My Weightloss journey and the road to self acceptance

Hey, hey! Long time no speak. Busy busy as per. Anyway, I have been getting so many questions regarding my lifestyle, workouts, what I eat, how long it took me to lose weight etc. I thought answering some of these questions would be a perfect way to kick off this new series. Let's get cracking.

Progress - 2012 - 2014 - 12 to 9.5 stone (168-133)
I want to get straight to the point and will be 100% honest with you - there is no pill, no juice, no shake, no ab toner, no waist trainer that will change your body almost instantly. Companies sell these products due to our insecurities. Most do not care for your health and exploit the fact you are not happy with your body to make money.

Want to know what will work? Water, a healthy, balanced diet and getting off your butt. It may only be three 'simple' steps but I know they can be difficult but persevering and finding what motivates you is key!

For me it began with wanting to be slim and beautiful. Within a few months I learn't that being slim did not mean I was beautiful and it certainly did not mean my body was healthy. An initial weight loss of 14lbs (of ~35lbs) came from depriving myself of food. I deprived myself of essential micro- and macronutrients which our bodies utilise to run efficiently. My sanity was slowly disappearing, I did not love my body anymore than before. I went from feeling ill from overeating heavily processed foods to feeling lethargic and weak due to not eating enough, my body was in meltdown, not to mention I turned into a hermit and became very moody - something that everyone around me suffered from. This could have easily turned into an eating disorder and I realised this.  I knew I had to lose weight and maintain a healthy, active, lifestyle not just to be content with my image but to give my body exactly what it needs, so this became my focus; to be healthy.


When you are happy with your body you become a poser, nothing wrong with that ;)

Balanced diet.

When preparing meals I use fresh ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible. By doing this I feel I have more control over what's going into my body rather than having to read through food packets to look for anything to avoid. By no means does this mean I avoid fast food totally or never go out for dinner. Balance is essential to keep your sanity. I personally hate counting calories as it is something I have done in the past and to be honest if I had carried on I am 99% sure my eating habits would be highly disordered by now. It's a massive trigger for me, I literally cannot count any numbers; calories or macros. This may work for a lot of other people but it doesn't for me and by preparing my own meals I can control exactly what nutrients go in my body without having to weigh or track anything.

I keep my meals varied to stop me getting bored and jumping off the wagon. However, I'm a creature of habit and there are a few 'go-to' meals I enjoy - banana pancakes will honestly change your life and a notable mention to overnight oats which have saved me from grabbing a croissant on the way to uni many times. I also make my favourite meals healthier. Burgers are definitely a weakness for me, I will go out for a gourmet burger occasionally but making them at home is also fun and I can use healthier alternatives. By doing this I am also more likely to ditch the chips and prepare a huge salad instead.

Like many people I have a love-hate relationship with vegetables. I force myself to eat them because I know they are good for me and I have also become a fan of juicing! I use juicing in addition to my usual meals, not as a substitute, to boost my intake of vitamins and minerals. Juicing removes the fibre from both fruit and vegetables so you may find that you get hungry quickly after. You also need to be aware that juice is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Juicing only fruits can cause spikes in blood sugar, thus resulting in unstable blood sugar levels. A way of avoiding this is to use more vegetables. For example, I will use four vegetables and one fruit, such as an apple for a hint of sweetness. On the other hand, blending to make smoothies will retain fibre and therefore produces a steady release of nutrients into the bloodstream, avoiding blood sugar spikes. In my opinion both are great. You can get more veggies into a juice but smoothies are fast to make in the morning and will keep you fuller.

Moderation really is the key to a healthy lifestyle (the word diet is non-existent in this blog :P). If you want to have a treat then go for it. You will be more likely to participate in a full blown binge if you deprive for ages, leaving you feeling sick, upset and angry at yourself. There is nothing wrong with indulging from time to time. Just make sure the majority of your intake comes from fresh foods and that you moderate fast foods, high calorie soda etc. A diet high in fruit, vegetables, lean meats, grains such as quinoa, along with nuts and seeds is my personal preference. 

Get Motivated.

I used my health as my main motivation. Think of what's going on inside. Your organs need fuel to work to their best. For example, proteins have many roles in the body - they repair body tissues, are essential for structure and function of our cells (notably the red blood cell), aid the immune system etc. (Would you like a detailed post of this? Let me know in the comments below!).

There is also no better feeling in my opinion than knowing your healthy habits are rubbing off on others around you, whether it be a stranger on the internet, your other half, best friend or family. 

I think a lot of us can say that we started out admiring others. Mainly celebrities and glamorous, 'toned' (I hate this word...), ripped, tanned, beautiful girls and guys on social media. Although this can be highly motivating I honestly think it can also be poisonous. I hated my body and in the end looking at other peoples bodies made me want to look less like me and more like them. Something I would never be. 

We are all unique, our bodies prefer to store fat in different places, some of us have wider hips creating curves and some have naturally slim stomachs. The list of differences is endless and It's only because of the media that we suddenly feel one body shape is superior to the other. I can remember as a young girl that small bums were in. Something I didn't have and to be quite honest I probably never will. 2014 was the year of the booty. It was all about a big butt, little waist and curves. These are just trends. 

You are beautiful just how you are. Embrace your shape. Realise that there will be clothes that suit your body shape and that unfortunately there will be some that do not. Shop wisely and make the best of your figure both before and during your bodies change, whether it's weight loss or muscle gain. An example would be between me and one of my close friends. We have the complete opposite body shape. Clothes that suit her shape do not suit me and vice versa. Her body is 'petite and narrow' and I'm curvaceous with wide hips. Does this mean one is more beautiful than the other? Absolutely not. Focus on your body and not what everyone else's looks like - unless you are complimenting them, then go ahead :P


Writing positive quotes on my mirror always perks up my state of mind! <3

Move it.

Let's get down to what is probably the most hated part of the healthy lifestyle - exercise! For many of us the thought of exercising is daunting. It's hard work, it can be boring and it takes a lot of effort to move from the sofa watching Netflix than it is to go to the gym or to go for a run. I am not expecting you to go from zero exercise to 6 days in the gym. Not at all. Just move.

Get up, go for a walk, breath in the fresh air, feel it in your lungs and think how damn grateful you are to be alive right now. You are healthy enough to go for that walk, embrace it, embrace the nature surrounding you, the birds singing, the sun shining and know that you are bettering your health. Play with your kids in the garden, before you know it time would have gone past and they will be having their own families. Make the most of that time and pass on these healthy habits to your kids. Join a sport at school or get some friends together for a game of football, volleyball.. the list goes on. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to kick start you if you are conscious of exercising in front of others. Ultimately do what you like. Do not copy someone's workout routine if you hate it. Its not a 'one size fits all' lifestyle. We all like different exercises and which workouts you do will depend on your goals, do your research :)

I started getting more active by doing Blogilates workouts and Tae Bo. I was doing around 20-30 minutes per day around 4 or 5 days a week. May not seem a lot but I lost weight because I had gone from being a couch potato to moving, even if it was a little. I walked more, I took the stairs, got off the bus a stop earlier. It all adds up. I could do more with each workout. My breathing was better, I could keep up more and I pushed further each time. It's honestly the best feeling knowing your body is getting stronger and healthier, it gave me more motivation.

Blogilates is so upbeat, will get you motivated and enjoying exercise. I actually met the founder, Cassey Ho, in May and she was so wonderful. I showed her my progress picture (Check out my IG) and she was blown away, without her I wouldn't have stuck to exercise. Tae Bo is a little retro but is going to get your heart raising to melt that fat. My mum used to do it twenty years ago and I have also done it, it worked for both of us so check it out!

After home workouts I started running outside and a few months later joined a gym. At first I was a cardio bunny who spent forever on the treadmill and I have to admit I found it pretty boring. Then I wanted to be stronger as well as faster. I changed up my routine and took on weight lifting with a few sessions of high intensity interval training a week. 

During this I saw many changes in my body, everything looked tighter, I looked defined and leaner. I felt on top of the world everyday, I was cringey but confident, I flexed in mirrors all the time and asked my friends/family to feel my biceps (feel free to laugh at me). There seems to be this idea floating around that weight lifting makes girls bulky... it won't. In layman's terms females do produce testosterone but no where near the same quantity as males that is required for significant muscle mass. If you want to take up bodybuilding thats a different story but for the average girl, like me, this will not happen.


Forgive Yourself.

I think this is one of the most important concepts. We judge ourselves way too much. Sometimes other things are more important than going to the gym or meal prepping. Spend time with your family, study for those exams you only get one chance at, take time to recover from illness, have meals with friends, go out and party and look after yourself.

Over the past year my mental health went downhill. I needed to focus on getting better and not constantly judging what I looked like or what I was eating. I just needed to relax. For ages I beat myself up about that. That I had let myself go. That my clothes were getting tighter. That I wasn't as fit as I used to be. That I gained back basically all the weight I lost. On top of that I acquired a knee injury that killed when I walked so I didn't dare exercise. During this time I had also come back to finish my final year of University after taking time out for personal reasons. My full focus between September 2014 and June 2015 was to tackle my depression, anxiety, to let my knee heal and to knuckle down with my degree. 

It's now July 2015. I'll be graduating on the 15th. I have applied for an MSc to further my studies. I made some amazing friends over the year. I've had so much support from friends, family, tutors at the University, the medical/wellbeing team and I am in a great place. My knee is still a bit iffy and I am a little reluctant and scared to jump straight back into training like I used to. I've began going for daily swims before work at the beach to build my fitness back up. All the little baby steps will add up and I need to remember not to be so hard on myself. I'm a human. I am no where near perfect but there are positives in my imperfections and as long as I remain positive I know I will get back to where I want to be. 

Heres a picture of how I currently look. No filters, flexing, sucking in or tan. Just me. I want you to see this and to know that this is real. I've got to admit that it is a little scary posting this for everyone to see but whatever. Most fitness models are airbrushed, train for photo shoots, have loads of makeup etc and it's the same for celebrities. Different poses also make people look completely different. Let's be honest, no one is going to put a photo up of them where they don't look their best (apart from me, right here, right now). 

June/July 2015.  11.5 stone (161 lbs)
I could go on forever. The happiness of others is something I have become extremely passionate about and I have found a way to do this. If you ever feel lost, need some direction, or simply someone to rant to you can email me at h.chapmanx@gmail.com or give me a message on my twitter (@xhc__). I was thinking of updating my progress with posts every two or four weeks, what do you think? I'll post pictures, stats, a rough idea of what I have eaten and the usual rant or me trying to inspire you. I know sometimes I will be very upbeat in the posts and maybe sometimes I will come across a bit down. I want this to be an honest and relatable account of my journey to obtaining a healthy body, figure I am happy with and a stable mental state. If this helps anyone then that makes me incredibly happy! 

Much love,
Hannah


1 comments :

  1. Hannah, what a lovely, and refreshingly honest post. You have an excellent and realistic outlook on life and this post just goes to show how "real" you are. It's all well and good listening to other peoples' problems but remember, you too have people who you can talk to. You are inspiring so many girls and women of different ages by blogging, so keep it up. Always here to talk xx

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