Thursday, October 8, 2015

My physical fitness journey: choosing to make a lifestyle change

Last year was probably the hardest of my life. And it really challenged everything I had in me. It also challenged my outlook on life and what I wanted.

We had a house move, there was an illness in the family and the death. The children were being difficult. They were having trouble at school and one of my boys was being bullied, which brought back childhood memories for me and I started to fear that he would have the same emotional problems and food problems that I have suffered from.

This all put a strain on me emotionally. My body started suffer more than it had done. Even I had unhealthy habits, I was keeping them in check, just. But this unleashed hell on me.

As the weight piled on and my happiness correspondingly left me, I knew I had to do something about it. I can be incredibly strong willed and I knew that it was time to choose cardio over the couch.

With the full support my husband, I set out on a journey. I looked for a weight loss professional, a physical fitness trainer who could help me to complete that journey.

But I also had to start their journey myself emotionally before I felt I could pay money to get some be asked to help me.

So I went on that journey by obsessively researching and starting to investigate all types of exercise, diet and nutrition.

During this time work was tough and there was an emotional strain between me and my husband, but he was still supportive and I stuck at it.

I have transformed my emotional outlook towards food and stop the laziness. It was far too easy to get home from work and tell myself I have had a hard day and I deserve a treat. Grabbing for a bag of Doritos and a film once the kids were out of the way.

Now I treat myself by going to the gym and I make sure I book regular sessions with my personal trainer so that I am fully committed to the path I'm on.

One of the other struggle had which was not expected was a feeling of vanity.

When I look in the mirror now and see a better shape to my body, and I feel better about myself, but I wonder if that's how we should be?

My vanity has increased as my health and fitness has increased. But then as my happiness has increased and my approach to life has got better, which has made everyone around me happy because I more pleasant to be around, I think the trade-off is worth it.

This is a very personal journey for me, and I find it really useful to write this all out. I'm a bit concerned that people find it weird reading it, but you don't know me so it doesn't really matter.

But I hope somebody find what I'm writing useful and I hope that if it inspires just one person to make a positive lifestyle change and improve their health and fitness then this time and effort has been worth it.

How I changed my attitude to food and drink and raised my personal fitness levels

This is part of my blog about my personal journey to greater fitness and health, both physical and emotional.

I want to tell you that it's been a tough few years but several things have transformed everything in my life recently.

The first thing was my personal realisation that things will have to change. The second was proper investigation around health, fitness and nutrition. The third thing was finding a personal fitness trainer who could really help me to improve my fitness levels in a healthy way.

One of the great things that has changed in my life has been my attitude to food and drink in relation to health and fitness.

I used to eat junk food, Cola and lots of alcohol.

But all that has changed.

I started reading about juicing. I didn't go down the road of a pure juice cleanse, because I have read that the science is out on whether it is purely healthy or not. What I did was to juice whole fruit and vegetables, including skins, retaining every part of them including the fibre.

Doing that every morning separated my cravings for food at the start of the day.

I eradicating white refined carbohydrates from my diet. Sugar, pasta and rice all went. They were replaced with unrefined sugars in moderation, such as honey, wholemeal pasta and rice and I also substituted a lot more proteins and nuts and seeds into my diet.

In addition I cut out the alcohol and moved towards drinking water. 2 L of water every day as a minimum.

In two weeks I felt a lot better. But I won't tell you it was easy. The sugar cravings were absolute hell. That stuff is evil and it will really get you in the beginning. The biggest barrier I found to health and fitness was breaking the sugar cravings.

Watch out for your portion sizes!

The other thing I noticed was that my portion sizes were absolutely huge.

I didn't think so until I started to look around me. I realised that I had a fear of not having enough food, and that attitude was also impacting my family's health as I was dishing up large portions to them and keeping food in reserve to have seconds is available.

This is a recipe for disaster.

Buy smaller plates. Seriously. It really helps.

Don't keep food back. Dish it all up once and make sure everybody knows that there is no more.

The other great tip is to sit down and eat as a family and make sure there is conversation. That way the food will be more slowly and you will feel more satisfied afterwards.

These simple tips have really helped me in conjunction with a proper fitness program to transform my life. I've lost a huge amount of my body weight and dropped several dress sizes.

My confidence is now sky high and I am really looking forward to the future. I know there are millions of people out there feeling the way I did, it's a tough journey but unless you start the journey then you will never get your destination.

Dealing with being overweight and doing something about it

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've been overweight for most my adult life. Actually I am ashamed to admit it.

If I'm honest I also have to admit that I was not very active when I was growing up in the danger signs were there all my life. Part of me blames my parents, but they lived in a different age where solid meals and nutrition was seen in a different way.

Part of the problem was junk food.

It became a comfort to me, especially after I was bullied at school for awhile and I don't think I ever really got over it. At times I find myself wandering to a fast food restaurant before I've even engagement brain, and if I'm looking at it honestly, it's usually in a situation where I'm having a bad day or I'm not in a great mood.

This is obviously not great in terms of having the right emotional state to be healthy.

I remember being bullied at school and it has stuck with me. I remember I was trying to be a cheerleader. Some of the other girls made fun of me wobbling, especially my thighs, and this had a damaging effect on me. What made it more damaging was that my parents got involved and it got to the stage where the school principal made everyone in the cheerleading team sign a letter of apology to me. This just made the whole situation far worse to me.

So I'm pouring my heart out here and I'm probably admitting that I've always had an emotional attachment to food.

After I graduated high school, I went out to work and are met my wonderful husband and had two children. However with that start in life and having a busy life and two children, it was inevitable that the weight would pile on to me.

It was recently that I decided to start serious research into health, nutrition and fitness and see what I could seriously do to turn my life around before it's too late. I love my kids I don't want to leave early.

I started journey which led to me finding a personal fitness coach and it's a journey which is leading to higher energy levels and freedom.

The first thing I've noticed is that my depression has left me. I know I have down times, just like everyone else, I don't have the crushing feeling of emotional sickness that I used to have. This has been a great benefit to me and anyone around me.

My self-esteem is also improved as I've lost weight, I am able to fit in is nicer clothes, and I'm not going to pretend I have noticed that my husband is paying more attention to me.

The key to all this has been to take it seriously. I looked at everything about health andfitness, cardiovascular exercise and core strength exercise. Looked at things like yoga and I tried a lot of things. I then took the next step of hiring somebody to help me with my personal fitness levels.

If any of this is resonating with you, then I urge you to take the first steps I did. It can change your life.

Warning signs to watch out for in a prospective personal trainer

I've already written some general tips I learnt during my own journey to find a physical fitness trainer, you can read about them here.

In this post I just wanted to touch on part of that general topic in order to help people who are going through the same fitness journey as me.

I want to talk to you about warning signs you will see in some trainers that you communicate with while you are looking for somebody to help you.

I learned quite a bit while researching and with the three personal trainers I had before I met Colin.

What you are looking for a danger signs that their methods or outlook are potentially unethical or damaging.

My top tips to screen personal fitness trainers are...

1. Watch out for people who have no interest in screening out people they don't want to work with, if they don't seem to care who they work with then that's a warning sign.

2. If they are unwilling or unable to produce any credentials, or supporting evidence that they have a track record in success and safety and training personal fitness then you should walk away.

3. If you asked for reference, they should be able to provide several.

4. If they try to force you into signing a contract before or during your first session then walk away.

5. If they try to sell you extra services, supplements or other aids that they claim will help you then you should be extremely sceptical.

6. If they try to convince you that non-physical work can also help you to improve your body shape, such as saunas or other passive exercising techniques, for example electric muscle workout machines, which they will try and sell to you, then that's a real danger sign.

7. They should be flexible. If they tell you they have a way that works and that you have to fit into that way, then that could be very dangerous to your health.

Another warning sign which is more general is that they should be a reliable person, friendly and approachable.

If they are constantly difficult to approach, or you can't get in contact with them by phone regularly, or they don't reply to emails, or they insist in using text only, then they are keeping you arm's length and not embracing you and your needs.

Remember that you are going to be paying this person to help you, and it is not a case of you doing a favour for them, they are meant to be looking out to you using the professional skills that they should be demonstrating they have both in terms of exercise expertise and personal interaction skills.

I hope that this blog post has been useful to you. Now it's back to reality and instead of losing myself in writing on the Internet I now have to go make tea for a hungry husband and two children. Hey, this is meant to be the age of equality.

How I Found The Best Physical Fitness Trainer In The World!

I want to talk you bit about how I found my amazing physical fitness trainer, Colin.

It wasn't a case of stumbling into him one day, or plucking a phone number out of the Internet. I set myself the goal of finding the best personal trainer I could possibly find in my area.

People get a personal trainer to help them to reach health and fitness goals. These goals can be set by you, or your trainer, but they have to be realistic and you have to believe in them. A great physical fitness trainer will believe in them with you and help you to achieve peak performance.

My first piece of advice is to really take your time before you make any sort of final decision on the trainer you want to help you to get fitter. There is no hurry and after years of neglect what difference will a few more weeks gym-free make?

Understand the role of your physical fitness trainer

There's no point in grabbing a physical fitness trainer if you don't understand the exact role he or she will play in your fitness regime.

If you don't understand that role properly then it is a recipe for disaster. All that will happen is that you will end up not believing they are doing the right thing for you and a wall of resistance will come up.

Basically, your trainer will look out for you at all times and communicate well. They will help you to exercise safely and they will help you to do in the most efficient way possible.

They will act as a personal coach and motivator. You won't feel alone at any time, they will be right there with you supporting you, not staring at a mobile phone while you're on the treadmill.

They will constantly watch your technique and offer encouragement to improve yourself and the way you exercise.

Your personal trainer will closely monitor your progress and sit down with you to highlight the strengths and weaknesses you have. They will help you to shape your program as it develops based upon these.

On top of all that, they will offer you great advice on not only nutrition and diet, but also on your emotional health and how you can improve it to get the most out of the exercise regime you are in.

Always check their qualifications

My next piece of advice is always to check that your personal trainer has some sort of professional qualification.

They should also have an employment history, and preferably some certificates.

Depending on your country there will be official bodies they can be a part of, and they really should be if they are open and honest.

They should be a first aider and preferably have also covered the ins and outs of general good health, including nutritional education.

So always ask prospective personal trainers about the qualifications and experience they have. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions and if they don't give a lot of detail then be concerned.

My journey took a long time.

It took me six months and for trainers to find the person who was right for me.

The final thing I will say is that your intuition is a great tool as well. Even if somebody says all the right things and has all right qualifications, if they don't "feel" right to you then it's best to walk away.