2016 was a tough year for most of us, but of course, we each have our own different reasons as to why. For me personally, at the end of 2015 I was in a really good routine: I was finishing up a year of consecutive BBG, running every second day, and strictly following a very low-carb diet. I was in a serious relationship, and my boyfriend at the time was overseas, and the majority of my friends were away on holiday. Basically, all I did every day was work, and work out. Although I was at my lowest weight ever and had a rockin hot bod – I’m not quite sure if I was actually… happy.
And then, long story short, 2016 happened. As if all at once, my boyfriend and I broke up, and work started quieting down after a crazy busy season time. My shifts per fortnight just about halved, and I wasn’t tied down to anyone or anything: suddenly I was free as a bird! Going to bed at 10 to go for a run in the morning before work became much less appealing than going out jolling with mates and staying over in town. I think that because I was so strict in my routine for so long, when I strayed off the straight and narrow I didn’t just stray – I completely moered off the bandwagon and very nicely rolled all the way to the bottom of the hill – and landed on my butt in a very fat heap.
On the one hand, 2016 was one of the most fun years of my life to date. I was on my gap year, and even though I still worked the whole year through, I went out SO much and made SO many awesome memories. Being properly single for the first time in ages encouraged me to get out there, get out of my comfort zone, and meet new people. It also allowed me to spend more time with my friends, both old ones whom I had drifted from, and new ones that I picked up along the way.
But on the other hand, my routine was stuffed. I was too tired to get up early before work and do my BBG; my healthy eating went completely out the window. Terrible weather arrived all too soon, and I even wrote a lovely lengthy blog post about how petrified I was of a “fat-kid winter.” Freezing cold and rainy mornings stunted my beach runs, and joining the tiny gym nearby didn’t help either, as it had funny hours that clashed with my work schedule anyway.
Believe what you will, but in 2016, I picked up over 10kgs.
I went through an existential crisis minimum once a week, saying “cumaan Rox, this is IT” – literally every single time. The last straw was never the last straw – unless they were chocolate straws, and of course in that case it was eat the whole tin, and then ask Granny for more (because Granny never says no, ever.) I experimented with different eating plans: I did high-fat, I did low-fat, I did alternating protein days, I did intermittent fasting, I literally counted every friken carb down to the last chia seed. I stopped BBG, I re-started BBG, I started cycling, I stopped cycling, I joined the gym, I stopped going, I started running longer distances, I got lazy and got over it. The only thing I managed to do consistently without fail in 2016 was: drink copious amounts of wine, single-handedly keep the extra large packets of blue Doritos on the market, and (to humour my dad) have a fight with the scale every single morning. Oh, and to all my mates reading this, I have two words: DRUGS BREAD.
Looking back now, I have mixed feelings about 2016. I really and truly had an absolute jol; but now, a month down the line in 2017, I’m STILL suffering the consequences of my choice in lifestyle. But, of course, as one does, I have managed to learn from 2016 and implement it into my 2017. Somehow amidst the chaos, I’ve managed to isolate the things that I really did enjoy, and that worked, AND FRIKEN TRIED TO STICK TO THEM!
Although I’m lightyears away from where I want to be, I think I might have FINALLY figured out my balance. Although in 2015 I was at my lowest weight ever, I was all work and no play. In 2016 I was having such fun, but I was never truly happy because I knew my body was deteriorating, fast, and I hated myself for it. By figuring out my balance, I decided to set a realistic goal for January: lose a KG a week. I know I could’ve done more, but it got off to a bit of a rough start. It is what it is, and at the end of the day I’m just glad I at least accomplished what I set out to do.
With all of that (and the kitchen sink) being said, I have compiled a list of things that helped me reach my goals, and ultimately, find my happy.
TRY NEW THINGS
As I mentioned previously, throughout the year I experimented with different types of exercise. After realising that the gym I had joined was useless, I closed my eyes and very painfully signed my life away to the goldmine which is Virgin Active. At that stage I was too scared to venture off into the weights section, so I faithfully went to gym twice a day – and only used the cardio machines. In November, a smaller (cheaper!! hooray) Virgin opened walking distance from my house. Because it’s new, it’s fancy and sparkly and pretty, with new classes and new equipment. I decided it’s now or never, and I put my name down to try a Grid class. Long story short, I absolutely fell in love – to the extent where I actually planned my day around fitting as many Grid classes in as possible, and the instructors basically became my besties.
The Grid encouraged me to try the exercises on my own, and I slowly but surely grew in confidence. Now I have no problem being in the weights section at all, I actually really enjoy it.
STICK TO WHAT WORKS
Once you figure out what you enjoy – stick to it. This counts for exercise as well as food. From my various food experiments throughout the course of the year, I have settled on a low-carb, low-fat diet, that’s high in lean protein while still allowing for the correct amount of fibre. The combination of pedantic carb counting and the theory of the Dukan Diet has lead me to fasted training in the morning, with a late breakfast of 10g chia, 10g ground flax, 10g cocoa powder, two scoops (28g) of low-carb low-fat protein powder (I use Evox,) mixed with boiling water, and for late lunch I have 60g long stemmed broccoli, and 40g trim Mayonnaise mixed with around 150g shredded chicken. Those are my staples that I do every day, but my snacks and coffees and in betweens vary from day to day, as long as they’re within reason.
FIND YOUR ROUTINE
First and foremost, BBG is fabulous because it forces you to get into a routine – plus there’s the added bonus of what feels like every female in the entire world suffering through it with you. In other news, you may or may not know that I have recently started a new job; with it came a new routine. I am extremely lucky that my bestest best friend not only now lives 5 minutes down the road from me, she also succumbed to me convincing her to join my gym. What with her also starting her new job this past week, we now are able to have our own little routine of 5AM gym and catch ups every morning before work. Unfortunately I STILL manage to be late for work (seriously??) but we’re working on it! Starting tonight I’ve decided that meal prep should be part of my evening routine rather than my morning one, so as to give me a few extra minutes (so that I don’t have to rush and drive 80km/hour.)
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS
I weigh myself at the same time every single morning after waking up and write it down in my diary. By also keeping track of what you eat and what exercise you do, you will eventually be able to see a pattern. Ultimately, you want to combine the food and exercise that make you lose the most weight – that you enjoy the most. Keeping track of everything is also a good way of holding yourself accountable, and I can definitely recommend downloading the free app, MyFitnessPal.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE
In order to have a happy, healthy body, you can’t only fixate on food and exercise in isolation. Adequate water intake is extremely important, as is getting enough sleep. Your body needs rest and recovery time, and this is especially true if you’re doing strenuous exercise. And, of course, you need to make time for having a jol, and fitting in a cheat meal (or day… oops) here and there as well.
It took changing jobs, changing boys, changing gyms, changing lifestyles to figure it out, but at the end of the day, I’m extremely grateful for the journey and what it’s taught me about myself. It took me a WHOLE YEAR to do, but once I found my balance, I finally found my happy. And believe you me, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a really, really long time.