When I (re)joined Les Mills (New Zealand’s leading gym) in July this year, I was 93.3 kg. Over the past four months, I have lost over 20 kg. My goal was to be able to participate in the YMCA 10k summer series in the Auckland Domain every Thursday, which I have achieved thanks to support from my PT, a young girl called Alice at Les Mills in Howick. I also benefitted from some training sessions with Alice’s brother Dan, who is also a trainer at the gym, while she was on holiday.
I have Type 2 diabetes, but I have been able to get my condition under control through diet and exercise. Losing weight has made it easier to manage my blood sugars and my last HbA1c test was very good. My GP didn’t recognise me when I last saw him and was so happy with my progress. He said I definitely don’t need to be on medication for diabetes, which made me very happy.
Recently, I hit a bit of a plateau and progress has somewhat slowed down, but since embarking on this journey, I have never actually gained weight. I have fitted training around two injuries (neck/tight trapezius and a sore wrist/tight forearms) and being busy around the garden (which hasn’t helped my injuries). I would like to lose another 10 kg but haven’t set a time frame. I managed to get myself out of the danger zone for diabetes and my overall health quite quickly, so I’m content to continue to chip away at my weight at my own pace, no matter how long it takes. Now that it’s spring, I have been doing a lot more in the garden. The extra activity has made me hungrier. As a consequence, I have been consuming more food. With my current injuries, I don’t want to exercise more as it will make things worse. I just need to be careful that calories consumed don’t exceed what I expend, so I can continue to lose weight.
A lot of people have asked how I managed to lose so much weight in a relatively short time frame. The truth is that there was no fad dieting or excessive exercise involved. I generally do an hour of exercise every day, which also helps me control diabetes. My injuries restrict what I can do. At the moment, I do one 10k run (the race) and one PT session per week; the other days I just go for a walk. There are a few revelations I have had along the way that I would like to share, which might be useful to others who are struggling to lose weight.
· A lot of it is in the mind. In order to lose weight, you have to develop the right mind set. It took me awhile to get to this place
· It mostly comes down to food. As the saying goes, you can’t out train a bad diet!
· You need to be disciplined with exercise and have self-control with food
· You need a calorie deficit in order to lose weight (logging my food intake and exercise with My Fitness Pal has helped me achieve this)
· Gym staff are very willing to help you, but first you have to want to be helped and you have to be prepared to help yourself
· PT has helped me tremendously but what matters most is what you’re doing and eating outside that time. While some trainers may be a better fit than others (personality, specialisation etc), everyone at a gym like Les Mills is highly qualified and deserves respect. If people are not making progress, they can’t blame someone they see for only an hour each week!
Remember that you’re a person, not a machine. Your fitness journey doesn’t operate in a vacuum. You have to live in this world, go about daily life and have relationships with others. It’s not quite as simple as energy in, energy out. People have feelings. External factors such as stress and sleep can affect your weight. Travel can disrupt your routine. Injuries can inhibit movement. But by developing sound eating and training principles, it really is possible to shift excess weight. If I managed to, so can you.