Growing (but in some places shrinking)

On Sunday morning I ended up doing something that I never thought I would do, I posted near-naked photos of myself on my instagram story. Why? because I just completed an 8 week training and nutrition challenge with WBFF pro Rachel Dillon and can honestly say I’m pretty proud of myself! 

I lost a total of 5cm from my waist, 5cm from my chest and 1cm from my hips (the booty looks good tho!) 

I’ve always had the mentality that if I trained, I could eat what I want. Don’t get me wrong, I have not been unhappy with my body in a long time and I have always enjoyed exercising. When I got back from Europe my motivation was at an all time low, so I decided to do a challenge with Rachel. I’ve followed her for a long time and her transformations are insane (@bodiesbyrachel if you are curious) which convinced me it was less instagram gimmicky and worthwhile. While I felt kind of stupid purchasing, Rachel Dillon herself is kind of ridiculous so I thought ‘what could go wrong!’ 

The program I did was the 8 week Train Like Me, which was based of Rachel’s competition prep for WBFF Pro Bikini. You got a personalised meal plan, check-in’s every few weeks and rotating workouts for $150 AUD. Honestly, I have never been in better shape in my life. I could rant for ages but instead I’m going to include 3 key take-aways.

1. I stopped being afraid of eating enough

As with 90% of females my age, I have a history of bulimia through the form of binging and purging or compensating with exercise that would have begun around 16. While my first venture into exercise allowed me to ‘justify’ eating what I wanted in my head, it was like putting a band-aid on. I ate a lot in this challenge which I struggled with at first.

My macros were 1900 cal but packed full of volume foods like rice, quinoa and oats. I’ve been eating six times a day, and while I gained 1 kg I lost cm’s all over my body which means I gained muscle. Getting past the mental obstacle of being okay with feeling full was hard, but the positive results I saw confirmed I had been eating in a deficit for too long. My periods became regular, I slept better and I actually got past where I was stalling with my training. Eating more and looking better has broken the wall I needed to break – I will even be trying to increase my calories going further.

2. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone in the gym

Okay, I have this issue that I think many of us have in the gym. Where we want to take up less space, use less equipment for fear of being annoying or feeling like you don’t belong.

This challenge required me to super-set (basically following exercise sets one after another instead of completing all rounds of one exercise together) When I first saw this I thought ‘nah – I can’t do that it’ll irritate people’ But then I went in and did it, I made space for myself and told myself I had as much right as anyone else to be there. When I had to use a machine or do an exercise that I wasn’t used to I thought ‘Can’t do that, I don’t want to look stupid. I’ll sub in something I know’ but then I went in and did it. I’ve always hated cardio but then I went in and did 3 x a week and actually, dare I say it, enjoyed it? This challenge has broken every wall I had put up FOR MYSELF. It gave me the push I needed to go up to the barriers/walls I had built around myself and with a gentle push they were gone. Challenge your assumptions, you can do it

3. I actually learnt about nutrition

While I was given a meal plan on this challenge, I pretty quickly switched into tracking my own macros in order to have flexibility over food. This meant I needed to know about how much carbs, proteins and fats were in foods, whether there was gluten, lactose or sucrose/glucose. While this was initially overwhelming, I feel like I now have a great understanding of portion control and what is necessary and what is overkill.

For the last 8 weeks I have essentially cut 90% of refined sugar, gone 90% lactose free, reduced my gluten intake and I feel 100% better. I am definitely not lactose intolerant, but my body runs better on plant based milk (less bloating, less heaviness.) Watching my refined sugar and fat has also gone a long way. This challenge gave me the chance to experiment and second guess nutritionally what I have always assumed for myself and for that it was invaluable!

Overall I am so proud of my results and will definitely be repeating the challenge workout and food wise (with a little more flexibility, a girls gotta live, a girls gotta wine) and would definitely consider doing another more weight based challenge with Rachel.

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