I shall let you into a secret- I used to be fat. Fat is a term I use loosely being, like most of us my own worst critic, I was carrying a couple of extra stone around for emergencies. After the birth of my second child I was left with some unnecessary weight to flush out with the disposable nappies. So began the fight to become a healthy weight and one of those annoying people who spends their time doing things like cycling, hiking and gyming it.
Three years later and I have achieved the above. Let me tell you another secret- there is no secret, there is no magic pill, there are no wonder foods or hard core work out which will guarantee a six pack in six weeks. There is hard work, determination and inspiration. Here's what worked for me-
Breastfeeding- Breast milk isn't best, it is key. Key to not only producing the healthiest baby you are able to bring up but also key to shedding excess baby weight, burning calories and pulling in your over-stretched uterus. Don't be fooled into think you need to eat more, stop eating for two and the fat will fall off.
Eating well 95% of the time- Gillian McKeith (crazy yet informative) would be proud of my kitchen supplies. You will find nothing in my home which could potentially lead to a binge. I am an all or nothing kind of girl, give me a square of chocolate and I will buy six tubs of Ben & Jerry's, without any sugar in my diet I will not miss it or desire it. Eveybody deserves a treat, and I save the unhealthy foods for eating out and holidays. Don't buy it and you can't eat it.
Exercise- I am a runner. It doesn't matter how far, how fast or how often you run just put on your trainers (and a good sports bra) and head out. There is no excuse, if you want your body to change and burn fat then you have to work it. I love running, man there are times I could throw in the towel, where every sinew in my body screams at me to stop but I have never finished a run and regretted it. Everybody starts somewhere, my first run took less than ten minutes to complete and about two days to recover from. Remember, there is always going to be somebody fitter and faster than you, don't compare yourself. There is also always somebody fatter and flabbier. This is your race, you against you.
Know your limits- Accept who you are and be realistic. I too could have a six-pack if I was able to work out for hours every day, had some surgery to remove excess fat and lost another two stone (which would make me 8st for my 5ft 10" frame by the way) but is this realistic? No. I have work to do, children and a house to look after, a life outside of vanity. I also have (dare I say the forbidden words) stretch marks which no amount of diet or exercise will EVER remove. Accept who you are, your body shape and size which feels as good as it looks.
Find Inspiration- We all need friends and family who inspire and support us. My husband keeps me fit, we work out together once a week, one of my best friends runs marathons and does athletics, regularly flashing her perfect abs (sod) and this is what keeps me going.
Life is a challenge, fitness is a huge part of this. If you manage to juggle both then one will extend the other. Stop making excuses and searching for quick fixes, you don't need to loose weight or tone up before starting a work-out programme, just get moving. Remember this is your life, your body and your race. The biggest challenge you will ever face is the battle inside your mind. Have determination, have drive, loose that weight and live that life to the full. Don't look back with regret, look forward with a desire to be a better you.
Eye of the Tiger.