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Fit Summer diary: The freedom of not counting carbs and the joy of being back at the gym 


Health and Living editor Yvonne Hogan

Health and Living editor Yvonne Hogan

Health and Living editor Yvonne Hogan

For me, Fit Summer is primarily trying to fix my relationship with food. I love to exercise ­— in a gym with weights — and now that the gyms are open again I know that I will find the time to go. Particularly now that I have had my first vaccination, even though I will put on my mask if the gym gets busy.

I went twice last week and feeling a barbell on my back again has made me so happy.

I feel like a vital part of me has been restored and I am so grateful. I am taking it easy though, following the advice of physio Doireann Murtagh, and lifting about 50pc of my pre-lockdown weight.

I’m also just doing a gentle full body workout. I aim to go every second day until I can build back up to four times a week.

But back to the food. The last two weeks have shown me how disordered my attitude to food has been, probably for most of my adult life.

So much so that to my brain, Orla’s advice to eat when you are hungry, unconditionally, seems subversive. When I heard it first, I have to say I didn’t quite buy it. I thought it was great advice for other people, the people who could control themselves, but not for the likes of me.

The fact that no food group was to be limited was another bit that didn’t sound true to me. I am used to food rules, calorie counting, good foods and bad foods. And, as I mentioned before, I have had great success in the past losing fat with low carb. I know it works.

But I also know it can be quite limiting. Even before I had children, it was a great source of annoyance to my husband, for example, when we used to go on holidays to Spain that we could only go to the most expensive restaurants for lunch and dinner as I would only eat fish or meat and salad.

He would live in fear of me going more than three hours without food as I would get so hangry.

For years, my day revolved around getting to the gym and macros and everything else came second to that.

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I now realise that I have been waiting for a time when I could return to such a disciplined lifestyle — when the youngest starts sleeping through the night, when the kids are older — getting fatter and unhealthier as I waited for a set of circumstances that would allow me to implement my plan. But, as a working mum with two kids and a house to run, it is highly unlikely I will ever get to such a place again.

And, now that I think about it, I don’t think I want to. I want to be able to make cupcakes with my kids and eat them. I want us to eat the same meals together — and I want my two girls to grow up eating when they are hungry and without giving the macros in their meals or the size shape of their bodies a second thought.

Last weekend, we went to Cork to see granny and grandad for the first time since last Christmas. It was a glorious weekend, we had barbecues and visits to the beach, and I have to say I really enjoyed just eating what I wanted at mealtimes. I had a few treats during the day and enjoyed them too.

I haven’t weighed myself as per the Fit Summer rules, but I did try on a gym top that I bought three weeks ago and was going to return as it was too small, and decided to keep it.

Now, whether that is because it fit better or, as Anna Geary maintains, if you exercise regularly you stand taller and feel better, it’s hard to say.

Either way I’m happy.

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