For months now I’ve been umming and ahhing whether I should write a post on my recent health and fitness upheaval, unsure whether it would be of interest to anyone. I finally decided to bite the bullet, my logic being that if I can help even one person out there or get you thinking about your own life, it would definitely be worth it. So six months ago I decided something needed to change. I wasn’t unhappy per se, but I knew changes needed to be made. Combining changes to my diet and fitness, I managed to lose one a half stone. I have not only lost 10% of my body weight, but I now have a healthy BMI but most importantly I feel so much better too. If you fancy finding out how I finally did it, read on after the jump…
I’ve never really been overweight but being 5 foot 1 meant that carrying over a certain weight left me looking bigger than I’d like and simply didn’t suit my frame. I joined Slimming World after watching one of my sisters follow the plan with great results and went along to a local group with a friend from work. I was adamant that I was going only to get the books I needed to follow it on my own but I soon found it fascinating and realised that the pressure of weighing in every week was what would be help me lose the pounds. Slimming World works whereby you are able to fill your plate with as much ‘free food’ (fruit, veg, pasta, rice, meat without fat etc) as you’d like but you must ‘syn’ all those naughty bits like chocolate and crisps. You are allocated a set amount of syns per day – usually 15 – and each non-free product has a syn value which you can find online. I soon began to work out the best ways to spend my syns which meant I wasn’t missing out on my chocolate, my favourite food. I’d knew that I’d simply never be able to follow a diet which didn’t allow me chocolate! You also have allowances for both fibre (bread, cereal etc) and calcium (milk, cheese etc), so you don’t miss out there either. This is a very simplified explanation of Slimming World but if you’re interested, it’s definitely worth a google!
The plan is very easy to pick up and I found keeping a food diary really handy in keeping tabs on everything I ate – you need to be completely transparent about what you’re eating to make it easier to see where you are going wrong. Small changes made all the different, I switched to smaller slices of wholemeal bread, ditched oil in favour of cooking spray and opted for diet fizzy drinks instead of sugar ladened options. These were all really simple y things that with a little thinking about can be really easy to implement into your life. Slimming World has also given me a new found interest in cooking. Because I want to know exactly what is in the food that I’m cooking, it’s encouraged me to try lots of new recipes which are easily found online and I feel proud cooking something from scratch which actually tastes bloody good. While not following the plan, Matt enjoy all the recipes I present him with and actually makes the famous slimming world chips better than I do!
This post certainly isn’t me endorsing Slimming World specifically, it’s simply telling you what worked for me. I’m aware other people swear by Weight Watchers or even calorie counting, but it’s important to find what fits with your life.
I have never like fitness in any shape or form. I was one of those kids forever trying to get out of PE out school. Upon starting Slimming World, I knew fitness would go hand in hand and began to look into local gyms. Admittedly, I can be very lazy and I soon realised that a gym literally 5 minutes from my house would provide me with an excuse-free way to force myself into donning the trainers. It’s definitely worked as I can no longer justify not going when it’s pretty much on my doorstep. The challenge is finding what works for you. Matt is a runner, whereas I loathe it, so knew I wouldn’t be attempting the treadmill. The truth of the matter is that if you don’t even like the machine you’re using, you are going to resist actually using it. I feel much more at home on the treadmill and rowing machine and usually find myself sticking to these. For me, the amount of time is key. I go twice and week and usually for 30-40 minutes. Any longer and I know I’d get bored and declare that I “don’t have time!” 30 minutes feels manageable and something I can slip into my life without much grunting about.
While I was initially using the gym to help aid weight loss, having reached my target weight, I’m now toying with my exercise routine: trying muscle training and learning how to tone my body. This is still all very new to me but I have found a new best friend in the leg press machine and actually get quite a buzz from it. Exercise is definitely an area I feel I still need a lot of work in but I’m proud of how far I’ve come. If you’ve got any suggestions or tips for me, I’d love to hear them!
I feel like mindset is one of the most important aspects to master when you are setting yourself a goal and it was something I learnt gradually with time but now feel fairly confident in. As I say, having the weigh ins was a useful tool to me, as it made it feel much more official and more of a thing. If it was just me weighing myself, it’d be easy to shrug off but with weigh ins, you’re held accountable. Nobody else other than the weigher and consultant see your weight at Slimming World but that and your book where your weight loss is recorded is enough of an encouragement. I also find that getting the Slimming World magazine and reading about peoples weight losses really boosts my enthusiasm. There are so many incredible stories and it really fires you up, plus the recipes are so handy.
For anyone attempting to lose weight or change their body, I’d always recommend taking photographs to help you see how far you’ve come. I remember attending a wedding a few months ago and flicking through the photos I was amazing at how different I looked, it was the best feeling and even now I’ll go back to a photo and feel proud and spurred on to continue the good work. Sometimes a photo will do the job a lot better than staring at yourself in the mirror and declaring you can’t see a difference, which I’ve whined about to my boyfriend on numerous occasions.
I’ve absoloutely loved being able to slip into smaller dress sizes too, it’s a real dancing-in-changing-room kinda moment although on the flip side of that, it’s worth remembering that dress sizes can often be deceiving. For example, I’ll be a UK size 8 in one shop and then a 10 in another, so don’t necessarily use this as a benchmark as you could end up upsetting yourself. Instead, take measurements, something I’ve always regretted not doing as while you might not have lost any weight one week, you may have lost inches instead. Lastly, allow yourself to enjoy any compliments that come your way. In the beginning, I would bat them away, not wanting to appear big-headed but I’m trying to learn to embrace them and feel proud about how far I’ve come.
Hopefully you’ve found this weeks post interesting, wherever you are at in your own health and fitness journey. In my eyes, it’s a continuous learning process that differs for all of us and the best we can do is try and crack it until we’re in a happy place. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions and even what you’re hoping to achieve for yourself, let me know in the comments!