Personally, 2016 was one I’ll not forget soon. I finally completed all my full time studies giving me, to date, 12 health and fitness qualifications to do the job I adore. I met my partner in crime and fell in love. My family were blessed with good health and I’ve met some fantastic new people along the way building some important life long connections.
Each new year we feel refreshed like we can ‘start all over again’. We can make resolutions at the start of a new year with hope in mind, but really it’s what they truly mean to us that gives us the motivation to see them through.
In 2016 I significantly changed my diet for health reasons. I’ve been slowly adapting my nutrition to mainly support my fitness goals but in all honesty the way I eat now just gives me the best energy I’ve ever ever had in my life. Once you start to make it happen, keep the momentum going and really feel this vitality in your body, it’s hard not to make it a permanent. I decided mid January 2016 to give up alcohol. I am a fast oxidiser so one glass of wine made me tipsy. (Not a bad things being a cheap date) Alcohol significantly depletes the immune system and with regular fitness training doing this also, I was getting ill far too often. I came to accept it’s just not for me. It’s not worth picking up every illness, bug and sniffle and feeling like rubbish just for the sake of a glass of wine. I don’t judge anyone who drinks, but when I realised the truth about what it was really doing to me, it just wasn’t worth it anymore. The decision was the only hard part and today I couldn’t be happier with that choice.
Over three months ago I made the same choice with table sugar. I’ve read and will continue to read new scientific findings in nutrition but from a personal level, sugar was my nemesis. It felt like it was my kryptonite, yet I was the one bringing it near me. I always ate too much sugar when I was bigger, the low energy, blood sugar dips and highs back then just felt normal. In the last few years I’ve tried ‘cheat days’ or the 80/20 rule, IIFYM and a whole load more alternatives that just didn’t feel good. The main reason I finally kicked sugar off my plate was vanity. I read on the Prevention website about the skin aging effects of sugar and finally that sealed the deal. Having lost a lot of weight my body has significantly changed and the collagen and fat in my face is certainly different. One of the main reasons I pass old acquaintances in the street unnoticed is my face has dramatically changed from round and full to slim and defined. Given everything I’ve put my body through prior to my weight loss I decided I owe it to myself to invest in serious damage limitations. The boundaries I keep to are; no table sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial sweeteners. I choose not to substitute with honey or syrups to avoid blood sugar spikes. The only sugars in my diet are glucose (found in plants and animals), fructose (a fruit sugar), and galactose (formed from the milk sugar lactose). Glucose is especially important in vital life processes. Each of these simple sugars is made up of the same number and types of atoms, arranged differently. All three are readily absorbed into the bloodstream from the digestive tract and are tolerated much better by the body than those I’ve cut out. I would never ever expect anyone to eat like I do. I can advise in my job and people can make their own choices but for me, this has has a profound effect on my energy, stamina, moods and abilities. Plus, it’s the high nutrient content of the foods I eat that matter the most.
As a result of these choices I’ve felt more stable energy than ever before. I’ve been able to up my training intensity and increasing some weight lifting by up to 350% in 2016. This not only strengthens my body making me a better PT to support clients but it’s also improved my personal confidence, general moods and drive. Given the positives I see no way back. I don’t miss chocolate and even if I did my tastebuds have adapted over the years and especially now for it to be too sweet for my liking. I’ll pass on the chocolate fudge cake but give me strawberries and cream any time!
The best part of making new lifestyle changes is, as you grow and adapt the people around you do too. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by people who are loving caring and supportive. When you choose to put your needs first you may feel as though you’re closing the door on some people but you just wait till you see the amazing doors that open. People have supported me, worked with me and even decided to introduce healthy changes in their own lives alongside me. I have created so many beautiful friendships and connections on this fitness journey and I’m grateful for each and every one of them.
As we look ahead to 2017 it can be daunting. What will new changes bring, how will I keep strong, where do I go for help??? It all starts with you! Write down the top three most important aspects of your life in order of importance……there’s a massive hint! If you are not at the top of that list then you’re no use to anyone-FACT! To support your family, friends, home, job, lifestyle anything that’s important to you, you must always put yourself first. If you are not first you cannot support others to the best of your abilities. I know we all get used to putting other first, but don’t they deserve the best version of you? If I hadn’t taken time for me been selfish and distanced myself from potentially damaging situations, I wouldn’t of lost the weight got my health back and been the best version of myself for everyone I care about. Here’s the truth, for many, many years I chose NOT to do this and I MISSED OUT! I couldn’t take my son swimming because I felt embarrassed by my size and I judged myself. My son missed out on learning to swim back then because I made a choice not to put myself first. I hear so many times; “I can’t run, I don’t want to look bulky lifting weights, I don’t have time, I don’t have a babysitter, I don’t have the money, I’m not built to ride a bike”. It’s all the excuses and stories you tell yourself not to make changes (By the way, those were all my reasons!) The truth is people only do things for two reasons, pain or pleasure. Years ago I was scared of change, worried the outcome of changing would never be good enough and I felt guilty for even thinking of putting myself first. I accepted my limitations and I lived a limited existence. There’s nothing wrong with this if it really did make me happy, but it didn’t, I wanted to live and thrive. If I hadn’t made the choice to better myself and really look at what I could achieve, nothing would have changed, it would of only got worse.
Today I ride bikes with my son, he’s running races with me in 2017, we do ParkRun’s together and he chooses to eat healthy. It makes me fight back tears to say that, he’s proud of me. Today I work in a job with passion and as my true self, helping amazing people. Lifestyle changes are so easy when you make a decision to choose to put yourself first. It’s nothing more than taking those small steps towards your long term hopes and dreams.
In 2017 I have a lot of goals based around fitness but the main goal is to keep my personal balance. I treasure the freedom and joy of facing my fears head on now knowing no matter what, life goes on. Whatever we go through, life happens, resilience remains. Just the other day after a heavy training session my partner and I went to the swimming pool, after a few lengths training he said, “let’s go on the sides”. Eek panic! Yeah my stomach was a bit tight as we went up the steps and it was daunting to be up so high, but within seconds I came flying out the bottom of that slide and made a giant splash in front of everyone. Seeing his huge smile as I faced my fear made me feel even more amazing. Truth is, it’s always a bit scary looking ahead, it can be a tricky ride, but remember to always create a giant splash in life!
Love & light for 2017 xx
New January 2017 timetable for; Nutrition/Fitness classes and Sports Therapy clinic here: