When I decided to start eating healthier and exercising a few months ago, it was so I could feel better and hopefully not as tired all the time. I didn't really expect my body to change that much - and one of the main things I said at the time was that I didn't want it to! After being on the small side for a very long time, it was nice actually having boobs and a bum, what I didn't realise was how much everything else had changed too.
I was feeling a little down yesterday because I weighed myself for the first time since starting my new healthier lifestyle 6 months ago just to find I'd actually put on weight, and I'm also in the first stage of an IC flare up which means a super bloated tummy, so I was feeling all kinds of gross. But when my aunty mentioned how I looked like I'd lost weight, I remembered I'd taken pictures back in September when I was just starting to exercise/eat better, so thought I'd take new ones to see if there was any difference. I genuinely couldn't believe the results.
I never in a million years thought I'd ever have actual before and after style weight loss pictures, especially not so soon! I also never expected there to be a big enough difference to share the pics - so please excuse the underwear ha! I had no idea my body had even changed at all, but it's so amazing to know all that hard work has been worth it, and all the times I've cried trying to do push ups wasn't in vein.
The main drive behind changing my lifestyle wasn't weight/body related at all. I was just sick of having so much IC pain all the time because of my diet, so decided to start cutting out everything overly processed, full of additives and just generally anything that made me feel bad. One of the main things I cut out in the beginning was meat, and while that was more for ethical reasons, almost immediately I noticed a huge positive change in my health. I instantly started feeling better, but more importantly eating better. By cutting out meat, I was a lot more aware of what I was actually eating and making more of an effort to ensure I getting enough fiber, iron, protein etc through my food choices. This has meant a lot more fruit and veg, and just actually preparing meals from scratch rather than ordering in all the time (although I still have weekly treats!). I've also cut out caffeine, chocolate and fizzy drinks because they just weren't worth the pain, and knowing it all means less IC flare ups means I never really miss them. I'm now in the process of cutting out milk and switching to dairy free where I can, which is definitely making me realise I actually really enjoy cooking! It's been so exciting trying so many new different things, and I can't wait until I'm brave enough to start sharing what I make
Exercise wise, I've had to be very careful and build up slowly since if I overwork my body, I'll get an IC flare up. It meant when I initially started doing the 30 Day Shred in September, I spent 2 months doing it without weights and (despite what Jillian Michaels says) taking breaks when I needed to. I'm still on Level 1, but now I can use 1.5kg weights during the full workout, without stopping or missing one rep, and tend to do it twice in a row a few times a week too. I try to do it at least 5 days a week, and I've also started training for the Great North Run (very, very slowly!), which means lots of walks and hopefully from this week onwards, I'll be able to start running too. Going from the only exercise being my walk to the fridge and back to working out pretty much daily the past few months has left me with so much more energy! One of the main parts of my IC that tends to get me down is how fatigued I feel, so knowing by eating better and exercising I'm slowly getting more energy makes it 100% worth it.
I still have a long way to go, but it just goes to show that numbers aren't everything and you don't have to eat less, just more of the right things!