Monday, 19 June 2017

My Health and Fitness Journey - 2017 Edition.

Back in February when my mum was visiting, I bought a set of scales, and promptly had a melt down as soon as I stepped on them. I knew the news wasn't going to be good because half my wardrobe no longer fitted me, my face was constantly bloated, and I just felt as though everything was a bit out of control. Over the past few months I've been trying really hard to sort my body out and get back to my old 'happy' weight of 65kg from the 2013/2014 days, so thought I would share my journey with you all. This is gonna be a long one, so grab a cuppa and get comfy!

Back in 2013 when I had a reasonably flat stomach...

It all started last year with my lingual tonsil operations. Yeh, plural. I'd had to give up the gym because the issue with my throat that I'd had since September 2014 made my asthma *really* awful I couldn't workout without needing my inhaler. My inhaler has a side effect that effects me really badly - it makes my heart race, my head go dizzy, and my body feel weak and helpless. It's such a horrible feeling I do everything I can to avoid using it...which meant I stopped exercising aside from 15 minutes of gentle swimming a couple of times a week.

After my surgeries I wasn't allowed to exercise for a few weeks after, and then I only had a coupla months before I moved to Australia. My weight had gradually crept up, and then when I moved to Australia I piled on an extra 7kg very quickly, on top of the 10kg I'd gained since the beginning of 2015 when my throat started causing me issues. In total, over the past two years, I've gradually gained 17kg...bringing me up to 77kg, and it's making me miserable.

I've always been proud of my curves, I've always loved them and celebrated them. But there is a point when curves are no longer curves, and the curves disappear and a belly appears and cellulite turns up on your already pretty chunky thighs. When your muscly calves from your years of leg-focused exercise (swimming, ice-skating, dancing), get a thick layer of fat around them. There's a point where you look in the mirror and no longer recognise the body you once loved.

I never really understood how people could hate the way they look, I was always someone who was super comfortable with my curves and little flaws and owned them. But over the past year or so I've noticed such a huge change in myself, not just in my body but my personality and confidence. I no longer walk down the street with my head held high, I find myself staring at the ground and avoiding eye contact with people. I no longer go shopping, because I'm too scared to try clothes on and them not fit. I live in baggy dresses and jeans with loose, flowy tops.

And so back in February when I saw that number on the scales, as soon as my mum left I made some huge lifestyle changes. I started by changing my diet, and I managed to lose 3kg in six weeks. Then I went on holiday and for 2 weeks I ate whatever I wanted, and put it all back on.

The week I returned to Sydney I walked into Virgin Active and signed up to the gym. I'd done a fair amount of research and decided it was the one that would suit me best, and I wasn't wrong. Since I joined up six weeks ago I've been going 4-5 times a week, and I genuinely LOVE it. I tend to do spinning classes 2-3 times a week, a power plate class once a week, a kinesis class once a week, and a circuit training class twice a week, and yoga once a week. Maths not adding up? Yep, that's because I tend to do two or three classes on some nights back-to-back.

If I only do one class one evening, then I'll do my weights programme and 20 minutes on the running machine to finish off. Virgin Active have this machine that tells you your body fat percentage and all of this other fancy schmancy info. So after six weeks of intense workouts and clean eating (with 3 weeks no sugar and no alcohol), you would expect some results...right? Wrong. I have not lost any weight, and my body fat percentage is just 1% lower than when I started six weeks ago.

I've been to the doctor and my blood tests were all fine, my thyroid levels were perfect, an ultrasound on my abdomen showed my organs and insides are all completely normal. As far as the doctor can see, there is absolutely nothing health-wise that should be stopping me from shifting weight. The doctor suggested it might be because I'm not eating enough, so I tried upping my food intake and having an extra meal of tuna and spinach with half an avocado. It didn't work, and it just made me vomit after every workout because my body wasn't used to having that much food in one day.

Words can't even describe how disappointed and demotivated I am. It's making me incredibly sad and I feel like I'm going into a big black hole of despair. I am miserable. This issue is making me miserable. And I don't know what to do to fix it. I mean, what else can I do!? My macros on MyFitnessPal are perfect, and I'm probably the only person in the world who gave up sugar and alcohol for 3 weeks and lost no weight. I've even cut down dairy, and the only dairy I eat now is eggs and cottage cheese.

Half my wardrobe still doesn't fit, my face is still bloated (thank goodness for selfie camera angles), and I still don't feel like me. This weekend was the first weekend in six weeks that I've treated myself and had a bar of chocolate and a cookie. The thing is sometimes when the stress levels are high and you've had a particularly trying week, your mental health is more important than counting macros. Sometimes you just need that comfort food!

But, on the plus side, I can feel my body getting stronger and fitter, and I actually really do love going to the gym now. When I started spinning classes six weeks ago, I could only cycle standing up for 5 seconds before my body literally forced me to sit down, and I could only do that a couple of times during the 45minute class. Now, I can cycle standing up for around a minute, and do it regularly throughout the class.

So I'll keep going, and keep pushing forwards. I fly back to London next week so it will all go out the window for three weeks while I'm there, but as soon as I get back to Sydney again I'll start all over again and hope that my body finally kicks into gear and shifts all of this excess.

Wish me luck! I'll keep you updated!

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  1. How many calories are you eating hon? I've never known My Fitness Pal not to work for people.

    1. Everyone is different and so many factors are at play with weight both physically and emotionally. It is not a one size fits all matter

  2. It's a long old journey - at least you are active & getting healthy...but I know how annoying it is to not see a change on the scale. Have you done measurements with a tape measure rather than weight? You could be turning into muscle which weighs more than fat...
    Good luck!!
    Em x

  3. I LOVE this post! As someone who has put on a couple of stone over the past 2 years, despite my high activity level and previous ability to eat anything and everything whilst maintaining a size 10 figure - I relate to so much of this. To share my personal xp I must say that most of my weight gain came in 2 phases...

    1) Over the final 2 years of university, where I spent more time working at home procrasti-baking (followed by procrasti-eating...) Eventually my dissertation came around and I became a vegetable for a solid month in order to get it done. I felt physically ill and constantly bloated + sluggish with my newly found inactivity level... and even though this period was relatively brief, the long term impact has never quite left my waistline!

    2) Starting an office job; even though my commute involves walking around 4.5 miles a day, this is nothing compared to the 8-9 miles a day I was used to between the ages of 15-20. I'm sedentary most of the day, and i'm convinced that waking up at 6am everyday for a monotonous day at work is throwing my hunger/stress hormones all over the place! I get home pretty tired and don't want to move at all - winter is especially bad.

    I believe that these 2 main bouts of weight gain stemmed from some kind of stress - such as being stressed out from my mundane routines or experiencing a general work over-load. In part I may have been eating too much or not exercising enough, but nonetheless I think the long term impact of psychological stress throws the body out of whack to some point of "no return"... I've resolved myself to this.

    Do you move around much during the average day? I've recently found that getting up at random points where I start to fill stiff/lazy (whether I'm on the sofa or at my desk at work!) to move around, stretch or take a quite 5 minute walk somewhere every hour or so has worked wonders for me. I've come to realize that for me, exercising in block periods only does so much good - what my body really needs is to be lightly active constantly through the day so that it doesn't get the chance to slump. And guess what - I've started to lose the stubborn first few lbs! Something about slumping around literally just pushes my body into stubborn mode.

    I think I might also start skipping breakfast on weekdays for a bit to see what happens. I don't feel physically hungry when I wake up if I've had a decent dins, but usually end up forcing breakfast. I find my energy levels are much better if I either have a much later brekkie at work, or just wait til lunch... oh and I feel way less bloated too. I never used to be this way...I used to need breakfast the very second upon waking! But I guess I've got to work with the change if I want to see sustainable results.

    Sorry for the huuuge post, but I hope you might be able to relate to another frustrating WL experience and gain a new idea or two :) Wishing you all the best, and hoping you see the value in persisting that bit longer! Xxx

  4. I totally get all these feelings! It is just so awful not to feel comfortable in your clothes. After two months off from work and lots of travelling literally none of my clothes fit anymore, its gotten so bad that I nearly feel dieting is hopeless. My mum had similar issues to you, she worked out all the time and eat healthy but couldn't shift the weight. She says it took 3 months before she lost a single pound then after that the weight fell off and now she is down 15kg! So I guess keep going?! Sounds like you are doing great!

  5. You beat me to this! I use My Fitness Pal in combo with a Fitbit, and it's so perfect! Excellent recommendation.


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