You might or might not know, each year, Women’s Health holds a staff fitness challenge. The aim? To ultimately inspire you, the reader, to get fit and not succumb to the winter spread. I’ve always followed along, on social media, and in the office (I used to work for Bicycling and now for Men’s Health — titles in the same publishing stable as WH), and watched how the WH girls would smash their various fitness goals and come out the other end of winter, leaner and fitter and positively GLOWING.
Let’s backtrack for a bit.
In 2009 on 13 June, I walked down the aisle in my glorious wedding gown and felt like a queen, weighing in at just under 60kgs. Fast forward to January 2018, and bad habits, married life, and two children later, I clocked 78kg on the scale. Not only did I hate the way I looked and felt, but my health was suffering. Enough was enough. So I asked if I could join the WH team on the #WHGetsFit Challenge this year. I had to do SOMETHING. Wanita, the Deputy Ed suggested I follow the Shedding For The Wedding plan, seeing as the magazine had just hit the shelves. Shedding For The Wedding is the 12-week healthy meal and exercise plan, published by WH, designed by personal trainer Aneeka Buys and dietician Carey Anne Seady, to get you and your bridesmaids into the best shape of your lives in time for the big day. While I’m not getting married again, it is our 10 year anniversary next year and my goal is to be at my wedding weight, so it seems fitting (‘scuse the pun) that this is the programme I should tackle.
We’re two months in, and here are some things I’ve learnt along the way:
1. Hold Yourself Accountable
Yes, I desperately want to lose weight, but my main motivator is that I have publicly declared it on social media. There’s nothing like hundreds of ‘friends’ and family rooting for you and following your journey. I can’t let them down.
2. Set Yourself A Goal, With Lots Of ‘Mini-Goals’ In Between
Mine is my anniversary next year (we’re hoping to go to Mauritius so I NEED to be bikini ready). But a year is a long time, so I’ve broken up my goal into mini-goals. The first is that I want to have lost 6kgs by the end of the Shedding For The Wedding programme (that’s 1 August), then next is that I want to have lost 10kgs by 1 December, and so on. By 13 June 2019 (the anniversary), I want to be down to 60kgs and at my goal weight.
3. Having A Structured Programme Is Key
At the beginning of the year I weighed 78kg, and as of 1 May (when the Fitness Challenge kicked off) I weighed 75.2kg. I had managed to lose 2.5kgs in four months. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great (yay me!), but it was HARD. Following a structured programme gives me focus and keeps me motivated. And I am seeing results much quicker than if I was just winging it on my own.
4. Stuck With The Kids? Get Them Involved!
My husband and I take turns on weekends to exercise/watch the kids. On Sundays it’s his turn to ride and I’ve got the kids. Aneeka’s typical workout for Day 6 each week is a 500m run, followed by various moves, times five. So I decided to run around our cul-de-sace twice (which is exactly 500m fortunately), and then do the moves in my driveway. My daughter waits for me and opens the gate each time. I get my workout in, and have the added motivation of having my own cheerleading squad.
Have you seen #WHSheddingForTheWedding ?? It’s not just for brides to be… anyone who needs a kick-start to a healthier, fitter life can use it. @KirstenCurtis74 is one such mama. Her day started with: 500m around the block, followed by jump squats, mountain climbers and planks with rotations (X5). Four weeks into the programme and she’s starting to see results! How are you staying motivated through the cold months?! #WHGetsFit ????
5. Consistency Is King
I have to admit, it took a long time for me to start seeing results. But after eight weeks of consistent training and following the eating plan, I am really beginning to see results. (I’m down 4.5kgs and am starting to see my biceps!)
6. Celebrate The Small Victories
Pushups and renegade rows are my nemeses. Until this week, I have only been able to do pushups on my knees. But I’m proud to say, yesterday I did three sets of five pushups in a row! (Aneeka would be proud). Renegade rows however… we’ve still got four more weeks to go so watch this space!
7. Even If You Can’t Exercise, Don’t Give Up
At six weeks into the programme, I was struck down with a multitude of bugs, which only rest and meds could fix. I was the bleakest person that I couldn’t hit my workouts that week. But I stuck to the eating plan and am pleased to report I still lost 0.5kgs that week! I’m now back at the gym, and although slightly behind on the programme, I don’t seem to have lost any fitness. In fact, quite the opposite! (See point about the pushups above)
Get the Women’s Health 12-week programme online
Guess what guys! The programme is now online! So instead of consulting the mag each day, you can use your phone or computer to access the workouts and eating plan. You can also now watch videos of each of the moves, which is super-motivating and fun, and there are also extra recipes from Carey to add to the eating plan.
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In the meantime, wish me luck for the last month on the programme and the rest of my journey to shedding for the anniversary!