So I’m going to write about something a bit topical- I’m sure everyone has been swept up in the “fitspiration” on their social media, everyone has that friend who keeps posting the exact same selfie on top of Mt Lofty at 8am every Saturday without fail- but I digress…
I’ve never been a big girl, and have actually spent most of my life underweight without trying very hard. Since I turned 18 I had always been active in some way (but not consistently): ballet, gym, kung fu, horse riding, swimming, but never gave much thought about my diet. For example- some nights I would happily eat a chopped up tomato and call it dinner. Other nights I could finish a KFC 3 piece feed and still look for dessert. I would routinely skip breakfast, or do something like eat re-heated pizza for breakfast. Then when I became a doctor it became even worse- my so called “fuel” throughout the day would comprise of a coffee for breakfast, whatever white sandwich I could scrounge from the hospital cafe/ discharge patient’s tray for lunch, and something carby (like pasta or rice) for dinner at 10pm. Lollies and chocolate from the vending machine throughout the day. Minimal water intake. When I did my ENT rotation the other intern and I basically subsisted on V energy drinks and chocolate butter cookies to get us through our 14 hour work days.
Half way through my resident year I hopped on the bariatric weighing machine in the middle of the night just for fun- Turns out I had gained 12 kilos in the space of 18 months. I fretted about my weight, and made excuses that I was too tired and busy to do anything about it and made no changes at all. Fast forward a year later whilst working as a junior surgical registrar- no sleep, no rest, no food, no water- meant I had rapidly lost 11 kg within the space of a few months. Not to worry though- moving interstate for work and with the stress of exams, workplace bullying and being socially isolated meant I rapidly gained all that weight back again.
It was at this time that I started looking into ways to nourish my body. I learnt about green smoothies, and started having one every day. I started going to hot yoga classes, and joined a gym, and started lifting weights. I picked up surfing, and was eating things like steamed greens, brown rice and chicken for lunch everyday. Things were looking up.
I moved interstate again, and for about 6 months I didn’t do any exercise other than the odd ballet class. I realised one day that I had no energy at all, that I was living from coffee to coffee, was sick all the time, and was weak- I didn’t have the strength to “munch bone” during laminectomies or even set up the surgical table, and I was running out of steam by the end of the 12-14 hour operations. I decided to join a gym, and started eating a lot better, and made sure I got enough fuel. This would mean I had to meal prep for 4 days out of the week, made sure I had breakfast every day, and had healthy snacks on hand at all times at work. I started getting stronger and with the cardiovascular conditioning work I was lasting longer throughout the day.
Another interstate move made me fall off the wagon again (notice the trend?), and I had health issues for the greater part of the year which left me weak and exhausted again for several months. I started going to Xtend Barre classes in August this year and loved it so much that I attend class probably 6 days a week. I didn’t notice any changes in weight or appearance with exercise alone, and at the beginning of September I joined The Nutrition Detective Solution (run by osteopath and Xtend Barre studio owner Dr Andrea Robertson- www.thenutritiondetectivesolution.com.au) which is an 80 day diet overhaul and exercise challenge. There are different levels you can do- Exercise: 3, 4, 5 sessions a week. Diet at the highest level is: no caffeine, alcohol, processed sugar, gluten or cows dairy for 80 days.
Now, with going zero waste earlier this year, I had already eliminated a lot of the processed stuff from my diet, but I was still eating lots of bread and pasta, lollies from the bulk bins, bakery treats in cloth bags- you get the idea 😉 So this diet overhaul was daunting at first, but has gotten easier and easier as time went on. The low point was probably 3 days in, and then again at 2 weeks, where the combined sugar and caffeine cravings hit you hard. I have had one (ONE!) latte since the beginning of September- that in itself is an achievement!
5 weeks on and I have lost quite a bit of weight- 4 kg in fact- and my body fat percentage has reduced a bit as well. I’ve added some extra resistance classes during the week on top of barre and seem to be going ok. The aim actually is to gain strength and learn better eating habits for life, not just for these 80 days, so we’ll see 🙂
I’ve also loved learning to cook new things, and have been lucky enough to buy things like protein powder and super foods in bulk. The healthier I cook the easier bulk shopping becomes- since most bulk foods come from healthy hippy stores anyway 😉