So here’s the situation. Sunday night, whilst knocking back a sharing bag of Kettle Chips during a NetFlix binge, you say ‘THAT’s IT! I’m starting again tomorrow!” Go all guns blazing diet and training wise only to get to Wednesday and it all goes to pot. Sound familiar? Read on…
I reckon I have been on a ‘diet’ since I was roughly 17, so the better part of thirteen years. Having always had a curvy frame, I was fairly body confident, even during those early teenage years. I was a pretty active teen, enjoyed exercising and could pretty much eat what I wanted without doing too much damage.
Then one day, in school, as our annual school formal was fast approaching, I overhead a snipper of a conversation between two other girls passing me in the corridor. “This is ALL I’m eating until my salad at tea time or I’ll never get into my dress”. I stole a quick glance and realized she was pointing to a bottle of water and a cup-a-soup she was carrying. This girl was beautiful. She was I reckon a size 8-10 and I wondered to myself what she was worrying about. All I was thinking about was my delicious soup and sandwiches that my mum had made me for my lunch. I polished off my lunch and never thought any more of it until bed time. Then it hit me. “I’m FAR bigger than her and I’m not on a ‘diet’ trying to lose weight. Oh I really should. I need to be thin.” This for me, was when it really started.
Since then I reckon I have been on every ‘diet’ and slimming club going. You name it I’ve done it. I’d pay and join and stand on the scales. Go well for a month then gain 2llbs. Then I’d be so annoyed at myself I’d have a little binge. Then when I’d lost that 2llb I’d celebrate with a chinese and a glass of rose. Then I’d put the 2llb back on again…and so the cycle would continue. I also became a SLAVE to the scales or the ‘sad step’ as The Body Coach Joe Wicks calls it. It really is the sad step as you become so fixated with the numbers and nine times out of ten the numbers don’t move in the right direction. It’s as if these numbers define you. Id be on morning, noon and night and be so frustrated if I seen any increase at all. Que another binge. Media inflences didn’t help either. When we were growing up in those early Millenium years it was the size zero trend that graced the front of magazines and I yearned to be as skinny as those celebs. I’d starve myself for half a day and couldn’t hack it any more (I’m a totally foodie) and then eat all round me.
It was only until about three or four years ago when I discovered strength training that I also uncovered the importance of ‘clean eating’. I also figured out you CANNOT OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET. I typically would have been busting myself in the gym, maybe double sessions three times a week but at the weekend felt I earned that Friday night chinese, Saturday night dinner out and treats at the cinema then a Dominoes on Sunday night. I felt so frustrated wondering why I wasn’t seeing the results.
Then I decided to educate myself a bit. I started reading, following nutritionists on Twitter and Facebook and asking coaches at my gym their advice. Once I managed to distinguish the ‘bro science’ from the actual science, I learned a lot. What I have learned is that this one weekend of binging can completely undo all your hard work during the week. The scales also cannot measure some of the most important things when it comes to your health and well being, including changes in body composition, strength, confidence and happiness. And lifting heavy weights WILL NOT make women bulky. We simply do not have enough testosterone floating about our bodies.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a real 110% kinda gal. And when I can’t give 110% that really, really frustrates me. For instance, during the last bootcamp I participated in, I couldn’t complete the programme due to a niggling rotator cuff shoulder injury. I was DEVASTATED. So to ‘comfort’ myself the treats began creeping back in, training went completely out the window and soon I was back to my cheat weekends. With me it’s all or nothing. This was not only detrimental to my waistline but also my head. Exercise for me is definitely a stress release and the lack of endorphin rush was making me miserable and affecting my mood.
Over the past couple of weeks however, something has just ‘clicked’ with me. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it was when I caught my reflection in a shop window and didn’t recognise myself. It could be the fact that I want to get stronger and push to see what my body is capable of. Yes I want to shape up, but your heart and bone health is more important than just the aesthetics. I’m a real goal setter and so I decided to set myself little mini goals for each week. So, I’ve signed up to do ‘Body Blast Bootcamp’ (which I am two weeks in!) with Ruairi Grimes and Ciaran Nash. These two coaches are so knowledgeable in their field and have 50+ victims at their 6:15am bootcamp three mornings a week. Whether you are the competent lifter, or complete beginner they make you feel completely at ease and ensure you as an individual are getting the most out of your workouts. I have also sought professional advice from Paul Magee, of Focus Gym, Portadown, to help me get back into lifting again, whilst rehabbing my shoulder. Paul is one of the knowledgeable coaches in his field and you can check out Focus gym here.
I’ve also decided to take baby steps. Normally I’d go full hog and try to nail everything at once- which ultimately leads to failure, in my part anyway. Last week was all about getting the nutrition back on track, and this week I’m concentrating on planning my workouts and incorporating these into my schedule. If I have a slip up with my nutrition, that’s fine. Just draw a line under it and start again. Not feel like a failure, beat myself up about it and turn into a binge day, which turns into a binge week, etc etc.
So, I’m getting back on the wagon. Yea, its for the twenty millionth time but its better than being off. I’ve also finally, at thirty years of age to begin to accept myself. Yea I’d like my thighs to be a little slimmer and my arms to be more shapely, but these features do not define me as a person. My heart and more importantly my head are healthy. And guess what? The battery has died in my scales and its not getting replaced. For me, this isn’t just going to last eight weeks, this is a lifestyle change.
From chatting to a lot of people lately, I don’t think I’m alone with this….Has anyone else experienced this? What do you find throws you off the wagon? What tips do you have to keep you motivated? I’d love to hear from you.
Lots of Love,