I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the loss and gain of weight I’ve managed over the years, specifically the last 4, and worrying whether this would be a permanent feature of my life, dieting down for an event or something and then when it’s over going back to eating and drinking too much. I think the answer is no. The reasons are threefold.
1) I abstained from everything in the lead up to to Wimbleball in 2011 and 2012, I restricted everything, no booze, no carbs, very few curries, and after the race I went nuts on it all because I was so restricted beforehand and I didn’t stop. This time I’ve got no intention of doing it like that. Beer and a white bread sandwich become so desirable when you can’t have them that you over-indulge when you can, so now if I want a beer I’ll have one, if I want a white bread sandwich, I’ll have one. The difference is that it’s not every day, there is a degree of restriction, but it doesn’t build up enough pressure to cause a problem, the pressure is released regularly.
2) In 2011 I totally forgot about my diet as soon as I crossed the finish line, there was no conscious decison to eat more, I just didn’t think about it. Over the course of 2012 when I started reading more about nutrition and the role that sugars and fat have on our bodies I became (subconsciously to begin with) far more aware about what I was putting into my body. When my little boy was born I knew I was eating and drinking too much, but it wasn’t my primary concern (on reflection it should have been) and then more so as Dad declined, I was not interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I just wanted to get home and crack open a beer. These were conscious decisions to have a takeaway or open another beer, I knew exactly what I was doing and that I probably shouldn’t, but I was not bothered at the time (Again, with hindsight not the best way to deal with things). So for the past two years I have been more knowledgeable about what was right and wrong for my body regardless of whether I chose to use the knowledge. I now choose to apply my knowledge, I hope that if any other major ‘life events’ happen I will continue to choose to follow this lifestyle. Eating ‘clean’ (to me ‘clean’ it is the restriction of starchy carbs, processed food, alcohol and sugars. The eating of a lot of vegetables and protein) is habit forming, after being away in Paris for a week I could not wait to get home and put together a mammoth salad (That’s mammoth as an adjective) of lettuce and tomatoes and avocado and peppers and spring onions and cabbage (to go with my steak. obv.)
3) I have set some mini goals for the next couple of years; not all fitness / endurance related exactly, but all are focussed on maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, this is opposed to previous years where there was one big goal and nothing after that, so this year I have a marathon, a few sportives, a fitness show (no competition, but everyone there will be buff as fuck so I don’t want to stand out too much!) half-iron at the end of the year, a couple more bike rides in 2015 and an eye still on an Ironman in 2016. I think having these goals stretching out in front of me gives focus when one goal ends.
Anyway, this is how things stand at the moment, I am pretty confident they’ll stay this way, but I’ll keep adapting whatever happens.