Those of you know follow me on twitter will have no doubt seen various images of meals which I have been cooking recently in an attempt to be a fitter, healthier person.
During the Christmas holidays, Martin Lewis appeared on BBC Radio 5 in order to talk fitness, and explained that the majority of people who take out a New Years Resolution to become fitter, spend vast amounts of money on gym membership, and only go once or twice.
I am ashamed to be one of those people. In the year 2010/11 I took out Gold Membership at the University gym and went a handful of times, however it wasn’t as bad as the year after. I am embarrassed to say that in 2011/12 I took out a years membership at Manchester Aquatics Centre and didn’t go once, not a single time.
To be honest I can’t remember how much each membership cost, and even if I could I probably wouldn’t disclose it as I would probably never live it down, however this year I was determined to be different.
Many of you will know that I suffer from Crohn’s disease, a condition which (as well as other things) affects the bodies ability to absorb the nutrients contained within the food, which in my case meant it was hard for me to gain wait. Traditionally this meant that I was underweight, and as a result, found it harder to not catch colds, sore throats and other illnesses.
This all changed when I started on my current medication Adalimumab, or Humira for short. This form of medication was taken by injection each week, and had the effect that my doctors had wanted, I put on weight.
However I found myself going from being underweight, to borderline overweight and to my surprise when I visited my consultant asked him about losing weight.
It was of no surprise his response, eat healthier foods, and do more exercise – who would have known that these could help you lose weight!
That afternoon I did my research and looked up local gyms. The nearest and cheapest around was (believe it or not) the one in the Hilton, run by LivingWell. In my youth I had been quite a strong swimmer, so finding a gym that had a pool in was vital, and something which LivingWell had.
Another fantastic part of living well was the ability to get personalised fitness plans free of charge. Not only that they could be revised free of charge each month, so that your progress was monitored and activities changed. This was perfect as I knew that if I had a program set out for me, I would stick to it.
I joined LivingWell in the first week of January 2013, and each month put in my calendar between three and four gym sessions a week. Being a student I am fortunate enough to know what I am going to be doing ahead of time, so thought if I have sessions already put in my routine, I am less likely to not go.
Two months in and the results have been fantastic, I have lost around 14kg (2st, 2.9lb) in weight and have noticeably more energy. Whats more, my suits are fitting better and I have more confidence (although I’m sure most will say that I didn’t really need a confidence boost anyway!).
Exercise was only part of the mix I also revised what I ate. I was shocked to find that bread contained around 110 calories a slice, meaning a cheese sandwich which could be eaten as a snack could contain upwards of 375 calories. Therefore bread joined the list of items which I had cut out all together. Other food items were chocolate and crisps, another weakness of mine.
I also started to cook more of my food, and make extra so that I could take it to uni for lunch. Wholewheat pasta/spaghetti and pesto with low fat feta cheese for lunch, tuna steak with boiled potatoes and carrots for dinner, would be an example of a days meal.
The biggest shock to me was that cooking healthy food didn’t really take that much time especially if you make more than one meals worth at a time. There was however a noticeable cost attached to buying fresh fruit and veg, but having said that a bowl of sweet potato mash is more filling (and healthier) that a fish-finger sandwich would ever be, and if you compare the cost of each, the mash actually is cheaper.
For those of you who are reading this and want to do the same, its all very well taking out gym membership and not going. It quickly becomes a ‘charity contribution’ whereby you get a good feeling for knowing you have got it, but don’t see any benefit yourself.
If you want to lose weight and get healthier, it takes common sense and willpower, so if you have both of these, give it a go, the first few weeks may be hard, but once you see results the motivation to continue increases.