Transforming your body into a slim, lean, athletic physique can be one of the most rewarding fitness goals you’ll ever undertake. But such endeavours take a lot of energy and focus. What about life after the transformation? It’s definitely worth investing some time in researching and planning ways to maintain your body transformation results.
Making peace with your body
As a coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people on hundreds of different health and fitness goals. Each individual has a unique background, character, set of behaviours. But the one thing that unites all of these fitness-goal stories is hard work.
None of those people could have achieved their goal without a target, a strategy, effort, and continual forward motion. And that’s absolutely necessary for the achievement stage of a goal, but it’s not so helpful for long term maintenance.
Once you’ve achieved your goal of body transformation, you’ll need to get in the headspace of maintenance. The holy grail here is making peace with your body. This involves nurturing a relationship between your physical body and inner self that’s built on trust.
Understanding your body’s cues
Many of us have spent years (or decades) dieting and over-exercising. Even if that’s not true for you, simply being confused about the best way to eat and exercise can disrupt your understanding of the body’s true signals.
1) Your body’s hunger cues
The hormone ghrelin is produced and released mainly by the stomach. It stimulates appetite and tells you to eat more when you’re hungry.
2) Your body’s satiety/fullness cues
The hormone leptin is produced by fat cells, and communicates with the hypothalamus in the brain to tell you that you’ve had enough to eat. And stretch receptors in your stomach also trigger the brain to signal that you should stop eating.
3) The difference between tiredness and hunger
Both tiredness and hunger are a sign that you need more energy, but energy comes in two forms: rest and calories. It’s very easy to eat extra calories when what you really need is sleep.
4) The difference between hunger and thirst
We often mistake thirst for hunger, which leads to excess calories and inadequate hydration. If you’ve got a dry mouth or haven’t been to the toilet for a while, then drink some water. True hunger sensations include growling stomach, light headedness, irritability, and lack of concentration.
5) Knowing when to rest and when to exercise
If you love exercise or rely on it for stress relief or socialising, it can be incredibly difficult to admit that you need a rest. Your body and mind do need proper rest – which actually includes complete rest days, not just lower-intensity workout replacements. This is a key part of building a lifelong sustainable approach to exercise.
The goal of body maintenance is learning to exist in a place where you can hear and understand your body’s cues, be flexible, and not stress or overthink food and exercise.
What lies beyond food rules?
You can’t count calories and track food forever. And it might be wise to ditch your smart watch and movement tracker sometimes, too.
It’s really important to get to a stage where you can instinctively eat and move in a way that’s healthy for your body and mind – without technology or data.
Extra resources that can support your health journey
There are lots of experts who could play a part in creating your holistic long-term health plan. I would always recommend you consider getting blood work done, consulting a homeopath, and seeing a dietician.
Blood work – getting private blood work done can give you a deeper look into your short- and long-term health, including risk factors and specific blood markers could optimise your fitness.
Homeopathy – alternative therapies like homeopathy can give you insights into how your body works, and offer gentle support for sleep, stress and other issues
Dietetics – dietitians are qualified and regulated health professionals that can assess, diagnose and treat your nutritional challenges
If you’re interested in creating a bespoke approach to long term health and fitness, drop me a line.
‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’