One of us ain’t like the other

In Trucker's Health, June 20215 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 6, 2021

Do you have a friend who can eat whatever they want, barely exercise, and never put on any weight? Me too; it can be annoying. But regardless of how frustrating it is, moaning about it doesn’t burn any calories. I think it’s important to accept that every person has a different metabolism and body shape. We all respond differently to the way we fuel and move our bodies.

For example, if your friend Debbie lost 10kg by eating only one hamburger a day for 30 days and doing a 30-minute walk every three days, that doesn’t mean that you would get the same results, even if you followed the identical food and exercise regime.

For a regime to be successful, you need to choose foods and types of exercises that you enjoy and that work well for your body type – no one else’s. I have friends who eat large amounts of carbohydrates daily, whereas I eat a relatively low carbohydrate diet. Because I am a celiac, I cannot consume gluten and struggle to process too many starchy carbs.

Another important aspect is working out what is realistic for you regarding your food and exercise regime. For example, I have a fairly busy life, but I do not have any children, so my time and schedule is relatively free compared with someone with three children who may have many after-school commitments and errands. Think about how much time you could realistically set aside to exercise over a week. If that’s 30 minutes a day, five times a week – that is great. If you decide to exercise every day for at least an hour, your schedule may put that goal completely out of reach, leaving you feeling disappointed and disheartened. I find it helpful to sit down on a Sunday and spend 10 minutes working out when I can realistically commit to exercise. That way, I set an expectation and affirmation that, yes, I do have the time.

The other thing I find useful in terms of being realistic is allowing myself ‘treats’ throughout the week, rather than just trying to jam them all into the weekend in the form of a good old-fashioned binge. If you know you can enjoy things during the week, you’ll feel less urgency to jam-pack your weekend with all of the foods you love because you know you won’t be getting them again for another five days. This doesn’t mean filling your diet with junk every day. It just means allowing yourself the option to have a treat throughout the week to prevent yourself from feeling deprived.

For example, you may be having a nice dinner out, so allow yourself to have dessert. If you wanted to be mindful of portion sizes, you could always share your dessert or doggy- bag some for the next day. It is just about being aware of what you’re eating. You know that you had dessert yesterday, so you may choose not to have a dessert the next day – it’s all about balance, not deprivation. Your chosen treat comes down to preference. For me, a caramel slice is my go-to treat. For some, it might be a pie. Just make sure it is something that you feel like and know will satisfy you.

There is nothing worse than being on a health journey and hating every day of it because you’re not able to eat any of the foods you love and are having to do exercise that you don’t enjoy. I encourage you to explore different types of exercise styles and branch out with your nutrition to find the training and food regime that works for you. Ask yourself, “Can I see myself still doing this in two years?”

There is your answer as to whether it is sustainable long-term.

   

Laura Peacock, Personal trainer TCA Fitness