Chief Nikki’s Transformation – Part 6

Well, I’m a little shocked to say the least. But in a good way.  A very good way.

As you know I have been easing myself in to this transformation journey of adopting back my old healthier habits. I have slowly been getting my body used to exercising again, up to a level where I am pleased to say I am now able to complete a ‘normal’ (albeit basic) workout once again. And I have been chipping away at one small change at a time with my nutrition so that my body has had a chance to slowly adapt to its new fuel, and to give myself some time to get used to new ways of thinking again.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with how things have been going. I knew it would be a slow starter, but at least I have generally stayed on track by continuing in the right direction.

I have to admit that the passion for exercise is returning. I think when I start to feel capable of performing basic movements again, and when I start to feel some little bits of strength returning, then I get somewhat excited that the effort is starting to pay off, and the ‘new old me’ is on the way! So, I feel I have now overcome that mental and emotional barrier of ‘exercise effort’ that was standing in my way. Hooray! Onwards and upwards.

With regards to food, as you know I’m not an all or nothing kinda gal when it comes to changing eating habits. I need to take things slowly or it simply overwhelms me and I don’t stick with it. Therefore, I have been having bits of junk, or the odd treat (see the last update post for example!) and have also had the odd glass of wine or two! BUT I have to stress that I DON’T see this as a failure. I accepted from the very start of this journey that I wouldn’t be completely cutting these things out, because I wasn’t in serious training for a competition deadline or photoshoot, and I wanted to be able to LIVE while taking on this journey, because the most important aspect for me throughout all of this, is that the changes I make can be SUSTAINED – and I’m simply not going to be able to do that if I tell myself (i.e. lie to myself) that I’m never ever going to have birthday cake or a glass of wine ever again in my entire life! That’s just not realistic at all and I’m simply setting myself up for failure, and then the inevitable onslaught of guilt that will follow.

That being said, something clicked in me last weekend. Despite feeling that things were going in the right direction, I felt that now I had a hold of this journey with both hands, I wanted to ‘up’ things a bit. I needed a push to take it up to the next level and make sure I didn’t either fall off the wagon, or let things trickle along at an effort level that was below my capabilities. However, and very importantly, I had a good chat with myself, and I made a deal with myself that if I set myself higher goals for the week ahead and it didn’t work out, then that was ok. I wouldn’t beat myself up about it, or throw in the towel. I would simply acknowledge that the time isn’t quite right yet to push ahead, but I would congratulate myself for the positive action of being in that mind-set of thinking that way, and I would just slip things down a gear or two back to where I was – because after all, I was doing grand, and improvements were coming anyway! So with that pact made with myself I decided to step the exercise up and tighten up on my nutrition to see what happened….

Now, as you probably know, I’m not a fan of only concentrating on scales, and rigid goals, and numbers….basically only ‘quantifiable’ results – it’s a much bigger picture than that for me. It’s about how you FEEL, about your confidence, about your happiness, and about how in control and healthy your life is due to the amazing efforts and dedication you choose to put in to it every day, which benefit not just you, but those around you too. That being said, I decided, that if I was really going to dig deep for a week, then I was curious to see if there would be any change in those ‘numbers’, that would correspond with how I was feeling: so I measured myself – to the great delight and humour of my daughter who thought measuring my ‘fat tummy’ and ‘big butt’ was a very random and hilarious thing to do! Which I suppose it is.

My workout level increased with heavier weights, additional exercises and muscle groups being added to my routines, and the all-important cardio HIIT sessions for fat burning. Boy they were hard. But I have missed them. And although I couldn’t breathe for quite some time afterwards, I was elated that I actually managed to do it again!

I became more conscious of the quantity of food I was eating, as well as the quality of food I had been choosing. I tried to reduce the junk right down (but not eliminate!) and cut right back on any unnecessary food or drink even going near my mouth! My main meals were heavily bulked out with green veg – lots of it – and I tried to minimise refined carbs such as bread, sugary foods and pasta. I struggled with reducing my beloved cheese – but I did it!

I knew it was working when yesterday I felt something sticking in my side – ummmm – yup, that would be a muscle! Holy cow, where did that come from! I also noticed that my shoulder and arm looked a funny shape – yip, that weird bumpy look was muscle definition starting to form again! I haven’t seen that in quite some time! But I really felt things had started to change, when, simply put – I jiggled less when I jogged!

I’m obviously more than aware that losing weight on the scales doesn’t necessarily mean you are losing body fat (for many reasons it could be water, or muscle, or simply a different time of the day!), and therefore on its own this isn’t a good indicator of body fat reduction. Likewise, the scales could remain the same, but what weight you may have lost in body fat, you may have gained in muscle. So you can see how numbers on a scale can be misleading and demotivating if the whole picture isn’t taken in to consideration!

However, with measurements I knew that no matter what, I would be aiming for my body to be smaller. I knew I would never want (or be able to) replace all my lost body fat with muscle gain, and therefore a reduction in body measurements will mean, in my eyes at least, that things have started to work!

So when I felt less jiggling in my jogging, and more strength in my day to day tasks, I decided to get the tape measure out again. I knew it had only been a few days, and was still a few off when I had intended to re-measure, but I wasn’t taking this super seriously and I was just curious to see if the numbers matched how I was feeling about my body changes.

Well, blow me over with a feather. In just 4 or 5 days, I have lost 2.5 inches off my stomach. Yes, TWO AND A HALF INCHES! Yeah, trust me, I’m as surprised as you are. I knew I was making positive changes this week, and I knew I was working harder – but I was enjoying it and I wasn’t sacrificing everything in my life. It hadn’t felt like an enormous amount of effort. And THAT’S the KEY. That’s the secret to establishing long term healthy habits and maintaining a balanced lifestyle – when the actions that were once great ‘effort’ become natural and enjoyable ‘habits’. I’m living proof to myself today, and hopefully to some of you who are reading this and who may be in those difficult initial first weeks, that it DOES eventually kick in. So stick at it! Positive change is only round the corner.