I need to do this ... for me
So a little while back I posted Can You Love Your Body and Want to Lose Weight, where I got a little raw and real about my recent health struggles.
It forced me to get a little honest with myself.
And whilst this will be another very personal and raw blog post, for the sake of brevity I won’t rehash that story here, but I recommend you go back and read that post after this one.
(Or you can just watch the video below, where I talk about things in more depth.)
Hey, Watch It
One thing that’s always fascinated me about physical health is about how holistic it is.
If you're neglecting your health and fitness, it’s a sure sign you're also neglecting other things.
And whilst that’s fine and normal for a little bit (because life happens), if you let it go for too long, pretty soon things spiral.
The truth is, when I was on top of my game with my fitness, I was on top of my game in other areas.
Fitness taught me discipline, delayed gratification, and to enjoy the process, rather than being constantly outcome focused.
It taught me how to choose long term benefit over short term reward.
It meant that I was excelling in my career, pushing ahead with my studies, and I was a lot of fun to be around.
Anyhoo, in this time that I’ve been on online hiatus, I’ve been doing some very serious reflecting.
Not just about my health and my fitness, but about my mental health, my personal relationships and friendships, my finances, and this little blog and business that I’ve been pouring my whole life into, trying to grow.
Truthfully? Since I’ve let my health and fitness slide, since I’ve fallen into this pit of hustle and grind, without stopping to stick my head up and see where I am (or check in with how I feel) ... I’ve let myself get very, very lost.
Working full time in front of a computer screen, and then working on a blog/coaching business after hours, and then also trying to have normal relationships and a life outside of that is a LOT.
It’s an impossible juggle – fine in the short term, but I need to be real.
I struggled to find my voice with coaching. I struggled to find where I fit in.
It led to a lot of inconsistent messaging, and a lot of hard work trying to make it grow, when I didn’t even know what “it” was, and I never felt satisfied with what it was.
Coaching gave me some great mindset tools – and I’ve certainly found it rewarding to share those with clients – it just didn’t feel aligned for me.
The more I worked on my business, the more I discovered that blogging and creating content was my deepest passion.
Yet even there, I felt lost and stagnant.
Whilst I love blogging, and I know that’s what I’m here to do ... the direction I’ve woven myself into doesn’t feel like me anymore.
The end result? I’m overweight, in chronic pain, fatigued, sick, anxious, unconfident, uncertain, dissatisfied, directionless, and maybe even a little depressed.
I don’t want to feel that way anymore.
And whilst I definitely believe in body image and self love, I just don’t believe that it has to be mutually exclusive with weight loss and fitness.
In fact, this feels like the most self loving thing I can do.
This feels like the way I can be most true to myself.
Coming back to the industry where it all began for me – the fitness industry – but now armed with the tools I learned as a coach, with a mindset framework of self love, and with the knowledge I needed to earn to be the change I want to see in the fitness industry.
But it needs to begin with me.
I’m on a journey to get back into the best shape of my life again – in body, mind and spirit and, inspired by Cassey Ho’s 90 day challenge, I’m going to document it daily.
Can you lose weight and be body positive?
To me, this isn’t specifically about “weight loss” – this is about health.
My body is clinically overweight. My joints are suffering.
Whether you need to lose weight or gain it, sometimes it’s important to change your body composition for the sake of your health and longevity.
Yes, body acceptance and where you are now is an important piece of that puzzle.
If my body never changes, I will still love it, knowing I’ve done whatever I can to be my healthiest and fittest.
But right now, my body does not feel healthy. Carrying around this excess weight is hurting me, physiologically and emotionally.
This journey feels like one of the most self loving, body positive things I’ve ever done.
One thing I know for sure is that crash diets, restrictions and counting calories do not work for me long term. It fosters an unhealthy relationship with food.
I’m still very much a believer that there is no “good” or “bad” food – food is just food.
That means that I refuse to demonize, restrict or eliminate any food (or food group).
Now, with that said, because of my background in nutrition and fitness, I do have a good working knowledge of calories in vs calories out, the caloric density of certain foods and the caloric burn of certain exercises.
I also know a thing or two about portion sizes and micronutrients.
So whilst I’m not counting calories, or restricting food groups, I will probably have that knowledge in the back of my mind.
However, for the most part, I’m sticking to a balanced diet with a focus on whole foods. This means, 80% of the time I will aim to eat nutritiously, and 20% of the time I will enjoy my life – pizza and wine Fridays, fish and chips on the beach, and Christmas Day lunch.
When I say 80% of the time I will eat nutritious whole foods, I mean I’m focusing on “crowding out” my diet with nutritious options, rather than actively cutting out or restricting anything.
When I talk about nutritious eating, I’m talking about gentle adherence to the Australian Dietary Guideline recommendations.
More fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, low fat dairy, lean protein, and water
Less fried or processed foods, chips and biscuits, cakes and sweets, confectionary, ice cream, butter, sugary spreads, sodas, and alcohol.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Eat slowly and mindfully.
Listen to my body and stop when, or before, I feel full.
Plan quick and healthy meals ahead of time when I’m busy.
Don’t sit down for long periods of time – get up and move about.
Be physically active every day in every way that I can.
5 serves of vegetables every day.
2 serves of fruit every day.
6 serves of wholegrains every day.
2 ½ serves of lean protein every day.
2 ½ serves of low fat dairy every day.
Choosing “healthy swaps” when eating out, wherever possible e.g. whole grain bread, sweet potato over regular potato, tomato sauces over cream sauces, half cheese on pizza, et cetera.
Gentle adherence means I’ll do my best to include all of these foods in my day, but if I don’t quite make it, that’s okay too. It just gives me a guideline to help me plan and shop for healthy food.
At the end of the day, I’m not too hung up on one strategy or another when it comes to nutrition: I’m focusing on fresh flavours, whole foods close to their natural source, choosing the best available option at the time, and also enjoying my life.
For me, it’s important to do a workout I love. I’ll just be more likely to stick to it - and it will make exercise more enjoyable.
Because I’m endomorphic, I tend to gain weight easily and struggle to lose it, even with consistent and heavy resistance training.
Introducing regular cardiovascular activity 5+ days a week will help me create a caloric deficit and promote fat loss. During these sessions, I won’t get my heart rate up super high (on the recommendation of my cardiologist), but I'll train in the “aerobic zone”, at between 60-80% of my MHR (maximum heart rate), for between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how much time I have.
Now, ordinarily I don’t love cardio. I find it boring, and it makes it hard to stick to.
However, I do LOVE 80s-style aerobics videos. They are so much fun and are totally my vibe.
When I wake up in the morning with an aerobics video planned, I don’t just feel like I have to work out – I feel like I get to work out. It’s a part of the day I look forward to!
(P.S. I’m in the process of formulating my own routines for a little project I’m planning later.)
For five to six days a week, I’ll be doing one aerobics video (and maybe more, as I study routines and choreograph my own).
The type of training I most enjoy is resistance training. I love it so much I tend to focus entirely on this and neglect aerobic fitness.
Now, loving resistance training isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it's super important, especially for us girls as we get older.
Muscle mass gradually begins to deteriorate after the age of 35, as does bone density, which can lead to problems later on down the track. Regular weight training helps you build lean muscle mass AND increase bone density, so this is really going to help me stay strong and sturdy as I age.
When I have time, I hope to sneak in a lunchtime virtual Body Pump class. The classes are fun, and I notice massive improvements in my strength when I’m consistent.
Another problem area I identified with my physiotherapist is my posture. I sit at my typing job aalllllll day long, and then I finish work and sit aaalll night long to work on my blogs.
My posture has really taken a turn as a result – weak core, rounded shoulders, and slumped neck.
Most mornings, I wake up with a stiff neck, aching shoulders, and a tension headache because of bad posture habits.
On lunch hours when I have time, and when I’m taking a rest from Body Pump, I’ll spend 30 minutes doing some Pilates to strengthen my core and correct my posture (Pilates is just the BEST thing for your core and posture).
The final piece of the puzzle is stretching. Yup, all hustle and no rest makes a girl grumpy, tense, and injured.
Flexibility is also another component of our fitness that declines as we age, so it’s important to pay attention to it. I’ve noticed I’m more prone to it these days, and with extra training scheduled, it’s especially important to aid muscle recovery.
Before bed, and on rest and recovery days, some gentle yoga stretches will not just improve my flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and lower blood pressure, but I find yoga just so relaxing and restorative, so it’s a great way to prepare my body for a good night’s sleep.
Finally, I just want to be more active in life! I love going for long evening walks with my dog and husband, and swimming at the beach on weekends, but I always let things get in the way, or make excuses (objects at rest tend to stay at rest).
These activities aren’t just about fitness – they’re a great way to bond with my family too! I’d love to make evening walks a committed habit, like brushing my teeth or eating breakfast.
Please note: The below talks about measurements, including weight. If these conversations feel triggering for you, it might be best not to read further.
I really wish I was wearing a little more than a bra, but these are my before pics. Having these on hand will help me (and you) see how far I’ve come.
And it’s not to say that this before pic is “bad” or there is anything wrong with the way I look – this is me saying that at this weight, I don’t feel good. My body is suffering, and I am suffering.
I’m planning that in 12 weeks’ time I’ll have a more cheerful, strong, and tall girl standing in the after photo.
Height: 160 cm (5 ft 3)
Weight: 68 kg (150 lb)
Waist circumference: 83 cm (increased risk)
Chest: 98 cm
Hips: 106 cm
Thigh: 60 cm
Body fat %: 35.7%
I’m not going to weigh myself again until the six week mark, but I’ll track my measurements every four weeks.
Where I’m aiming
My main aim is to get my BMI, waist to hip ratio and body fat percentages within normal range by the end of 12 weeks.
Weight: 56 kg (121 lb)
BMI: 21.5 (mid range of healthy)
Waist circumference: 65 cm
Chest: 93 cm
Waist: 65 cm
Hips: 89 cm
Thigh: 54 cm
Body fat %: 21.9%
This means a loss of 12 kg, and 14% body fat. It’s not going to be easy – in fact, it’s going to be a challenge. But I am committed and determined to make it happen – without sacrificing my sanity or my health.
Mindset is the most important part of this whole exercise! After all, what I’m really chasing here is a change in how I feel.
I really believe that physiology creates psychology: so if you’re pouring sugar in the gas tank, you can’t expect the motor to perform well!
With the right balance of nutrition and exercise, I’m most excited to see how this will affect my mindset, mood and motivation. I’m interested to see whether my focus on health and fitness will have a follow on effect in other areas of my life.
Each day I’ll fill in a mood tracker to see how my mood, consistency and confidence shift over the next 12 weeks.
I’m setting tougher boundaries around a work life balance. It can seem impossible with a blog and a full time day job, but it’s so important.
This means time off on weekends, and being more stringent with family time through the week. Hard to have a lifestyle blog when you don’t have a life!
I’m also going to reward myself with a bath and a Disney movie every day I reach these daily goals. This will remind me it’s not just about hustle and grind – it’s about taking a step back and enjoying the journey along the way.
Kind of counter-intuitive to the last point, but also important: because this 90 day challenge is so inspired by Cassey Ho’s, it’s fitting that I blog my experience every day.
There are many reasons:
To hold myself accountable throughout the journey.
To bring you guys along – I know it’s a little different to what I’ve blogged about in the past, and maybe some of you won’t resonate with me anymore, and if that’s the case, I send you love and light – but you’ve been such an integral part of my journey these past 5 years, I’d love it if you came with me on my next adventure.
To provide inspiration, insight, and share tips on what works and what doesn’t, to those of you who are perhaps starting your own fitness journey.
To fall in love with blogging and social media again. Honestly, I feel like a big reason why I struggle with consistency is that what I’m blogging about feels stale and directionless. Blogging and writing daily, and sharing from the heart, will help me feel freer and more creative in my writing and will reignite my passion for what I do.
To document this journey for myself. To show myself I can do this. And to come back to it, years from now, to remind me of what’s possible.
Every day, I’ll post here on the blog, and share updates where and when I can on social media. I’ll talk about the previous day’s meals, how I worked out, my mood, and daily life.
I’m also hoping to film weekly videos – with what I ate in a day, meal ideas, workouts, and vlogs – so my YouTube channel will be taking a new direction as well.
It’s going to be SO DIFFERENT to everything I’ve done before. I’m so excited (and yes, a little scared) to share it with you.
As of today, I’m taking on the most important personal training client of my life so far: me. I’ll be overhauling my nutrition, workouts, mindset and life and I’m bringing you along for the journey.
I can’t wait to share it with you! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update.
Kisses until then!