How I moved from my couch to sweating it like a pro
It took me a while to master the courage to write this because a) it is very personal and b) who wants to admit they have been slagging when it comes to their health? Then I decided to say it out loud in hope to inspire other women to embark on this ever-challenging journey of becoming a fit woman (and stop wishing it while lounging on our couches at home stalking other fit women on Instagram). So here it goes...
It happened. I am officially at the most unfit I have been in my whole entire life. During my sick days, my entire pregnancy, breastfeeding, stressful life events…I have been much more fit (and skinnier) than now. Although I am far from being obese, I do believe fitness is not just defined by your weight but by your health and stamina.
So How did it happen? I attribute this to a number of issues: yo-yo dieting, lack of eating 3 proper meals a day and then binge eating on other days that leads to going into starvation (guilt) mode the following few days, that leads to frustration for not shifting the weight so back to binge eating…and the vicious vicious cycle never ends.
I woke up one day and decided to do something practical about it, get professional help. I booked an appointment in one of Dubai’s top weight care clinics and marched my way in there, thinking the doc would just brush me off as someone who has some time (and money) to waste. After all, I am only a few kilos off my ideal weight, right?
Off course, that wasn’t the case. The doctor pointed how Its clear I haven't been properly nurturing my body. My body comp analysis came back alarming for my age and health level, I have little muscle mass and excess fat to lose. I needed to lose weight and gain a ton of muscle which for someone who has been unfit for some time is basically a nightmare.
Since I need to focus on losing fat, I was advised to try a low-fat diet for 8 weeks. With the guidelines in hand, I had no excuse but to start.
The next step for me was working on my motivation. You see, if I am being totally honest, this is not the first time I have decided to jump off the couch and to the gym, but while the start might be relatively easy, sustaining this lifestyle is the hardest challenge.
And so during my search, I came across a life-changing article. A method that has been developed by James Prochaska, whose father died of Alcoholism, and who took it upon himself to come up with a error-free method to stop any bad habit (Addiction, unhealthy eating..etc).
The article details 6 phases to effectively change a bad habit, and why people normally fail in changing. I realized I have been stuck in the Contemplation phase for so long. Meaning that, I know exercise is good and I try to take a few steps forward but I always go back to square one. The key to overcoming this is preparation and making sure that you outline all your obstacles and find them solutions so that you ensure your commitment.
For that, I have decided to try something. I will outline all the obstacles I have been facing every time I decide to make a change for the better and find them solutions so I can keep going back to this reference every time I slip back.
Obstacle: Feeling too tired to workout after work
Solution: Take my vitamins, get good sleep the night before, eat a healthy fueling snack one hour prior to the gym.
Having done that was the BEST decision I have ever took! I have finally managed to get around 10 Top Excuses that I have been making to not exercise/eat healthy solved.
So in the article, the following step is to draw a contract with yourself so you are very clear on your goals. And so I did. I settled on mini daily goals: Such as dress up, show up and start, to 3-months' goals of losing an x% of fat and completing my initial 12 weeks fitness program, all the way up to setting an example for my daughter.
Having that as a continuous reminder for me of where I am headed, has seriously helped me keep my eye on the ball and continue even on the toughest day.
Although I am still 2 months away from my initial "Contract" goal, I have to say that I have managed to make it far enough to really know that this method and approach totally works. Having really prepared and took my time in advance to know what my body responds good to, what schedule can I manage and how realistic are my goals have been key. Over the past 4 weeks, I have managed to stick to the below routine:
- Sunday: Cardio Running (Pre-set personalized program)
- Monday: Cardio Running
- Tuesday: Rest or long walk with my family
- Wednesday: Cardio running
- Thursday: Socializing
- Friday: Meditation (To start the weekend right)
- Saturday: Pilates Reformer
Now I know that mottos like "Just do it" and "Just go" are never gonna set you up for a life of fitness, simply, because like anything else, we need to properly plan, educate ourselves, take the time to understand what works and what doesn't for our body, and working our way to the top steadily and with enough motivation to keep us going (Because it IS hard).
And about the weight? Well, I have managed to lose 4 kilos of pure fat in one month!
I am now training my way up to my first ever 10K Marathon in January! I am sure I will have a lot more to share in a few weeks time.