I was a hard case to crack, I had absolutely ruined my body with diets in the past, my metabolism was almost non-existent. Alongside that, I’m a vegetarian and I don’t eat fish, so when told to hit 200g of protein a day, this felt like a mountain to climb.
I really enjoyed weight training, I liked it when I could see I was able to lift heavier, or see my technique getting better. The muscle ache was something I aspired to get and felt like I’d let myself down if I didn’t have this (I have learned since these days, that the sort of ache I was seeking then isn’t required to feel like you have worked hard). There are other muscle soreness which feels better. I found my body got bored every 3-4 weeks of doing a programme and luckily my personal trainer was happy to write me a programme every time, to keep my body guessing and to challenge me more each time.
Training and eating was going well, I liked trying to hit my protein, carb and fat levels as close as I could, hated maintenance weeks with a vengeance. It hurt to eat that amount of food required on maintenance week, so much so, I would have to drink water after every bite to force the food into me. I felt like I was forcing my body to do something it didn’t want, I know now that this was needed to get my metabolism where it is needed. But at time it felt like hell – worse than hell, as I hated not losing that week and how bloated it made me feel. A necessary part of the process though, I actually like maintenance weeks now, being able to eat all that food is a pleasure.
One thing I learnt at this point, is actually I hated food, I think this was very much a mental thing and took me a while to get over. Previously I thought I was so much of a foody, that was why I thought I was big, it wasn’t that at all, I ate what I thought my body wanted, but it was all in my head. In the process of hating myself, I would eat to try and make myself feel better, you hear that chocolate and fatty/carb loaded foods make you feel better, even for a short while – so that is what I did. I thought I was enjoying every mouthful, at that point, I wasn't, I hated food, eating was a chore, if I could have paid someone else to do it for me, I would have.
I was also trying to learn during this time, to listen to my body, what was it asking for when and why. How it felt when I ate certain types of food, this was a huge learning curve for me. I was also one for turning off the messages from my body; hunger/full/de-hydrated/etc, I had learnt over the years to turn that switch and ignore my body’s messages. It sounds impossible or stupid, yes you are right it was, why I did it, I don’t know it felt easier than dealing with it I suppose. Now was a time I had to switch that back on, feel hungry and hydrate my body, listen to what it was telling me, don’t ignore your body, it is risky and I can’t think of a time when you should.
In December 2013 I had some time off work and decided to step up my training, during the 2 weeks off over Christmas, I decided to train as much as I can, increased my PT sessions to twice a week for those two weeks, plus try and train every day. I wanted to push my body beyond what I was able to do when I was working and training. I found this really tough, it felt alien to be training every day and I struggled to single out body parts for training, not having learnt precise muscles and when/how they work when doing certain exercises. Often thinking, yeah I’m just working my back, when in fact I’m using my shoulders too much. The next day doing shoulders was a nightmare!
However, I really enjoyed having 2 PT sessions a week, I can train on my own, but prefer to train with a PT or with a partner. So I decided to up my game when back at work to have 2 PT sessions every week, which due to working hard during the week, had to take place on a Friday and Saturday. This seemed stupid to me, to work out so hard on 2 consecutive days, but when you have a good PT (he may be reading this now and laughing), this doesn’t matter and they change things up so you aren’t going to kill yourself one day and ruin the following day.
My results continued well, I wasn’t weighing myself that often at all, about once a month between July and March, to capture my Body Fat %, rather than focus on my physical weight. The problem with physical weight is that it is a miss-representation of the fat in your body. If you think about what your body is made up of: Fat, Muscle, Organs, Bones, Water, Other. Fat is actually one part of a very complex machine and is a percentage of your overall physical weight. It took me probably this amount of time (July to March), to get my head round that, lucky for me I hating weighing myself (do to this day) and so not weighing myself was a god send! I implore you to do this as well, weighing yourself is not an indication of your overall health or fat content in your body.
We measured my arm, chest, waist, hips, thigh and calf religiously every week, this helped me incredibly and enabled me to keep focused. If I didn’t hit the result we were expecting, I would question what training and eating I had done the previous week and what I could do the next week to mean this doesn’t happen or my results will be better. Often suggesting I up the amount of exercise I was doing, or reduce my calories, this was never the answer as long as I was sticking to the plan (that is reference to the times where I didn’t follow the plan to the letter and ended up negatively effecting my goals/results).
A massive hurdle for me (to this day), is working away from home, I know that loads of fitness models have this problem, but for me not being able to be as in control as I normally with in my eating and training, really affected me. I kept having to tell myself that it is better to eat than starve, but putting food into my body that wasn't what it wanted/needed really hindered me. Made me feel down and almost depressed. This wasn't helped when actually the food I ended up putting in my body, made me feel lethargic, bulky and bloated.
I still to this day hate that aspect of travelling for work (although I'm better at managing it now), I try and take my protein shakes and as much food as possible with me, but for night stay over, this gets tricky without a fridge. Problem is when you like your job and it is a job where you have to flexible, you have to get over it, find a way and get on with it. Despite the above problems, I was still able to lose cm’s and this was the main thing. In a way who cares if for a week I didn't eat properly (to my normal diet), the important thing is consistency as much as I can and maintain health. The key is to still try and make good choices, don’t beat yourself up, don’t starve yourself and don’t throw in the towel and think you can eat anything and everything!
Thanks for reading...