Before I go into more specific posts on health and fitness, I wanted to share my journey along with all the past life experiences and steps I’ve taken to get to where I am today! This is a journey that I’ve never really talked about before but I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you all so you won’t make the same mistakes I did when I first got into the whole “dieting” fad. Bare in mind that I am in no way a health professional and this is just my own personal experience so if you have plans to become more healthy and fit, please take into consideration your own bodily needs! Please also don’t mind that this post will have no images and will be really text heavy so if this isn’t something you’re not interested in reading about, of course I’m completely fine with that and you can skip this post! =)
To start things off, I have to say that I was overweight for a majority of my life. I was definitely by no means morbidly obese but I was overweight to the point where I was ridiculed by other people at a young age, just because I was larger than an average child. Thankfully at the time I had really thick skin and I didn’t take anything negative anyone said to heart because they were just telling me things I already knew, and I didn’t want to give them the reaction or response they were looking for. I was happy with myself at the time and I had no concerns with body image so I went on with my daily life with no worries about life in general.
I didn’t have an interest in becoming “skinny” until about 8th grade. It didn’t last long at all but at the time I was skipping breakfast and didn’t eat meat at all. Please bare in mind that I had no knowledge at all about health and nutrition at the time, so for me I was under the impression that anything that wasn’t a fruit or a vegetable was bad for the body. I was doing no exercise at all, apart from PE in school and I definitely did lose some weight but it was completely unhealthy and I gained it back almost immediately after I started to eat normally again. I would never recommend anyone to do this regardless of your health and fitness goals. It’s always important to eat a balanced diet that incorporates all three macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats!
Fast forward three years, I decided to take health more seriously than I did before and started to exercise with a goal to become more fit overall. I started to count my calories using the MyFitnessPal app and I incorporated really basic bodyweight exercises into my routine before I went to bed at night. I was doing minimal sets of various crunches and squats. In the beginning, I was eating an avocado on a multigrain toast every morning but eventually I stopped enjoying the taste of it so I started to make my own berry smoothie using a handful of frozen mixed berries, skim milk, some low-fat vanilla yogurt and a few ice cubes to top it all off. I was eating at a calorie deficit of about 1,200 calories with an aim to reach 50kg (I was around 62kg at the time and I was 15 years old). I was dropping weight fast because I transitioned from eating all kinds of unhealthy food to completely eliminating anything that was fried or sugary. Anything that would be classified as junk or unhealthy, I did not eat at all. It definitely took a lot of willpower but I have to say that after two weeks, it was easy for me because I developed the habit. I no longer craved eating unhealthy food and I started enjoying eating more healthy. I think my friends started to get annoyed at me at this point because every time they tried to feed me something unhealthy, I would refuse to eat it. =P I did get really skinny to the point where my family and friends were commenting on it but because the weight dropped really fast, this meant that it gained back fast too. I was back to my original weight within no time at all, especially since I stopped exercising in my final year of high school so I could focus on solely studying.
I didn’t start being more informed and become more health conscious until 2013 where I got into weightlifting at the gym. I stopped weighing myself because this was the time when my fitness goal was just to become stronger. It was no longer about wanting to be “skinny” but to build muscle and recompose my body fat and muscle ratio. I was doing both dumbbell and barbell work, doing full body workouts. In 2014, I started the StrongLifts 5×5 program. It incorporates the three big lifts – the bench press, the barbell squat and the barbell deadlift as well as a few other compound lifts. It is a great beginners program that I would recommend for everyone. The website explains everything perfectly and clearly so if you are interested, please do check it out! I know a lot of other people recommend the program too. Even until now, I still incorporate the exercises into my gym regime and I am as strong as I ever have been – and continuing to get stronger! I visit the gym three times a week and alternate between two different workouts. I’ve also taken up running every Mondays doing 7km at a pace of roughly 5.30min/km. Until the start of 2015, I was also doing a combination further cardio (mainly HIIT) and pilates on my rest days for an hour in the evenings. I was following YouTube workouts such as FitnessBlender and Blogilates, which are both fantastic by the way and I will do a post on my favourite fitness YouTubers! But now I’ve decided to focus on building numbers in my lifts so I have decided to use my rest days as actual rest days.
I’m definitely really proud of my progress but I’m still dreaming big and I want to continually get stronger and stronger. Several years ago I never would have thought I would be able to finally be reasonably content with the way my body looks but now I am able to say that I am. Any sort of health or fitness journey requires commitment and consistency. There is just no way that your body will transform overnight. It takes time but the results are so worth it! =)
The lessons learned in my experience that I want to pass onto anyone who wants to achieve their own fitness goals:
♡ Start slow! If exercise is new to you, there is no need to go out and do anything excessive. Your body needs to adjust to the pressure and changes that occur with exercise so take it easy! Everyone starts somewhere and it’s all about the baby steps. Any sort of dramatic and fast weight loss is unhealthy and means that it will pack back on really easily.
♡ Don’t bother weighing yourself, measure yourself using a measuring tape instead. I spent the longest time believing that weight loss meant fat loss and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Weight can be composed of fat, muscle, water or anything else within your body. A good way to effectively note your progress is to take pictures of yourself and continue to at the end of each week. You can see your body change visually – it’s never about the numbers on the scale!
♡ EAT! Don’t deprive your body of food. You need food to survive and function properly and a good diet is necessary for you to actually exercise! A lot of diets involving eating ridiculously little are ineffective because they cause yo-yo diets where once you start eating properly again, the weight will add back on within days.
♡ For the girlies – don’t be afraid of weights! You will not get bulky and it requires a very high calorie surplus to do so. Strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn body fat but increase muscle mass at the same time. The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you can naturally burn everyday too!
I hope you enjoyed my post! I know it was so long but I wanted to share absolutely everything about my journey. I will be uploading a post tomorrow on a few of my favourite fitness YouTubers so I hope you look forward to that! =) Please do share your health and fitness journeys with me too if you want to!