What is more important, diet or exercise? In my opinion, it’s both. I would not be where I am now if I didn’t have both. Exercise would have stopped by now if I was eating garbage. In turn, a great workout has to ability to make you want to eat better. Why would I bust my butt in the gym and then throw it away on a value menu? Even though both are important, they are not equal. I could do a lot more damage in 15 minutes at Olive Garden than I could on an airdyne bike.
When I was losing weight, I changed my diet completely and started working out. Now I am a creature of habit so I locked in a 1,800 calorie a day diet of clean food and started ripping through pounds. And when I say locked in, make no mistake about it, I was locked in. I was turning down ticktacks because ticktacks have calories. I only focused on the numbers. If you have a caloric deficit (eat less than you use), and workout an hour a day, chances are you are going to lose weight just like I did. So that’s it right? That’s how you get ready for the summer season? Absolutely not. Now this next part is the where is gets rough.
So here I am a senior in high school, lean and mean standing at 160 pounds. I just lost 100 pounds! I can conquer the world, right? I’m the master of my own body, right? Wrong. I walked into a graduation party and saw a table full of treats. You know exactly where I’m going with this. I decided, hey you earned it, have a little piece of chocolate. Fast forward to me awkwardly standing there 20 minutes later trying to hold a paper plate that is bending around the weight of my fried chicken and lasagna combo. I had come all this way for what? To stand here looking for a shovel to increase my food per minute rate. This isn’t the habit of a fit person, something isn’t right.
The error in my thinking was that I had forced myself into doing something short term, but never thought long term. I put a Band-Aid on a broken bone. My polar shift in eating habits had set me up for failure. I had been feeling deprived, but getting through it because there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Well the light came, I hit 160 pounds, and my deprived mind was ready to take me back up to my starting weight. I was trying to find every excuse in the book to have a cheeseburger between meals, or a frozen coke on the way home from school. I finally gave in, I bought the cheeseburger, but I made sure it wasn’t an every week tradition. I started to eat some of the “bad foods” again, but this time in moderation.
In order to avoid reverting back to the old eating habits, it is important to remember these new eating habits aren’t “until the blood pressure levels out,” or “until spring break 2015.” Those are going to end at some point, and when they do, you are going to want to make up for lost time. Quit thinking about all the diets, miracle cleanses, and metabolism pills. You are a product of your lifestyle! If you are eating right and staying active, your body composition will be a side effect of the life you live. Make good choices, and do not get discouraged by where you are on your fitness journey. You are on the right track to being where you want to be!