Hello beautiful, today I’m sharing with you my ultimate motivational Monday blog post. Everyday I’m asked the same questions ‘How do you stay so motivated’, ‘How can you fit the gym in so often when you lead such a hectic lifestyle’, ‘What do you do when you fall off the band wagon’ ‘What made you want to change’ etc. For those of you who have read my book Fairy Tales you’ll know that my fitness journey began last year after a bad break up. I was sad, I wanted an outlet, some headspace and a goal to keep me focused outside of my work. Initially a full size 14 I was a confident and curvy plus sized model, however I wanted to tone certain areas, try and keep my lady lumps and lead a healthier lifestyle. I wanted more energy, better skin and sleep and if a flat tummy came that it was a bonus. I was quite vague about my overall goal which was mistake number one. Over the course of last year I happily fluctuated between a size 14 and a size 12 and loosely followed an 80/20 lifestyle. I would eat clean enough during the week and let loose at the weekend. While I thought I was eating clean I unconsciously added a dollop or two of mayo here and there, never declined on sauces in salads and didn’t take the time to work out any of my dietary intolerances. I would indulge at events, whilst traveling I would have treats in hotels and didn’t really have a set structure or plan in terms of my meals and workouts. Although I knew what to do I wasn’t really fully committed to doing it. It took me a year to really become addicted to the gym and find some sort of life long balance, one where I knew I could still live and indulge and how to undo the damage.
In March of this year, exactly three months before booking my holiday I set myself a very detailed and clear goal. Something clicked in me; I loved working out, I loved how good I felt when I was healthy, how much it suited my perfectionist ways and how badly I wanted to make some real changes to my body. The guilt I felt when I had ‘failed’ at my food choices or skipping the gym were never worth it and I realised I was simply maintaining a size 12 frame. I wasn’t really making any noticeable changes and I felt sort of deflated and at a constant plateaux. After booking my holiday to Ibiza I began writing down my specific goals. Instead of simply saying I would love to lose weight I decided the exact weight, size, and body fat % I wanted to work towards. I had a clear visual of what body parts I wanted to narrow in and build on; I wanted lean arms, big boobs, abs and a thick toned lower half. I wanted to be in the best shape of my life and allow it open new career doors and options. Writing down clear concise goals is essential in staying motivated, and you need to be as detailed as possible. Everyday we wake up with food and exercise choices and every week we step on the scales expecting results. If months go by and very little changes have taken places something isn’t right. For me, the weekends and events were my downfall. A dinner out here and there and cheat meals that turned into Saturday and Sunday cheat days meant I was stuck in a cycle of gaining 2lbs by Monday and spending the rest of the week working it off. Those two days of eating badly probably equate to gaining 2lbs for most women, therefore you will never make any real changes or results. Instead you will be stuck in a maintenance rollercoaster of frustration.
Make a mood board. Having a visual reminder of your goals is essential if you want to reach them. I keep motivational pictures and quotes on my phone and my laptop so it’s a constant reminder. Follow inspirational positive people on social media, unfollow anyone negative and cleanse your digital space. I also love watching fitness girls on YouTube to see what they eat everyday, which can often inspire or shake up my own meal plan. There’s also so many alternative workouts out there, and the likes of Instagram contains so many motivational women and men who are living proof you CAN achieve the exact body you want. Eliminating and minimising things that will prevent you reaching your goals is so important. For example, one of my downfalls as mentioned was traveling. I treated work trips like mini holidays and ate the meals provided or picked up bad food choices on the plane and on the go. Now I pre prepare my food for the day time and opt for protein and veg from whatever restaurant we’re dining from, so I still feel a part of the fun but know I’m making a healthy choice. This also applies to alcohol, if you go out every weekend and drink the chances are all of those empty calories will add up. The majority of people also make poor choices when they’re drunk and hungover because your body is craving things like sodium and you become care free. For me, cutting out alcohol altogether bar the odd glass of champagne at special occasions was an obvious and easy sacrifice.
So many people seem to struggle with cheat meals/days/refeeds. If you’re not working towards a holiday or a bikini competition I would highly recommend a cheat meal once a week. This not only boosts your metabolism but also gives you something indulgent and exciting to work towards, thoroughly savour and enjoy. This reward system really works for the body and mind and can help you stay on track. Unfortunately when people incorrectly deprive themselves during the week once the time comes to cheat they go overboard and a meal turns into a binge or two day refeed. A refeed day as opposed to cheat meal can be done in a healthy manner where your overall macros and caloric intake is slightly higher, you alternate the foods you intake and simply play around with the likes of your ‘good’ carb intake. Again this works really well for those following a strict macro friendly diet, those who eat based around their training. So many people want a set meal plan but have no concept that you must eat within certain windows around training, so my diet works because I weight train four times a week, do at least three HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes and LISS (low intensity steady state cardio). I have managed to work out the foods that work for my body and the ones that don’t. I follow a high protein and fats diet but I haven’t cut carbs at all, I’ve just eliminated the carbs that make me feel sluggish and prevent me from losing weight and replaced them with ones that replenish my energy levels and keep me feeling full.
If you do have an over indulgent day, weekend or week MOVE ON immediately. Do not use those few meals, days or poor choices affect your overall goal. Do not wait until Monday and add even more damage to your system. Learn how to undo the damage and remove guilt ridden thoughts. Incorporate a little bit of extra cardio to burn excess fat, utilise those extra carbs from the day before by doing a heavy leg session and work on your new and improved mindset. Take this opportunity to realise you’re human, this is ok, this is normal, we all make mistakes and get over it. Don’t allow yourself get into the mind frame of ‘I give up, I’ve ruined it now’. We all fall off the band wagon, it’s human nature, berating yourself about it will only slow down the process even more. Remember, you must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight, so therefore that one unplanned cheat meal is not going to gain pounds of weight at the end of the week. You need to create a balance you can stick to for life. That balance should include a healthy attitude towards cheating or going off track. If not, you’ll spend your life following every diet under the sun and failing. This constant negative cycle will not only leave you feeling unmotivated and down, it will also make you loathe eating healthily and working out because you’ll think it’s not working and there’s no point. I plan on indulging and relaxing on holidays but I don’t intend on binging the entire time, eating everything in site because ‘I’m on holidays’ or drinking myself silly. Balance is key even when you’re off duty.
If you’ve no idea where or how to start I would highly suggest investing in an online coach or PT within your chosen gym. Seeking help from my online coach Jacqui from JT Fitness has been a game changer for me throughout this whole process. Your trainer will be there to go through your measurements, track your progress, hold you accountable when you check in weekly, maintain motivation and inform you when it comes to eating and training. They will also help you set various time frames to achieve your goals instead of aimlessly hoping for the best. People ask me all the time if certain goals are possible within a few weeks and the answer is yes, but there is no fast forward button or quick fix. Don’t expect miracles, but believe you have complete control over your own goals. You can achieve exactly what you want in any area of life if you work on your mindset and stay completely focused. Creating a balance between focus and obsession is also something I want to touch on. Focus is vital in reaching your goals, waking up everyday with a purpose, with those dreams in your head, writing down your thoughts and achievements, being grateful. However some people take diets and focus as an excuse to obsess. For example many women who have experienced eating disorders transfer their addiction to the gym and instead of obsessing about anorexia or bulimia they obsess over body building and competing. It’s so important to ensure you get help with your mind prior to attempting a journey of this nature if you run the risk of confusing focus with obsession or mental difficulties.
Speaking of obsession, women, including myself have a terrible habit of obsessing over numbers. Whether it’s the scales we stand on, the measurements we’re told or the body fat we’re working towards. I am 100% guilty of this because it’s so significant to my progress. However, now that I’m more educated I’m aware that certain training, water intake, carbs prior to weight in, and factors like my menstrual cycle all greatly affect my weight. I weigh myself weekly to see what’s working for my body, but I’ve learned to accept that muscle is more dense than fat and if I’m weight training the chances are the scales won’t change greatly, but my lean muscle and overall appearance will. Taking progress pictures and trying on clothes is essential during this phase to ensure you don’t become discouraged by a silly number. Roughly every six weeks I have my measurements and body fat taken with a callipers. At the start of my strict journey two months ago I was 28% body fat, I’m now 19% and my inches and weight have been progressively dropping, losing between 1/2lbs per week. Be aware that you could be a thin size 8 and light as a feather on the scales but have a high body fat vs someone who is broad and heavy on the scales but full of defined muscle and fit as a fiddle. Try to stop comparing yourself to anyone else’s journey because you don’t know how long they’ve been on it, genetics play a huge part and the only competition is you. Drinks water constantly, enjoy filling your body with good food, meditate at night, live your life with energy and vitality, clear the mind and focus on your own constant inner happiness. You would be surprised how easy it is to make changes to your body when you really start to work on the mind.