Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I use Facebook too much. I freely admit it. But in doing so, I found an absolutely incredible Facebook page called Go Kaleo. The woman who runs it, Amber, is a powerhouse. She's fit and strong, had an incredible journey, and basically became Yoda in the process. But not the adorable lovable Yoda who sagely grumbles and gives advice.
No, she's the Yoda who sits on your back while you're doing backflips through the swamp and yells at you.
I love it.
She doesn't believe in conventional diets. She doesn't really believe in dieting at all. Her main advice is to think critically. If something promises to work magic, it's lying.
She's also a trainer.
Oh, and she eats sometimes as many as 3500 calories a day.
Primarily fruits and veggies.
What she's been focusing on lately is metabolic damage and it's really starting to resonate with me. She firmly believes, and will back it right up with good science (not broscience) that most of us women aren't eating nearly enough. And what happens if you don't eat enough? Your metabolism is damaged.
I resisted the idea for a while. But fact is, I've been eating around 1500 calories a day, often less, for nearly two years. And I don't get results anymore. Sure, I just dropped a ton of weight. But it's from eating NOTHING because I was in terrible pain. It'll come back. I expect that. But even when I'm doing everything right, tracking and exercising and eating well, I gain weight at the drop of a hat.
I'm not eating enough. I think it's okay to admit that now.
Her advice? Slowly add in calories until you're at your maintenance intake and your body will do the rest. There'll be initial weight gain, sure. But it'll level off. Your body doesn't want the fat.
I think I've known this was true for a long time. But so many calorie counters grossly underestimate the amount of calories needed in day. So I used the ones she recommended. Women's Health and Fitness. Health-Calc. And even in my P90X days, the BeachBody calculator. They all said the same. 2400 calories.
I think I'm going to work up to 2000 a day. I'm going to eat more whole foods, even more than I already am. I'm going to eat as much fruit as I want. Because here's another part of thinking critically:
If something never sat well with me, I no longer HAVE to believe it. Paleo said don't eat too much fruit because of all the sugar. I won't believe that. I never did before. Fruit has always made me feel fantastic.
I won't believe the low carb hype. I've been there and done that and it always made me miserable. There's some truth to avoiding empty and refined carbohydrates, sure. But that's not because a carbohydrate is evil. It's because eating junk food is dumb.
I won't believe fat = bad. Healthy fats make Jolene a happy girl.
I won't believe a woman doesn't need that many calories. I won't believe that my body deserves to be starved to be worthwhile.
I won't believe that a workout needs to almost kill me to be effective.
I won't believe that only certain workouts are the way to go.
I won't believe that six pack abs are the end-all of fitness. As Amber of Go Kaleo says, "abs are easy to get if you've got the genetics, which I do. They're virtually impossible to get if you don't. Which is why our cultural obsession with them is so silly."
I won't blindly believe everything Go Kaleo posts just because I like her. I will continue to think critically.
This world, of health and food and fitness, it's a black hole. Everything contradicts. So much of the advice is bad, flat out wrong, even dangerous. I've fallen into too many traps over my journey to keep blindly believing anything.
Thinking critically makes me happy. I'm going to do it more often.