Until lately, I’ve never had a positive opinion about my body. I’ve always felt uncomfortable with my body and that’s largely my fault. I’ve had a crazy couple of years health and weight wise so I thought I’d blog a little bit about it to keep myself accountable, motivated and to let people know that if I can achieve healthiness, so can they!
Disclaimer: I am in no way a dietician, a nutritionist or anyone else who advises on health. I’m not qualified to give out advice on losing weight or diet – this is purely my own personal experience and all views are my own.
I love food. That’s a good place to start. There’s nothing I enjoy more than having a good feed. That was most likely my problem. I liked food too much and didn’t control what I was eating or how much I ate. I’ll not bore you with the details of my weight gain; I just didn’t eat the right things, comfort ate, hated exercise and when I went to uni, that’s when the poop hit the proverbial fan. I was having too much fun to care about what I was putting into my body.
September 2014 – May 2015
2015 was the year that I got the kick up the butt I needed to make a change. I had my last appointment with my consultant after a long period of health problems and when I saw my weight recorded on the notes, I could have cried. I never weighed myself because I didn’t want to know but also because I knew I would end up obsessing over it. It wasn’t the first time a medical expert had expressed concern about my weight but I brushed off any comments because I thought I was alright; I thought I was “healthy”. How wrong I was.
I went home and looked at a picture of myself from when I started my internship. I couldn’t believe it was me. I was genuinely shocked at the person I was staring at. It didn’t feel like me.
[[Apologies for the awful quality but I stole this off the internet as you can imagine I don’t have too many pictures of myself at that size! I also cropped it within an inch of its life.]] This was me in September 2014. If anything, I probably gained more weight during the next few months because I worked beside a bakery hahaha #cakesfordays
June 2015 – March 2016
I was finally discharged from the outpatients department feeling super sorry for myself but also determined to become healthier. I’ve always had a negative thinking pattern towards food; ‘I shouldn’t eat this’ or ‘too much of this is bad for you’ and when I tried to lose weight before, I always ended up depriving myself, not eating and then giving up the ‘diet’ because I didn’t have any willpower and wasn’t enjoying food. That’s not the healthy way to go about it, that’s for sure.
Once I finished my internship I had managed to lose about a stone and a half through eating healthier and walking everywhere. It was a voluntary internship so I was as skint as I was in my student days; a gym membership wasn’t something I could afford. Once I got a job, I joined a gym; I was lucky in that there was one right beside my office so I literally had no excuse not to go. Weight wise I had reached a plateau in my loss. Eating healthy-ish and walking would no longer cut it!
I started going to the gym twice a week, went to some classes and changed up my diet a little bit. The diet I followed was roughly the Lean in 15 idea – no carbs unless I was exercising and all fresh ingredients; nothing processed and limiting junk food.
The first picture on the left is the difference between June 2015 and February 2016. Beforehand I wouldn’t have set foot in a gym and groaned at the prospect of going outside to exercise but the gym is addictive! The second picture is when I had a formal in April 2016 that I was trying a dress on for. The picture of me with my hair down is from 2014 and the one with hair up is 2016!
Sometimes I find it hard to see whether I’ve actually lost weight or not in pictures but I felt so much healthier at that time and that’s more important than the size you are.
April 2016 – December 2016
When I moved jobs in April 2016 to one closer to home, I changed gyms as well and that’s when I began to get more serious about my health. I was still nowhere near my goal but I was going to the gym around 3 times a week and doing classes too. It was in this gym that I discovered weightlifting and how beneficial it can be for weight loss. I’ve been told several times that weightlifting strips the fat off you and I much prefer it to cardio, so I’ll stick with it and see how it goes. There’s genuinely no better feeling than being able to lift something heavy and seeing the ‘gains’ as you reach new personal bests!
In case you couldn’t tell, I enjoy taking progress pictures – they keep me motivated and accountable and it makes sure that I won’t ever go back to the way I used to be, the unhealthy me. My goal, or motivation, was my sister’s wedding which was in August 2016 – it was good to have something to focus on and work towards and the above picture is how I looked on the day! I still wasn’t entirely happy with how I looked – I hadn’t made it to the gym in a month because I fell running and tore ligaments – but I still think I looked pretty sweet!
Looking back on the photos was more motivation for me to keep going but my diet was something that I struggled to keep in check. I had an office job – sitting at a desk from 8-5 with a tea trolley coming round twice a day. Everyone always brought in treats and biscuits and while for the most part I resisted, sitting all day and not doing very much always had me thinking about food or wanting to eat because I was bored! My diet then consisted of:
- Protein bar or porridge and coffee for breakfast
- Coffee (with sugar) and either a biscuit or fruit for break
- Sandwich, mousse and low calorie crisps for lunch
- Another tea/coffee and biscuit for afternoon break
- Salad/pasta/potatoes for dinner
- Numerous snacks in the evening
I just wasn’t eating foods that kept me full all day and gave me fuel for the evening ahead. That meant snacking was a major problem for me. Being diagnosed with depression didn’t really help either because I didn’t really care what I was eating and I would often skip meals then binge late at night. Thankfully my motivation for the gym stayed the same – it really helped pick my moods up and it’s been a great distraction for me!
January 2017 – Present
This year has been the year where I’ve definitely become committed to this lifestyle of health and fitness. Christmas was finished, I’d been to the gym before New Year and I was ready to start 2017 as a healthy, happy lady. I hadn’t even splurged at Christmas like I used to do because I knew I would regret it. I didn’t deprive myself (hello waffle berry and tin of Quality Street), I just ate until I was full. I listened to my body instead of ignoring it and suffering later.
One evening I was scrolling through Facebook when the Eat Eighty Twenty popped up. They were running a New Year competition where you could win either 6 weeks one-to-one coaching or a pass for their group meetings. I entered but asked for information anyway and the lady who messaged me back was so enthusiastic about the plan. I didn’t win the competition but decided to invest in the one-to-one plan because I wanted to change how my brain thought about food and nutrition.
The 6 weeks started on 10th January and that was when I met the wonderful Laura who co-ordinates it all. She could not have been more helpful and inspiring. I don’t want to give away too much about the plan because it’s Laura’s livelihood and I couldn’t explain it as well as she does but I was confident that it would work. It’s called 80/20 because 80% of the time you’re focused on your nutrition and what you put into your body and 20% it’s about eating what you want.
When you first meet Laura, it’s like meeting with an old friend. We had a quick introductory chat about 80/20 then I talked through my usual diet, things I liked/disliked and what I wanted out of the 6 weeks. Then you get pinched! No scales here (praise the Lord). Various parts of your body get measured, then pinched and Laura works out your body fat!
This lifestyle works. I have never been fuller in my life. I have never felt healthier in my life. It’s tough to get your head around at the beginning but now I can’t see myself eating any other way. Laura is the most incredible lady. She lives this lifestyle herself and her story is incredible (I may write a blog post interviewing her if she’s cool with that!) – she is so passionate about 80/20 and eating proper food. It’s not about depriving yourself of things you want to eat. As Laura puts it, ‘you should never feel guilty for anything you eat unless you stole it’ which I now live by!
In 6 weeks, I’ve dropped 5% of my body fat which I’m super pleased about! The pictures above are some recent pictures I’ve taken. The one on the left was for Instagram’s #facetofaceFriday and there’s 6 months between those. The picture on the right has a few weeks between them and I’m pleased with the difference between them. But you know what I’m pleased with the most? How much my confidence has increased. I would never have worn those kind of dresses before now and now I can’t get enough of them!
I’m starting to feel comfortable in my own skin and not only have I physically changed but my whole mindset towards food has changed too. I no longer deprive myself of foods I want to eat. I think about whether they’re nutritionally beneficial for me, whether they’ll help me reach my goal and most importantly, whether I’m actually hungry for them or if I’m just bored. Most of the time, I’m just bored. I’m not quite at my goal yet but I’m excited to keep working towards it and to continue working on improving my self-confidence.
My diet now consists of:
- Eggs, bacon and vegetables for breakfast or pancakes made from eggs and banana
- Snack: handful of cashews/walnuts/pecans and some fruit
- Lunch: Sweet potato, chicken, salad or eggs
- Snack in the afternoon: dark chocolate/nuts and some fruit
- Dinner: Spiralized carrots/butternut squash/sweet potato with homemade bolognese or salmon (my one true love). Basically meat and vegetables!
- Snack in the evening if hungry; fruit or a Nakd bar
I still eat chocolate, I still go out for dinner, I still eat junk food sometimes and I still have bad days where I’ll not eat well. But you know what? It’s no big deal. Just start afresh the next day and get back on the bandwagon.
But you know what else? If this kinda thing isn’t for you, don’t sweat it. If you’re happy with what you eat, keep eating that way. No one should be telling you what you can and can’t eat; this was just my personal experience of trying to become a bit more healthy and build up my confidence!
Definitely check out the Eat Eighty Twenty Facebook page if it sounds like something you’re interested in 🙂 If you wanna see more of my documented progress, check out my Instagram here.