Overcoming Control Issues with Food and Fitness

food and fitness
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

My relationship with food and fitness has changed dramatically over the course of 2017, in some cases for the good, and in other cases, not so good. Prior to this year, I used to eat without a second thought of what I was putting in my body. I had no clue what macros were and would often find myself overeating, sometimes to the point of discomfort. Looking back, I know in the most part it’s because I’m gluttonous by nature, and I don’t really know my limits. My eyes are way bigger than my belly. I’d always cook in excess and my sweet tooth was particularly bad. Luckily I’ve always been a healthy weight, according to the NHS BMI calculator anyway. I think that may have been down to my love of running, but I was never really toned – I had squishy bits. In 2016 I weighed around 10.5 stone on average, around 66kg (for those who prefer metric to imperial!) At 5’7, it’s a healthy weight.

But at the end of 2016 I decided to make some changes, some big changes. I wanted to lose the squishy bits, and in addition to being a bit glutenous, I’m also a bit of dog with a bone when I want something! Being tenacious is great, but sometimes I can go a bit too far. I started doing my research into food and fitness at the end of 2016. I learnt all about macros and by the start of 2017, began lifting weights at the gym. And lo and behold, my body started changing. My body changed in ways it never did when I was running and I felt body confident. This is all the good stuff of course, but there’s usually a darker side right?

I never embarked on my food and fitness journey to become a Skinny Minnie. I wanted to be toned and fit, but part and parcel of that is shedding some excess fat. I’ve lost weight over the course of the year. It’s been a gradual process, but it’s gotten to the point where my weight has dropped too far. I’m now hovering around 8.6/7 stone (55kg). I’m verging on being underweight, which was never the intention, and certainly not healthy.

I think it boils down to my desire to be in control. I track everything I eat, rather religiously, using MyFitnessPal. I usually go over my macro allowances and eat in excess of 2000 calories a day. Regardless of if I go over or under my macros, tracking gives me an odd sense of comfort and control. If I’m eating out, I’ll always try and find the nutritional information beforehand, and factor that in around the rest of my eating. It’s a pain in the ass, but I can’t help myself. I think I’m addicted to tracking. I mean, I have gone (rare) days where I forgo tracking, but on those days I notice that I overeat, sometimes significantly. For me those days are ‘bad’ days, and my mentality becomes ‘in for a penny, in for a pound‘, and I end up going on a binge. I know this isn’t healthy, but it’s taking me a while to get to grips with it. I’m slowing trying to ween myself away from tracking, and at the same time, making sure I eat in moderation and not in excess.

My desire to be in control extends beyond my eating and into my workouts. The prospect of missing a planned workout leaves me feeling unhappy and anxious. I love working out and it always leaves me in a great mood, but I’m guilty of over training. I know rest days are so important, especially when weight training, but I struggle to stop sometimes. I’m not alone in feeling workout guilt right? It’s never a good sign when feelings of guilt and control come into play with food and fitness.

As the new year creeps closer, I’m going to take a step back and really evaluate my habits and lifestyle. I guess the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it exists, so I’ve crossed that hurdle at least. I know it’s irrational, but part of me thinks if I stop tracking my food and lose control of my workout pattern, I’ll end up squishy again. Crazy right? If anyone has any tips or advice on dealing with issues like this, please do share!

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