Gaining weight is what I needed to do to create balance in my body, which then led me to arriving at my natural set point weight. This month I thought I’d share what I did to achieve this in a safe way that led to long term changes and results for me.
1) Added high quality protein to my smoothie
I’m a big fan of smoothies as a way to get lots of colourful foods into my diet, I’d often have one as a mid-morning snack or with my breakfast. When I learned I needed to increase my protein to create balance in body (the extra protein was needed to help my body recover between my exercise sessions and fuel an active lifestyle), a simple thing I did was added 1tbsp of high quality protein to my smoothies. I personally use Pulsin Pea Protein, you can get this here, from Holland and Barrett if you’d like to try it.
2) Gradually increased my calorie in take
To rebalance my energy levels, one of the key things I needed to do was to gradually increase my calorie intake. I did this by adding higher calorie, nutritious snacks to my diet such as a handful of unsalted nuts or a couple of oat cakes with peanut butter spread on top. Another thing I did was added 1tbsp of hummus to my meals or an extra table spoon of curry or vegetables. Whilst I was making these changes I was always checking in with my hunger scale to make sure I was listening to what my body needed (and didn’t need). I have talked about the hunger scale in a previous blog, click here if you missed it.
3) Opted for more Restorative exercise
As we all know exercise has endless benefits for us physically, emotionally and mentally. During the process of gaining weight I needed to be mindful of how much aerobic exercise and weight training I was doing. Although they are fantastic forms of exercise, doing too much of these, without adequate rest and recovery, can encourage cortisol (stress) levels to stay elevated in the body. Elevated cortisol levels can play havoc on our body’s natural processes which is what I was experiencing before I found my natural weight. To rectify this, I started to replace 1, sometimes 2, of my aerobic or weight training sessions to a restorative yoga practice or a 30minute walk. This, combined with gradually increasing my calorie intake were I’d say the key ingredients for me to create balance in my body and arrive at my natural set point weight.
4) Changed my mindset
Understanding what I needed to do was one thing, implementing it was another. For me to put these changes into action I needed to change my mindset. I needed to completely let go of any sort of dieting and restrictive mentality and replace it with a more supportive approach. Restriction and rigid rules around food and exercise wasn’t helping my body achieve balance, so I began to relax and trust my body to let me know what it needed.
5) Accepted that my natural weight fluctuates
On a personal note I rarely step on the scales. I am aware of what my natural weight is and I’m also aware that it fluctuates sometimes after holidays or whether I choose to exercise a little more or a little less some weeks. Accepting that your natural weight can fluctuate and can gradually increase as we get older can remind us to support our bodies and its natural processes rather than working against it.
I hope you find it helpful and as always if you have any questions or if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you find your natural weight too, do let us know
To your health and wellness,