Friday, 16 February 2018

My Fitness Journey

My fitness journey is a never ending one, with plenty of twists and turns. I have had a constant battle with my weight over the past 4 years, ranging from underweight, to overweight, to 'normal'.

When I was 17, I was going to the gym twice a day (yes, TWICE) and was 9 stone, despite being 5ft 8. I was borderline obsessive over what I ate, counting calories and only happy if I was the slimmest I could be. Despite being classified as underweight for my age range, I was never happy with my weight, always pointing out my flaws and feeling 'fat'. Only looking back at images now can I see how much of a struggle I had with my body image. Being diagnosed with coeliac disease also shed light on why I was losing so much weight. My body was malnourished from being unable to absorb nutrients due to the damage in my gut, meaning I was rapidly losing weight.
17 years old, 9 stone.
When my gluten free diet started, I did start to see a significant change in my health. I was less bloated, healthier and felt better about myself. However, when I looked in the mirror I still focused on those parts of me that I felt were too chubby, or untoned.

When I started going out with my boyfriend, I became comfortable and less obsessive over my weight. As well as this, I had moved away from home to University and was cooking for myself. I wasn't eating healthy, wasn't exercising and started to put weight on. By the time I was 20 I had put three stone on and felt AWFUL. I was now well over the average healthy weight for someone of my age and height. I was in denial as I felt I ate healthily the majority of the time and doing occasional exercise. I blamed my weight gain on 'maturing' and continued with my unhealthy lifestyle.

It wasn't until January 2017, when I stood on the scales and realised I had put on 3 and a half stone, that I realised I needed to do something about my weight. I didn't want to engage in any fad diets or over exercising as I knew I would slip back into obsessing over my body image, so I decided to tackle my weight and fitness in moderation.
Jan 2017. 3 and a half stone heavier. Look at that tubby face!

I started off by slowly introducing myself back to the gym, it helped as my boyfriend got a job in the gym I attended, so I had more motivation to go. My boyfriend also started his fitness journey, which made it easier as we were eating healthy and working out together. By July 2017 I had lost half a stone and was feeling much better about myself!

Face to face - 2017 (left) to now (right).
However, although the numbers on the scale were going down, I didn't look like I had lost a lot of weight, so I decided to up my healthy routines to lose the pounds faster. Although I was still treating myself to the odd takeaway and chocolate bar, I stopped eating in-between meals and ate smaller portions. I also made small swaps, such as getting skimmed milk instead of semi skimmed and opting for low fat products instead of full fat. By making these small changes I managed to shed another stone by September 2017.
Me now, at a healthy weight
I had previously been really into lifting weights at the gym, but for someone of my body type, this was just making me more muscular and 'big looking', rather than making me look lean and toned. I stopped doing all weight exercises and focused solely on cardio and started going to spinning three times a week. Spinning alongside the cross trainer and HIIT sprints helped me to shed 8% of my body fat by Christmas, and a further 1 stone. By January 2018 I had lost almost 3 stone and was back down to a healthy weight.

I still have a long way to go with my fitness journey, but my weight loss is something I have been extremely proud of. I don't look anything like the girl I was when I was 18, but I am healthier and stronger. Although my altered body image comes back to haunt me every now and again, I am proud of how far I have come with my fitness and health and my confidence is growing every day.

The important thing when it comes to fitness is to do it YOUR way. It's good to get hints and tips from other people or websites, but ultimately you have to find a routine that suits you. The way that I went about my weight loss might not be suitable for your particular body type, so do some research before you start making changes.

Weight loss and fitness is a long, grueling journey but it's worth it in the end. The best project to work on is yourself!
I will be following this up in a few weeks with a post about my exact fitness routine and some of the healthy diet changes that I have made.
If you have any more questions about my weight loss and fitness journey please feel free to comment below.

Lou Katherine x

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