In The Beginning…..
Six weeks ago I was a greedy, hormonal middle-aged maniac. A snorer; a farter and a yawner. A morning fretter; an afternoon snoozer; and a midnight snacker. I was fatter than ever, but I was in limbo. The old me desired the return to my energetic size 12 roots; the new me rather fancied a family sized quiche.
Having not weighed myself in 5 years, it was a shock to realise that I had put on three stone – and a real bugger when I discovered that cutting back on sweets was not going to shift it. For two months I stuck to a junk free diet but I only managed to drop three pounds. So, then I got fed up and began to accept that this was the beginning of a journey towards unavoidable fatness and poor health. My waistline was already more than the maximum recommended for women, and I was officially in the ‘overweight’ section of the NHS charts. Dramatically, I announced to my family that I was on a one-way road to stroke, heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
But then, one evening, having just stirred a pint of double cream into my Muller Light Yoghurt, I saw ‘the advert’. The ABS gym in Dumfries was looking for forty ladies who wanted to ‘transform their bodies’ in six weeks. Well, as you can imagine, I fell over myself begging them to ‘take meeeeee’. And they did.
On 15th May, the six-week challenge officially began! Alongside a ‘detox’ one-week meal plan, we attended three evening focus sessions to tone up and burn those calories. During this first week, I also bonded with my fellow group buddies – a fabulous mix of ages and stages and all of us raring to go.
I can tell you though, that there was no easy introduction. We started that first evening in boot camp style and we never let up for the whole six weeks.
The ‘middle’ is often the boring bit of a story, but for the six-week body challengers, it was a vital part of transforming our physical routine and our approach to nutrition.
I write, and I run my own business. Like most people I am on the go, non-stop. There is little chance that I will go for a walk, or attend a gym at a time of my choosing. For years I have tried to ‘make time’ to take up physical exercise but it’s been all too easy to let it slip off the priority list. The three focus sessions did exactly what they were meant to! They focused my mind on turning up and working out at 19.10 on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. They got me into the exercise habit, so much so, that I even attended extra classes! Crucially, the focus sessions acted as a constant reminder that this was a two-pronged approach of exercise and nutrition.
Oh yes – and, by the way, I actually LOVED the classes. I like the circuits-based approach, not least because the time flies in and, when I finish, I know that I truly have worked every part of my body! For the first time ever, I looked forward to fitness classes instead of trying to find excuses. In the whole six weeks I only missed two sessions and both of those were for unavoidable reasons.
As for nutrition, this has been a revelation. A lot has changed since the last time I went on a health binge twenty years ago, but I have discovered that it is so much easier to eat healthily these days! I thought it would be a faff, but it was simple to buy and prepare the sort of foods that our bodies appreciate.
I was amazed at the variety of recipes we received from ABS and how tasty most things were. I became a changed woman – saved by egg white pancakes, smoothies and stir fries. And the joy of discovering whey powder! How did I manage to reach this age without knowing that this stuff tastes like an ice cream drink! Why did nobody ever tell me that I can mix it with frozen berries and cottage cheese and kid myself that I am eating a pudding!
I was right to put my faith in this body challenge programme – but I was wrong to assume that it would be torturous. To my amazement, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it.
The End – Or Is It?
And so, the six weeks of fitness and nutrition training have come to an end. It’s been great but, I wasn’t there just for the fun of it. I was there for a reason, hence it is time for me to reflect on who I am, compared to who I was when I started.
I am still a hormonal, middle aged maniac but I am only greedy for the right foods. I am far less of a snorer and a farter than I was, so I put this down to a thinner neck and better digestion! The morning anxiety which has plagued me since I was a teenager, has subsided into something which does not require a daily battle. I have more energy and I do not hit afternoon slumps the way I used to. This counts as serious progress! I won’t lie about the midnight snacking though. Even as I write, I am thinking about the jar of roasted almonds downstairs in the kitchen but at least it is not a tiramisu!
Appearance wise, I have lost 10 lbs, 2.5 inches from my waist and 1.5 inch from my hips (god but those hips are stubborn). I have dropped from size 16 to size 14 and my body fat has decreased by 2%. Apparently, I have cheek bones again too.
No wonder then, that I want to keep hold of these benefits and develop them further! Like most of my group, I have chosen to stay on and do the twelve month LEGACY programme. I am looking forward to it and I am chuffed that I get to stay in the company of all the great people I have met so far.
I am also delighted to be continuing my journey with ABS. Robert, Lou, Kyle and Sion are brilliant coaches and fabulous motivators. They have been incredibly attentive both inside and outside the gym. The group’s facebook page is extremely interactive and is constantly updated with new information, tips and check ins. No matter how many questions are posted, someone from ABS answers with remarkable speed. If the six-week challenge is anything to go by, I have every faith that I will indeed look like Jenifer Aniston in twelve months time. No pressure there then!
That’s all for the six week challenge blog – but the fun doesn’t stop here! A new monthly blog will start in July to chart my progress with the Legacy programme.