I’m almost half way through my eight weeks of fitness and I feel fantastic. No really - I do. Awake, alert, almost energetic! I think that has a lot to do with my nutrition over the last couple of weeks too. It’s not easy though - oh no. Not easy at all. My Lazy Brain™ really wants me to stay in bed/work instead of go to the gym/is trying to talk me out of sticking to my goal every step of the way. It’s a real dick!
I went to see a nutritionist three weeks ago. It was interesting and not at all how I expected it to be. We talked about my lifestyle, and she asked me to describe a typical day - not a “good” day - a typical one. So I did. She took notes as I told her that I quite often skip breakfast, and get to work on coffee. That by mid-late morning I’m starving and go to the cafe next door for a mini quiche or something else that’s eggy. Then I work through til lunch which I also buy at the cafe. Sometimes it’s Vietnamese rolls, sometimes it’s a pie. Then by the time I get home I’m ready to rip the arse end out of any animal I can get my teeth into.
She threw her ball point pen onto the table, crossed her arms and said “I don’t need to hear any more; I know what’s wrong with you. You don’t eat enough, or often enough.”
I was like what the flip?? My whole life I’ve believed if I take fewer calories in, I’ll lose weight. All those 900 calorie diets and the like, are ingrained in my DNA for weightloss. Nope, she said I’m not eating enough, I’m not eating often enough. So for three weeks I’ve been eating more, and more often. And I’m losing weight. Deliciously, easily, energetically, I have already dropped a few kilos.
She gave me a food plan which was super simple to follow, and easy to work with because I can cook and am not mad-keen on forced variety I like having the same thing every breakfast so Weetbix has become my friend. She has me eating protein at lunch and loads of vegetables. The same with dinner - I have become the Queen of Leftovers! This morning I had poached eggs on greens fried in butter with pesto and it was so yummy. And now I snack too - on fruit and nuts and so I never get so hungry that I make silly food choices in the evenings.
I know I’m only three weeks in but I’m loving it.
The other thing I have been thinking about is what is how much easier exercise is going to be when I’m fit.
Right now I’m very cumbersome, lumbering, huffing, puffing, sweating, red in the face, slower than everyone else. All the things that would make it easy to not come to the group classes if I thought about it too much.
I imagined that fit people don’t look or feel the way I do when they exercise. I talked briefly to a Boxfit classmate the other week. She punches really hard, and is often there before class to warm up on gym equipment. She sweats, and her face gets red, and she’s huffing and puffing and working hard - I asked her how long she’d been coming and she thought about it doing the math in her head before answering “about a year…” and I was impressed, and confused because I thought she’d be different than me after a year of Boxfit. But she was working just as hard, even though she could hit harder and had better form with her exercise.
As I do, I took my query to youTube and sought out the wisdom of John Green. He and his friend decided to do a 100 day challenge to get fitter as part of their plan to have a healthy mid-life crisis from the beginning of 2017. They exercised, changed their nutrition, meditated and learned more about being healthy for 100 days.
I watched many of the videos from their project last year, but to find the answer I was looking for this time I watched their last one. And there they were, huffing, puffing, red faced, struggling, sweating, all the things that I thought would go away with improved fitness. I totally had the wrong idea about what my (eventual) fitness would look like and it really helped.
Now I know that while I’m shaking in my plank, or blinding myself with my own perspiration, or pulling my punches because that makes them easier that that’s not what fitness looks like. It’s pushing through those mental blocks of chickening out just because my arms hurt or my legs are shaking or my glasses have fogged up. It was a tremendous help to see that this physical exertion is always going to be hard, but my mental ability to deal with it will be able to cope.
Another thing I have realised is that men and women are different. Men seem to be able to drop weight and gain fitness at a greater and faster rate than women. I think that when a male trainer is working with women they don’t always understand that - and when women watch advertisements and youtube.com videos about fitness and weight loss it’s often a man talking to us about skipping or functional exercise or boxing or whatever.
Women are not going to have the same results in the same time as men.
So my advice to any women out there beating themselves up for not losing as much weight or gaining as much muscle as male counterparts who seem to drop their belly fat and ramp up their press-ups in comparatively short amounts of time remember, we’re built differently. We have a completely a different fitness journey compared to men; so don’t compare yourself to them.
PS: Laundry update: donated two rubbish sacks full of clothes I no longer need/like/fit to the Hospice Shop. I have a hamper full of washing to do today which I fully intend on putting away in my drawers - which I have fully sorted - before I go to bed tonight. I know you were wondering :)