Those who have known me or have been following this blog for some time will know that over the past two and a half years or so I have changed somewhat physically. Recently one of my colleagues, who has become a bit of a fan of this blog asked me if I would write some of my weight loss tips and share them here to help inspire others. I certainly don’t pretend to be any kind of guru but I have learned some important lessons that I think might be interesting to anyone who is on a similar journey or who want to start one. But before I get onto that (in another post) I wanted to give some context.
In June 2013 I looked like this. I was a UK size 20 and weighed about 100kg (220lbs/15 stone, 10lbs)
Through some years of not paying much attention to what I was eating and spending the majority of my time enjoying my sofa I gained rather a lot of weight without really noticing. It sounds bonkers but from what I can tell those extra pounds sneak up on quite a few people. I can’t say I was that bothered at the time. I felt comfortable in my skin and I would say I was generally healthy. I did want to get more fit though so Mr O and I started to go running and then when it got cold I started to go to the gym and by the end of the year I had lost about 13kg (28lbs/2 stone) and I looked more like this. I was a UK size 16 and I weighed 87kg (191lbs/13 stone 9lbs):
I was really quite pleased with how I looked and I was really enjoying exercising, doing mostly cardio. I hadn’t changed my diet, which I thought was a massive bonus and I felt like I had achieved my goal and I managed to more or less maintain this weight for over a year. I changed the way I exercised and started focusing more on weight training and High Intensity Interval Training. I got stronger but I didn’t lose any more weight.
So at the end of May this year I decided it was time to take getting healthy seriously because I was starting to realise that that famous little adage, “you can’t out train your diet” is disappointing but also very true and I decided to make over my whole life and prove to myself that I could reach and maintain a healthy weight. In five months I lost 22kg (48lbs/3.5 stone)
I think people would like to hear that doing this was hard but it wasn’t… not physically anyway. Through this journey I have come to believe that the body will follow the mind wherever it wants to go. Once I had made the decision that I was going to reach this goal and my mind was resolute my body just followed. Of course I had to make changes to what I ate and how I worked out but with my mind in the right place I never felt like I was being punished, deprived or hard done by. Everything I was doing just felt like a step towards my goal and it was easy. Getting my mind to that point was a lot less easy but I think that clarity of purpose comes from agreeing with yourself that you are worth the work. I think attempting to make any kind of physical transformation if your mind isn’t engaged will never work.
If you are ready to start your journey I can also promise you that it will be worth it. While I have had a few emotional wobbles adjusting to my new body I can tell you that I have never felt better. I sleep better, I have boundless energy, my blood pressure dropped, my workouts are more productive, my digestion is better, my allergies improved, my skin cleared up and I regularly get told I look ten years younger. I don’t feel better because my body looks more like the Western media’s very boring and narrow ideal of feminine beauty. I feel better because I am healthier because I have taken strain off my system. This should be the focus of any intention to lose weight… health… not a bikini body.
This is what I look like now. I am a UK size 12 and I weigh 65kg (143lbs/10 stone 3lbs)
Tomorrow I will talk more about how I got here.