Brace yourselves for an honest, personal post based around the wonderful topic of body image. Love it or hate it, it affects a lot of people. It’s not the sort of thing I’d usually blog about, and I apologise in advance that this isn’t a happy, positive post, but I figured there was no point in shying away from a subject which is my biggest nemesis. Grab yourself a coffee, there’s a lot of ground to cover with this one.
After getting together with Darryl in mid 2011 I began to eat more and more of the wrong things, to the point where I was demolishing share bags of chocolate, tubs of ice cream, and large portions of Nandos chips on a daily basis, with zilch going on in the way of exercise. Hello weight gain.
2012 was the year we went on our first holiday to Portugal, when I was at my biggest. I didn’t feel bothered about my weight on this holiday, until I got home and saw photos.
Enter inspirational Instagram posts. It was this year that I began to obsess over my body. I attempted approximately six months of minimal exercise and ate what I thought was a more balanced diet, but nothing changed, and I spent our week away in Turkey lacking the bikini confidence I’d had the previous year.
Post Turkey I made almost no effort, up until January of 2014, at which point I panicked because I was going to Dubai in April. I worked really hard and managed to get down to my lowest weight, weighing myself daily in the run up to the trip (urgh, why). I put it all straight back on again in Dubai, and made further damage when we got back due to one too many Easter treats.
A month later I started again in preparation for Ibiza in September, and once again I’d managed to lose some weight, but day two into the all inclusive buffet and I felt worse than ever, which you could see in my expression in the photos. I gained 10lbs in one week that holiday.
True to form, after Ibiza I gave up, and then in January of 2015 Darryl and I booked a four week trip to Dubai, Australia and Bali. This was the ultimate motivation for me but I faffed around for nine months, dipping in and out of crappy diets and MFP. Two months before we went I started to put in maximum effort, but it was too late. Needless to say, I didn’t feel I’d achieved anything.
Ironically, I look back at myself in all of these photos now and I wasn’t fat at all. It just shows how your mental health can change towards body image in such a short period of time. It was at this point that my body was fluctuating so much, I actually was starting to gain quite a bit of weight. I was ruining what I had by trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.
2016 is the year that I ditched My Fitness Pal, the weighing scales, the crash diets and the minimal calories. Intuitive eating and HIIT workouts replaced them.
There are a number of influential people who helped me make these positive changes, but The Body Coach is one who particularly stands out. His outlook on a healthy, sustainable transformation is incredible. Eating more food, however the right things as opposed to what I thought were the right things, and working out less, but more intensely, are the game changing tactics that I’ve been putting to the test over the past few months.
I worked hard between January and April, and then took a break for a couple of personal reasons. In June, I picked it back up and began to make real progress, but our trip to Switzerland in August involved overeating at every given opportunity. Needless to say this put me two steps backwards,
Prior to our holiday in Zante, I was killing it five days a week at the gym doing crazy high intensity interval training (HIIT) and eating well, until Darryl’s Birthday. Once again, I let my eating get out of control.
So, here I am forty-five months from where it all began, looking back at all of the above. How naive was I to think dieting my teenage years away on 1,200 calories and then bingeing until I felt sick would make me feel good?
At this point you’re probably thinking “so if you dislike your body then why have you posted pictures of yourself in bikini?”. The truth is that during the moment captured in those photos, I felt incredibly uncomfortable. Yet I felt they were necessary to make my point. No, I don’t love my body in these photos, but I realise that it’s not a bad one. It’s the way that my mind sees it that’s the problem.
Zante was a week of pure relaxation, which ultimately gave me a lot of time to think. Usually, at this point, I’d give up and think “sod it, I’ll try again in the new year”. But for once, I’m starting again now.
Now I’ve expressed my love of what The Body Coach promotes, and because of this I’ve decided to take on his 90 Day Shift Shape Sustain Plan. Spending money on something that may or may not work terrifies me, but quite frankly I feel as though I’m out of options, and I need something to force me to commit.
I’m not doing this to shed loads of weight, just the weight that I gained in Switzerland and Zante, but I am doing it to give myself a healthier lifestyle. I want to know more about nutrition, I want to feel stronger, I want to prove myself wrong and I want to tell the people who say “oh come on you don’t need to lose weight” that I know I didn’t, but I wanted to earn myself a body to be proud of.
Whether I fail or succeed, I’ll share the highs and lows of the entire process, because if you’ve read on long enough to end up here at the end of this massively lengthy post, then you deserve a good laugh (and a medal).
My extensive health questionnaire, my measurements (hence the need to purchase scales) and my ‘before’ photos have been submitted, so now all that’s left to do is await the arrival of the document that I hope will be the answer.