The rumblings of discontent have been present for several years now. In my mind, I blame university for causing it. And work. And, well, my general disdain for anything that involves moving. Yes, when I think about it, the subject of my weight has been an issue for a while…
Wind back 7 years ago when I was just 18 years old, and I hardly had any trouble keeping the pounds off. Hours of traipsing around shops on the weekend and running around school for classes helped me stay a healthy 10 stone, and a size 10/12. Perfect for my 5’6″ height. But years of becoming addicted to afternoon teas, Netflix and convenient lifts in the car had taken its toll. By the time I reached 25 this year I was 13 and a half stone. Or, rather, a size 14 going onto a size 16. That’s 49 pounds I’d put on in seven years. Yikes indeed.
All things considered, it could have been a lot worse. I could quite easily be several sizes bigger right now thanks to my love of cheese and fizzy drinks. Plus, when you think about it, a size 14/16 is hardly obese. But earlier this year I had several big wake-up calls that made me realise that losing weight wasn’t just a, ‘Oh, one day I’ll do that’ hare-brained idea. It was actually something I needed to do ASAP – for my health, my energy levels and my confidence.
Me in Cyprus and LA in 2015 – times when I felt ridiculously self-conscious about my body.
I can pinpoint 3 moments that made me realise I needed to lose those 49 pounds…
1. Walking up Gellért Hill in Budapest with my boyfriend and being completely out of breath just a quarter of the way up. My boyfriend, with all his 5k fitness, waltzed up the hill without breaking a sweat. I, on the other hand, could hardly breathe with the sheer exhaustion crippling my body. It was like someone was standing on my chest preventing me from breathing normally…so embarrassing.
Budapest: Beautiful views. Bloomin’ hilly.
2. Realising that my BMI was classified as “obese”. I know that BMI is a source of contention for people, and there are some who say you shouldn’t pay a blind bit of notice to it. But realising that my weight was classed as obese gave me a shock and a half. I realised that by not looking after my body I was putting myself at risk of various diseases and illnesses, many of which run in my family. To give myself the best shot at leading a long, healthy life, I need to monitor my weight and get down to a healthy size.
3. I felt like crap, so I let people treat me like crap. This was something that I’ve only started to realise as I’ve started losing weight: a few months ago I had such bad body-image and zero self-belief that I let people treat me however they wanted. Now, I’ve started to have more confidence in myself. Whether that’s because I feel better for eating more nutritiously, or whether it’s because I’ve started to feel like my old self again, I honestly do not know – but I’m enjoying it, so it’s a big motivator.
It was this triple combination of things happening in such a short succession that gave me a big kick up the backside. With the help of a nutritionist friend (honestly, she’s a Godsend) I replaced all my microwave meals and garlic bread for three solid, nutritious meals a day. I’ve had to re-learn from scratch what foods I should be having, what drinks I should be focusing on. And slowly, I binned the fizzy drinks, and replaced them with water. I refused lifts to places just round the corner, making my feet do the job they were made for. I, a self-confessed sofa addict, swapped my Netflix evenings in favour of doing the NHS couch to 5k run in the park near me. I’ve basically undergone a whole life overhaul.
And over 2 months on, I’m pleased to report I’ve now lost 29lbs! I now weigh in at 11 stone 6 pounds. But, more importantly, I now have more drive, more focus, more energy and more confidence in myself. But there’s still a bit of a way to go before I reach my 10 stone goal and reclaim that ‘Healthy’ BMI. We’re talking 20lbs…
The Plan of Action
A couple of weeks ago I attended a #MyWorkoutFor session with fellow bloggers at a Virgin Active gym in Central London. Organised by super blogger/vlogger Helen Anderson, a group of us (including Sophie from Luggage Tags and Ticket Stubs, Flora from Flora the Explorer and Ed from Rexy Edventures) were put through our paces in a 45-minute class involving various workouts. Quite honestly? It completely floored me. I gave it my best shot – horrendous burpees and mountain climbing included – but it was all a bit overwhelming. It made me realise just how unfit I really was. Sure I could run for 5 minutes at a time, but bah. My technique was all over the place, I was red and sweaty when everyone else was just breaking out into a light shimmer, and I had absolutely zero levels of perseverance.
Struggling to exercise? Just break out into hysterics. Great excuse.
So yeah – that dabble with exercise might not have been the most productive for me. BUT, I absolutely loved it, from the community spirit going on in the studio, to the swanky features of the gym that left me in awe. It made me want to sign up to a gym and get my backside moving on shifting that last 20 pounds!
Well, very kindly, Virgin Active have offered me a six-week gym pass so I can get my fitness regime well and truly into gear. I don’t think I’ve been this excited since I got my last ginger cat, ahhh! I’ve signed up to the Virgin Active gym nearest my work so I can squeeze in work-outs in the evenings (wherever possible). So far I’ve only managed to get there on a Sunday when the gym is virtually empty – just the way I like it! I can run, flounder and sweat to my heart’s content, all with only a handful of others around me. Even though I’ve only been twice, I’ve got a real feel for the Virgin Active gyms. My gym has got a sauna, a swimming pool, cardio equipment, weights, rowing machines, a jacuzzi, a cafe/lounge area! I’m absolutely in LOVE with it. I feel like a kid in a super-fancy candy shop every time I go.
What I love most about flying with Virgin Atlantic is that they go above and beyond with little extras that make you feel like a valued customer. The same is true at Virgin Active gyms. Each item of cardio equipment (treadmills, cross trainers, stationery bikes…) has its own TV screen which is pure LOVE for someone like me with a television addiction. You can access digital TV channels, YouTube, the radio…and you can even get statistics of your workout to let you know how many calories you’ve burned off, and how long you’ve been at it for.
With the TV screens to hand, I find myself exercising a lot more than I would usually. Just the other day I was watching Casper the Friendly Ghost and 30 minutes had passed! (OK, more like 3 minutes. But still, that’s 100% more exercise than I would have done a few months ago…). And just today I was using the stationery bike, while watching a POV outdoor video of a cycle through San Francisco, the route of which I cycled just last November when I was in California! So this, for now, is my plan of action.
- Keep on with my low calorie, nutritious diet.
- Run at least 2-3 times a week in the evenings.
- Visit the Virgin Active gyms as much as possible for all-over body workouts.
Do you have any workout tips? I’d love to hear your motivational tricks too!