At the end of last summer Cathy got in touch to book me for a fitness photo shoot. We met up over a coffee near her Notting Hill home and chatted about what it was for and what she wanted from the photos. Cathy had been on a life changing journey into fitness.
"In 2009 I decided that I wanted to lose weight - after moving to London six months prior, the abundance of food combined with the stress and loneliness of moving countries, my weight had started to creep higher and higher. The next few years were tough, I had great success physically with my obsessive counting calories and fearing salt, sugar and fat. Eventually the habits slipped and the weight started creeping up again, but this time I did not have the energy to commit to the calorie counting. At the time I was training for my blackbelt in kickboxing, I was training 5 times a week and eating lots of protein, which helped a little. After achieving my blackbelt, I stopped training as much and started to relax my eating goals."
"Another year later and my weight crept up, again I wanted to lose weight. Like most people, I was intimidated by the amount of information out there. One person said don't eat sugar, another swore by the paleo diet, another said the only way was to go vegan. After a year and a bit of struggling, I came across Precision Nutrition - it looked costly but ideal as they offered both nutritional and workout guidance. I did some research and noticed that their finalists looked really trim and happy."
"Like many people, I thought I wanted to lose weight. I believed that age old belief that if I lost weight I would be happy, perfect, complete. It is exceptionally hard in today's world of photoshop and instagram posts, to remind ourselves that we don't have to have abs and the perfect gym routine to be happy. I now keep fit and stay healthy for other reasons, to feel strong, in control, live a long and happy life with minimal aches and pain."
"Ultimately I feel like I've lost my old self and became a stronger, happier, more optimistic version of myself. I am proud of every tiny achievement I do, I am content with the food choices I make, I don't freak out if I eat a piece of chocolate, I feel accomplished every time I finish a workout, even if I am the last person in the class."
Cathy's top tips:
What was really hard?
"Changing the inner dialogue in my head - it takes courage (and time) to really look at your life, challenge why you make certain food or fitness decisions and then try to change them.
I broke my comfort eating habit by every time I wanted something to eat, I challenged if I was really hungry or just bored/upset/happy/distracted - it was really hard to remember to do it every time but, eventually, it became habit. It is hard to break out of the 'I must do it all or nothing at all' routine, just do what you can, when you can and as often as you can."
You can keep up with Cathy's progress on her blog.
If you want a something to aim for with your fitness goals, why not book a photo shoot to keep you motivated. My prices start at £110. Contact me here, or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org