Blog, Features, Fit Tips, Nutrition

That Fine Line

Doing what I do, telling people how to change their bodies, is quite a morally conflicting job.

I am pro healthy, yes, but I am also pro HAPPY.

So it is very hard sometimes, when I know that spontaneous eating brings so much ease and joy, to tell somebody that they need to buckle down if they want to change their body. Obviously, if you want to reduce body fat, it is going to require some attention to diet and exercise.

I am also pro WOMEN, so it pains me when I share a client’s before and after, only to be told that she was beautiful before and shame on me for changing her.

Let me be very clear right now, I do not give two shits if you are in shape, out of shape, muscley, curvy, skinny, black, white or purple. I happen to work in health and fitness, so I happen to be called upon to help change bodies, be it internal, external, or both.

What I pride myself on doing is EDUCATING those who want to change their shape on how to do it PROPERLY, while effectively.

I have recently come under fire from somebody I very much respect, and this man has been brilliant enough to engage in a private debate with me.

I wanted to share with you all my last email to him, in the hopes that anybody who questions my moral compass, can perhaps begin to understand it better…

Thank you for your email.

I can ASSURE you that my goal is also to help and protect people as much as possible.

I too have conferred with therapists, dieticians, families and friends who have experience with eating disorders, in order to help many of my followers overcome anorexia nervosa, extreme low calorie intakes, binge eating, obesity and everything in between. I feel uncomfortable using this as a weapon in my defence, but the honest truth is that I receive emails and messages of thanks all the time from women of all ages regarding this particular subject matter.

I think what you are judging me on is a short turn around body transformation book aimed at women who want to feel happy and comfortable in their own skin for a wedding, a honeymoon or an important event.

I gather from your email that you don’t accept that this should be the way it is for women, but unfortunately, it is.

So, with that in mind, my goal is then to help women achieve their health, fitness, strength and aesthetic goals WITHOUT starving themselves, overtraining, or hating their bodies in the process.

Instead, they EAT, they MOVE, they think about overlooked but paramount factors such as water, rest and sleep, and they learn to marvel at the strength and science of the human body.

And I honestly feel, although I can see from your email that you would strongly disagree with this, that I am doing a good job.

Before I was qualified and educated on the body, I would panic before a holiday or a big event, and spend weeks on the Atkins diet, under-eating, going for long runs pounding pavement (eventually giving myself such bad shin splints that I still can’t run outdoors) and feeling lost and frustrated at every turn. I was working hard to make changes, so why wasn’t my body responding?

Now that I am educated, what I try to do is explain exactly WHAT resistance training, cardio, protein, fats, carbs, micronutrients, calories, water, rest, sleep, supplementation, hormones and gut health do to the body, so that people have the tools to start treating their bodies incredibly well and getting the results they want simultaneously, instead of trading in health for aesthetics.

Your view of a calorie deficit is that it is dangerous, but it has to be extreme and constant for any harm to be done.
Eating 1500calories a day for a woman is not extreme, nor is it dangerous or damaging.
However, if a woman wants to up her training, I always point out that first and foremost, she needs to up her calories.
At the moment I am power lifting, and eating over 2200 calories daily.
I have been documenting this and explaining it en route, exactly as I do when in a fat loss phase.

You mention metabolic damage (again, I applaud your brilliant references), but again, a diet is to be severely low calorie and long term for this to occur.
Also, are you aware that metabolic damage is never permanent, metabolic adaptation is a much more appropriate phrase, in that the metabolism has adapted to low calories and has come to a screeching halt to prevent further loss of body fat.
It can be fixed in a matter of months, with a gradual calorie increase and focus on the individual.
I know this because not only have I achieved it, I have helped clients achieve it also.

When I talk about harnessing feelings of hunger, I talk about it in the context of the body’s response to being in a fat loss phase.
When you are losing body fat, even if you have an unhealthy amount to lose, your body will fight you to keep it, hence the increase in hunger.
The fact of the matter is, if you are trying to go from 30% body fat down to 20% body fat, you are going to need to implement a calorie deficit, and when it starts to take effect, your brain is going to start to tell you that you’re hungry.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to eat, I strongly disagree with you on this point, what it means is that your brain is telling you to eat because it doesn’t want to lose body fat.
The fact of the matter is we are simply not meant to have a very high body fat, but we do because of our environment now.
Have you ever read a book called The Hungry Brain? If not, I think you would find it fascinating.

What I will say for you is this; it is a GREAT comfort to have a MAN looking out for women. Especially a man with such an excellent platform. I am extremely impressed by you.

Thank you for your email,

Chloe Madeley