Some home truths and why I'm starting a #twelveweekshred
I'll start this blog post by saying it straight. Oh shit.*
*sorry for swearing.
As you can see from this glorious 'how I used to look vs how I now look' side by side picture, it's not rocket science to see that I've put on weight. Quite frankly, it's far from ideal. I've gained close to a stone and definitely a dress size. I repeat, that's thirteen big ol' pounds, sitting on parts of my body I don't want it to be on.
Pull the brakes, I hear you say.
Something is amiss here, no?
How could this be the case for someone who eats so squeaky clean all the time?
Someone whose Instagram page is legitimately called Slimming World Recipes?
She's known for making healthy food, isn't she?
Is she a massive bloody great fraud, then?
Well, folks, let me quash the myth right here, right now. Yes, I make healthy recipes and yes, I love to cook. Alas, I'm also a human being and that means I too can nail a big bag of Doritos faster than Usain Bolt can run 100m. I also have an almost mechanical function built-in for inhaling biscuits (Hobnobs are my #1, just for the record).
A little history lesson in the life of little old me so you have some context. I've never been shy or retiring really. To be honest, I never got especially nasty comments about my weight when I was bigger, apart from some horrid man saying I was fat in a club once, that was a low blow. Then there's the "us funny fat girls gotta stick together" remarks from friends and foes alike. What I did have though, was a serious case of the 'what-ifs.' What if someone offers me their seat because they think I'm pregnant? What if that guy didn't call me because I'm fat? What if someone is looking at me sweating on the tube and thinking it's because I'm big? In short, I was wracked with worry most of the time about what people thought of me, because I was chubby. When anyone would say that I should try to lose weight, the comments burned like a flaming torch through my insides and I'd sometimes cry for days afterwards. Partly this was because I'm a sensitive little soul, and the other part was because I felt like 'being big' was the one thing holding me back. I had stacks of awesome family and friends, I had a good sense of humour, good grades through school and university, a decent enough job. I just wanted the body confidence to carry it all off (oh, and perhaps to sweat a bit less profusely, too).
I started my Slimming World journey nearly five years ago to this day. It's crazy for me to think how far I've come to be honest. Back in 2013, other people whizzed past me at weigh in, dropping stones and stones in what seemed like the blink of an eye. My route was slower. Much, much slower. I lost a total of 2 stone and 7 pounds over about two years. In that time, I also exercised a lot, partied more than ever before, met a nice bloke (who has stuck around, incredibly), got into climbing and starting wearing the occasional crop top. For the first time in my adult life, I felt fit and happy. Lord, maybe I even felt sexy at times.
So what the hell changed? Well, in a nutshell, Slimming World got kind of boring for me. I started eating more normally again, extra pieces of bread, a milkshake here and there. I'd maintained my weight loss for about 2 further years when a few pounds piled on. No one really noticed, my clothes still fit me... what's the big deal, right? But then with those pounds, came more pounds. Sometimes I lost them, but then I gained them again, and so on and so forth. At some point along that path, I started to look in the mirror and not really enjoy my reflection. I had begun to hide again in photos, making sure I was between friends rather than standing on the end because I didn't like my arms any longer.
Despite this ongoing battle with how I felt about my looks, my head wasn't in the zone and I just couldn't commit properly to losing weight. I'd eat healthily for a few days, then go absolutely bananas on a doughnut, a Mcdonalds, a pizza... maybe some of you guys are familiar with this cycle. I don't put this blame on anything or anyone specific, it just wasn't a time in my life for dieting, I guess. One thing that's always resonated with me from my Slimming World group leader, Dyanne, is her saying to me, 'There is more to life than just dieting.' She's so unbelievably right about that and it does go in swings and roundabouts.
My Instagram, too, which I actually started to help me lose weight by recording what I was eating, became a huge burden at times. I felt a bit of a fraud, eating healthily but not sharing all of the stuff when I did go wildy off the plan. I was expected to post new recipes all the time, and be the skinny strong fit girl everyone wanted to see, wasn't I? The commitment expected from me at full time work, from my new candle business and from this very blog and the Instagram, were huge and I was really struggling to keep on top of it all. It turned into a 'work my day job, candle make at night, make a quick meal (for the 'gram only, you understand) and then bed' kind of day, every day. Exercise and healthy eating lost their place in the timetable rather a lot, as did quality time with all my favourite people.
Then something happened. This week, on the five year anniversary of me joining Slimming World, it just clicked. I don't know how or why, but I just thought, 'I'm ready to do this again.' I wish I could tell you all why this happened when it did, but I don't know for sure. I just felt, quite suddenly, that I was ready to hit it hard on the exercise and to follow the plan again.
I'm lucky to have an amazing SW consultant, Dyanne, who's stuck with me through thick and thin (literally, ha). My family and friends are supportive too, that makes a huge difference and I'm sure it's why I haven't gone back to my starting weight! Props just quickly to all my nearest and dearest, you know who you all are and you're simply the best.
So I'm 13 pounds up. It's not catastrophic, I know. It's not an earthquake, or children being separated from their parents at a border. It's pretty insignificant in the bigger picture and that's something I've got on my mind quite often. Being real here, it's not a chronic issue, more like a few bags or Doritos (cough, yum) and some Hobnobs sitting around a slightly podgy body. That's doable. I can fix it, but I've got to actually make it happen.
How? Well, from this week onwards, I've set myself a (self-named, I might add) #twelveweekshred. In the words of the goddess that is Dua Lipa, these are my own New Rules for the next 12 weeks:
Water: Drink 2-3 litres of water a day, without fail.
Exercise: 6 times a week, at least 3 of those times to be cardio.
Blind weigh in: Go to group every week and get weighed without seeing the scales. This is so it doesn't kick me off track if it goes a little up or down each time.
Tweet what I eat: Well, maybe not 'tweet' but I will Instagram Story everything I consume from now onwards.
Track my syns and healthy extras: I use the SlimIt app for this and I'm going to force myself to write down any non-free food so I know exactly where I'm at each day.
Make some 'me' time: Take an hour every Sunday to plan food, make recipes and figure out exercise for the week ahead.
I've also got a new Slimming World book to read from cover to cover and I'm going to take my body measurements over the weekend too. I'm planning a trip to the Himalayas for November and I want to be fit and healthier by then so that's my number one goal.
I've had so many lovely comments about my Instagram post from people in the same boat as me. It really reminded me so much of why I started the Instagram in the first place: for support, for ideas and to give some encouragement back to those who need it. So with that focus firmly in my head, I'm going to post exactly whenever I like and whatever I like again, just like the good old days, and stop worrying about the 'engagement', likes or comments on my posts.
Alright folks, I've been talking for too long. So, are you up for joining the #twelveweekshred with me? You can make up your own special rules or use mine (can be Slimming World or not!). We'll all support each other and keep ourselves motivated by doing so. What are you aiming for? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
Thanks for reading my rambling words, you're all the greatest.