Wednesday 29 January 2020

No one is more surprised than me at how I'm sticking to this new lifestyle

I am now training with Damien four times a week, up from three, and the workouts have changed dramatically.

I have been doing lots of weight-bearing squats and lunges, which really make your legs burn, and dead lifts, which are my favourite.

At one point I was lifting 60kg and I felt like Wonder Woman. Three months ago, I couldn't even open a jar of pickles.

Any inhibitions I had in the gym have gone. When I first started, I was shocked by the noises coming out of some of the people working out. Now I am sweating and grunting along with the best of them. It is just impossible to lift ridiculously heavy weights in a ladylike manner.

I am really seeing results and not just in terms of losing weight. I am so much fitter. At a family birthday recently I was able to run around and play with my two nephews long after the other adults had run out of steam. I have much more definition. I notice it in my shoulders and arms in particular. A month ago, there were no circumstances under which I would wear anything sleeveless, but now, I wouldn't give it a second thought.

I had a work do recently, which required an evening dress. I hadn't intended to go shopping this month, although I have been buying gym gear every couple of weeks for safety reasons (loose pants are very dangerous around exercise equipment).

I had been putting off buying normal clothes. I didn't want to spend good money on something that I wouldn't be able to wear for more than a couple of weeks and I still had a few dresses that I could wear, from the 'I'll get this because it is on sale and some day it will fit me' section of my wardrobe.

Also, if I am to be perfectly honest, I kind of like the fact that all my clothes are too big for me. It's sad, I know, but it makes me feel skinny.

So off I went on my first real shopping trip since I began to lose weight.

And it was great. The whole shop was my oyster. Where before I would have restricted myself to just one style of dress, now there were no limits, other than the usual financial ones, of course. I found a dress I liked.

It was pink and short and gorgeous. I took a size 12 in to the dressing room -- I didn't want to be too cocky -- and it was too big.

The shop assistant knocked on the dressing-room door. "Can I help you with anything?" she asked. "You certainly can," I replied. "Do you have this in a size 10?" Reader, it fit. In fact, it was slightly on the roomy side. Yippee.

The dress was kind of flimsy, so off I went to the underwear section to buy a slip to wear under it, size small. I was having the time of my life.

If the shop hadn't been about to close, I would have done serious damage with my credit card. The freedom of choice that not being fat brought was quite intoxicating.

Attending an event unencumbered by Spanx for the first time in years was also a thrill, and made the throbbing in my calf muscles -- I had started a new programme that morning -- worthwhile.

Three months in and I have relaxed a bit on a few things.

When eating out, instead of regaling the waiter with a long list of things I can't have or don't want, I just order a dish with the sauce on the side and leave whatever I don't want after me. I even had ice cream after a meal recently as my weekly cheat, although I did wake up feeling really guilty, a feeling that was purged only with a visit to the gym.

I have also started drinking coffee again, this time without my usual two sugars, and find that I enjoy it just as much as before.

I am still really focussed and determined and am still enjoying this new lifestyle. I haven't missed a session in the gym or fallen off the wagon with the food, and no one is more surprised than I am.

I think the reason I can stick to the rules so rigidly is that I made a couple of things non-negotiable, like having a breakfast before I leave the house, having snacks between meals, going to the gym at least five times a week and keeping up with my food diary.

I am particularly rigid about keeping my appoint-ments at the gym. If I know I am going to be busy at work on a certain day, I get up a few hours earlier to make sure I will be able to leave the office on time.

Ironically, considering that going to the gym eats up at least six hours a week, I feel like I have never had more time.

Irish Independent

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