I have been a compulsive and emotional eating yoyo dieter for many years and battled with my weight. In those years of yoyo dieting I could often lose 60lbs only to gain 80lbs back, and this went on for many years. The feelings of power as I gained control of my eating for a short time, were swiftly followed by feelings of despair as I spiraled down into an eating frenzy which could go on for months.
At aged 26, I read a book called the 7 Secrets of Slim People which changed the course of my life. I began this particular journey at 226lbs. I lost 112lbs by retraining myself on the basics, such as, knowing when I was hungry... I don't think I had actually been physically hungry for about 7 years! After I lost that weight, I was left with my next challenge. When I released the fat, I was left with an unattractive skinny-fat body (though did not know the term at that time) so I was to enter into my next phase of learning. My search for answers on the internet had me stumble onto Bodybuilding.com. The seed was sewn, however it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I started dabbling in using weights. I started dipping into articles on bodybuilding sites, getting inspiration and motivation from other site members and began to believe I could change my body. I read transformation stories and became totally inspired and enthralled by these amazing people and I dreamed of having a body to be proud of.
I started using my husband's dumbbells, nothing too serious, but enough to get me interested. Looking back, I understand that I was scared that I had done so much damage to my body with the yoyo dieting that I my body would never heal, so in some ways, I believe I often sabotaged myself because I was fearful of the failure.
I then got pregnant and my eating went out of control again after years of consistency, but I used the pregnancy as an excuse. After giving birth, I was 168lbs. I got back on track, started running and using weights and started getting into (relatively) good shape then fell pregnant again. Instead of learning from the first pregnancy, I did exactly the same and ate way too much. My daughter is now 3 years old and I have been fit and toned (after joining the Bodybuilding.com challenge in 2013) only to go back to old ways again, eating healthily on the whole, but eating bread like it was going out of fashion, with lashings of butter!
After sticking with the Bodybuilding program for the 12 weeks, as I hadn't changed my mind-set for life as it were, on sending in my final photos, I immediately went back to old habits. I went into processed-carb ingesting overload! I stopped training and I began back down the slippery slope of rubbish foods and pure, unadulterated laziness when it came to exercise. The confidence I had gained over the course of the competition was also on the slippery slope.
At the time I saw your competition on an email, my confidence was at an all time low and I just KNEW this would be the making of me. My body (as you can see from the before photos) was hideously flabby and out of shape; I seriously wondered whether I could even make a dent in the damage I had done to my body in 12 short weeks, but I decided I had nothing to lose but weight and everything to gain i.e. confidence, pride in myself and THE CHALLENGE! Lol
As I'd already purchased the Home Workout Revolution at the time of the Bodybuilding Challenge and had been using it, I already knew how effective the workouts were and I couldn't wait to get right back into them. The workouts are short but so effective, which is necessary when kids are in the equation. (I'm a single Mum and have my little girl 24/7) I've also been doing Fortius Fitness weight training and kettlebell swings with 14kg weight and I've been skipping, because it's effective and easy to do with the kids.
Every now and again I'd pick up the rope and bang out 100 fast skips. And maybe pick up the kettle bell and do 50 swings. When I first started with the swings, I was doing 20 at a time. But as my strength increased, so did my reps.
During this process, I have made a real breakthrough with my food. I feel like I have turned a corner. I am much more balanced. I understood after the last challenge that sorting out my food addiction was key, as was getting the right nutrients so I didn't crave junk. The one massive difference this time is consistency. The daily tips were a great help in this, slow and steady wins the race. If I want to change for life, these healthy decisions must be daily and they must be easy for me.
DAILY NUTRITION - I started the day with lemon water and drank 2 litres of water with cider vinegar per day. I aimed to eat as clean as possible, and being vegetarian, low fat cottage cheese and eggs were my main sources of protein. I had one green smoothie a day made with plenty of organic veggies and a small banana and 1/2 an avocado, I also had a freshly squeezed veggie juice, took green powders, (chlorella, wheatgrass, barleygrass, spirulina) along with moringa, maca, cacao, baobab powder and a shot of gingko biloba. I made my own Jun tea and had a few shots of that a day. I ate clean but allowed myself a healthy free meal on Wednesday and 1/2 a day on a Saturday when I could enjoy whatever I wanted, but I tried to get straight back to the plan on the Sunday but I did have some food issues...sometimes I went off track and had to get myself back to it with a stern talking to! I totally believe that the powders, green smoothies and juices kept most of my cravings at bay as my body was getting the nutrients it needed. I can definitely stick to this for life. This has been the biggest breakthrough for me in this challenge and I am so grateful for it.
At the beginning of each day I wrote my gratitude diary and felt motivated and had a sense of knowing that whatever the outcome of this, I was always going to be a winner. Sometimes (not often) the day knocked that motivation out of me, life has sometimes got in the way, (I have experienced two deaths during the challenge of people close to me) but I have woken the next day feeling that same sense of excitement and belief, a new day, a fresh start.
Right at the beginning, I got so excited I told my kids I'm going to win this challenge but then realised that whilst confidence is great, arrogance is not to so good and there would be others competing in the challenge who would be just as determined.
I then told the kids I will do my best to win and I can sincerely say, that is what I have done, within the confines of being human! lol
Although I have taken inspiration from people along the way, I have never wanted to be anyone else, just the best possible version of myself; now I know I will get there. This is it for me. This is the challenge that catapults into the rest of my life in an awesome way! This is the magic of life... that we truly can create our own reality.
I'm a regular Mum of two who is struggling to make ends meet and who has been battling with her own body all of her life. This challenge has given me direction and focus and belief in myself.
I have detested my body for as long as I can remember and
for many years, I believed that I was trapped inside this ugly, fat, hated body and that I would never escape; I was a victim. After years of unsuccessful fat loss/fat gain, binge/purge cycles, and years of reading and internet scouring, it came to me that others had re-sculpted their bodies, healed themselves, made themselves beautiful, and if they could do it, I could too. Some had done it against overwhelming odds. I realised I had to change because I refused to pass my stinking attitude on to my kids. And I realised I deserved to be beautiful. I now know I’m on the right path! I have overcome my own personal battles and my own internal dialogues, which have been minor compared to some, I know, but I have worked hard.
Now, I relish the hard work it takes, the determination to get up and push myself, to make healthy choices and to get where I want to be by being consistent, persistent and staying focused! I also forgive myself for my mistakes and take them as learning, not failures. I know I've got a long way to go but I'm willing to put the effort in! I want my kids to witness my determination and passion; be the example that they deserve.