I’ve always been resistant to exercise. I did my bit at school; some with more enjoyment than others. As soon as you no longer have that scheduled requirement to sweat, someone with my temperament quickly resorts to couch potato status.
There have been short-lived attempts to fight the flab along the years, all with limited or short-lived success and the weight increased year on year. In retrospect, I guess I just wasn’t very happy. OK and I ate and drank rather a lot.
So there I was, rapidly approaching 15 stones, in my late 30s, disatissfied with many things in my life and newly single after a 16-year relationship went belly-up(not my choice).
I booked on to New You Boot Camp, I thought if nothing else, this would make for an interesting experience. I don’t like being told what to do and I think I was weighing up how much of a personal coup it would be to beat these ex-military trainers in a battle of wills.
This is the sort of scenario I had in mind:
Military person: “Run up that hill.”
Me: “Er, why?”
Military person: “Because I told you to.”
Me: “In that case, no.”
In fact, I and 24 other women went like lambs to the slaughter and did as we were told for a week, while running, boxing, lifting logs, playing rugby, doing circuits, pushing minibuses, and various other forms of physical exertion.
It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but has completely changed my attitude to physical fitness and diet – not the starving yourself sort of diet, I mean the food you put in your body. I lost 18lbs, and 17 inches from around my body in one week and since then have shed more than three stones.
I was a size 18/20 and six months later I’m a size 12/14. My secret? Diet and exercise. Sorry, people, there’s no magic cure. But I am kind of proud of myself.
The bit I’m still working on is challenging authority. I eat a fairly balanced diet, but if I want a cake, I have a cake. I just make sure I don’t eat the whole packet, as I would have done in the past. Some people say that’s no fun, but I work on an 80% responsible behaviour, 20% fun principle.
I’m going out tonight for a meal, I will be having wine and pudding and I will savour it all the more because it’s no longer an every day occurrence.
When I was wolfing down packets of biscuits, they didn’t touch the sides. I don’t know if I enjoyed them, because I never thought about it. I was filling a hole in me, not my hunger.
One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve become fitter, is that I can recover from a night of binge drinking much more quickly. Result!
I exercise almost every day, even if it’s only for half an hour, and regularly run. The old me would have said “I don’t do running”. The new me is running the Race for Life on May 31. It’s only 5km, but if I actually run is as planned and don’t collapse in a heap or pick up an injury (I have dodgy knees), it will be the furthest I’ve ever run in my almost 39 years on this planet.
I still have a bit of toning to do on the wobbly bits and I’m thinking about doing something challenging such as the Three Peaks Challenge or a mini triathlon. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’ll know when I’ve arrived.
In a way I have been brainwashed but I feel like the luckiest cult member alive. If New You Boot Camp hadn’t come along when it did, I’d still be fat and miserable, weighed down by an insurmountable obstacle; me. It worked for me, but there are lots of other ways to fight the flab.
Having done the slimming clubs, the fad diets, I didn’t need someone telling me to eat less and exercise more. I needed someone to help me understand why I was eating for 12. I still don’t entirely know why, but I’ll work it out in the gym and get back to you.
My point is, that if I can do it, anyone can. It could be the best thing that has ever happened to you.*