I did my first #TransformationTuesday on Instagram this week and the feedback has been so positive and encouraging that I decided to write about it in a bit more detail here.
After three years of training it has become more difficult to spot progress in the short term, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still happening. After losing quite a bit of body fat initially and then building some basic strength, I’m now working on building my figure with a bit more attention to detail – adding more tone and muscle here and there. As with any fine-tuning, it’s not as instantly visible as the major transformation that preceded it, and I’ve been getting a bit frustrated with my progress recently.
So I dug out some old photos to remind myself how far I’ve come and how much it has changed not only my body but also my entire life.
The picture below shows me on summer holidays in 2013 on the left and in 2016 on the right. The experience in 2013 – both the holiday and looking at pictures of it afterwards – actually triggered my weight loss and fitness journey, the first stage of which I wrote about here. The picture on the right is where I am right now. So, looking at these pictures, which me do you think had more fun?
For me getting fit wasn’t just about being a certain shape. Yes, in the beginning it was primarily about losing that extra bulk I had put on, which was making me feel miserable, and being able to comfortable in my skin again. But very quickly, as I started noticing the changes in my body – seeing the external results and also feeling how it affected my overall wellbeing, it became much more than that. It became a complete lifestyle change.
To me training and healthy eating isn’t about the numbers on the scale or the size written on the labels in my clothes. It’s about being healthy and strong and nourishing this body that’s carrying me through my life.
I was always sporty as a kid but fell into bad eating habits and a completely sedentary lifestyle when I started working – with a few significant impacts on my health. In the three years between those two pictures, I didn’t just get fit and lose weight. I also got rid of crippling IBS and managed to gain control of the effect asthma was having on my everyday life. I learned how to eat healthy food that’s good for me – and vast amounts of it as well, because my metabolism is on fire now that I work out hard most days – and most importantly I learned to enjoy every meal without feeling guilty.
In the picture on the left I was on a round trip of Switzerland, which involved lots of walking tours. After two hours of walking in hilly terrain I was in so much pain that I had to rest, and too sore to move for days after – which put some serious limitations on the amount of enjoyment I got out of that holiday. During my summer holiday at Lake Garda this year, not a day went by that didn’t involve some sort of activity – whether it was exploring the nearby mountains, long runs along the coast, morning yoga and evening workouts in the garden of my holiday home, or in fact discovering that it’s entirely possible to stand on your head on a fricking surfboard in the middle of a lake.
And that’s what it’s all about really. Three years ago I struggled to walk up the road, now I can run up hills and enjoy it, lift some pretty heavy-ass weights, stand my ground in martial arts…and I’m having so much fun pushing the limits of what my body can do while getting stronger all the time.
Digging out and posting those photos from 2013 took some courage but it was important to remember where I started and how far I’ve come since. My fitness, my strength and my figure are all still works in progress, and they probably always will be because there’s always room for improvement. But for now I’m very happy with where I am. I feel not only comfortable in my body, but I’m actually proud to show it – and that’s an entirely new experience for me.
One of my friends commented on this picture saying, “Even your body language is different.” Of course it is. On the left I’m painfully aware that I’m being captured in a moment where I’m utterly uncomfortable with both how I look and how I feel. Look at me basically trying to disappear inside myseslf! On the right, I’m in the middle of my first ever family album photo shoot where I’m not begging my parents to put down the camera, but in fact happy to pose for another picture, and another, and another.
So that’s the story. My transformation isn’t as huge as most you see on that hashtag because I wasn’t that much bigger when I started – I only lost around 15kg altogether. But in terms of the impact it had on my life, my health, and how I feel, you could say I’m a whole different person now. And I do see that in those photos.