WEEK 1 On Monday morning, the first day of my 12 week challenge, I looked at myself in the mirror and said goodbye to my chubby.
On Monday morning, the first day of my 12 week challenge, I looked at myself in the mirror and said goodbye to my chubby, unhealthy body. Granted, it was probably going to look pretty much the same on Day 2, but I knew from that moment on that I was making huge changes inside.
This all started at the start of August when I applied for Who magazine’s annual 12 Week Body Challenge. It was something that I desperately wanted to do since I the scales had reached 102kgs – my heaviest ever. I sent in my application and a couple of weeks later had the call to say that myself and 9 other ladies from across Australia were chosen to participate in this year’s challenge. The magazine pairs us up with a trainer and does a before and after feature in the magazine in one of their upcoming issues. I was asked if I had someone in mind to train me, and knowing how passionate Shereen is about nutrition and health, my mind immediately thought of her. I was so thankful and excited when she agreed to help me – Shereen and Jason have the ability to make you feel completely comfortable training with them, no matter who you are or what your fitness level is (so for me, none). At the same time they push you to work your hardest and to do the best that you can do and you know that they genuinely care about each and every person that walks through their door.
My weight had ballooned very quickly over the past couple of years. I had stacked on about 40kg within the space of 3 or 4 years. I certainly have been very aware of the reasons for my weight gain, hormonal issues haven’t helped, but the biggest reason was poor diet and exercise. I love my food and get so much enjoyment and comfort from junk food and big servings of pasta. Around the time that I hit the 92kg mark, I noticed that my hips were starting to ache with the sudden weight gain, and I was so unfit that I was struggling to catch my breath even when resting which really scared me. I knew I had to make a change because I wasn’t able to live like that anymore. When Shereen and Jason took my weight and measurements down early during my first week, the scales said that my physical age was 50 and I’m only 29. I don’t even need to tell you how shocking that was to me.
The first week was a massive change for me. Apart from going from zero exercise and fitness to training every day, Shereen tailored a nutrition plan for my needs which involved cutting out sugar, carbs, fruit (for now), dairy (to aid in weight loss) and even artificial sweeteners. This meant no Diet Coke. No. Diet. Coke. I’m not going to lie, the week leading up to the challenge I downed as much of that sweet brown bubbly beverage as humanly possible. I wasn’t ready to break up with it.
When Monday rolled around, right on cue at 12pm, my taste buds started tingling as they eagerly awaited the refreshing click and fizz that comes from opening a brand new can, and purely out of habit, I went to get one from the vending machine. It suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t able to have it and I got sad. Like, really sad. It was so hard breaking these little rituals that were so ingrained in my daily routine. Since then, I can report that it’s been getting easier each day to live without it.
The other thing that was incredibly challenging for me the first week was changing my entire routine. I had to learn how to prepare healthy food that was edible (there have been some disasters so far) and to have my food prepared for every meal each day. I had one minor melt down on Monday night when I felt completely overwhelmed with trying to measure and weigh my portions and cook enough for the week.
I had tried to prepare for the challenge as much as possible before it started, lists upon lists of the things I had to do and daily schedules prepared so I know where I have to be each day and when. Doing this has helped so much. I knew I was going to be tired from the new jam packed schedule each day but there was nothing I could do to prepare myself for how incredibly exhausted I would be during my first week. Between tiredness and caffeine and sugar withdrawals, not to mention my entire body aching from actually moving, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. So many times during the first week I wished I hadn’t started this – there were a couple of days where it all just felt like too much but I knew I had to keep on pushing through the initial discomfort to get to where I want to be.
Despite all the aching and tiredness from week one, I feel so happy to be passed that initial hurdle and closer to reaching my goal. After a week of looking after myself, I feel happier in myself and lighter – not in weight necessarily (although I have lost a couple of kilos already), but more in spirit. It feels as though a burden’s been lifted from my shoulders. I’ve also seen an amazing change already with some of the hormonal issues I was dealing with – it truly is amazing how much diet affects our body’s chemistry. My skin has been clearer and my joints haven’t been aching. I still get puffed walking up stairs, but I’ve noticed that I’m not getting puffed from bending over anymore.
Overall, it’s been a great week!
Things I have learnt this week:
• It is possible to burn vegetables.
• Wear tight fitting pants when doing high intensity classes. No one wants to see your stomach and butt hanging out when you’re bent over (sorry Jason!).
• It’s easy to underestimate what you’re capable of until you give it a go.