How to stay lean

I am an emotional eater.

Especially the travel loneliness makes me munch up more often than I’m happy to admit. 

Double burgers, extra fries, Ice cream, chocolate cake, cookies.
You name it, I eat it. 

That has been true for most of my life and so when I started moving around at 18, I gained a bunch of weight. Over time I made some important changes in my lifestyle that keep me lean since then and that don’t require much effort from me.

Here’s what I think I do differently than most:

  1. Avoid liquid calories
    For my 18 birthday, one of my presents was a case of 2l coke bottles.
    I was drinking almost nothing else at that time.

    It took me a while to learn how much more negative impact drinking sugar has compared to eating it but then I decided to just drink water and black coffee.

    And if I have unbearable sugar cravings, I go for a chocolate bar instead of a soda.
    Not great but better!
  1. Extend fasting phases
    I fast when it’s easy for me.

    When I’m not feeling great emotionally, I can’t force myself to fast. Kinda goes against the whole point of eating to feel better.
    Instead, on days when I feel it’s not challenging to push the first meal a little bit, I do it.

    If I’m not hungry, I don’t eat.
    And then if I get hungry, I don’t eat for a little longer.

  2. Do high-resistance movement snacks
    Maintaining muscles takes energy.
    Moving muscles against high resistance takes a lot of energy.

    I do quite a lot of pistol squats and one-arm push-ups during the day to keep my muscles working at a high level.

    Staying mobile and warmed up during the day with mobility movement snacks allows me to spontaneously pump out a few reps of a difficult exercise without hurting myself.
  1. No alcohol
    For most people probably the big one.
    It’s a lot of liquid calories and it’s negatively influencing hormone levels, slowing down muscle growth. Double negative.

    I also don’t like the effects anymore, even small amounts make me tired and sluggish so it was easy for me to cut it out completely.

    Sometimes I miss the social lubrication but I’m working on my confidence and getting to know people without needing a crutch feels a lot better.

When I was overweight in my early twenties, I was drinking a lot, had no muscle, and ate breakfast every morning because that’s what you are supposed to do.

Since then I fluctuate 5kg up and down around what seems to be my ideal weight.

Without crazy diets and while sometimes eating half a grocery store because I’m sad.

Feeling lonely at times is part of the nomad experience. I’m working on finding healthier ways to cope with it but in the meantime I’m focused on minimizing the negative effects of my eating habits.

Big levers, big results.