People who have followed me on social media over the last year may have noticed I have changed my lifestyle from over-indulgent weekends to Friday nights spent in the gym.
I’ve had a few people ask what I have done differently over the past year to have lost weight fast and kept it off. Here is my weight loss journey from start to finish and I’m hoping sharing these brave weight loss before and after photos will inspire other people to transform their lifestyle.
Here are my before and after shots.
I’ve gone from a size L to a size XS with some really simple lifestyle changes.
Deadlifts before and after results:
Before eating healthy meals for weight loss
I’ve always been short and curvy, but for years as a teen I wanted to be skinny and shapeless, so every summer before my holiday I would starve myself on 600-800 calorie diets and do lots of cardio. Then when that got too hard id go back to eating unhealthy takeaways and not entering a gym for 11 months in which I would put lots of weight back on. I had a bad habit of yo-yo dieting and it was an unhealthy damaging cycle.
My early 20s I tried weight loss pills on and off, I lost 8lbs in one week dropping down to 8 and a bit stones when I was working as a personal shopper. This made me really ill. I looked gaunt and all the features I hated about my body looked so much worse. I would lose it off my boobs and my bum but keep my curvy frame and just look genuinely shapeless, untoned and boyish, not what I was aspiring to look like at all. As soon as I stopped taking them I would put so much weight on. They have awful side effects of making your heart race and intense headaches. They do so much more damage than just having some patience with your body. There is no secret to weight loss.
“The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat healthy and exercise”
What made me change my lifestyle?
At the end of 2015, I was going through a breakup and I was genuinely feeling so rubbish about myself and needed a goal to concentrate on.
At this point, I had been doing yoga and the occasional road run (on and off) for the last few years but I was really unhappy when I looked in the mirror. I naturally have a wide waist, big bum and hips and tend to gain weight in these areas the most.
I had no upper body strength, belly fat and no idea what to do in the gym. But I joined my local gym and started reading fitness blogs and YouTube videos, in my spare time.
How did I start to lose weight and build muscle?
A friend of mine had been using Kayla Itsines workouts and sent me a PDF of weekly workouts to follow. This was an x3 a week mix of legs and bum, arms and abs and all body works outs that you would do as a circuit and repeat. (As you can see, Its changed up a lot now)
Click images to enlarge- These are examples. Please download the Kayla guide from her website.
This really helped me get into the exercise habit. I wasn’t walking around the gym looking lost, I had a routine to stick to and I did it for 12 weeks.
I will admit I didn’t do them all religiously 3 times a week for 12 weeks, but when life did get in the way, I didn’t let it put me off, I didn’t give up and go back to not exercising.
When I had one bad week of being lazy and busy, I told myself I’m human not a machine, and I’m new to this and losing weight fast or working out every day is not a healthy option or one that has worked for me in the past. I gave myself a pep talk and thought just enjoy the challenge and saw it as a hobby.
After working out for around 12 weeks at the gym starting at 2-3 times a week. I still wasn’t seeing the results I wanted on my stomach. My glutes had started to grow and I was feeling a little stronger from adding a few light weights into my routines, but I knew I could push myself further now, the reps were getting too easy and I wasn’t seeing gains as quickly anymore.
I started to do deadlifts and squats and I remember feeling so proud of myself for reaching 30kg sets.
But I needed to shock my body further. I needed a flatter stomach. I’d started dating someone new and obviously wanted to look my best. From watching youtube videos on how to get a smaller waist and how to drop belly fat, I started to research into HIIT training and that people had gained amazing results. Burning fat but keeping muscle.
I added fasted (early morning before eating) HIIT training once or twice a week into my routine.
What happened when I added HIIT routines to my workouts?
“HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time.” – Huffington times
As soon as I woke up, id head downstairs, have a black coffee, put my waist trainer on and do Joe Wicks HITT 20 minute workouts.
This is when I really saw results.
After 12 weeks
I stopped using Kayla and I changed my routine to:
2 days of 20 minute HIIT Training
3 days of weights. (some days I would do both on the same day as my goal was to lose fat)
I started to educate myself on eating better, more protein and fewer treats. I dropped down from a large to a size extra small within a matter of weeks.
I felt so happy with my figure for the first time in years! I got the bug for working out and enjoyed spending my time in the gym. I even went on dates with the guy I was seeing (who is now the boyfriend, Anthony I enjoy posting on social media constantly :D) to workout and train together. Most of all it had started to become fun!
He helped me start lifting heavier weights until I could match my body weight in bar weight for 15 rep squats. It became a routine and I looked forward to going to the gym.
7 Months into my healthy lifestyle plan
By this point I had finally finished my second degree, I was working full time at a marketing agency and absolutely loving life. Me and Anthony decided to book a holiday to Ibiza with some friends and I was on a holiday countdown, just the same as every other year.
I put so much pressure on myself to look perfect. I neglected my weight training and went into full cardio mode as that’s what my head told me I needed to do to prep for a holiday. I was running up and down stairs daily. Attending 3 spinning classes a week for 5 weeks and eating very little.
The week came for Ibiza, my stomach looked great, it was the leanest it had ever been, but my legs had lost all shape and muscle. My butt had taken a vacation elsewhere and had completely disappeared, and I genuinely look back at photos now and think I looked too skinny and shapeless due to overdoing the cardio and not eating enough. This style of diet and exercise does not work for me and my frame, and I’m glad that this happened so I could finally realise that 100% isn’t the way for me to look my best or enjoy working out.
I was overtraining and id become obsessed with losing weight and looking at the scales.
Cardio 2016 (Week before Ibiza) vs Weight training 2017
Because I had been so strict with my diet and exercise, I went off track when we got back from our holiday. My overtraining habits had made the gym feel more of a chore than a pleasure. My hobby was no longer fun but I was still making myself go.
Me and Anthony moved in together, life got in the way, cheat meals became a daily occurrence and I lost my routine at the gym, my heart wasn’t in my workouts and I wasn’t pushing myself like I was before.
So over Christmas until spring I was feeling frustrated that I had lost my rhythm.
I was still working out at the gym every week 4-5 times but my diet was terrible, and I was kidding myself thinking I could just work out and eat what I wanted every week and not gain a sneaky few pounds.
This is when I realised I was overtraining, I needed to cut back the days in the gym and rethink my plan.
1 year into my diet plan for weight loss and muscle gain
7 weeks ago, I started my new diet plan with http://www.mindandmusclefitness.com/ to tone up and push myself to the next level I wanted to achieve.
I wasn’t over weight and I was still happy with my weight loss achievements but I wanted to feel extra confident on my holiday in Mykonos. The previous year i had worked hard but in all honesty, it had happened really easily. I hadn’t punished myself or kept my diet that strict since the previous summer, so I wanted to see what I could achieve if I did use a nutritionists advice and stuck to it.
I didnt want to make the same mistakes as before. My goal was to tone up and keep muscle, not lose weight and overtrain.
Kyle gave me a nutrition plan, that I had to eat 5 meals a day, all high in protein meals every 3-4 hours and weight training 3-4 days a week. Stairmaster 30 minutes a day 1-2 times a week (same days as weights).
I honestly cannot rave about this service more. Kyle pushed me and encouraged me when I felt like I wasn’t seeing any results quickly, because Anthony was (he is a freak of genetic nature and leans up super quick) after 3 weeks I started seeing amazing results.
I lost 8lbs in body fat in 5 weeks, gained muscle on my shoulders, back, bum and legs which allowed me to finally reach my goal to make my waist look smaller. I toned up in all the right places just before my holiday rather than losing weight off the wrong spots, and I genuinely felt great. I wasn’t hungry and the meal plan was really nice (this is not an AD, we paid Kyle for the online service).
Here are my 6 weeks before and afters (day before we went on holiday)
I still have another 5lbs – 8lbs to lose before I’m at my goal weight/shape and I always want to push myself to look the best I can. I am far from perfect and I still have far to go, but the difference in using a nutritionist service, meant I stuck to my plan. I was never lost for what to eat and when. Having to send before and after photos weekly meant if I had cheated, you could physically see it and that helped me to stay focused so much more than the scales.
I’m still using http://www.mindandmusclefitness.com/ service and will be until I get to the goal I am setting myself, but I just wanted to share my story after I had appeared on the Huffington Post last week talking about my love for HIIT training and my weight loss journey.
Anthony’s progress for any guys that read my blog. (Im trying to get him into vlogging too!)
If you’d like to read my Huffington post article that inspired this post click on the image below.
Please share your weight loss journeys with me!
If you have any questions please comment below and I will answer them as soon as possible.
Which work out method would you use from the ones I tried?
You can see my weight training work outs here
(video coming soon)