Lifestyle, Not Diet

When the diet is unsustainable.

“Eighty percent kitchen, twenty percent exercise.”

 

Fresh Fridge
The new fresh foods fridge

That’s the old adage often bandied around when asked how to lose weight. How true it may be is up for your own interpretation, as there is a school of thought that thinks the 80/20 rule means eating healthily for eighty percent of the time, and indulging for twenty percent with no referral to exercise.

What I believe to be true is that: a) it’s not about losing weight, it’s about losing fat and building muscle to help change your body composition; and b) the best way to change your body is to utilise tools from both a nutritional point of view and an exercise one.

My basic routine is monitor my food intake; making sure I get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat, while working to a calorie deficit. This may sound funny given the size I was; but I’m a forgetful eater, so tracking my food helps me remember to eat. I very rarely feel hungry; and can go for most of the day before realising I’ve not had anything.

Exercise wise; I weight train in my own home gym (currently 4 times a week), and attend tai chi once a week.  However; this post isn’t about me telling you my way is the best way, or that it fits everyone. It fits me; and I’m getting results in MY body, which what I want.

Pickled Coleslaw
Pickled Coleslaw

I guess the biggest difference between now and my previous attempts is my mindset shifted, and I stopped thinking about being on a diet trying to lose weight. Instead my aim for the past several years has been to change my lifestyle; and lose fat whilst building muscle.

Yes, there have been ups and downs, especially over the past 18 months.  Family issues, lack of motivation, sinking into the darkest recesses of my mind have all been obstacles in my way.  Add the fact it took me years to get where I was; and the amount of fat to lose, I’m not going to magically fix myself in a few months.  However; like riding a bike, I never truly forgot what to do because I had begun to engrain it into my life.

That’s why last weekend; after having got another fridge (finally!!!) and loading up on fresh fruit and vegetables, I got my daughter helping me out in the kitchen.  Pickled coleslaw, chilli jam, banana bread, and pickled cucumber to name a few of the things we put together.  You see; changing my lifestyle means I’ve been changing the whole family lifestyle as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an ogre. There are no “bad” foods. We still go out for meals, and the kids still get treats.  It’s simply some foods need to be moderated a little more than others, and I’m trying to teach my children how they can make better choices for themselves.  I don’t want to see my kids to suffer healthwise as I have, and the easiest way to do that is to teach them now.

Plus; with all the social activities and clubs they have going on, and their preference for technology when they are in the house, it’s actually nice to be able to spend time creating yummy  foods together as a family.

Spicy Burgers Cooked
Homemade spicy burgers

Naked Workout

Pushing through the excuses

This morning I woke up and my body ached.  While I have been getting back into working out, some days I find it hits me harder than expected.  So as I lay listening to the kids getting ready for school (my kids are teenagers and it’s not often I get to lie in) I started to procrastinate.

I needed a shower, but there seemed no point before working out.  However I couldn’t be bothered with the idea of getting dressed to work out, to undress for a shower, to get redressed to go to work. (I volunteer in my local Barnardos donation centre on a Friday.)  Deep down I knew the way my head was going I’d get up, get dressed, make a coffee and start pottering around the house, avoiding the workout completely.

So my train of thought went to ‘I’ll grab a shower and workout tonight after work’.  Then I remembered that my daughter was having a friend over for the night, and I’d probably find more excuses to avoid my workout.  Especially when it’s the first time this friend has stayed over, and not been subjected to the swearing and grunting that accompanies me as I train.

At this point I realised it was now or never, so I dragged myself out of my bed and fell across the hallway to my gym.  I sleep naked, but I really didn’t care, there was only me in the house so who could complain?

Three sets into my first exercise I began to feel the burn and walked around the room in between sets to allow for a little recovery.  Problem is in every bedroom; one of which my gym is set up in, there are built-in wardrobes that have floor-to-ceiling mirrored doors.  My head was still not fully into the workout, and walking around meant I kept seeing myself in the mirror which wasn’t doing much for my mood.

It was then I stopped dead and stood looking at myself.  Yes; my breasts sag; and my belly hangs so low it looks like I’m wearing an apron, but I started to notice other things.  My arms don’t jiggle when I move, they’re not really defined, but I don’t suffer with saggy batwing underarm skin.  My traps are noticeable as are my calves.  My thighs may be large; but again while there is fat, I can see the muscle beneath.  My glutes are quite tight too.

Then it hit me; despite how I feel about myself when I look in the mirror there are positive aspects to my body.  I also have a man from halfway around the world who is waiting for me, and has been waiting for a long time because he loves me.  He fell in love with me when I was at my largest and even though I am not happy with the way I look; the training and nutrition advice he gives me is because I want to change, not because he thinks I should.  After that I went back to the rest of my workout with a more positive attitude in my head.

strength

I’ve talked to a few people over the years in situations similar to mine, and put simply it seems there are two major factors that enable someone to change.  The first is knowledge, and knowledge can be learned.  No matter how you want to go about getting healthier (weight training, crossfit, swimming, martial arts, dieting), there is always someone you can find who will help tutor you.

The second is willpower, and this is the hard one.  Willpower is not a skill you pick up in class or that someone can teach you.  Willpower comes from within, it’s the mental strength you gain as you see progression and feel good about yourself, but it’s also the driving force that pushes you into action when the last thing you want to do is train.  It’s the inner strength you have to look beyond the negatives to keep going; because no-one else can change you, except you.

My knowledge has never been an issue (though I still have loads to learn), it’s my willpower allowing me to put my knowledge into actions that has always failed me.  Having Bill does help as he points out the positives when I’m blinded by my own darkness, but writing this blog I hope will also help me to stay positive and keep driving forward.  It’s not going to be easy; there’s no quick fix, but I’m a stubborn woman and I will succeed because I want to.

How selling a fridge changed everything

Motivation can come from unexpected places

A couple of weeks ago I was starting to try to get back into my training.  I’m lucky in the fact I have my own home gym I have built up over the past few years, so really there is no excuse not to workout.  However; while I had an adequate setup (squat rack, adjustable bench, 400kg + in weight plates and bars) it was all standard sized gear which meant the bars only came in at 5-7kg, and I was sadly lacking in plates over 10kg.

I also lack room space, so I decided to have a shift around to see if I could get a better arrangement that would free up floor space for things like hip thrusters.  This ended up with me having a larder fridge that was just not going to fit anywhere in the house, and that’s where my fun began.

I sold the fridge, and while looking for a undercounter replacement I spotted a 6ft Olympic bar and an Olympic ezi curl bar along with a couple of 5kg weights on my local secondhand site.  Had a bit of negotiation to drop the price by £25 and the following day I was the proud owner of my first olympic gear.

That night I spotted another ad for Olympic weight plates.  Again a little negotiation and a few days later I’m sat in my driveway with a van full of oly plates ranging from 1.25kg up to 25kg and a weight tree to store them on.  At this point I’m looking at my front door knowing I’ve got to carry the damn things up a flight of stairs to the gym (my house is on the second floor) and thinking to myself I really am crazy.

olympic-plate-tree
The kind of tree I don’t mind in the house

Quite proud of myself though because I managed to do farmer’s walks up the stairs with the 25kg plates as well as all the smaller ones.  Even better I sold a good two-thirds of my standard gear (I kept a selection of smaller plates for the dumbbell bars as I havent got olympic ones yet) for more than I paid out for the olympic stuff.  Still haven’t got a new fridge yet though….

Anyway this is under the workout category and having the new gear has helped to motivate me again.  I’m going to be aiming for 4 workouts a week and I’m using the DAPRE method on some exercises to get me back into the swing of things.  Despite having not trained properly for a good few months and gaining weight I’m actually still pretty strong…for me anyway.

Today hit a personal record of 90kg for hip thrusters and my bench press is back to 50kg.  Still working on my squat and hopefully will get to deadlifting eventually.  That’s one exercise I struggle with, so have been doing RDLs to try to help.