I’m Hatty, I’m 30, I LOVE fitness and literally cannot imagine my life without it. I go to nearly all of Anna’s classes and lift at least 3 times a week on my own in the gym.
However, this has definitely not always been the case…
For the first few years of secondary school I played netball and rounders religiously and loved both, I was active and enjoyed sport. As I got older, and by the time I reached sixth form, I played less and less and eventually not at all. For a good few years my fitness life was non-existent, I went to uni and the only lifting I did was of wine glasses and pints of cider!
In a vague attempt to sort ourselves out, my housemate and I joined the uni gym, I think it was something ridiculous like £10 for a year. Equally ridiculous, was the fact that during our 3 years in Leeds we went to that gym less than 10 times and when I studied for my PGCE a year later, I didn’t even entertain the idea of joining one!
One January, once I was back in Teddington and had started my teaching career I decided that there HAD to be some form of fitness I could like again. A friend and I committed to a one-week trial at our local gym and decided to try a different class every night, surely there would be at least one that we would like?! After a week of various classes, we decided on a Tuesday night Zumba. It was fun, we liked the music and we didn’t even feel like we were exercising.
Having committed to our new regime, we were actually disappointed that we couldn’t make our class one week, however, all was not lost and Katie found that there was another Zumba class on a Saturday morning, we could try that instead. Impressed with ourselves that we would even entertain the idea of exercising on a Saturday morning, off we went! And that was when my fitness journey completely changed… the Saturday morning teacher was Anna, and we couldn’t believe we’d been going to the other Zumba class when we could have been doing this! Meeting Anna changed my fitness journey forever. And for that I am eternally grateful. Her passion, enthusiasm and motivation was, and still is, so powerfully inspiring and motivating that we were hooked. Fast forward a good few years and here I am, HIIT, Body Tone, Clubbercise, Booty Blast, Hype Dance Fit, Zumba, Rave Tone, BASSbox and lifting regularly in the gym. Who would have thought?!
But the journey that I want to share with you, doesn’t just involve exercise… it involves my relationship with food.
Unsurprisingly, once I stopped playing sports at school, became less active and my body continued to change as I grew up, I discovered I couldn’t just keep eating what I wanted whenever I wanted. I distinctly remember a conversation with my Mum where I told her that my lovely long pale blue skirt (brilliant fashion sense clearly) didn’t go straight down anymore and had started going out at the sides and that my skin had started popping over the top of my jeans. Cue a long chat from my mother. Shortly after that I became the girl who didn’t really eat very much and tried to live on the odd lettuce leaf and bowls of soup. Needless to say this didn’t pan out well, partly because I felt so horrendous and secondly because I just missed food too much. Again, I remember a discussion with a friend, where we decided what the solution was… eat as much as you like and then just throw it back up to get rid of it. Again, so not the right solution, but hey, it was working, so why not?! Luckily for me there were people in my life who helped me to realise that this was not the way forward, and to anyone reading this who is there or has been there, know that there is so much support out there and there is a much better way.
I got back on top of things and was dieting my way through life, flitting from one thing to the next, but mostly consuming a low number of calories as I’d decided that was the way forward.
Once I had upped my fitness game I started chatting with Anna about food and nutrition, introducing the idea of macros to my life. When I sent Anna what I’d typically eat in a day she told me that it wasn’t enough, that my metabolism would be too slow and that it wouldn’t have the desired effect. I thought she was ridiculous. However, given the way she’d changed my attitude to exercise I thought I best at least humour her idea, after all, I had asked her to help… !
I followed Anna’s advice, and hooray, it started to make a difference in a way that my own ‘dieting’ never had before. However, I took it too far. I became so obsessed with my macros that I would weigh and calculate EVERYTHING. I became the girl who would cry in my classroom because I didn’t want to go out for dinner because I couldn’t google the menu, so it wouldn’t fit in my macros. I became the girl who would go out for dinner and eat my food in Tupperware on the train before I got there….
Then finally, on my fitness and food journey I reached a happy medium. I started to understand more about the function of macro and micro nutrients and the different ways you can get them in to your diet. I understood more about the importance of protein and how my body responded to carbohydrates and fats. But most importantly, that I needed ALL of them to be healthy, to lose weight, to optimise my workouts and to move towards being in the shape that I want to be. I started to see food as a fuel for my body and realised how much of a difference I could make.
When I need to, I still count my macros, but not in the same way. I have a cheat meal, I have a glass of wine or a cider… or 5 if I want to, but I don’t do it every day. If I’m too tired I skip a morning workout and I let my body rest. I go out for dinner, I spend time doing what I want to do with the people I love and I don’t let macros rule my life. Having counted my macros for a while, I’ve reached the point where I can actually eat intuitively without tracking everything and still be pretty much hitting them. I continue to learn more every day, including the fact that I am currently cutting on 500 more calories a day than I was cutting on this time last year.
My journey has been LONG and it has taken me years to get my head around it all. But I promise you, if I can do it, then so can you. Both fitness and having a healthy relationship and understanding about food have transformed my life.
I am a healthier and happier version of myself inside and out, ‘being healthy and fit isn’t a fad or a trend, it’s a lifestyle’.