By Simone Mitchell
If you are tired of reading fad diet stories, then this one is for you.
British mother of two Nikki Rees posted a photo on her Instagram account recently that quickly struck a chord with people on social media.
It gained more than 5,000 likes.
The picture shows the way Rees has transformed her body in two years.
Naturally, people wanted to know what her "secret" was. Her response will have you rethinking your next diet:
"Let me tell you about my Food/diet/nutrition/healthy eating ... whatever you want to call it," Rees writes in her post.
"Most of you already know that I workout most days ... and that I do so at home. But I get lots of questions about how I eat because it's not something I talk about or photograph that often.
"I know it's not what you want to hear but the reason I don't really talk about it ... is because there's nothing really to tell. I don't follow a plan, I don't count anything (not macros not calories) I don't try to cut out food groups or stop eating carbs after 5pm".
She also points out that despite her dramatically different appearance, she weighs the same now as she did two years ago, which is a timely reminder that it's important not to obsess over numbers.
"I don't do intermittent fasting or flexible dieting or even clean eating (anymore, I did for a while in the beginning) ... I still eat cake more days than not ... I still drink prosecco I still can't seem to resist stealing snacks from the kids junk food cupboard. I still love a takeaway curry ... eat pizza, burger and fries and love to eat sweets."
She goes on to explain that the difference between the two pictures is "not what those foods do to my body it's what those foods do to my head".
"Two years ago eating sweets and takeaway and junk all day would send me into a downward spiral of feeling bad about myself. All that yummy food would actually fuel my excuses to quit exercise, to not bother balancing the treats out with nutritious alternatives. Now these same foods (and my passion for them) fuel my ambition to condition my body. I know the difference between eating well and eating poorly ... And if a day happens where I binge eat cake and a tub of butter I leave it at just that ... a day that happened. It doesn't derail my goals like it used to ... I don't see it as a reason to give up ... but a reason to continue ..."
"I don't workout out of guilt - I workout to be guilt free," she continues.
"Healthy bodies start with healthy minds. So balance the food books like the intelligent rational human being your are ... eat what you love every now and then And what you need more often than not ... and on those days when it all goes horribly wrong... as it inevitably will ... just remove your face from the tub of butter ... replace the lid and continue on exactly as you were... motivated, goal orientated and #healthyAF
Rees - who credits Aussie Kayla Itsines as one of her key motivators - explains in another post that fitness helps keep her sane as the mother of a temperamental toddler.
"I think my two year old daughter screamed at me 98% of today," she says.
"To say today was a bad day in the life of a #toddlermom was an understatement ... and I nearly completely lost my sh** a total number of 12 times.
"I will go as far as to say, working out (I actually did it twice) saved me today ... Sometimes ... life is wonderful and fitness is all about Instagram transformations and feeling amazing inside and out.
"Other times fitness is the only thing you have left ... it's the only thing that's yours ... and yours alone. It's not the number on the scale or the inches lost or gained ... it's 30 selfish minutes of venting frustration and drowning out the mini human hysterics that you've spent 7 hours on and off the frigging naughty step, trying to decipher what on earth is wrong ... only to discover NOTHING AT ALL IS WRONG SHE JUST WANTS TO SCREAM.
"Fitness didn't just save me today ... I'm pretty sure it saved moo from her stressed out mother. "I'm not proud to say that but that's how it felt. Not the upbeat #transformationtuesday post I was hoping for but ENTIRELY ACCURATE. #terribletwos #ihateyou #pleaseturn3."