So I've been meaning to write this post for a while. Weirdly, I seemed to procrastinate wildly whenever the idea of publishing a post featuring photos of me in my undies came up. Oh, would you look at that? There are dishes to do and toilets to clean! Time got away from me – and now I'm married! It's all done! So much hard work for one day. But did it pay off?
Let's go back a bit first.
When I met Nikki from Cinch Personal Training, I would describe my health and fitness status as part-time at best. I was sporadic in my efforts and it was beginning to show. It had been a long, cold winter and the idea of driving to my gym eight minutes away was all too much. The idea of eating baked goods, however, was very, very appealing. Even though I KNEW I was getting married in Spring, I reasoned that I had plenty of time to pull it together at the end. On further examination, I have identified that I consistently approach my life this way and it's very stressful. Why do I leave things until the last minute? Experience has shown this makes me very anxious and so annoyed at myself. Still the pattern repeats.
Nikki offered to train me about ten weeks out from the wedding and that seemed like a long time. As you can imagine, it wasn't. It went very quickly, and in that time, I was sick, the kids were sick, and life did its best to bugger up my grand plans, but I still managed to get more than 20 training sessions in which was awesome.
Here were my starting stats on 1st September 2015:
Weight (clothed): 54.4kg
Body Fat: 27.4%
Right Arm: 26.5cm
So I know what some of you are thinking. You're thinking, Angie, you're before body is my after body. You've had three kids, your body has held up pretty well under the circumstances, maybe you should give yourself a break.
And okay, you make a good point. But I only know what it feels like to live in my body. I spent my childhood and teens being effortlessly slim. I have always held my body to those same standards, but for the longest time, I wasn't willing to accept that maintaining that body would require actual work from me. And better food choices.
When my weight 'blew out' in my early twenties, I went to the gym and they weighed me in at 56 kilos. This was huge for me – especially since I had convinced myself that I was still hovering around 50kg. That's 6 kilos heavier than I assumed I was which is substantial when you are only five foot tall. But the more damning figure they recorded was my body fat percentage which was 31%. Although this was at the high end of the average range, it was still substantially higher than the ideal of around 25%. Added to that, my system was riddled with toxins which my body struggled to eliminate efficiently. I look at photos of that time and I can see how toxic I was. Breakouts and bloat. Flatlining energy.
So now after three pregnancies, the ongoing realities of family life and the fact that I am almost 40 years old, maybe 54 kilos is pretty good. But the problem still remains that when I'm carrying those extra kilos, it is directly linked to the poor lifestyle choices I'm making. I looked okay but I didn't feel good. The cellulite I was bemoaning was an outward symptom of the internal turmoil. I was more tired than I should have been, I felt bloated and lethargic. It was obvious that I was not fuelling my body well and I wasn't moving it nearly enough. I was only three kilos heavier than when I quit coke last year and felt so amazing, but while the physical change wasn't dramatic, the internal one was HUGE. But my priorities are so messed up that I ignored the distress call my body was sending me because I still fit into my skinny jeans.
It's something I call skinny fat. It means genetically I am not predisposed to huge weight fluctuations. The most I have ever weighed was around 61 kilos when I was pregnant. I am not a big person. And I am grateful for that. But it's meant that I never developed a sensible diet and consistent workout schedule because I didn't really need to. It has made me lazy. Sure, I felt like hell on the inside, but since society didn't deem me fat, the impetus to change was low. I could abuse my body with shitty food and sedentary lifestyle without dramatic superficial changes.
Like most brides-to-be, I wanted to look the best I could on my wedding day. I didn't want to be self-conscious and sucking in my guts all night. And I didn't want to feel sluggish and bloated either. It was less about my inability to accept my body as it is and more about acknowledging the bad habits I had fallen into once again.
When I do make changes, my body responds well. I drop weight, my digestion regulates, my energy levels increase. Naturally, I am older now and so I need to work harder than ever before, but the benefits are incredible and run so much deeper than a number on the scales. I have squandered so many years not taking care of my body when keeping it really fit would have been relatively easy for me. If I had worked as hard then as I have been working with Nikki at Cinch PT, and adopted healthier eating habits, I think I might have appreciated and enjoyed my body more. It makes me angry! And now, I have a lifetime of bad habits that I have to fight against to maintain my new way of life.
But it is possible to break the old routines and create new ones. It's possible to look forward to the new routine. It's possible to ENJOY it!
I'll talk more specifically about my training at Cinch PT and also what my diet was like in a later post. But to give you a basic idea, I did small group training 3 times a week with a strong focus on weight bearing exercises. I was not as committed to dietary changes!
Here are my results as at 23rd October 2015:
Weight (clothed): 53.4kg
Body Fat: 26.1%
Right Arm: 26cm
So in my messed up head, I read these results and my honest reaction was, 'For all that hard work, we're talking about a couple of centimetres here and there and one measly kilo?' Even though I didn't have big numbers to lose, I wanted my results to show a big number difference. But in the mirror, I could see the difference. Others commented on the difference. And in the end, my first wedding dress (I wore two!), which I had worried was a smidge tight a few months prior, ended up being a bit loose.
And inside? I felt amazing. Strong. Motivated.
My ten weeks of training with Nikki changed me on multiple levels. Small group training altered my perception of working out. I found a community.
I am yet to take After photos – the busyness of the wedding and my general reluctance to pose in my undies made it all too hard. But my sneaky wedding photographer took a sneaky photo that Bren's best man has labelled the Epic Arse Shot so I suppose this will have to do for now.
I feel like I need to explain that clearly I still don't have a perfect body even after all that training. Part of me worries this is not good enough and a poor advertisement for exercising in general. But then I look a little closer and I can see how much stronger my body looks. And I felt good on my wedding day. You're not looking at a dramatic overhaul. But you're looking at changes that are achievable for everyone who is ready to make feeling stronger a priority.
Cinch Personal Training is located in Macleod, a suburb north-east of Melbourne's CBD. They offer a range of small group training sessions Monday-Saturday as well as one on one personal training. Get in touch with the fabulous Nikki to learn more.