#13weekstil30: Vicki Notaro comes to the end of her mission -'I’m 6kg lighter, inches smaller and a whole lot more content'
As I write my last column in this series, I’m feeling reflective. When I approached the editor of Independent.ie about a fitness column leading up to my 30th birthday, I just wanted things to change. I couldn’t face entering a new decade of my life feeling the way I’d been feeling – lethargic, demotivated, exhausted from yo-yoing and just generally a bit crap about myself.
At the time, I thought it had a lot to do with how I looked. I wasn’t massively overweight but I was bloated and out of shape, and I didn’t really recognise the woman in the mirror. I was disgusted that I didn’t look like the 24-year-old me that popped up on my Facebook Memories anymore, and longed to get her back. She seemed happier and I thought that was because she was lighter in every meaning of the word.
But, funnily enough, what I’ve learned since undertaking #13weekstil30 is that it’s not about getting her back. She’s gone, and that’s okay – she really could be a bit of an eejit anyway. I no longer have a 24-year-old’s metabolism, but I also no longer have a 24-year-old’s life. I’ve come so far, and now I don’t want to go back. For me, the biggest transformation has been in accepting the body I have now and working to make it function better.
Because it was barely functioning. I was out of breath walking up stairs, got taxis everywhere and had a very unhealthy mentality when it came to food. In the end, this mission hasn’t just been about massive pound loss on the scales or before and after pictures, but finding joy in movement and in treating myself better.
Right now, I’m just back from New York and feeling the ill effects of jet lag. I overdid it this past weekend celebrating my 30th, no question, but it was a once in a lifetime experience. On the morning of my birthday, I bought my wedding dress in Kleinfeld Bridal, the store made famous by the TLC show Say Yes To The Dress. As I’ve written previously, I made the appointment as a bit of a joke and something fun to do surrounding the wedding I’d been dreading planning, but it turned out to be an incredible experience. As soon as the dress went on, I knew it was The One. And the best part? Although my body is far from perfect and there are still some bits I’d change, in that dress I didn’t feel like I needed to alter myself in any way. I could’ve walked down the aisle there and then, and that’s a fantastic feeling.
And it’s all down to Mairead Kieran and the gang at One Escape (www.oneescape.ie). Training hasn’t always been easy, but it has been incredibly rewarding. My job as a freelance writer means a lot of sitting (okay lying down) typing for hours on end, but being able to nip up to my local gym even for 40 minutes during the day made the world of difference. I now get the itch to work out, and can even do it with a hangover – it’s never as daunting as it seems, and as Mairead says, you never regret a training session.
I’ve also learned that eating well isn’t as difficult as we like to tell ourselves. It’s possible to make quick, healthy and cheap meals easily, and you don’t have to spend Sundays prepping for the week ahead to get results. I didn’t need to cut out entire food groups, go paleo or eat steak for breakfast; I just had to learn to stop “treating” myself with junk and drinking a glass of wine because it was handed to me, and those little changes have made a massive difference. I eat mindfully, so when I eat rubbish now it’s because I’ve made a conscious decision to do so, and it’s a far more rare event. It feels good to put good food in my body, and lots of it taste great too.
Still, while I found the perfect white dress, I never got to wear my little black one. On Saturday a blizzard hit New York and made headlines around the world. There wasn’t a car to be seen on the road and barely a shop open, and the city became quiet, still and white. It was absolutely beautiful, but interfered with our plans in a big way. The only thing we could do was wade through the snow wearing as many layers as possible, and hunker down in the nearest open bar. It was pretty magical, and definitely an experience, but it means there’s no “ta-da!” photo of my LBD. Still, I think my progress pictures over the weeks speak volumes all by themselves.
Now, the tough part begins. Without this weekly column to keep me on track, your weekly encouragement and a short-term goal in sight, it will undoubtedly be more difficult to force myself to go to the gym. But I really do believe that I’m a changed woman in so many ways. I’m 6kg lighter, inches smaller and a whole lot more content, but I’m also healthier, more energetic and stronger both mentally and physically. I will stay motivated, because I can’t go back to how I was.
And sure look it – if there was ever and event to keep a gal on the straight and narrow, it’s a wedding dress fitting in less than a year!
Thanks a million to everyone who followed my progress – you can still keep in touch via Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, username vickinotaro