In the journey to transform myself from Couch Potato to Wonder Woman, the first step was to get off the couch.
What did I do?
I cannot stress enough how important it was for me to take it slowly to begin with. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve resolved to be fitter, healthier, more active – only to set myself a grueling gym routine straight off the bat I had no hope of maintaining. Of course, I’d read online that you should take it slow at the beginning, so you don’t get too sore to continue, blah blah blah – but I was different, right? Wrong.
So what was “easing into it” for my first month? I started with yoga.
Previously I’d hated yoga. It was boring. It was slow. It was pointless and irritating and I couldn’t care less about chakras and “self”, I just want to be bendy, dammit. Then I found this.
I can do this. I like plans. I like revolutions.
So I started yoga. I roll out of bed and onto my yoga mat at 5am every morning, listen to Adriene’s voice tell me what to do and get bendier.
I’m not quite at #yogagoals instragam levels yet, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be. But what I do know is I can touch my toes again. Last night I put my head on my knees. My back pain is easing. I don’t feel as stiff, sore, old and creaky as I did a month ago. My balance is better. I’m sleeping better. I feel like life is a little more manageable.
Oh boy, I’m hooked on yoga.
After the first couple of weeks, I started adding more yoga – before bed to wind down after a big day, and after a hike to stretch out my legs.
I used to hike a lot. And I used to hate it. I was dragged along by an ex when all I wanted to do was play Sims in bed. Sure, the views were great, but was it worth it? No. Not at all.
Living in the city has absolutely been a contributor to my sedentary lifestyle. I don’t even have to take the bin out, there’s a garbage chute in my apartment. I often feel an urge to get back out bush where I grew up, so I though hiking would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone, and not in the literal avian murder sense.
My first attempt didn't go so well:
But I followed it up strong, made a Facebook group, filled it with other people itching to get out of the city and now I go hiking every single Sunday. Last week's hike was a 20km 5 hour adventure featuring 119 flights of stairs. Whenever anyone suggests catching up for lunch now, I suggest a hike instead. It's working.
I'm not "sporty". I can't really hit things with things in a way that enables the other people involved to enjoy themselves. But I'm playing tennis, and I'm getting better at it. Aiming for a session a week, it's turning out to be more like once a fortnight.
What did I eat?
In order to transform myself into a real life Wonder Woman, I took the advice of Australia's very own Thor.
You thought I was kidding, didn't you?
As well as my cardio sessions, he sorted me out with a weights routine to complete at the gym I'm still terrified of using. But the real life changing thing was the food advice. Instead of reducing calories, he has me eating more - almost 1000 calories more, every single day.
But what I'm eating is good food, with the right balance of protein, carbs and fats - "macros" I have to fulfill on a daily basis. I use MyFitnessPal to count them.
This is a list with examples of "good foods" I can eat to fill these macros:
- Coconut oil
- Cheese (yes!)
- Flaxseed Oil
- Dark Chocolate
- Lean red meat
- Lean poultry
- Milk & Cheese
So that has meant food like this:
Was I perfect? No way! I slipped up, I ate a pallid Ikea "hot dog" and it was GLORIOUS.
It's worth noting this was in the early days though, and the thought of eating either of this thing now makes me feel a little ill. Weird.
So...do you have any results?
I lost a grand total of *drumroll please* 1kg. One. One solitary kilo. After daily yoga, grueling hikes, tennis, cutting out all junk food, no cans of coke, no cake on "cake day" at work - one kilo. 1000 grams. And even though losing weight wasn't the goal, it's still demoralising to put in all that hard work and have the scale laugh in your face.
Then, this morning, I took a progress photo and measured myself. Well, my husband took the photo, bleary eyed and from bed at 6am. It's not my greatest modelling work, but it does tell a story. The "before" picture" is on the left, by the way.
I lost 2cm from by bust, 4cm from my hips and an incredible 7cm from my waist. SEVEN. I went down a pants size. My watch is loose.
More importantly, I feel more capable in my body. I don't feel like I'm on an awful downward spiral. I feel more confident in my ability to reach my lifelong goal of living to 150.
Continue with "The Plan" but start turning it up"
- Strength (I've just started, but I'm lifting!)
- Flexibility (Toes reached! Head on knee accomplished! Who knows what's next!)
- Endurance (I can hike again!)
- Eating food that fuels me (Getting real good at this one)
- Killing a man with my bare hands AKA badassery (A definite work in progress)
Now's the time to get over my fear of people staring at me at the gym while my weights get heavier, keep up the yoga, extend my hike and build up the speed a little, continue eating good, fresh, real food, head to a martial arts class, and start throwing axes (you think I'm kidding, don't you?).
You can follow along, even join in, with #couchpotatotowonderwoman on Instagram. Speaking of which, check out these legends:
How cool is that! Until next month, Lifehacker.