Welcome back to my 10 weeks to fitness challenge! I'm writing after a particularly exhausting session with personal trainer Calum Taylor and my weekly weigh in to find out how my training and diet is affecting the bastard number that comes up on the scales and if any of it is worth it. In previous weeks I have documented everything that I have done throughout the week and finished the piece with the results but I figured, since we were at the half way point, that I would do this more reflectively.
So we're 5 weeks in, what have I learnt?
Well first things first, if you are serious about losing weight, gaining muscle, or becoming more healthy in general, I have realised that you cannot be half arsed about it. In the first few weekly updates you may have noticed that I admitted to a gin and tonic here and a pizza there and then complained when, come Sunday, I would find that I hadn't lost as much body fat as I would have hoped. My training has been consistently good and I had figured that that would be enough, training every day MUST be making a difference and if I burnt 500 calories in a session then surely I would be allowed to eat 500 calories of whatever the hell I wanted... I was wrong.
The training HAS made a difference, I can't deny that. I have fallen into quite a good routine of visiting my local gym for the classes that they offer. Monday I do Body Conditioning, Tuesday I go Spinning, Wednesday is Body Attack, Thursday is Body Pump, Friday is Burn 360, Saturday is boxing and Sunday is with Calum. Sometimes I take days off, sometimes I mix is up a bit but that's what I try to do every week. I have noticed a huge difference with my fitness and in my body too; my heart rate is dropping much faster (that's a good thing), I can do more without getting out of breath, I am burning less calories in the sessions that had killed me at the start of this and am running so much faster than I was before. I am noticing new muscles and feel better in general; Calum's programme is great and I do feel like I'm learning lots and for anyone thinking that that is a lot of work I need to say: the routine and focus is great and after a couple of weeks you will start finding this easy and in some ways fun.
The diet is the thing that's got me though.
For the first week I ate what I wanted really, I didn't understand anything about protein/carb ratios, I wasn't counting calories, I was keeping an eye on what I was eating but I hadn't really made any changes. By week two I had tried to keep carbs down a little bit, but it was my anniversary weekend and again I was being a bit half-hearted, it was the same story in week three. By week four though things began to change; on Calum's advice I started to cut carbs out of my evening meals totally (see the video I made last week about what I eat in a week HERE) and the week just gone? I only ate carbs with my breakfast. Calum explained to me that carbs are the hardest thing for our bodies to burn off, protein is essential but carbohydrates are held onto by the body for so long and are a huge part of weight gain. By cutting them out of my lunch time and evening meals I would lose fat, it was that simple.
This was a huge learning curve for me; despite my gluten problems I am queen of the carbohydrates, I love them SO much and a week with such limited carb intake was incredibly tough for me. BUT for the first time, I am beginning to understand the benefit of this. I previously wasn't eating enough protein, in its place I was having fruit, which is high in sugar, and carbohydrates en masse! Although we are taught that these things are good for us, we aren't told enough how important protein is. I don't like how obsessed I am becoming but I have to admit, learning about all of this is amazing and I know that my body will thank me for it. Below is a screen shot of My Fitness Pal entry from yesterday, I have documented everything over the last week and have been keeping an eye on everything. I would recommend this app to anyone who is keen to learn and I'm happy to do a blog post explaining all of it if that is something that you would like to see. I'm no nutritionist but I think this looks about right.
I don't want to live like this forever, it's boring and annoying and I miss carbs and really how bad can a sweet potato be? But for the time, I realise that if you are really serious about losing body fat, losing weight, then it is more than just going to the gym; you really have to look at your diet, understand what you are eating and make the right decisions where food is concerned. I was so stupidly naive about all of this before I started; I really did believe that if you wanted to get a flat stomach or tone up then all you had to do was exercise more and that as long as I was getting the right amount of vitamin C then how bad could it really be?
Speaking to Calum today I realised that despite the fact I have been doing this for five weeks, I have only been doing it properly for the last four days because losing weight and body fat is more than just exercise. I can't believe it's taken me 22 years to fully understand this and although it's a little boring and annoying and frustrating I am so happy that I have finally got the hang of it.
So what did the scales say today, at the half way point? Well, despite still being 30% body fat, I have lost a massive 8lbs of fat which is apparently unreal.
What does this mean? Well, it means that you can lose weight and get fit if exercise is all you do but that if you want real, proper results then you are going to have to make food the focal point. I am bored, don't get me wrong. I curse Calum daily and I spend a lot of time standing in the bakery aisle of my local supermarket smelling and wanting to cry BUT I am starting to see results and I know that I am doing my insides a huge favour.
SO. Although I am not trying to lose weight, I am serious about getting healthy and so, for anyone who wants to see them, I am going to be sharing over the next few weeks some of the recipes that I am coming up with.
I've still got a long way to go but I think now I finally understand what the hell I need to be doing, I will see things changing much much faster. I think what I have learnt is that if you're going to do something like this then you have to remember that it is not an overnight fix, as much as you would like it to be; it's more than just going to the gym more and opting not to have cheese on your burger; it's a mental thing as much as it is physical.
So that's where I am at five weeks in, next week I'll be back with a new work out and food updates of the week but I thought I'd share the psychological side of things this week as no one told me this before I started and that doesn't seem very fair at all!
Let me know if recipes is something that you would like to see and I'll hop straight to it! Lots of love guys, thanks for reading! xxx