In my mid-twenties, I gained around 8-10 kilos. It happened gradually, over the course of about 2 years, and in line with settling down into a long-term relationship as well as a sit-down job in personal training management.
To be honest, I didn’t really notice the first 4 or 5. My starting point had been really quite lean, coming off the back of several years of competing, and so it wasn’t as though I looked overweight. But by 8 or 9 kilos, I could feel it. Not only in my clothes, but in my energy and my confidence. Where once I had thrown anything on and known I looked fine, now I battled with different outfits for hours, often spending hundreds of dollars on new clothes for a special event; thinking that expensive new things would make me feel better about myself.
They never did, not really.
And eventually I had to face up to the fact that I’d simply drifted out of the habits that had kept me in such great shape in my early twenties. I wasn’t training daily anymore and sometimes I was barely making it through a couple of half-arsed workouts a week. My food was still pretty clean but I was eating the same sized serves as my 100kg all-muscle partner, and then I was snacking after meals where he wasn’t. Drinking a wine or sometimes even a beer had also become pretty routine, which is funny as I cannot stand beer now. But I went through this phase where I think I just had enough of being the play-it-by-the-rules girl and was delighting in doing all sorts of out of character stuff like going to the footy and drinking beer and eating donuts, kidding myself that it didn’t matter as we still ate healthy meals. Or at least what I thought was healthy at the time 🙂
It wasn’t until I was nearly 27 – after over 2 years of letting this go on – that I finally faced up to the fact that I wasn’t happy with my body, let alone how much I’d changed. I remember asking a trainer colleague who’d known me for a while if I’d gained weight and the instant freeze and fear on his face at the question was enough to give me my answer. I’d kind of thought he would be nice and reassure me but instead he said “Yeah Kat, you have actually. You used to be really really lean, and now you’re a bit chunky”
Nice! That’s the problem with working with trainers and the body obsessed, we can be pretty straight-up with each other. But actually it was part of a wake up call that I needed and I’m glad now that he said it. Because the truth is that I don’t have any better discipline or willpower than any other girl out there. If I worked in an office environment or surrounded by unhealthy people I’m quite sure I would struggle not to give in to peer pressure or simply becoming the average of my environment.
The problem was, even once I really decided I wasn’t going to let this keep going and started trying to do something about it, I just couldn’t seem to quite follow through.
I’d do a great workout, or several of them, and then get ‘too busy’ for a few days.
I managed to convince myself to add HIIT training as well as weights but I just couldn’t seem to push myself like the gym queen I’d once been.
And food … well. I’ve always had a tendency to overeat. Part nature and part nurture, I think. But definitely something I have to watch to this day. And at the time I managed to convince myself that because I was eating good quality food, I could eat as much as I wanted. I remember starting the day at 6am with 3 large chicken drumsticks, 2 boiled eggs, 1/2 an avo, a bunch of vegies, and then having a 4-egg and the works breaky at 9am! The mind boggles now even thinking about it!
Eventually, I had to face up to the truth that my body just wasn’t going to change until I seriously did.
And part of that – the biggest part, although I didn’t realise it at the time – was changing how I thought about my ability to get results.
See most people really do believe it’s possible for them to change physically, or indeed in any way.
So the problem is not in belief.
For me, and I suspect quite possibly for you, it came down to this.
I didn’t want it as badly as I didn’t want it.
Meaning I didn’t want to give up my oversized foods, my comfort meals, my extra glasses of wine.
I didn’t want to do sprints when my previous afternoon habit had been visiting the downstairs from the gym lolly store.
I didn’t want to push myself through circuit workouts instead of continuing to just meander through the occasional lifting session.
I didn’t want to stop going out to fancy restaurants and eating whatever I wanted because ‘restaurants are special occasions’ (even though they’d become the norm in my 80-hour work week), and I sure as heck didn’t want to stop having sugar in my coffee or visiting the Belgian chocolate waffle guy a couple of times a week. Hey – it was a treat after training sometimes 10 clients back to back with no break! And after all, I was in a job back on my feet all the time by then. That had to count for something?
I just didn’t wanna. *stamps foot*
Oh I wanted to change my body, don’t get me wrong. And I was prepared to make steps towards that. I just wasn’t quite prepared to live, breathe, walk, eat and talk it. Not if it meant having to give up all my stuff.
How About You – Do You Really Want That Incredible Body? Really?
Consider your own body dilemmas, whatever they might be at the moment. Consider also, how long you’ve been saying the same now-tired-out things.
This is going to be my year. This is it, it’s really enough!
I’m going to do it this time, I don’t care, I’m just going to do it.
Why can’t I lose weight?
Why is it easier for (insert name or ‘everyone else’)
What’s wrong with me?
Maybe ‘x’ (insert latest diet, fad, or guru) can help me.
It’s something to think about, isn’t it? The fact that you’ve said this stuff again and again and yet still are?
If you don’t have the body you want, it is very very likely that it’s in part – and perhaps large part – due to not really and truly wanting it. I don’t mean you don’t want it. I don’t mean you’d say no if it were handed to you on a platter or by a fairy godmother. What I mean is, you don’t want it more than what you want what you currently have.
The ‘little things’ that ‘don’t really count’.
Except they do.
Except that it all does.
Everything you do, and everything you don’t do, impacts on your results. Every big thing, but also every little thing.
And no, being in incredible shape is not about being perfect. People who are lean and stay that way definitely enjoy their favourite treats, nights out, days off.
But they put the work in first, to get their body to the point where it can handle that.
They built up their metabolic bank account. They invested, day after day and meal after meal, in the foods and habits and sacrifices required to create a great ‘credit line’ when it comes to having the body they want. They didn’t try to draw repeatedly on an empty account and then wonder indignantly why they couldn’t get a break, why they couldn’t afford the breaks that others seemed to so easily.
If you really want that incredible body, you are going to need to start making big changes that begin within.
It’s not just about eating, training, walking, talking like someone who is in shape would do. Asking yourself if a ‘lean and fit and super confident’ type of gal really snacks on chocolate or biccies every evening. If they skip workouts because they’re busy, got their period, or just not really feeling it. (They don’t, or at least pretty rarely).
It’s also about thinking in the way that someone with that dream body might do. I don’t mean becoming obsessive in a bad way. But obsession could also be labelled focus. Determination. A desire so strong that you are unstoppable. You can put whatever label on it you like; people who are fixated on making something happen tend to do so.
I’m talking also about making a conscious choice to want to change more than you don’t want to change. And about being open to having to do what it takes to do so.
To let go of what you have to let go of.
To embrace a new way.
And eventually, to embrace a new you.
I lost the 8-10kg eventually, and while I occasionally fluctuate by a few, I’ve never gained it back.
I still eat treats.
I still have breaks from training.
But I’m no longer open to it being okay for my weight to creep up. It simply doesn’t enter into the way I see myself, and so it’s basically as impossible for it to happen as it is for me to fly.
Creating the body of your dreams is not something you *have* to do. Not now, not ever. It’s not the answer to happiness or success or anything at all.
But if you want it, then decide now – do you want it more than you don’t want it?
And remember –
Life is Now. Press Play.