I knew I shouldn’t be having (and I was not logging these things). I lied to myself and my coach. I hadn’t done this kind of thing in years – and the second I recognized that, I knew it was time to call things off. I know myself, and I know what’s right for me. I know where I’ve been, and where I could fall back to.
I’m just going to eat whatever I want now.
Kidding. Actually, I plan to continue doing exactly what I was doing with my coach, just alone now. I’m keeping roughly the same macros (plus a little more fat and a little less carbs for the same calories, since that’s more enjoyable for me – honestly I just need Perfect Bars every day). I’ll log things for myself only, but I plan to diligently continue tracking and staying on top of things. This is important, because before I started with my coach, I wasn’t tracking at all – just one-off days of logging into MFP and checking to make sure I wasn’t eating 20g of protein and 400g of fat by accident. I want to stay consistent with logging, but be flexible so I don’t experience any internal negativity or guilt. Logging has become habitual for me and feels like a natural part of my daily routine, so this shouldn’t be a problem. (Also, I like seeing semi-abs! If that’s not motivational enough for me, I don’t know what is.)
I’ve actually learned a ton from this experience. I’ve figured out where I tend to mess up (to which I didn’t have as much clear visibility before). I’ve learned that I tend to gravitate towards foods with higher fat contents, and I don’t eat that many carbs, so I’ve adjusted things to accommodate this. I need to be sure I take in enough protein, and alcohol has nothing nutritional to offer me and decreasing my consumption of this has been amazingly beneficial.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that my ability to be flexible and social is crucial to my happiness. When I’m happy, I do everything else around me better. That happiness includes knowing I’m staying on track with my nutrition goals, and excludes anything that makes me feel guilty or poorly about my decisions. If there’s anything I learned years ago after disordered eating, it’s that enjoying yourself and the foods you eat is a good thing, not something to feel guilty about. Learning to balance this with everything else I’ve learned these past few months is how I want to approach my next few, and I’m excited to challenge myself to do this on my own.
/raw real talk.