Se7en’s Blog: And Suddenly We Are In Week 6

Se7en’s Blog: And Suddenly We Are In Week 6

Time has flown and we are suddenly in Week 6 of the Healthy Weight Programme at The Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

Realising how far we’ve come

At the halfway mark of the programme, we were rewarded with a T-shirt. I tell you I earned it and was so incredibly pleased to receive it. And then in week 5, we finally hit the big time and entered into the part of the gym where most folk work out, “the real gym,” with real machines. My very first gym day, way back in week zero, was spent in that section of the gym and to say I was a little over-awed was an understatement. I saw the intermediate class doing things that I never would have thought possible for me to do, and I was quite glad to wave that part of the gym goodbye and work out on the blue floor, away from the madding crowds, for a couple of weeks. 

Initially, I thought we were relegated to the blue floor because perhaps we were so very out of shape. That might have been true, considering I could not do a single crunch properly and had never even heard of a plank before… but in retrospect it was just the sort of “school” we needed. A little to the side, with elite athletes doing crazy workouts beside us, we weren’t totally isolated, but we were given the space to learn exactly how to do gym properly. The first half of our eight week course was definitely all about getting us moving and at the same time mastering new techniques. I am so grateful for that now, when we head for “the real gym” we can actually pick up weights and do things with them, without making complete fools of ourselves.

It’s not only about the number on the scale

Meanwhile, this is called the Healthy Weight Programme and week-by-week we stand on the scale and then whoever weighs us says, “Don’t worry about your weight… you have to consider all the things you are changing.” Well weight loss was never my goal, though it would be an added perk, my goal was to move a whole lot more and I am certainly doing that. True confession, my weight hasn’t changed dramatically at all, so luckily it wasn’t my goal. I have to say that with a biokineticist, a dietitian, a sport psychologist and a sleep expert always on hand, you can’t help making a heap of changes to your life. Maybe we should just call it the Healthy Lifestyle Programme.

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Health is a lifestyle

Some of my lifestyle changes I never planned or expected at all… honestly when I joined the programme all that I could focus on was getting to gym three mornings a week and hopefully surviving that. I was not even thinking about changing anything else… it all kind of happened around me. I am a slow and steady kind of person and I firmly believe in small, incremental steps… but it turns out that everything is so interwoven that you have to sometimes make big changes all at once. Not because it sounds like a good idea, but because you realise that you have to. 

For example, in order to cope with the early mornings and the workouts, I very quickly realised that an afternoon nap wasn’t going to help with the ensuing fatigue and the time had literally come to take my dreadful sleep habits in hand and address them head on. The first step to realising just how bad my sleep habits were… was a sleep diary and this was done at the same time as a food diary. Well appalling sleep habits are one thing, but I quickly discovered that I am the worst kind of cook and that I taste everything the entire time I am cooking. So snacking while I made dinner meant for a really heavy evening meal and I sleep so much better without that. So I have had to sleep better to get to gym, I have had to eat better in order to sleep better… and because I feel so much better with all the good quality sleep, I am able to work out better. It all fits together…  

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Don’t be afraid of the workouts

Let’s talk about the workouts… because let’s be honest that is the most terrifying part of joining the Healthy Weight Programme. The reason being is that it is so obvious. People can’t see what we eat, they can’t see when exactly we sleep… but they certainly can see us workout, it’s right out there. I can honestly say the workouts are hard, but not too hard… they are difficult aspects in every class because we are always learning new things, but we are helped all the way and I am doing things that I absolutely never ever thought would be possible.

Somewhere in my head I had quite simply told myself that I would never run again, let alone jump and I firmly believed that because I had had a couple of kids that I had no stomach muscles at all… this is just not the truth. Turns out in week 4, when our biokineticist told us we should run around the track, I thought I would give it a try. I am no svelte athlete, trust me… and my entire class laps me every time we stand on the track, but I am actually running. Running (might look like shuffling), but running!!! This is beyond my wildest dreams… when I said I wanted to move more, I was hoping to be able to tie my shoelaces with ease and I had no ambitions of running… well it turns out that running was just a stepping stone to the next thing. And the classes go on, and we learn new things and I can’t believe how much I enjoy it. Not to mention, none of my clothes fit because I have completely changed shape. 

The bitter-sweet ending

I can see the end of the programme in sight, we have about two weeks to go, and I am sorry because I have absolutely loved it. The changes that are going on in my life are huge. I am actually sleeping more, eating better, and working out far harder than I ever imagined I could and doing things that I thought I would never do again. I can feel muscles when I am just sitting in a chair that I thought were gone for good… (and I can race my kids up the stairs!!!). So while I cannot guarantee massive weight loss in the Healthy Weight Programme, though that has to happen if I keep this up, I can guarantee that your lifestyle will change significantly, and for the better. I am never going back to “never enough sleep” and “not nearly enough exercise” again. Things have changed for the better and I am sticking with them.

Previous Posts in this Series

Many thanks to The Sports Science Institute of South Africa for providing me with this opportunity to join their Healthy Weight Programme in exchange for honest blogging along the way.

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se7en

Email:  se7en@se7en.org.za

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