Since starting my fuelling journey with Margaret, it made me reflect back on how my eating habits changed growing up.
I was brought up with parents who cooked balanced meals and encouraged a healthy lifestyle. I’ve never had an eating disorder or any serious nutritional condition. However, I did find myself in a mindset that most females have with our current societal expectations of what healthy is supposed to ‘look’ like.
I have always been an active person. Growing up I always played a sport or found myself going to a gym. Looking back I actually recall eating a lot and frequently. As I got older I became busier. I started to eat less because of time or simply because I thought I had to. I didn’t think my weight was ever an issue and I never saw myself as “fat”. But of course, just like most females, I would look into a mirror and see things I’d want to change.
My fuelling journey began after joining Modus.
I knew Margaret as a fellow Chiropractor and was querying her on her ability to work her job, train and still have energy in the tank to fit in her 101 activities a day.
Margaret really opened my eyes and made me realise just how little I actually knew about nutrition. If you reduce your caloric load and increase your energy output, your metabolism then changes accordingly. My metabolism adapted because I wasn’t putting any fuel in the tank.
For years I was living in the mindset that calories in need to be less than calories out. So now in my mid 20s, I was working full time as a Chiropractor, exercising 2 hours a day, eating less and wondering why I was tired and now starting to put on weight. Even though I was eating “healthy”, it definitely wasn’t enough to sustain my lifestyle.
This is where Margaret came in.
Margaret also brought awareness to my body during my menstrual cycle and how that too will affect my training, food intake and recovery.
Changes first started with awareness.
How much was I actually eating? I started with just tracking what I ate for a week. In my mind I ate a lot, but after a week of tracking I was only eating about 1400 calories a day. That may sound like a lot (or normal) for some, but for what my average day entailed, it was nowhere near enough. If I were to eat that much today, I would be starving by dinner time and 100% hangry.
My calories were mainly coming from carbs and fats. My protein intake was far from sufficient for my body weight and for the amount of exercise I was doing.
If there’s one thing I can take from this journey, its the value of #protein.
Margaret adjusted my macros accordingly to suit my lifestyle and now the idea was to start reverse dieting (progressively increasing my caloric intake). A very daunting experience for any female who is used to the idea that eating more is going to make you put on weight.
But I went into this journey with complete trust in Margaret and in the process.
I was fed to the point where I could basically eat whatever I wanted (within my macros) that I actually stopped craving or idolising food. I was in such an abundance that the craving for particular foods or hunger went away.
I tracked my food and my weight every day. Making sure that each meal is weighed out to hit my set macro goals and that my weight didn’t go up too much too soon. At first very annoying, but now seen as very valuable tool. Anything from inflammation to stress as well as the lead up to your period can influence this. So weighing myself everyday showed me that your body weight can fluctuate day to day. With this in mind, the number on the scales simply became a unit of measure rather than a goal to achieve.
Over the last year working with Margaret I have increased my calories from 1400 to now, 2800 calories.
My goals from the beginning were to improve my energy levels and stop the possible pending “moon face” which I felt was looming from under-eating long term. The number on the scales wasn’t a goal per se but I am currently the leanest I have ever been in a long time. I’m the strongest I’ve been and I can get through days, weeks and months of work, training, life with an abundance of energy.
My metabolism is back up to a place where it is sufficiently burning the fuel I am giving it. The first real time I noticed this was coming back from a 2 week holiday where I wasn’t tracking my food and eating whatever I wanted. Normally if this was the case before fuelling, I’d easily put on 3-5kg and go through the grind of eating less and exercising more as soon as I got back into a routine. But after this particular trip I maintained my weight and didn’t have to do anything more than what I was already doing.
There are still days where I am fatigued, tired, don’t eat enough, etc. but the journey and tools gained now help me to recognise why. From there I change and alter my calories, macros, sleep, training and life accordingly.
It wasn’t as easy as I write it out to be. I didn’t just suddenly change my habits or mindset overnight, I did have to put in the work for it. It has been a year long process and I’m still continuing to learn and change.
Margaret has been the most patient and invaluable mentor to coach me through the process. I am and will be forever grateful for her knowledge and support in this whole journey.
Working in a health profession, I come across a lot of females who get injured often, under-recover (not overtrain), under-eat and wonder why. So in this I hope it reaches out to females who find themselves in similar positions. Encouraging them to also change their mindset and behaviour now, especially because life is an ever-changing game.