I am a fighter. For 9 years I have worked hard to stay within a weight band that is optimum for my fighting. That number on the scale has meant everything. Partially, in my mindset, an indicator of my “success”. However, I want to share with you an experience that proved for me that whatever I thought it was an indicator of, it isn’t an indicator of what is on the inside of me or my state of health, however “slim” I thought I looked.
My weight nowadays generally sits at about 52 kilos. Pre-pregnancy and babies I used to sit at around 50 kilos. Do you know why? Because I used to relate my positive body image to no more than 8 stones on the scales. Nothing to do with my health or feelings of energy and vitality. It was just a number I related to my body image at a particular time in my life where I felt good. Every time I have dropped under 52 kilos for a fight camp since having my babies, I have piled the weight back on almost immediately after fight camp has finished. Because my body has been deprived of what it needs and the consequence of this has been cravings and binge eating, and after 6-8 weeks eating clean and restricting my calories, eating badly and over-eating makes me feel like shit, and so the cycle starts again.
Have you found yourself on a similar rollercoaster?
A few months ago I got the opportunity to fight for a title at 48.9 kilos. I wasn’t worried because I have dropped to this weight before. I knew I could do it and about a kilo of it would be just water weight anyway. The difference this time was that for the last 12 months I have been on an incredible journey. A personalised journey to find out what my body needs in terms of macro and micro nutrients. I have been feeling awesome, better than ever before actually. My energy has been off the charts. Some of the health issues I have suffered for years just went away and I saw muscle on my body I have literally never seen before, in spite of training at high intensity 6 days a week for as long as I could remember! It was like this layer of ‘puppy fat’ that I had always had and always felt subconscious about had just magically melted away. I looked lean and I looked strong.
Right before I began my weight cut this time I got on my Smart Scales and looked at my body composition. I looked at my muscle mass, my visceral fat and my body fat. Everything was in good, healthy ranges for me. I looked at my resting metabolism, i.e what my body needs to survive in calories, so I could add on my calories burned through exercise and movement through the day. I felt in control. I felt good and I looked good! I had a diet I could follow and feel confident was providing my body with what it needs! And I no longer had all those annoying cravings that drove me to make stupid decisions. In fact, I was eating more than ever and adding on no weight at all. My metabolism was on fire.
Faced with the challenge to lose weight fast though, I made a terrible decision. I made the decision to go away from everything I had learned in my journey to personalise my diet to my body’s actual needs to what I knew would move weight, fast. Cutting carbohydrates. I want to share with you the results of this and share with you the lessons I learned, the hard way.
In a couple of months I lost 2 kilos.
This was my aim – 250 grams a week – comfortable, safe weight loss. However, a couple of weeks in, my training got really hard. I felt my muscles screaming at me during training sessions and I felt fatigued after them. I felt fatigued in general! And my tummy was completely messed up. Without being completely ‘TMI’, it felt like I had the runs every day, and it was horrible. And I looked terrible. A friend actually reached out to me by messenger and asked me if everything was OK! I felt rubbish.
4 weeks before my fight I decided to pull the pin. Well, to be more accurate a doctor signed me off and told me I would be stupid to try and cut any more weight and over-exert myself when my body clearly wasn’t holding onto and benefiting from what I was putting in it already. At this point I had also found blood in my stools and I was chronically fatigued.
So what was going on?
I got back on my smart scales and found I had lost a whopping 600g in muscle mass. My resting metabolism had dropped by a couple of hundred calories. My body fat percentage hadn’t moved at all. From this information alone I could see that all I’d done with dumping carbohydrates and creating a calorie deficit was tell my body it had to go into survival mode and preserve fat and sacrifice muscle. A number of the other side effects would have followed on from here. Others perhaps not, but this was enough information for me to commit to sharing the new way I had found, the better way, to lose weight and keep that weight off sustainably.
For 8 months previous to my awful decision I had been following a diet personalised to my genetic makeup.
75% of generic diets FAIL. That means that 75% of people on a diet that has not been personalised to their actual needs will FAIL. You might see an initial weight drop like me, then it will plateau. You’ll give up, or reach the end of your target time on the diet and all the weight will go back on. You will have lost muscle and affected your metabolism in a bad way, and this yo yo dieting will put pressure on your blood sugar balance, mess with your hormones, mess with your self-esteem and energy levels and who knows what other damage on the inside of you.
To refresh my health after I dropped my title fight, I took up a mostly plant-based diet, went back to my recommended macros and saw my energy quickly FLY. I realised I could satisfy my body’s needs for high carbohydrates with a mix of plant-based foods over traditional breads, wraps and rolls AND eat in a way my body found easy to digest. I cannot tell you how good this has felt.
There are 2 tools you need to personalise your weight loss journey like this and I would love to be able to share them with you. They are what have me now at a place where my energy is high, my mood is good, my blood pressure is normal and my weight is back at a healthy number. Not that I believe this number means much at all now! It’s what’s on the inside, how we feel and how we are eating, moving and living in favour of our long term health.
To find out how you can get insight like this on your own body to meet your weight and health goals, click here.
Or come and join me at my local event week, Nov 11th – Summer Refresh in Tauranga!
If you have enjoyed this blog and are ready to make a change; this event is definitely is for you! Check out the event on Facebook here