For those of you who love food as much as you love looking damn good on the beach, remember: there is a way to have both and remain healthy!
Now, this is certainly not a new topic in the wide world of fitness biographies. My story is not one of any outlandish triumph. It is simply a story of how I gained my self-esteem by recognising what I needed to change in my life and what needed to remain in order for me to be happy (and sane). I hope it helps those who feel like they are struggling to recognise their true potential; To go after what they want in life. Everything is yours to have.
I think, like so many young girls, I spent most of my formative years with a poor body image. I was always a little ‘soft.’ Growing up in the sweltering heat of Arizona, I never had the willpower to face the heat in order to develop any type of athletic endurance. Thus, I always stayed a little ‘soft.’ Instead of sports I loved acting. I went to a drama and modelling school. I travelled to competitions in LA and received constant criticism as to what I ‘needed’ to do to look better. By the time I hit high school, I decided to focus on my studies and switched to school theatre to meet my drama-fix. If I thought modelling school was critical, it was nothing like an all-girls high school. Before long, I dropped my calories to 600 a day and became the coveted size 0 I have always dreamed about. I lost weight so quickly I had one girl in high school ask me if I had cancer. My nails became brittle and thin. I managed this size until the end of my sophomore year, when my mother and I moved to France. Between the stress of having to integrate into a whole new culture, living with a host family, having little control as to what I ate with the family, and the insane love I developed for fantastic french food and wine, my weight came back fairly quickly.
By this time, I was neither big nor small. It was too hard to go back to such as small diet with my new routine in life, nor did I want to. I felt better for having the calories back (of course I would). But I still had no tone, no definition, no fitness. It wasn’t until my first year at the University in Sheffield in England that I met my partner who completely changed my life. His physique certainly caught my eye from the beginning. Tall, blond, muscular. Boy, was I smitten. He said that he’s always loved the way I looked. Nonetheless, of course, despite his constant reassurance, I was self-conscious. How could this incredibly statuesque boy want anything less than an incredibly statuesque Victoria’s Secret model girl? ‘If it really bothers you, why don’t you give the gym a-go with me,’ he asked. Now, I had been to the gym before. Relentlessly prancing around on cardio machines seeing little to no progress. ‘No, lifting weights,’ he corrected. The day after my first training session with him, my body felt like it was broken. I could hardly move. I hurt in places that I didn’t even know had muscles! One month later and I felt like a god; Significantly stronger. Everyday activities (like walking Sheffield’s hills back to student halls from Uni) became easier. A year in and I finally felt like in a flight-or-fight situation, I might actually have a fighting chance.
The muscle development stage is fantastic. Of course you need more calories to build muscle, i.e. ‘bulking.’ But to take the excess fat down to reveal the muscle, ‘cutting,’ was very difficult for me. It seemed like all I could eat was plain chicken and brown rice. ‘But food!!’ I would think, ‘I. LOVE. FOOD!’ I became grumpy, unhappy with the fact that I was missing out on something I enjoyed in life. Not only that, but if I, unlike my partner, went off of the diet for too long, I quickly put the pounds back on (he has always had a fast metabolism). I would bulk in the cooler seasons and cut in the warmer ones, meaning that I was never really ‘summer ready’ until the end of summer. There needed to be a balance. I’ve now switched to an intermittent fasting plan, something that I will certainly write a post about in the near future. I count my macros, having a high carb day on a training day and a low carb day on non-training days. My protein never changes, but I will have more fat on the non-training days and higher carbs with lower fat on gym days. You’ll find that my recipes are proportioned accordingly. This has given me numbers to play with, allowing me to have a versatile eating plan packed with delicious ingredients.
I have been into fitness for over four years now. I have researched, trained and constantly worked toward making meals that are healthy and that fit into my fitness plan. During this time as well, I found out that I have developed a lactose sensitivity (read about it here). It became important for me to create delicious recipes that kept my mind happy, with a lactose or dairy free alternative to the many dishes that I have always loved in order to keep my body and bikini happy! I believe life should be lived to the fullest. We should be active, try new things, travel and surround our lives with beauty (including incredible food!)
Please have a browse through my recipes and give them ago! So many of them have been worked and reworked to make sure there is a healthy balance between the nutrition requirements, the taste requirements, without the lactose-element. All of my recipes can be made completely dairy free with the correct dairy alternative as well. If you are like me, needing a lactose-free life, love fitness or just want to eat healthier without sacrificing taste, I think I’ll have some stuff you’ll like. Definitely comment on ones you have tried and let me know what you think!