I’d always been slim. I was really active as a child and teenager, playing loads of sports and walking to and from school every day. I stayed the same weight for around ten to twelve years, in to my early twenties. I grew up in a home where my mum was constantly on a diet and always talked about putting on and losing weight. I don’t remember a time when she wasn’t watching what she was eating and I guess it’s been ingrained in me.
Then I met my Italian husband and everything changed.
Twelve years together and two stone heavier, I’ve tried loads of diets over the years to try and shift the pounds. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not overweight but I’d like to drop a bit of weight to feel better in my own skin and increase my energy levels. As I get older, my health is increasingly becoming more important to me.
I joke that it’s because of my husband – and our holidays in Italy eating all the pasta – that I’ve piled on the pounds but of course that’s not true. The only person to blame is myself.
Over the years I’ve tried Weight Watchers, Slimming World, the 5:2 diet, the Sirt diet (briefly) and more recently Slimfast. They all worked to varying degrees but then the weight just comes back on again. And do you know what? I was bloody miserable when I did them – especially the 5:2 diet. That was torture.
Whilst dipping my toes in to all these diets, I stayed active. I may not have been an avid gym goer but I went at least once or twice a week and walked as much as I could. I’d much rather walk than get on a tube! But still the weight wasn’t really shifting. I needed a shift in mindset.
No more dieting
We went to the Maldives in November and I was desperate to lose some weight before our holiday, because I was going to be in a bikini for most of it, so I gave Slimfast a go. I only had just over a week to do it but I did manage to lose almost 1.5kg or almost 3.5 pounds, which was great. But it wasn’t sustainable. It was when we got back from holiday that something just clicked. NO MORE DIETS. No more misery when I’m on one. It’s a lifestyle change that’s needed to drop the pounds, not living off shakes.
I think the hardest thing about ditching the diet mentality is changing existing habits. With a diet, you tell yourself that it’s only for a certain time period and there’s a reward at the end so that’s how you get through it. But you’re not really making any changes to your habits. And I found when I was dieting, I had little energy to be going to the gym so essentially I was just starving myself for a period and then going back to life as normal once I’d lost a bit of weight or given up trying. Nothing was actually changing.
I’m trying to make regular workouts a habit because I know that’s how I will see the most change. Also, I feel great after I workout so it’s good for my mental health too. When I’m in the gym, I focus on myself. No phones (not even for music because it’s too tempting to then check my email/Twitter/Instagram), no distractions.
From now on, I’m upping my gym and adding weights to my workouts. I’m cutting down on portion sizes, eating sensibly and trying to limit alcohol to the weekend. This doesn’t mean that I can’t have treats too – as long as it’s in moderation. By upping my gym workouts, I know that I may not even lose any weight at all as muscle weighs more than fat but as long as I can see a change in my shape and I tone up, I’ll be happy.
I actually feel like a weight has been lifted (excuse the pun) by finally admitting to myself that diets don’t work in the long run and that the only thing standing in the way of getting fit and healthy is me.
I’d love any recommendations that you have to keep my workouts from getting stale and repetitive. If you’re a Joe Wicks, Davina McCall or Kayla Itsines convert, please let me know your thoughts on their workouts!