2 years ago I weighed nearly 18 stone. Having been down to 13.5 stone a few years before I knew that I needed to do something about it – and for me that meant training more frequently. I found a small community based gym and signed up for a month of team training, within weeks I was hooked and attending classes 5 times a week. Since then I have steadily lost weight and improved my fitness massively. I have completed OCR’s, been on a fitness retreat and binned my asthma inhalers – it has changed my life. It’s been a steady improvement over the last couple of years but in the last few months I have really ramped up my focus and commitment. I’ve dropped a stone pretty quickly and I have been surprised by some of the side effects. I currently weigh 14 stone 11.
1 Success in this area has really shone a spotlight onto areas which are not as good – when you cut out the ‘food or booze’ coping mechanism for a stressful day there is only one option to reduce the stress- address and resolve it- this is scary as its definitely easier to ignore the problem and have a glass of wine.
2 It’s really made me think about why I gained weight – a difficult thing for me to contemplate and go through in my mind – time to address those issues! It has been emotional!
3 People react to you differently – but you don’t realise that you look different so it feels strange.
4 I feel stressed about maintaining what I have lost and not quickly putting it all back on again – if I hit a stone or a half stone goal then I feel like I don’t want to go back up – this motivates me to keep going but feels like pressure!
5 I don’t have a clue what size clothes to buy and actually have to try things on!
6 I am much happier to take photos of myself and actually let other people take photos without thinking ‘please don’t tag me on facebook’
7 I have lost some friends – and gained new ones that support my goals
8 I feel like I have got my body back for me and my self back. When you are overweight you can become very detached from your body – not wanting to look at in the mirror and hardly recognising yourself. I am starting to appreciate how strong and amazing my body is and I feel a lot more connected to it.
9 I have found out that the people that support you mean more than they and you initially realise – having people who are interested in your progress and who genuinely comment on how well you are doing makes all the difference when you are struggling to see it yourself.
10 I have discovered that I need to make the lifestyle changes so that there is no going back – this is something I am really contemplating at the moment
So this is the start of the new journey – doing whatever it takes to stay focussed on my health and fitness goals! I will continue to share my progress here!
Since getting back from Ibiza nearly two weeks ago I have made some small changes to my diet and lifestyle. After being stuck in a rut for a while, I have lost half a stone in just over two weeks. My weight has been fairly static for about six months so this has been a good chance which has motivated me to keep focussed!
So here are some of the things I have been doing and small tweaks that I have made…
Protein, Protein, Protein!
I know trainers say it but it really does work. I used to think I would put on weight by having more protein in my diet as in my head anything that fills you up that much must cause you to put on weight right? I didn’t really get it! I have now worked out the daily amount my body needs and this is the only food goal I focus on achieving.
I have been eating eggs, meat, yoghurt, experimenting with protein shakes and balls – basically anything to make it more exciting.
I’ve ordered different flavoured protein powders and bars, and got protein cook books. It’s made a huge difference.
Stop worrying about breakfast!
I train most mornings before work, but I would get back and have a quick breakfast – maybe a protein shake or some cereal and a coffee before work – if anything. By 11am I was ravenous and would eat anything to stop me feeling hungry. Now I might have porridge, banana and a protein shake. I try to eat well and until my body tells me that I am not hungry anymore rather than calorie count or worry about overeating. The outcome – I can survive until lunch and may have a snack to keep me going but it will be a more conscious choice.
Breakfast on the go, protein pancakes and balls
Make food taste better!
I’ve enjoyed experimenting with fresh herbs, spices, even basics like lemon and seasoning. If I make food that I look forward to eating I will be less likely to start looking around. I did a diet once where I just had a protein shake for lunch! It wasn’t appetising, I didn’t look forward to it and as a result I would be looking for any excuse to have something else. I try to make lunches and dinners that I look forward to eating and enjoy – and make from scratch as much as possible.
Pea Pasta with Homemade Pea Pesto and Chicken
Schwarma Chicken, Chickpeas and Courgettes with Dukkah Spice
Tasty cod liver oil
I know it’s good for you but I really hate the capsules. I found a product called Zooki which is mango flavoured cod liver oil. It’s AMAZING!!! You can have it neat or add it to shakes or yoghurt etc.
Never leave the house without emergency snacks…
I spend a lot of time in my car. This week I’ve done about 600 miles and been out three nights out of the five week days. In my car I have a good supply of healthy bars, nuts, rice cakes, grenade bars, porridge pots, uncle ben’s microwaveable rice and squeezy peanut butter, these snacks are in my handbag, my office drawer – everywhere. I am not giving myself the chance to get to the point where the only option is Starbucks. I know that when I am starving I make bad choices! They are not tempting enough to make me want to overeat, but they are tasty enough that I will eat them rather than find chocolate somewhere!
Trying to make sure I have exciting snacks!
Share the love!
I love baking and buying treats for friends and colleagues so will often take food to meetings. Now its protein bars and protein pancakes and they have gone down well (with some people!!) Atleast this way I am not adding to the office feeder problem and I am keeping my own temptation out of arms reach.
Make time for rest and relaxation
I’ve started going to yin yoga and meditation on Wednesday evenings. It forces me to relax and switch off, and I sleep so well that night. Its a really gently way to stretch out the muscles and focus on being in the moment. I’ve also found a fantastic massage therapist who is holistic and is incredible. It’s really important to me to make sure that I have that balance.
Accept that you can’t actually change the outcome unless you are willing to change the process
Sounds obvious but I think that for a long time I wanted to get results while not really changing much about my diet. Unfortunately to change you have to be ready and put the work in. No one can do it for you but you can do it in small steps so it isn’t too scary! I’m on a mission so bring it on!!! 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻
Back in cold, wet and dark January I booked to go on a fitness retreat run by OnPoint.
At the time it seemed like a good way to stay focussed on training throughout the year, with something to work towards. Throughout the year I questioned whether I had done the right thing. Would I be able to keep up with the other team members? Would I be able to train in the heat? What if I didn’t like the food? What if I had to share a room with someone I didn’t like?
So, how did it go?
I arrived on the Thursday lunchtime and met up with the OnPoint team and the other trainers. We had lunch and our first training session which was fairly easy and more focussed on warm up technique using foam rollers, some basic exercises and getting to know each other and familiarising ourselves with the villa and the gym.
The roof top gym was well equipped and had incredible views looking out over the mountains and Ibiza town. The retreat was in Talamanca in Ibiza which is a lovely small beach town about 15 minutes walk from Ibiza town.
We then showered and walked down to the beach bar for a decent coffee. When we got back the rest of the team had arrived and we had a lovely meal of chicken with paprika hummous and kale. The food was AMAZING all week, and the chefs at the villa made sure that everyone ate both healthily and well.
The team were great, and I got to share a room with Amy. Although we had briefly chatted at OnPoint before, it was great to get to know her better. We got on really well and only stopped chatting to sleep! As Rachael, Amy, Philippa and I had all trained with Jay before we all felt comfortable training in the OnPoint way, confident with the exercises we were being asked to do and we all pushed ourselves to do the most to the limit.
We woke up at 7am for a 7.30am training session on the roof. Breakfast was available as soon as we got out and included chia porridge as well as granola with yoghurt, fresh fruit and cold meats.
We walked into Ibiza town via Passion Café for the best protein smoothie I have ever had! We then headed back to the villa for a lunchtime training session. The training sessions generally included circuits of various exercises, for example rowing, kettlebell deadlifts and swings. The format was similar to the OnPoint team training sessions but not as intense. We then got time to relax before our final session of the day – a boxing team session with Jay, learning the basic moves and drills.
This mornings session was on the beach and included some jogging, a basic routine of squats, mountain climbers, press ups and ab crunches in the sand with some team races thrown in for good measure. It was amazing to see the sun rise over the sea as we trained, starting in the pitch black and ending in full daylight.
After breakfast we did a trek around the coastline which meant that we got to see some incredible views, learn a bit about the history of the island and the plants and scramble up and down a gully!
We had lunch and time to chill and relax by the pool until sunset yoga on the roof. The stretching was a welcome break from all of the physical activity and gave us a chance to focus on recovery and relaxation. We left feeling very spaced out!
After dinner that evening we headed down to a local bar for a drink. At the end of the day the healthy lifestyle is your choice and needs to be sustainable. I had one glass of champagne – I figure that if you’re only going to have one drink then you should make it count and really enjoy it! And god knows I earned it that day and it tasted all the better for it!
Our final full day started with a circuits session on the rooftop as the sun came up, followed by a chance to top up the tan and relax around the pool until the lunchtime session. In the afternoon I did a barbell routine as most of the week was more conditioning than strength based and I had missed the warrior woman feeling that you get from lifting heavy weights! The evening session was kick boxing based and was my favourite session of the week. It was high energy, everyone worked hard and we got to learn some new skills!
That evening we went out for dinner in Ibiza town which was a great opportunity to relax and socialise after a long weekend.
Our last day in Ibiza! Philippa and I decided to make the most of our holiday and set our alarms for 7am to see the sun rise on the beach. While everyone else was snoozing we managed to get a brisk 5k in before breakfast and had the chance to see another incredible sun rise. Our last training session was just before lunch and was high energy as we all put 100% in before we had to start thinking about our flights home. Before heading off there was time for just one more smoothie and Amy and I ran down to Passion Café for our last protein fix!
Whilst I was sad to be leaving the amazing friends that I had made, I knew that I was heading home feeling refreshed and re-focussed on my mission to be super fit, healthy and strong!
So what did I take away from the experience?
· Above anything I feel like I have gained some great friendships from this experience. Training together does build friendship fast, and in this environment it is accelerated further.
· I realised the value of rest, relaxation and switching off from the world. I tried to ignore my phone as much as possible and I read books – which I haven’t been able to do for ages.
· I appreciated how lucky I am to have OnPoint and such good quality training, with a supportive community on my doorstep. Its so hard to find the motivation to exercise and something that works for you – around both your lifestyle and your capability.
SO… bring on Ibiza 2018!!!!
Is a question I have been asked recently on more than one occasion! You’ve lost weight before and then gained it plus more, you’ve started a fitness drive before and then given up. What’s different this time? Is it going to be any different this time?
And the answer is….
It is different this time – or atleast it feels different this time!
I can list the times I’ve gone on a fitness mission. I’ve never tried to lose weight without exercising. Diets alone don’t do it for me. I get bored, I can’t bear conversations about calorific contents and which item on the menu has the least points. It all sounds so self righteous- especially when people tell you they’ve “been good today” and they are actually talking about what they’ve put in their mouth (or not!)
So there’s the time I lost loads of weight for a holiday by going to the gym four times a week and going on the cross trainer for a solid hour at a time. That was effective but boring. And as soon as I got to Ibiza I moved on.
I went on a drastic mission for my best friends wedding shortly followed by my sisters wedding, as I didn’t want to be the only bridesmaid in a different dress. I did various forms of cardio at the gym – and bored myself to death but I was determined!
Again, wedding over and routine forgotten.
The next time was for my own wedding. I went all out this time, got a PT, did two sessions a week plus ran three kilometres twice a week and went on a strict paleo diet and lost three stone in three months. I even managed to maintain this for about six months and lose another stone. Then my PT moved to South Africa and I gave up.
By the time my PT had moved back to the UK 18 months later I had regained all of the pre-wedding weight- and more. With no idea how to motivate myself, and no reason to keep going I just gave up completely.
Since then training has been on and off, as we have both struggled to find consistency and a routine that works for both of us.
The thing that I missed most- much more than the number on the weighing scales- was the social aspect of training, and the feeling of achieving and progressing and getting somewhere. I missed how I felt after training, completely exhausted but also exhilarated. When I don’t train I feel more lethargic, my skin feels dry and spotty, I feel like I’m not taking care of myself emotionally or physically. I also feel like all I do is work, sleep and socialise- and I miss the balance and grounding that I get from working out.
So what’s different this time?
- There’s no end goal, no wedding, no target weight, it’s just one day at time!
- There’s no cross trainer for an hour- it’s fun, it’s weights and conditioning, it’s lively and I can see my progress!
- I’m not reliant on one person- I’m doing team training and supported by lots of people
- It’s social, and chatty and interesting
- I’ve got a routine that works for me. I can fit training into a busy working week.
- I’m not doing anything radical foodwise. I’m making adjustments rather than overhaul. If I am going out and fancy the chocolate brownie then I’m having it and I’m not going to feel guilty, I’m just back on it the next day. I’m also trying to have fun trying out new healthy recipes and keeping food interesting – steak and peanut butter for breakfast gets boring pretty quick!
- I’m trying to understand myself more- when things go wrong what happened. How can I avoid getting to the point where I’m so hungry I’ll eat anything! How can I not get overtired and want to spend the whole weekend on the sofa!
- I’ve got some fitness related goals to focus on and work towards, tough mudder is now in the diary, a fitness retreat in Ibiza and a weekend in Bournemouth. They all give me something to look forward to and keep working towards.
- I’m focussed on doing the right things to drive the right results, not the result itself. Eating healthily and moving more will result in a hotter bod!!! It really is that simple.
- I know that what makes me happy isn’t how much I weigh. I’m not getting depressed if I gain a pound in a week. And being thin isn’t all that life is about. I think that I expected that losing weight would mean that I joined a magic club where I was part of a group of people who were happy because they weren’t overweight. That doesn’t exist and happiness comes from the inside and I can be happy whatever I look like!
And I’m really enjoying the journey! So as long as that continues I know I will stay motivated and get the results I know I am capable of achieving!
Yesterday I took part in a 10k Obstacle Course Race in Hertford. I have to admit that I had always looked at Tough Mudder kind of events before and thought “those people are just crazy”. In the past I never would have considered it. The only event I have ever taken part in before was a 10k women’s race in 2013, so other than that my training has been limited to the gym and occasional 3-4km road runs in the summer.
I was nervous about it because I doubted whether I would be able to run 10k, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do any obstacles that involved using my arms to pull myself up, and I was worried that I would look be rubbish against all of the potentially superfit people!
So why did I sign up in the first place? A few reasons but mainly I wanted to give myself a goal to work towards.
- Training which is only based on losing weight can be frustrating when the scales don’t move quickly and to be honest being solely focussed on your weight is pretty unhealthy and unfulfilling even when you do lose weight. I have been smashing team training each week with a new focus and determination – focused on surviving this event!
- I was doing it as part of a team and I thought that it would be fun to work together.
- I wanted to find out what I was capable of!
So I signed up!
We decided to set up a team Just Giving page and raise money for Mind Mid Herts who work with local people with mental illness. I was so surprised and grateful by the amount of sponsorship I received and it spurred me on – I knew that there was no getting out of it now!
The big day arrived and after a decent breakfast we headed over to the event.
We started at 10.15 and the way that the race was set out, you could opt for 5k, 10k or 20k, so most of the obstacles were crammed into the first five kilometres. That meant that it was full on from the start. After a couple of easier obstacles- climbing over hay bales and wooden structures, the first shock was crawling through a river on your hands and knees – with chest under water. From there on in it was mud slides, wading through rivers, using a rope to pull ourselves up a steep muddy bank, and more mud mud mud! Everyone pulled together to support, push and pull the team through obstacles.
The toughest part for me was all the running in the second half. It was made harder by not knowing how long you had left to go and wondering when it would all be over.
The sense of achievement at the end was amazing- I survived, and I raised £1250 for charity. My legs ache like never before today but I won’t forget the amazing experience. It just goes to show what you can do when you just get on with it! Now….. what’s next?
Thought I would blog today to share my morning training at OnPoint.
Sunday mornings used to be about hangovers, lie ins, even home DIY, shopping, cleaning, washing and cooking, but these days they are predominantly about how hard I can train!
I started the morning with Protein Pancakes which are so easy to make- just mix 30g of protein pow cooking whey with a banana and two eggs in a nutribullet and fry in coconut oil. AMAZING!
This mornings class involved a warm up with Michelle, and then working in pairs and doing sets of 18, 15 and then 12 of two exercises off the board below while your partner held the third position. There were three exercise stations and it was a killer – especially the box overs and burpees which we did last!
After an hour of that it was time for a kickboxing class! This class combines cardio and boxing routines to both improve fitness and ability. It’s really hard- especially if you’ve never done anything like it before, but it really pushes you to the limit and challenges you like nothing else! It is hard doing it after team training but it goes to show that when you think you’ve got nothing left you can find it somewhere if you dig deep.
Being asthmatic, this kind of exercise is really hard and getting out of breath is scary and stressful but I am learning to control my breathing now rather than panic, and as my fitness improves so does my asthma. This week I survived two hours of intense training without having to use my inhaler, which really goes to show what progress I am making.
It’s a massive sense of achievement to get through a Sunday morning like that, and I am now recovering by sitting in the hairdressers for the afternoon being pampered- it’s all about balance after all!
At the end of December 2016 I decided to overhaul my diet and fitness. Although I trained on and off last year I wasn’t really focussed and when you’re not on it, you don’t get anywhere.
From 1st January this year I committed to train a minimum of twice a week at OnPoint in Hertford (HITT and strength training at 6.30am!) and once a week with my friend for an hour focussing on my areas of weakness, e.g. Squat depth!
I also decided to cut the rubbish food out of my diet, with an alcohol free January.
Achieving the exercise goals has been easier than the food. I have to stay 100% prepared and focussed, because as soon as I’m away from home (usually a couple of nights a week) and healthy options are limited, I give in and end up eating unhealthily and throwing in a glass of wine too. It’s so easy to tell yourself that it’s justifiable because you’re tired, haven’t eaten all day, deserve a treat- and while that all might be true, and life might be too short, giving into those excuses is not going to help me achieve my goals!
Some weeks I manage to get in 5 sessions including women’s kick boxing which has been completely new, and really challenging but every session is different, tough, and fun, and that’s what makes me actually look forward to getting up at 5.30am to drive to the gym when it’s pitch black and minus four degrees.
In six weeks I’ve lost a stone, which sounds impressive but there’s still so far to go- but this time the number on the scales isn’t the only end goal.
My goal is to be a healthy weight for my height, but it’s also to be able to squat deeper, deadlift heavier, plank longer, run further, sprint faster, do pull ups… the list goes on. It’s also about loving the body I have, and having the best body I can, and appreciating what it can do!
This year I have signed up to two things I wouldn’t have even considered before… a fitness retreat in Ibiza in September and a 10k obstacle race in April. Eek 😬
The point of this blog is to track my progress and share positive experiences as well as frustrations and setbacks. It won’t be easy, but it will be an adventure!
Progress so far…