We’ve all been there – it’s the beginning of February, the trainers lie tangled on the floor, the protein shaker remains untouched in the cupboard and the daunting trip to the gym seems so much less attractive than the frankly much closer takeaway. Those New Year’s fitness resolutions that you set just a few weeks ago seem far from realistic.
Sevenhills Wholefoods want to prove to you that getting in shape and staying in shape is very achievable without abandoning your work, your friends and family to spend hours in the gym.
We believe it’s possible to maintain a healthy life without dropping everything and completely changing the world you know. The key here is balance.
So too says Angela Cox, who even as a successful businesswoman and busy mother of two, has lost 8 stone through clean eating and exercise, after a lifetime of being overweight. By committing to a few simple rules, Angela has managed to transform her mind and body, while keeping the balance between work, family and keeping lean. She has now devised her best tips of what worked for her, proving your New Year’s fitness goals can be made so much more achievable. Read Angela’s inspirational story below:
“Transformation happens when you are stronger than your strongest excuse. You’re never too busy to begin –
“2017 has begun and many will make resolutions to lose weight and improve fitness. I did the same at the dawn of 2016 and unlike many previous failed attempts, this year I saw it through. Being a busy management consultant and mummy of two, this hasn’t been easy but though sheer grit and determination, I have transformed my mind and body and shown how to balance work, family & getting lean.
In January 2016 I weighed 101kg, had a 42 inch waist, wore a size 18/20 and was unfit and unhappy. Despite losing more than 20kg during the previous three years, I still hadn’t grasped the formula of consuming fewer calories than I was burning and was destined to spend the rest of my days Yo-Yo dieting. I’d never been smaller than a size 14 in 25 years even though I’d spent my life ‘on a diet’. I was desperate to change.
Clean eating and hard training has transformed my body & mind this year and I have lost 30kg and 56 inches, shrinking from a size 18/20 to a size 8/10. I’ve also become super fit. People have asked how I manage to stay motivated and keep focused amidst the challenges of life and as a result I’ve devised my Top Tips.
1) Positive Mind-set
A positive person anticipates happiness, success and believes she can overcome barriers. In terms of my weight I was the opposite to this, constantly telling myself I was too big to exercise and as a result I never exercised and had a poor relationship with food. I’d become conditioned to believe I would fail but I knew I could break the habits with effort. Switching my inner voice to positive mode was the critical first step and it took practice and repetition. I focused on talking to myself the way I would to others and I developed a series of affirmations which I repeated over and over again ‘I am exercising and eating well to give me the body I deserve’ & ‘I can and I am’. This trained my mind to thinking positively and has been useful in a work context too. Believing I was capable, thinking positively and being kind to myself was a very important first step.
2) Finding ‘The Why’
There is an old saying that ‘he who has a why can endure any how’. I worked out very early into my journey ‘why’ I was doing this. Why it was important. Why I wanted it so badly. I wrote it down and reminded myself of the reasons daily. I wanted to be healthier, to be a great role model for my children and for them to grow up with healthy bodies and healthy minds. I wanted to reach my 40th birthday in 2018 and be the best version of myself. I wanted to walk up the stairs without feeling out of breath and to walk into a room full of strangers and not feel self-conscious. Defining my why and acknowledging it often helped me stay focused during the ‘I want cake’ moments and helped me through many tough leg days.
3) Making the time
It was very easy to list a myriad of reasons why I couldn’t exercise. I was big and unfit so it wasn’t much fun. I got out of breath and I couldn’t find workout gear that fitted. The strongest reason not to try was the belief that I didn’t have time. I was a busy management consultant and a mummy, how could I possibly exercise?
I realised this was nonsense and by applying a tool I use often in a work context, ‘a week in the life of’ (WILO) I was able to see that I did have the time. There are 168 hours every week and I needed to find less than four of them for exercise. My WILO showed I spent more than eight hours per week watching television and using the internet so I made a decision to stop watching TV and use this time to exercise instead. Exercising at weekends meant I only needed to find three occasions on weekdays to train and this helps me balance work and lean life.
4) Goal Setting
I didn’t set out with the intention of losing 30kg in less than a year. That would have felt insurmountable. Instead I set small achievable goals which meant that I could see the progression more easily and constantly feel like I was winning the game. Initially it was to wear a dress that I couldn’t quite zip up and then to wear skinny jeans for the first time. I soon accomplished those. Alongside this I set fitness goals, achieving personal bests, using new equipment and trying new moves. I was thrilled when I managed 80kg barbell squats for ten reps meaning my goal to squat my body weight had been smashed. Setting goals is a process that starts with careful consideration and ends with success if you put in the hard work to achieve them. Small incremental steps towards a healthier, fitter, stronger me, kept me focussed
5) Daily Accountability
When you are personally accountable, you stop assigning blame and making excuses and you start to accept the outcomes of your choices. A large element of accountability for me has been to share my intentions with others. This has kept me honest and willing to succeed. I chose social media as the mechanism to share my journey creating a Facebook group, a big girl’s journey to lean. The group now has 13,500 members so when I post that I am going to do something, it’s easier to do it than explain why I haven’t. More recently I started posting daily vlogs on YouTube (link here) which help me share my thoughts, the challenges I face and my wins and this keep laser focused. The most rewarding element of accountability is that, whilst it’s really designed to help me, it actually helps thousands of others who watch and take inspiration.
(Impressive transformation – Angela has lost a total of 50kg.)
6) Preparation is critical
By failing to prepare, you are preparing the fail is commonly heard. I totally agree in this case and preparing meals in advance has played a big part in my success. Each weekend, I spend two hours cooking meals, all ingredients weighed to fit my macros and then transferred to containers and stored in the fridge/freezer. This means throughout my hectic week, I always have food prepared and this ensures the excuses that lead to poor choices are eliminated. I choose what I fancy from the range in front of me and add some green vegetables. Its freedom within a framework and it makes life easier. In 11 months I have only had a handful of off plan meals because I have everything I need prepared in advance.
7) 100% is easier than 99%
Committing wholeheartedly to a lean journey is much easier than giving 99% which can take up lots of time without producing results. I told myself I was making a choice to eat clean, nobody was forcing me to and I wasn’t being deprived. I was making a choice to transform my body and 100% effort and commitment would get me to the destination quicker. 99% effort gave rise for pitfalls, treat days could quite easily turn into treat weeks and the calorie deficit created by exercise is soon replaced with treat calories. 100% is easier because there a fewer decisions to make. This approach has helped me achieve the outcomes I wanted plus more. I never thought it possible to wear a size 12, let alone a size 8, but I have proved that 100% effort pays dividends and I will continue to apply this until I reach my goal.
8) Never miss a rep
Never missing a rep builds confidence and develops the habit of succeeding. Being honest with myself has been important. I told myself if I cheated this was only going to impact me and that by working out as hard I could and as effectively as I could, I would get the body I desired. I never miss a rep, I never miss a Monday and in 11 months I have never missed a training session as a result. I train five times a week, I train hard to get better than I was the last time. Continuous improvement is helping me to get stronger, fitter and healthier.
9) Consistency, consistency, consistency
Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in day out for prolonged periods. There are times when I don’t get results as quickly I want to see them. During these times it’s very important to remember that providing I have put the work in, the results will come. By consistently eating clean, avoiding alcohol and training hard I have lost the weight and shaped my body. By consistently practicing positive thinking and affirmations I have transformed my mind. Consistency isn’t about perfection, it’s simply about refusing to give up and I know that through being consistent I will keep & further improve my results.
10) Celebrate Success
Recognising accomplishments promotes future success and I have applied this rule throughout my journey. I’ve learnt that the scales are not a good indicator of success on a lean journey. I weigh 71kg, which is classed as overweight, yet I wear size 8 jeans and have abs developing. As a result it was important to find other ways of measuring my wins, or ‘non-scale victories’. I try on clothes, use the tape measure & photographs to see my progress. I also use my exercise journal which logs my fitness gains. Every time I achieve a goal I celebrate with non-food related treats such as some new exercise gear. Just as it applies in a work context, celebrating success on a lean journey is a good way to stay motivated to keep smashing it.
So there it is, my top ten tips to winning, getting lean and transforming the mind. I’ve already set out my goals for 2017 and I’m ready and willing to smash it. Are you?”
So that was Angela’s inspiring story – proof that you do not need to sacrifice everything to achieve and sustain the health objectives you set yourself at the beginning of the year. Adjusting your life one step at a time with little tweaks here and there makes the task so much easier, where you too can have a success story like Angela. Why not try some of these useful hints and tips to realise your own fitness goals in 2017? Let us know how you get on and share some of your own fitness tips in the comments section below.
Our thanks to – Angela Cox, A Big Girl’s Journey to Get Lean
Angela has been incorporating Sevenhills products into her diet for a while now, and this year she is on a mission to try lots of new and different foods. To see what Sevenhills Wholefoods goodies she’ll be trying and for more inspiration check out her Instagram account @coxange78 or join her Facebook community ‘A Big Girls Journey to Lean’.