"If you're already healthy then why change the way you eat?"
"But I thought you loved your body so why are you trying to change it?"
"You don't need to do anything different, you look fine."
"Who are you trying to look good for?"
Some of these questions may sound familiar when you're on a fitness journey. No matter what your goals might be people will question why you're doing it. Not everyone might agree or support your decision, some may even poke fun at you for having the courage to make a change they're not willing to do. A fitness journey is one that you have to do all on your own. Sure you can do it with other people for accountability but what I mean is no one can force you to do it. It's something you have to do on your own.
Whatever personal reasons you've chosen to do this, bottom line is: it's okay to love your body but still want to change it.
That's a mental note I've made sure to keep in mind as I've begun this process, especially with my switch to IIFYM over the past few months. Yes, I've already been eating healthy, yes I already work out on a daily basis, and no I'm not doing this for anyone else but myself.
I'm doing this for the one and only simple but most important reason: I love it.
I love planning my macros, I love challenging myself to find new recipes, I love learning about fitness, I love planning new workouts, I love pushing myself and hitting new PRS, I love both lifting and running, but most importantly I love that it makes me happy.
Really and truly I've fallen in love with the process and have little to no idea of what results I'm going to get. That's the thing and that's what keeps this healthy for me, I'm not fixed on some goal number. I don't have it stuck in my mind that I need to be at a certain weight or look a certain way when this is over because that's the other thing, it's not like this has some deadline for me. There's no end in sight for me because it's a lifestyle.
I'm doing this because it brings me balance and balance brings me happiness and happiness makes me want to keep going with it. It's a cycle you see? Only this time around it's a positive one. I'm done with my old bad habits and I'm keeping the new ones.
So, yes, I made a change to my diet, not a drastic one but a conscious one all the same. I switched to IIFYM and I found myself balanced. I prayed a lot about it and gave it a lot of thought but eventually I realized I had nothing to lose. If it didn't work out then there wouldn't really be any harm done.
Some friends and family have said those things that I listed at the top but I don't care because like I said I'm not doing this for them. I'm doing it for me and they can think whatever they want about it. I don't mean that in a rude way but honestly it's my body and my decision. If this is a decision that is better for me overall then I will do it because in the end I'm going to do what's best for my body.
It took me over a year but I'm at a place where I respect my body, and that's why I made the switch. I'm learning to put my body first because at the end of the day it's the only one I got. Yes, I love myself and my body but it's okay to want to be stronger, faster, leaner, more muscular or whatever changes you want to make.
The unhealthy part isn't that you want to change about your body, it becomes unhealthy with the why you want to change it.
In 2012, I wanted to change my body because I thought that a certain weight would make me happy. I wanted to change my body because I thought it would make me beautiful. I wanted to look like the models in the magazines. I became fixated on a number and let it define me, consume me to the point where it was borderline obsession. My 'why' is what made me unhealthy.
Now, none of those reasons matter. The only reason I'm doing it now is because I've fallen in love with the process and it truly makes me happy. I'm not in it for what my body will look like.
"But you said your goal is to build more lean muscle..."
Yes, I do have goals and I want to build more muscle, but I don't have some mental image in my head of what my body 'should look like'. I want to build more muscle so that I can become stronger, faster, leaner, etc. and not because I'm fixated on an image of what I have to look like to be happy.
I'm honestly just going to stick with the process and see what changes come about. I don't feel any pressure to look a certain way, or be a certain size, but most importantly I'm happy. Regardless of what happens or what changes, I'm at peace with my body and that's how I know what I'm doing is right for me.
Different things work for different people but I've found my balance and I'm sticking with it. People might wonder why I decided to switch or change what I've been doing but as politely as I can say this: it's my decision.
So, if you're just starting out or making changes go ahead and do what makes you happy. If it keeps you healthy, happy, and balanced then by all means stick with it. Not everyone is always going to agree or be supportive but don't pay them any attention. It's your body and your decision. Balance is hard to find so when you do find it, don't let go of it.
Eventually, I'll probably make my way to intuitive eating as what usually happens with IIFYM. Right now I'm sticking to macros because I do have goals of being stronger and I'm still learning but eventually I may not need to be as strict with macros. As I'm becoming more balanced and more educated, I can start to better guesstimate more about what my body needs. One day I'll be able to simply know what my body requires that day and not have to closely track my intake. That day is a long way away though so right now I'll keep up with my macros. There's no hurry and no pressure as I'm happy where I am at the moment.
I'll know when the time has come where I no longer need to track my macros. It'll be a comfortable transition to intuitive eating and I'll be able to tell when I'm ready. Again, it's a lifestyle so even though I won't be tracking macros forever, I'll still keep up with the idea of IIFYM. I'll continue to allow myself those foods I once thought were forbidden for the rest of my life. I'll continue to have balance and I'll continue to be happy.
It's your body and your decision so make the best choice for you, not what other people think you should or shouldn't do. But above all remember in the midst of any changes you might be making: you've always been and always will be beautiful.