March 2020 and it was announced that we were going into lockdown.  The weather was glorious and we got to work from home for a while.  I was in my element. What I never considered was the fact that I was no longer able to get out to see friends, exercise and that I would slowly start eating all of the snacks and treats that were available in my house.  When the time came to get back to the office I had not noticed the increase in my waistline.  I had spent all my time in leisure wear so why would I? 

As the restrictions lifted I was excited to learn that Mayhem Fitness was launching and that I would be able to get back to my familiar self.  I was asked if I would participate in a photoshoot for the launch and willingly agreed.  No one mentioned that we would be wearing luminous orange.  Who in their right mind chooses such a colour?  Orange makes you stand out…will make people look at you…will certainly not suit my body shape!

Mayhem fitness launched and there was a photo of me running which made me stop and take stock.  I had never really looked at myself from behind.  I don’t have the ability to rotate my head 180 degrees so why would I?  I didn’t like the photo and deep down I knew that I needed to do something, but what the hell, there was a “eat out to help out” scheme running and I certainly did all I could to help out.it was my civic duty. 

When it was announced that we were going into another lockdown I was devastated.  I remember getting really upset although I was not really sure why?  Was it that I would be couped up in the house again, that we were heading into winter or the fact that there was no way that I could deal with another round of raiding the fridge in my boredom? 

Mayhem launched a 6 week ‘slimdown in lockdown’ programme.  I contemplated it but what was I spending the money for?  I’ve lost weight before, I know what I am doing and as long as I had a calorie deficit and did some exercise then really did I need it?  Yes I did need it.  I am always full of good intentions but my motivation dissipates when things get a little hard or the scales do not tell me what I want to hear.  So I signed up. 

We had a group Facebook page, a number of recipes and the Mayhem coaches had the ability to track my eating habits.  Knowing that a pork pie is not a suitable breakfast and reporting a pork pie for breakfast are two totally different things.  I had accountability and whilst no one ever pulled me up on the foods that I ate, knowing that they could made me think harder about my food choices. 

Initially it was hard.  I felt that I fed the birds in my garden more food than I was eating myself.  Seriously – have you ever weighed out a ‘recommended’ portion of breakfast cereal? How on earth was I meant to survive on the daily calorie intake that I had set?  I checked out the recipe pack that I had been sent and realised that I did not really fancy any of the foods that were suggested so I set to thinking about why that was and summed up that there were ingredients that I did not fancy.   On the whole there were things that I could adapt and make my own.  In fact if you had ever said to me that eggs, mushrooms, spinach and tomato would be my go to comfort food I would have laughed at you. Seriously it is delicious and I highly recommend that you try it. 

As the weeks went on I found that I no longer needed to plan for the whole week and I learned the calories and the macros in foods that I was eating.  I only needed to work out what it was that I was eating the following day and making sure that I had what I needed in the house.  I also had a weekly call with Matt.  Matt is one of the funniest, supportive and insightful coaches I have met.  Whilst I knew that I could be open and that he would never judge me, knowing that I would need to be honest with myself and say the words out loud kept me on track. 

We were also challenged to hit 10,000 steps per day.  Have you ever finished work for the day and then had to go out in the cold and the wet to walk 10,000 steps.  It was hard and took ages.  Eventually I realised that it was madness!  So I broke it down.  A walk around the block before starting work, A walk out at lunchtime and then I only needed to make it up at the end of the day.  This also meant that I was back home in time to participate in one of the Mayhem virtual classes. 

Before I knew it the 6 weeks were over.  I had lost over 11lbs and 20cm.  I had a taste of what I could achieve so decided that I was going to continue on the journey.  I had all the tools in place so why stop now?  Restrictions started lifting again and I was allowed to run with other people.  I had an offer to do some intervals and running with other Mayhem members…fast Mayhem members!  I would never be able to keep up.  But I needed to see someone different, talk about something else and my running had taken a turn for the worse.  What the hell…why not?  I could give you 100 reasons why not and my mind certainly helped me with that.  I refer to these Mayhem friends as bullies.  They are not bullies but it was easier to think that I was being forced to run than admit that I needed to or even that I wanted to.  Looking back I am actually quite surprised that they continued to invite me.  I was negative, I threw tantrums and I certainly never gave myself any credit.  My mindset was shot to bits and I needed to turn that around. 

29th March as we were all allowed to meet again.  I could do outdoor sessions.  I was so excited.  At this point I had also dropped 3 dress sizes and lost 20% of my body weight.  Most of it done in lockdown and without seeing many people.  Normally when you embark on a weight loss journey its not so noticeable because you see the same people on a regular basis.  This was different.  As we came out of lockdown I received some lovely comments, I also received a number of opinions: I’d lost too much weight, I was skinny and that I should not loose any more.  Some people also asked me if I was sick.  Interestingly I am actually borderline on the NHS recommended weight scale between normal and overweight.  But what is normal?  When I started I wanted to loose a stone more than I have but I got to a point where I was happy in my own skin and decided to stop and attempt to maintain. 

Being back outdoors and with people was amazing though. The fear of working out with people crept back in and after doing months of 45 min sessions online, I worried that I was not going to last an hour now.  I appreciate that this might sound really weird to some but bootcamp has always been my nemesis.  When I first started attending outdoor sessions it took me 2 months to pluck up the courage to attend a bootcamp and before the session I sat in my car battling my mind to be able to get my body over to the start point.  I still have those nerves but was delighted to discover that actually I no longer needed an ambulance on standby for when I finished (although I do feel like I need a first responder sometimes).  Bootcamp felt easier, I could actually do a mountain climber and a sit up without wanting to throw up or feeling that my body was in the way.  I would also like to clarify that easier is certainly not to be confused with easy! 

It did not take long before Matt and John were pushing me towards a harder band and I am still not convinced that I am fully ready.  It is only at the end of a session when my heart has fully recovered and I can breath again fully that I begin to appreciate the shove.  I apologize now to those of you have had to endure my little moaning sessions and temper tantrums when I want to give up, it all feels too hard and the coach of the day is wanting that little bit more that my mind does not think is possible.  I am trying to control these moments but it is hard when you are in fight or flight mode all the time. 

So now I’m busy playing with my calorie intake, mixing up my training sessions and setting new goals.  I’ve gone from thinking that I don’t have enough calories to thinking up different foods to eat because I don’t want to have any calories left at the end of the day.  I want to increase my muscle mass, not to be a champion body builder I want to add, and I have learned that it is not going to be a fast process and certainly not as fast as it would be if I wanted to increase my body fat.  I’m still not 100% sure of my next goals but I’m enjoying thinking about what they could be and how I could challenge myself next. 

Throughout the process I’ve learned that things change and I need to accept that.  My running has improved massively (I’m super chuffed with it at the moment) but I cannot do the same weights as I used to.  However with patience and determination I will get that back on track.

I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion or a suggestion but that they are just that.  I need to do what is right for me and be happy that I have people around me that care to share their thoughts but that it is me that needs to decide if I want to take them on board. 

I’ve learned not to compare myself to others.  I used to look at others performance and always feel that I lacked.  I’ve come to realise that no one is infallible, we all have strengths and weaknesses and no 2 people are the same.  I still compare myself to others but rather than beat myself up I think about what I could do to improve and if I want to go on the journey to do that. 

I’ve also learned that I no longer know what my style is anymore.  I have spent so long buying clothes based on what they would and would not cover on my body and if the colour was slimming or not that I have no idea what styles I do like or do suit me.  Given that I am still working from home and the majority of my people contact is Mayhem, I have no one to gain ideas from.  I cannot survive on leisure wear alone…although I am now starting to embrace the orange! 

I’ve also learned that despite all of the positives that this journey has bought about, I still lack self confidence and I really need to work on my mindset.  I love the Mayhem sessions and the fact that the coaches will push you to your best.  However I have a switch that sometimes goes and you will see me refusing to do that longer run, that extra lamppost or those additional reps.  I want to be able to manage that switch or at least not beat myself up about it when it does happen. 

I’ve also learned that Matt is really clever! When he asked me if I would write a blog about my eating and training journey over the last 6 months I realised that this would be out of my comfort zone but I agreed.  I’m sat in a quiet corner of Starbucks and putting this all down has been quite cathartic.  I have had people tell me that I am doing well and I have always politely thanked them and not really taken it on board.  Now I’ve had to stop and think about it and actually tell myself that i’ve done a good job I’ve a small feeling of satisfaction and achievement.  Thanks Matt

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