I have successfully maintained my scale weight and body fat percentage all year long. As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, I have done this without any special effort: no calorie counting, no specific macronutrient requirements, no restrictions on the foods I eat and no meal scheduling.
This is the second year in a row that I’ve been able to truly live “free” while maintaining (in fact, actually improving) my health and fitness. As most of you know, I am very “all or nothing”. Finding a sustainable healthy lifestyle was not easy for me; in fact, finding balance was one of the most difficult aspects of my transformation. For someone who came wired from the factory to be either “ON” or “OFF”, committing to six months of strict dieting without a single cheat meal or missed workout is actually easier than six months of moderation.
It’s not an exaggeration when I say that of all my fitness accomplishments over the past decade, finding balance is at the top of the list. It’s also, I believe, the most important: I have been healthy and in good shape for a long time, but now I finally have the freedom to truly enjoy those things. Up until a couple of years ago I was a slave to my fitness, living from one preplanned and rigidly scheduled meal to the next.
I believe there is a time and place to be strict. Perhaps if you’re overweight and out of shape, an ultra-strict diet and training plan is just what you need. The tricky part is transitioning away from that super strict temporary plan without falling back into bad habits. For some this transition comes easier than it does for others. I also don’t think there is a cookie cutter solution out there, as we’re all very different.
What I can tell you is that for me the key was discovering sports and physical activities that I enjoy. Once I did that, everything else started clicking into place. It was a little scary when I stopped planning my meals and stopped living on the clock. Those strict meal plans were my bedrock for a very long time, and so that letting go process was fairly tough for me. It was worth it: over the past 10 years I have never enjoyed my health and fitness more than I do now.
I’m going to go rustle up something for breakfast and get a bike ride in before work. I have no idea what I’m going to choose to eat, and I love that.