Regular readers will know that I have been eating and training differently over the past month or so. I would be lying if I said this has been simple but, instead of feeling hungry and exhausted after every workout, this has been more difficult from a mentality point of view.
I’m not one of those people who claims to have tried every diet under the sun and none of them work. I was a big kid, always was, and found the motivation at the age of 19 to do something about it. I lost just under 6 stone on the Weight Watchers diet and managed to keep the majority of the weight off. I’d like to say it was easy and the weight just stays off but that is certainly not the reality. If I’m honest I think I was bordering on some form of eating disorder. I would weigh myself 3-4 times a day and got into a dreadful eating habit of going to Weight Watcher meetings once a month to help maintain my weight. This meant that after my monthly weigh in I’d eat a chippy tea then, for the next 3 weeks, eat very little because I thought I had to ‘make up’ for my ‘naughty’ meal. I was losing more and more weight and decided enough was enough. I stopped going to my monthly meeting and tried to do things my own way.
Life being life things changed and I found my weight slowly creeping up. I love food (as you can probably tell from a lot of this blog!) and various lifestyle changes meant it was getting out of control. Something had to change and then I was introduced to John Preston aka Cheshire Personal Trainer. I’ve tried personal training once before and vowed, at the time, never to put myself through it again. The guy spent the whole hour telling me how unfit I was and how I should be able to lift/move/push/press an awful lot more so you can imagine I was more than nervous at the thought of going back into that environment.
Instead of detailing every step I have gone through over the past month I wanted to give you some pointers on how I’ve changed my life with John’s help and some useful sites you can refer to for help. I need to stress that I am not a nutritionalist nor am I trained to give advice on healthy eating and diet. This has been working for me and a few people have asked me to write about it so that’s why this post is here. As always, you should seek advice from your GP before you make any drastic changes to your lifestyle.
- Change the way you eat
Most ‘diets’ tell you to eat low fat, low calorie food. The supermarkets are full of foods claiming to help you lose weight and lose weight fast. The biggest thing I have learnt over the past few weeks is that this is not a quick fix. There are loads out there claiming to help you lose weight in a matter of weeks ready for that summer holiday. Your health is a lifelong thing, not something you do for a few weeks then go back to how you ate before. I now eat as clean as possible. That means higher protein to keep me satisfied and higher fat. If you look at the ingredient labels for low fat foods you would be amazed by some of the stuff they add to make it taste anywhere near as good as the full fat version. This, in itself, is worse for you than the fat they have taken out! Fat isn’t the enemy… I now eat butter, cheese, good quality oils. All stuff I have been told is bad for me in the past. Below is what I eat on a normal day when I am not training:
Protein pancakes with raspberries and Total Greek yoghurt
Tuna and feta cheese with salad topped with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Carrot and pepper cut into batons with some natural peanut butter
Good quality burgers topped with goats cheese on a bed of spring greens
You’ll notice that this is very low carb but I include potatoes into my evening meal on days I train. I also allow myself one night a week where I eat what I want. It helps me keep balance and stop craving foods I don’t eat every day. I know that I can eat that chocolate bar if I want, I’ll just wait until my ‘cheat’ night. It also means I can still write restaurant reviews but will make more of an effort to eat the healthier, cleaner options on a menu.
2. Change the way you train
Every time I go to the gym there are rows and rows of people pounding the treadmills who are still there when I am done and leaving. Cardio burns calories, that’s true, but what about exercising in a way that continues to burn calories even when you aren’t working out? That’s where lifting comes in. Lean muscle works harder than fat meaning you are not only leaner but happier. That might sound farfetched but I love the feeling being able to lift heavier and for more reps has on my confidence. So much so that I have ditched my failsafe old leggings and baggy t shirts for new gym gear! When embarking on a new lifting programme I think it is really important to take some advice from the professionals. I am a member of Team Lean at Cheshire Personal Training where I go twice a week with a group of 5 other people. We work together to encourage and motivate each other with workouts set to push us to our personal limits. I’m never going to be able to lift as much as some of the other members in the group but you know what? That’s ok. I’m working to MY ultimate limit and that’s encouraged at Cheshire Personal Training. I’ve noticed a huge difference in just 1 month. I can lift heavier and for more reps. I can keep up better too. We regularly do tabata style sessions and I used to have to miss rounds to get my breath… not anymore. I can keep up and my stamina is building by the week. John is helping me be the best I can be, for me. Not for anyone else or to show a loss in lbs on the scales. Which brings me to my last point…
3. Measure don’t weigh
I’ve been a slave to the scales for most of my adult life. Slimming clubs focus on weight loss as a sign of success. I do weight myself still, I can’t really help it but at the same time I am measuring myself. Let me tell you, I’ve lost centimetres from every part of my body. The most interesting thing is learning where my body is getting leaner first. I’ve lost the most from around my waist and hips but my legs are taking longer to catch up. I’m a typical pear shape so this isn’t a surprise to me. I know my legs will catch up sooner or later!
So there it is. I’ve got a long way to go but in just a month I can tell the difference. I’m leaner (huge thanks to the lovely people who have told me this over the last few weeks!) fitter and I’ve had no IBS symptoms whatsoever. Who’d have thought it? All this has come from my time with Cheshire Personal Trainer and I’d recommend them, not just for your personal training sessions, but for constant support, nutrition advice and feedback. You can follow Cheshire Personal Trainer on Facebook or Twitter.
Ultimately you need to do what is right for you and this, this is right and working for me. I’ll be keeping you up to date with my latest recipes, finds and tips as I continue on my journey to a healthier life. Please let me know if you are following a healthier lifestyle and what you are doing, I’d love to know!
I pay in full to be a member of team lean with Cheshire Personal Trainer This is an honest and unbiased post of my experiences. I’ve used some images taken from John Preston at Cheshire Personal Trainer.