The ‘f’ word

It’s no secret that I love food. I enjoy eating it, watching programmes about it, talking about it. Heck, I probably dream about it!

Since deciding to get fitter, I’ve had to examine my relationship with food. I’ve used food for celebration, nourishment, social interaction, comfort and reward. Whilst I don’t see food as my enemy, I accept that my levels of consumption have led to weight gain that has impacted my body’s ability to do certain things.

I’ve tried so many different methods to lose weight – Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, a dietician, diet pills, talking therapy, Slimming World, etc. These have all worked to some extent but I ended up putting weight back on when I slipped back into old eating habits.

I decided to stop going to Slimming World two months ago because I got fed up with the group thing and my mood being dictated by what the scales said every week. I figured I could get accountability from my fitness studio, checking in with a Personal Trainer once a week.

Sounds like a plan, right? Well, my exercise regime is consistent and I love training 3 to 4 times a week. I’m stronger, fitter, have more stamina, I feel great and love what I see in the mirror.

So why do I feel like a failure when it comes to food? I try to keep a food diary but I give up mid-week! I certainly eat more healthily than I used to, but things like chips, crisps, cake and chocolate have crept back in after limiting them for over a year. Have I well and truly fallen off the wagon??? (Rhetorical question!!)

Why is it that I feel great yet somehow feel like I should feel bad about food?? It’s confusing and frustrating!

Here are some questions I need to ask myself:

What is my goal? Has it changed from the original one that I set for myself?

What’s important to me about this goal and what are the benefits if I achieve it?

What are the consequences if I don’t achieve my goal?

(Watch this space as I figure this out!)

Are there any questions you’re asking yourself right now about your fitness journey? Drop a comment if you can relate to any of this. Feedback welcome.

Facing my nemesis

The dreaded pyramid set!

Last week I returned to the gym following a week off as I had been recovering from a cold. I planned to do 4 sessions instead of my usual 3 to compensate for a week of inactivity and comfort eating!

To my dismay, I received a message from my Personal Trainer to give me the heads up that one of the sessions was going to be a ‘pyramid’ workout (Google it!). Let’s just say that I wasn’t a fan of this! I had a flashback to how demoralised and deflated I felt after my first attempt at this, because I felt that everyone was progressing through the exercises so much quicker than me. I practically sulked my way through it and determined never to come to a session like this again!

So you can understand my initial reaction when I got the message, I thought heck, no and started my response off with “Nah”, while moaning to my work colleagues about it, however, thanks to their encouragement I decided to give it a go.

Guess what…not only did I enjoy the pyramid set, but I realised that I’m fitter than the last time I attempted it! If I hadn’t listened to the encouraging words of others, plus a positive(ish) mindset when I got there, I wouldn’t have discovered what I was capable of or how much progress I’ve been making.

This serves as a reminder of the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people who will encourage and support you. It helped that I voiced my fears out loud and that I was open to being challenged. I also decided that it’s not healthy for me to compare myself with others, as the saying goes, “comparison is the thief of joy”.

Oh, and there’s more to be proud of – I used that same mindset to attend my first official bootcamp session on Saturday at 7.30am and I loved it!!! Go me! đŸ™‚

So…what’s your ‘nemesis’ in terms of tasks or actions that you perceive as insurmountable?

Who speaks into your life when you find things tough?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you!

Being brave

Studio signage
Tri-set session

Most of my adult life I’ve been aware of my size and conscious about often being the biggest person in the room. I notice this in my job, social life, in my circle of friends, at church, you name it. I would sometimes imagine the worst outcome when it comes to trying something new, then talk myself out of doing it because in my mind it wouldn’t be worth the embarrassment of being seen.

Once I made the decision to include regular exercise as part of my bid to get healthier and fitter, I remembered that I enjoyed working with a Personal Trainer called Lizzie years ago who would come to my house and help me exercise in my tiny lounge in Wigston. At the time I couldn’t face being seen out in public doing exercise. I imagined people ridiculing me, laughing at the sight of a large woman out in public, huffing, puffing and sweating.

Lizzie and I worked together for a few weeks until she managed to coax me out of my house into Victoria Park, where she set up simple pieces of equipment for me to use. My mind racing with thoughts about someone seeing me and laughing at me was probably a greater challenge than the exercises set. I eventually stopped working with Lizzie (I honestly can’t remember why, but I never forgot about her.)

Fast forward to 2018, I found out that Lizzie had opened a fitness studio Griffin Fit. She was my first choice as a Personal Trainer because of how professional, fun and warm I remembered her being. I started with Griffin Fit in July 2018 and have never looked back.

Overcoming unhelpful thoughts

“I’m gonna be the biggest person there and everyone’s gonna be looking at me!” – So what? People are there to get fit themselves, they’ll be too busy to be watching you!

“What am I gonna wear? I can’t wear those cute, matching crop tops and leggings women wear. What about my rolls, ‘thunder thighs’ and visible cellulite?” – Wear what you feel most comfortable in. It’s not a fashion show! A long, loose t-shirt with joggers will be fine!

“What if I can’t keep up with everyone? I’ll be embarrassed and feel pathetic!” – Work at your own pace. Any decent Personal Trainer will be mindful of what your body can do or any physical limitations you may have (imagined or real!). They will suggest adjustments or alternatives so you get the most out of your session.

Final thoughts

If you want to start getting fitter, try different things until you figure out what you actually enjoy and what is getting you the results that you want. I’ve tried swimming, walking, salsa and Zumba over the years and enjoyed them at the time, but have finally found something that sparks joy in me! We’re all different – find what works for YOU and BE BRAVE!

This is Lizzie

And so it begins…

Having procrastinated for ages about starting a blog, I’ve finally chosen courage and am going for it (all credit to BrenĂ© Brown for her talk on Netflix!)

This is hopefully the start of sharing my life experiences as a plus size woman, embracing and celebrating life.

The picture above charts my progress from February 2018 to April 2019, since deciding to get healthier and fitter.

Thanks to a combination of healthier food choices (thanks Slimming World) and regular exercise (shout out to the Personal Trainers at Griffin Fit), I managed to lose 4 stones in one year, dropping from dress size 28 (30 in jeans), to dress size 22/24 (26 in jeans).

It hasn’t been plain sailing by any stretch of the imagination! I’ve experienced the highs of consistent weekly losses, but also felt the frustration of the dreaded plateau.

I have triggers that lead me down the path of emotional overeating. I still don’t seem to be able to judge when I’m ‘satisfied’ versus ‘full’. I struggle to resist buffets! I’m convinced there’s a chemical reaction in my brain when I see delicious-looking food, beautifully presented. I sometimes have to ask friends to stop me from overindulging. My car is often a place where I eat snacks and I only realise how many I’ve consumed when I clear out the empty wrappers!

Why am I sharing all of this? Because in spite of my challenges, I’m so proud of the progress that I’ve made! I still have a long way to go to my goal (size 18 would be fabulous, thanks very much!) I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m certainly heading in the right direction.

A few lessons learned:

Accountability – I accept that I need people to check in with me on a weekly basis.

Motivation – exercising at home wasn’t working for me so investing in personal trainers who kick my butt 3 times a week is the motivation I need.

Discipline – who, me?? I discovered that I was capable of being consistent and following a plan. I would NEVER have described myself as disciplined before.

I think I’ll stop now. Phew! My first blog post done. Whoop, whoop! I’m looking forward to sharing more with you in future posts.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Feedback welcome!