I ending 2021 feeling very differently about my fitness journey than I started.
The year started with lockdown misery but eventually I got back into the swing of things. My nutrition, however, got way out of control. As soon as the summer came and “normal life” (I use that phrase loosely!) was available to us, I totally took advantage.
I deserved it. It had been a hard time. Work was tough. Life was tough. I deserved it… right?
Looking back, I definitely overindulged. I can see it clearly now but at the time, it really is “just another pint”, “I can have a nice dessert tonight” and so on. Those quotes seem fine in isolation but when they are regular occurrences, they are significantly damaging.
September came along and I was feeling frustrated. I was working out but that wasn’t making any difference. I’d put on a stone since January. I couldn’t put my finger on it.
I’ve written previously about attempts to change my mindset and how difficult that it is.
I started with online coach Elliot on a 90-day transformation plan. He was very clear from the outset – it’s not just about the numbers on the scales.
I had to log my calories daily on MyFitnessPal and be excruciatingly honest about what I was eating and drinking. I’d then fill in a separate document with my calories and protein for that day.
I had to hit a minimum of 8,000 steps a day. When he first told me that, I really didn’t think that was achievable. I have a busy job and a busy life and to try to fit in walking that much daily… well, how was that ever possible? No way I could do it.
(Guess what – I did on most days!)
I started slowly, hitting 5k daily in the first week. Once I saw how easy that was, I was up to 8k in no time. Some days, I even went up to 13/14k (while also having done a workout on those days).
He really helped me understand the importance of physical activity. Not just workouts but maintaining an element of activity throughout the day. I’d always thought “I’ve worked out today so that’s plenty” but he’s really helped me reframe that in my mind. Constant activity, even if it is minimal, is absolutely essential.
I’m not going to give away his secrets (you might want to check out his free e-book though).
Although I’ve finished with Elliot now, those habits are still there. I’m keeping in control of what I’m eating, how much of it I’m eating and how active I am.
There is, of course, a fine line. You have to enjoy life. Over Christmas, I indulged. For the first time ever, though, I planned for that indulgence. I ‘banked’ calories running up to it, to allow for a bit of flexibility. I planned in walks.
That momentum continues.
I’m currently on the F45 Challenge 35. It’s not the first time I’m doing the challenge but it’s the first time since I did it in 2020 that I’m really focused. I’m using the lessons I learnt through Elliot’s coaching and following the rules of the Challenge too. It’s week three this week and I can already feel a difference, which is great.
I’ve reduced my caffeine intake, massively reduced my sugar intake (chocolate/sweets, mainly!) and significantly increased my protein. I’m banking calories on days in the week when I know I can because Omicron didn’t completely end my social life and so I’ve got a fair few things on. I want to be able to enjoy them but I want to do it within certain parameters so that the focus is always there.
All of the above also doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the little things in life. Recently (pre-F45 Challenge), somebody brought cakes in to work. I had one, to which I got a comment along the lines of “That doesn’t really fit into your fitness journey now, does it?”
They weren’t intending to be condescending because I know the individual well. It did, however, leave me feeling quite bad afterwards. After about an hour, I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong and that it was within the parameters I had in place. I suppose, then, that’s going to take a little adjusting. Not everyone understands my fitness journey or my approach to it but I already am more focused this year than I was the whole of last year.
With one major exception.
I haven’t written on this blog for a while because I’ve not had the time. Correction – I’ve not made the time. I’m going to make time from now on, as ever, to keep myself accountable.