Am I tough? Am I strong? Am I hard-core? Absolutely.
Did I whimper with pathetic delight when I sank my teeth into my hot fried-chicken sandwich? You betcha. – James Patterson
I’m sure you have noticed that it’s light outside by the time you have to get up in the morning, the trees are blooming and it doesn’t feel so horribly freezing every single time you set your foot out of the house. It’s still cold, I mean, we live in England after all. However, it’s nicer for sure.
We feel happier, the sun gets higher by the day, gloves and hats are slowly disappearing from everyday street wear. But there’s this one terrible fact that shadows the happiness just a moment after the initial joy over sun has passed – bikini season! The horrid realisation that soon you won’t be able to hide under layers of jumpers and scarves. You freeze, the initial wide smile slowly deforms into idiotic grin looking lot like something constipation causes. In horror you realise you are ghostly pale, overworked and filled with “Sunday treats” as meals…daily. So you panic, set a workout plan in motion and solemnly swear to go on a diet until you can not only fit into your summer attire but look good in it as well.
The closer summer draws, the more I notice articles on healthy eating and “adding colour to your plate”. English people in general (very mush like Estonians) love their hearty food. Something solid and warming to keep you going through this cold and wet time called all-the-other-seasons aside from July (commonly known as Summer). So what is healthy eating? For me it’s limitation in unhealthy carbohydrate intake and eating as much unrefined foods I can. Often cooking myself so I know exactly what goes into my food. Not cutting out certain food groups, but trying to minimize the intake of the “bad ones” or replace them with healthier options. For example, instead of milk chocolate I would have dark or instead of Kit Kat bar I would have an apple. You know what I mean. For me, eating healthy doesn’t mean starvation and I would like to think that I have relatively balance diet with allowing an occasional take away or cheesecake here and there. I just dig into my meal and enjoy it…in moderation and sometimes even more than I should.
Now I am not overly active person what comes to exercise. I used to be a dancer for 13 years with daily workouts of 2h each time, but those days are long gone. I love outdoors and I would happily spend all my free time out in the great open. I cannot stand running, but I do it because what I hate even more is the alternative of paying astronomical sums for monthly gym memberships. It makes me sick to my stomach and I refuse to give away minimum £30 a month of my hard earned money in order to spend time in a sweat smelling average gym with questionable equipment. But that’s just me. I’d like to spend my money on travelling. Every little bit of it. This is just the way I am built. So here we are, in a bit of a situation. So what do you do when gym is out of the question?
I try to go for a few mile run when it’s not raining and then follow it up with some abs routine and some push ups. I have also found that for bit more hard-core cardio circuit training, the popular Insanity program does the trick of any given gym in your own living room. Oh, and I try to walk to work and back as much as I can (that’s about 7km daily). Enough of that. So…in order to get fit, it’s not only exercise we need. Here comes the tricky part – food!
I love food. I mean it. I quite literally LOVE it. The word foodgasm has been created for people like myself. I am about 1.73m tall and weigh roughly about 60kg (give or take, I don’t own a scale) and I decided to do a bit of an experiment to see how much should I eat in order to lose weight if I wanted to. According to calculations average female should consume 2000kcal (2500 kcal for men) per day to maintain their current weight but this varies per height and weight combination. After calculating mine, it turned out I should consume around 1500-1600 kcal daily to maintain my current body weight. Now if I would like to lose lets say 4kg in a month’s time that would mean I am allowed to eat 1100 kcal daily. So for a week, I wrote down all I ate to see out of curiosity how high is the number for my daily intake. To my surprise, my breakfast alone was almost half of my daily allowance.
1 medium banana, 1 kiwi fruit, handful of raw almonds, 3 table spoons of Greek yoghurt, handful of granola on top and a cup of espresso with milk (or cappuccino when in the office).
I think it’s safe to say that we agree when we say that what I consume for breakfast is healthy. At least for me it is. You get the slow energy release from low GI products such as granola, banana and Greek yoghurt; vitamins from almonds and kiwi. It makes me feel full until lunch whilst not making me feel as I’ve just swallowed a small mountain. All this contains about 500 kcal, give or take depending which type of coffee I will have. That is A LOT knowing it’s only my breakfast. So how the hell should I be able to survive the rest of the day on mere 700?
I tried as much as I could and I always went over it. Even though I would have vegetables and perhaps a rice cracker with some cream cheese on it for lunch and a fish fillet with some salad with beets and some seeds for dinner, I still cannot keep within the limits. Oh, of course, you will have a little snack like a piece of dark chocolate or a little yoghurt pot. So all still healthy right?!
Knowing how much I am “allowed to consume” in order to lose weight it raises a question: where should I get my energy from when my daily nutrient intake is as low as 1100 kcal? And it is expected of you to exercise when eating less. Why I started to talk about all this in the first place is that I understand why people get jumpy and easily irritable in springtime. Especially women. We are simply hungry! And kudos to all the celebrities who can function on vegetable juice diets on 800-1000kcal daily and still look happy. I think they are either heroes or completely masochistic to themselves. You can train your body to get used to less food, but why would you give up your gift of taste buds doing what they do best and miss out on all those amazing flavours out there?
Perhaps all the above is a bit radical, but it was definitely amusing for me.
I am not judging anyone who has taken on this enormous task to try and make the whole calorie thing work for themselves, but I am so clearly not the target group for that. After my little experiment I have come to the conclusion that I love my genes and body so I don’t need to put myself through that excruciating task and it made me thank my younger self for not pigging out on processed and junk food for entire life. And yes, I will probably turn out to be one those mums who would feed their kids raw and crispy carrots as a snack instead of donut (they can still have them, I would never deny this pleasure to them, but not every day). So here I am, realising I could never knowingly lose weight without crying or feeling hungry, nor I would ever become one of the people who “just don’t have breakfast”. I love life and good food is part of it. So when I try to live my life on a happy medium and healthy (ish) way I am much happier staying in my current body weight forever rather than turning into a stick. Although I have always been one in the past.
My heart goes out to all of you out there trying to make calorie count your friend. Good luck! I am happier knowing what I eat is good for me even though I am probably consuming more than I should…according to whoever came up with the calculations. #foodporn on Instagram all the way!