I tend to find that the biggest catalyst for change is when the status quo becomes stale and old & you realise that maybe a change wouldn’t be so bad?
It happens in politics, all of the time but what about when it happens to your every day life?
A year ago, I decided enough was enough. I decided that whilst I had a great job, great friends and an exciting life - something was missing, I needed to do more so I could live properly. That change was to lose weight.
I was never a skinny child, teenager or indeed adult. Part of this was down to the culture I grew up in; part Irish, part Caribbean - food is a celebration, a tasty treat, central to so many family gatherings and ultimately bloody brilliant!
The other part was that I just didn’t love exercise. I played netball during secondary school but P.E. lessons were the ones I hated the most. In all honesty, my attitude to exercise is much the same now - I’d rather do anything else.
By the time I got to uni I did very, very little exercise. My alcohol intake increased, as did my consumption of “bad foods”.
I spent much of early 20s jumping from diet to diet, Atkins to Dukan, living on liquids, taking fat burners, not eating, then bingeing, eating according to my blood type, my astrological sign, how my caveman ancestors ate, cabbage soup… There’s not one fad plan I haven’t given a go because I read that *insert celebrity name* used it and it worked wonders. I even tried that awful baby food one. Grim.
Changing It Up
At 27, I decided to make a change. It was simple - I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to sleep better and I wanted to feel better.
I’ve never been a “bad eater” I prefer fresh home-cooked meals to takeaways and will pretty much stick to main meals BUT I do have a sweet tooth. If I had sweets in my house, I will eat them - same goes for chocolate and crisps.
It sounds simple but I just chose low calorie/low fat versions of what I like to eat - I was still getting pleasure from food but rather than being covered in butter or whatever else, I was just eating well and most importantly going to the gym.
There is not one piece of equipment I enjoy in the gym. Not one. But what I did come to love is that I can compete with myself on the bike/treadmill/cross trainer. If I can go harder, for longer than I did the day before, then I win. I essentially tricked my brain into thinking the gym was a competition.
This mentality helped me to lose 28lbs in about 4/5 months and eventually my busy life in events took over and my travelling for work increased. And I admit it, the gym was the last thing on my mind and the frequency that I went reduced significantly. But this time something was different.
I didn’t go back to my bad eating patterns, I carried on eating healthily and trying to exercise when I could. By simply maintaining a health diet I was able to maintain my weight loss and moreover, I hadn’t lost weight in a dramatic or stupid way so there was no suddenly gain.
New Year, New Kick Up The Bum
After a Christmas where Quality Street was my new favourite breakfast, I decided to step it up a gear. I joined a local Fitness First (on my road, no excuses!) and decided to really focus on my goal of being healthier. By chance, on the day I signed up to this gym I met my personal trainer. As part of my membership I received 2 free PT sessions and thought I’d see what I’d get out of it.
Two months on I’m still seeing my trainer twice a week. She’s incredible. She understands my goals and my body. She knows how to motivate me and make me work harder. And having her in the back of my mind makes me train harder when I’m on my own.
Personal training is a luxury, of course, but it has transformed my attitude towards to gym - either way I look at it I have to train 2 times in addition to my PT sessions. The weeks when I don’t train on my own are the weeks when I lose nothing or very little. If I don’t put the work in too, I won’t get what I want out of it.
I probably still have another 50-60lbs I’d like to lose (in addition to the 14lbs I’ve already lost in 2014, go me!) - at that point it will be about maintenance which is probably the hardest part of losing any significant weight.
I suppose I’ve written this blog because there are so many stupid diets around, people who are overweight are judged unfairly and it’s hard to know what to do or how to do it.
So I’m going to try and update this from time to time with tasty recipes and breakdowns of my gym sessions just in case you want to try and incorporate them into your lives.
Hopefully this all makes sense.
Before and After of me over the past year