The fact is, I can share my story and I can show the before & after pictures but when I’m working with new clients it’s got nothing to do with my journey, it’s yours. I write only to try to help other see themselves with a bit more understanding. Yes I lost 7 stone of body fat but it’s not always about weight loss. I learned a while ago that true health and fitness have NOTHING to do with the outside view. Those who hold strict rules on their diet and exercise regimen purely for ascetic reasons are not in a mentally well place. I can judge this because I have been there.
A year and a half ago I was chasing the dream of getting down to what I believed was the smallest size I could be. The goal was to lose as much body fat as possible but as the weeks rolled on, this turned into body weight i.e. Muscle tone. By November 2015 I was a size 6 and had a body fat was less than 23%.
I was running almost every day, our gym instructor training was hours of back to back physical sessions and I couldn’t keep up with the calorie intake. I was happy because I was slowly closing in with the next goal of a total of 8 stone of fat loss. Whilst in training we got our basic body measurements at the same time in the Sports science lab each week so I knew I was on track but it had been a while since I’d checked my full biomentics. Early November I went in to use the body composition scales, I was so excited to see if I’d hit the next weight goal. As I stood on the scales and held the bars I felt excited. As the instructor handed me my printed info the room went quiet. I couldn’t tell you what weight I was, the only thing I saw was the red writing next to my bone density. It was the lowest I had ever been. Horrified. It was so low it was actually recommended that I spoke to a health professional. It was a massive wake up call. It took weeks of heavy training to get me there and 4 seconds to realise I hadn’t beaten my unhealthy lifestyle, it was all still there. I wasn’t the healthiest version of me at all, I’d just sent that pendulum right across the other way of the spectrum. Having food issues when I was younger I was all too familiar with this and I wasn’t going back there again.
Around the same time I’d started to get to know another trainer on my course. We didn’t get along to start with as he was a bit of a joker and I was taking everything way too seriously at first. By mid November we’d started working together more and more. I was still reeling from my results but I knew the fastest way to reverse what the body composition scales had said was to start heavy weight training and totally overhaul my diet. Having shunned his weight training methods previously I knew I needed results, so I asked for his help.
I remember getting so frustrated with myself when I couldn’t get the rhythm of things like deadlifts. I was so embarrassed when we had to go to another cupboard to get the lighter weights out for me. I would feel humiliated when everyone else could do the pull up bar but me. But I just kept going. I had my friend training me and coaching me so slowly things started to change. Every week we were learning different training methods and the human response to each variation of stimuli. It fascinated me. I was acutely aware of my limitations with my health but the more we learned the more my brain started to get excited. There was a means around almost everything. Slowly my training bud and I started to use conditioning methods to trick the body into doing more hypertrophic lifts. IT WORKED. By January I knew I’d started to pack muscle on because my size 6 trousers felt a bit tighter. I’d made the decision not to full body weight myself anymore because it never helped so I’d just ask others to check my details when I needed it. The focus was to get and feel healthier.
My diet became a big focus so I looked at everything that was helping me and everything that wasn’t. I wasn’t a big drinker but I’d learned over Christmas that I just couldn’t handle a drink with everything I was doing. Having Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, even with it being in remission, meant I’d feel the after effects so much more and if I did drink it almost always led to me feeling fluey for days afterwards. That could be after two glasses of wine, so, was it worth it? No! Alcohol was something I could certainly live without for now. So I decided I would cut this out whilst finishing my practical studies. I pretty much knew where that was heading at the time and I haven’t drank since.
Since I started weight lifting I’ve discovered a new power I never knew I had and I’m never giving it up. I’m still astonished that the weights I used to struggle with are less than 5% of what I can lift now. I feel better in my clothes, my skin looks great and I feel stronger. My last bone density check showed I am doing well, but it’s an ongoing process and I won’t lose sight of that again.
The point is, it’s not always about weight loss. When people start out it can be from so many different kinds of beginnings. The start of weight lifting was a whole new beginning for me. I was very slim at one point but also very unhealthy with that. The point of this is to show that wherever you start from is NEVER where you finish. A lot of people may not be on the same journey as those around them in a class or gym but the point is to know WHERE you are going. Here’s the biggest secret no one tells you. The journey only ends if you give up or if life ceases. What you do inbetween can take you further or closer to either of them.
Maybe one day in the future I will have lost that 8 stone of body fat but I know for sure it won’t be at the expense of anything else. Here’s to my peeps who lift! We got this!