Ok, so own up. How many of you have thought this or actually said it out loud?
Every January, we promise to make changes to our lifestyle in droves. But how many of us actually make these positive changes?
Forbes Magazine suggests that only 8% of people actually achieve their new year ambitions.
For many it’s about getting physically fit and losing weight.
Others it may be more about getting mentally fit and ready to tackle whatever life may throw at us.
For me, my goal this year was to make my voice heard, which I am aiming to do through blogging, however I’m focusing on discussing diet and exercise today, because through my personal experience I feel in a good place to cover this pertinent issue.
Trust me, you name the diet, I have tried it. WW, Slimming World, Keto, South Beach, Atkins, Herbalife, Slim Fast, I’ve even had a gastric balloon – now that was the most expensive and fun way to lose weight ever! I spent six months with rotten breath constantly puking up whenever I ate…I didn’t care, as I was losing weight, but as usual I always put the weight back on and more.
So, I’ve battled with my weight for years. I didn’t really take effective positive action until I was shamed into it.
Now…I’ve been overweight. And I mean nearly 17 stone worth of overweight I also looked fat!
Coincidentally my mental health was at it’s worst during this period of my life. I used to make all the excuses in the world. “It’s the medication”, “it’s my build”, it’s my genes”. It was none of that. I just ate too much crisps, chips and cake and was incredibly lazy!
I lost all of my self confidence and struggled to mix with my girlfriends. The turning point for me was an accidental ‘fat shaming’ incident.
Whilst on a skiing trip with all of our friends, the ski hire firm came to our chalet, to kit us out with skis. There was about 20 of us in the boot room, trying on boots, however, they didn’t have ones with big enough bindings to fit over my tree trunk calves. After everyone had been kitted out, I had to travel up to the main town in the boots guys minibus where they had to dig out their bariatric boots to fit me. This has got to be up there with needing to book an additional airline seat on the cringe scale?
The rest of that trip was horrific for me as the mortification made me withdraw from the group and I had zero sex with Jon the whole holiday.
On the mortifying skiing trip
For me, Skiing is now a holiday from hell as I think these feelings of ‘not being good enough’ rear their ugly head every year and really hampers my progress as a skier, even though I’m much slimmer and fitter these days, I get terrible anxiety before I go. However, being a dutiful wife, I suck it up and go skiing as Jon and my friends are fanatic about it (I just pray for a white out that leaves us stuck in the chalet with a fondue and a bottle of Beaujolais!)
I didn’t lose weight quickly, it took me about three years to lose nearly five stone. I didn’t follow any magical diet/meal replacement/take slimming pills, i just ate sensibly and began to exercise.
To me, eating sensibly is eating real food. Lots of lean protein, vegetables, and moderate carbs. I cut sugar out of my diet apart from my weekly cheat meal, which I’d have anything I’ve been craving.
The biggest change for me was incorporating exercise into my life. I’d never really done any.
I joined a gym, where at first I just did the keep fit classes with lots of other slightly wobbly women. It’s where I felt comfortable.
I then progressed to running. I joined a running club and did a sofa to 5k. That progressed to 10k and even a half marathon!
Completing Cardiff Half
Running got my weight down, and increased my fitness, but I still wasn’t toned.
The best thing I ever did was start to lift weights.
Now this can be daunting to some women. Many get the impression that gyms are full of steroid fuelled meat heads and airhead women taking selfies of their stupid pout and fake ass in front of the dumbbell rack. This is true, they are there, they’re everywhere, but behind them are down to earth knowledgeable people that can’t wait to share the benefits of lifting.
I’ve met some amazing trainers during my journey.
Lifting won’t make you bulky or butch, however it will help you look smoking hot and feel healthy in your perennial years, if it’s good enough for J-Lo, Jennifer Anniston, Halle Berry, it’s good enough for us girls!
Here’s the evidence.
Professor John Brewer, head of sports and exercise science at St. Mary’s University Twickenham, states that after 30 years old, our muscle mass declines by between 3-8% each decade. The more muscle mass we have the more calories we burn at rest as well as when we work out. To me, this is a no brainer for trying to beat the dreaded ‘middle age spread’.
There is also evidence to prove that it helps prevent high blood sugar leading to type 2 diabetes and bone loss in women which can lead to osteoporosis.
I’ve never been happier in my appearance and with my mental health then when I’ve been lifting weights.
At my strongest
I’m not preaching that I’m now little miss perfect, in fact, I’ve gained a whole wine and chocolate filled 12lb during the Christmas period. I have a muffin top hanging over my jeans. I also run the risk that my work trousers are going to split when I kneel down to dress someone’s wounds on their legs but….
I don’t really give a shit!
I’m in a good place with it. And I know that just being sensible again will get it off before I have to battle the demons of a group skiing trip to France this Easter.
So, to all of you lovely ladies who are adamant that this new year is going to lead to a new you, I wish you luck and all the very best to getting where you want to be, whether that be mentally or physically stronger. Just remember you have to really, really want it to achieve it, but more importantly, if you fail, YOU DON’T NEED A NEW YEAR TO START ON A NEW YOU!
Just keep going!
Meanwhile – here’s some tips to help to stick to a new exercise routine from fitness instructor Chris Eatwell (could you get a better name for a PT?) from Caerphilly Leisure Centre.
1. Get your mind right before you start a new fitness regime. Use the organ between your ears to say “you’ve got this!”
2. Kill your excuses
3. Nutrition is key – if you want results, you have to get it right in the kitchen.
4. Overtraining and under recovering is one of the biggest factors in quitting a new regime. Hard workouts tear your muscle and put strain on the body. You need to rest between workouts
5. Put down your phone and leave the gym selfies alone!
More than anything, fitness should be fun!