My name is Lauren, I’m just a typical, average, every day kinda gal. Except, I had a serious problem and I didn’t even know it. Allow me to elaborate, it’s the end of 2018 and all of us could have agreed it was a cracker of a year! 2 days after the Christmas food feast, I looked in the mirror and realized that I am as wide as I am tall… I remember looking down at my little size 4 feet thinking “how on earth is this round body balancing on these little things?”. As impressed as I was by my balancing act, I realized then and there that this is a problem. A big, fat problem.
You should know, I am a foodie at heart. I started off my career as a chef before somehow tripping, stumbling and then diving head first into the exciting world of large scale event production. I love eating. When I’m happy, I eat! When I am sad, no surprise there, I eat! When I am stressed, I binge on sugar when I am bored, (not that this emotion comes up very often being in events) I nibble. That is me and pretty much the foundation of my personality – I enjoy cooking and love eating! Of course words like “Kale” or “Chia Seeds” where not a part of my vocabulary at all! Ever!
At this point, I have established that I am Lauren “squared”, defying gravity by somehow being able to balance this weight on my lil’ feet. While pondering “how did this happen?”, I put all the pieces together and the fact is, I am an extremely busy business woman, I am married, trying to keep a home AND I am the mother of a toddler – I just don’t have the time to be healthy. I don’t have the energy to “exercise” (again, another word that did not feature in my life!). I am literally in survival mode, all day every day and at 1.54cm tall, weighing in at 86kgs – something was either going to pop or give way!
Something I need to be very clear on, when it comes to exercise – I have always been a “does the glass really even need water” type of person rather than a “the glass is half full” type.
While sitting on the couch after another evening’s festivities with some form of snack in hand watching “From Not to Hot” it hit me. If Mama June can do it – the least I can do is try. My husband looked at me and said, “if you are going to do this, you must do it properly and with a trainer”. At this point I need to mention that I have had 6 failed attempts at getting into shape. It’s like my body is made of memory foam! It just keeps going back to its original shape of being round.
Turning to Google, as we do these days for all our big decisions, I did a search for the nearest gym and the nearest aesthetic clinic to me, pulled their contact details and sent an inquiry to both. My thinking was, whoever responds first will be the route I take for attempt number 7. I won’t lie, in my heart I was hoping the reply would be from the aesthetic clinic… I want quick results with little effort, however, the end of December is not exactly a busy time for such things and lo and behold, situated a mere 2.4kms from home is a Virgin Active and as luck would have it, I got a super speedy reply from them. Much to my disappointment, I had made a deal with myself that the first reply I got will be the route I go so I need to see this through and off I go to sign up for a membership.
Knowing that I have failed so many times and my husband’s smart idea of getting a trainer that will “not take my nonsense” as he so politely put it, I chatted to a very friendly sales person at the gym who suggested that if I am serious about getting into shape, I need to train with a guy by the name of Glenn Scully. My heart sank to the bottom of my very large belly as I thought to myself “what on earth are you getting yourself into this time Lauren”.
Before meeting this man who is going to help me, I have already lined up a bank of excuses as to why I can’t do certain exercises.
I have arthritis in both knees. I have a repetitive strain injury in my right arm from too much computer work and most awkward of all – I have lumps in my breasts that are extremely painful.
There is such a stigma attached to personal trainers, I was trying to figure out how I am going to do this “exercise” thing with all these health challenges?? Can I speak open and honestly about what’s wrong with my body with a person I don’t know?? AND oh my gosh, my work schedule is so unpredictable. Our latest brain child, “Concepts in Motion” is a brand new business and is just getting off the ground at this point and needs my full attention! It felt like I was standing at the base of a mountain that I didn’t know how to attempt to start climbing and became despondent before I even started.
Before the new year had rolled in, my phone beeps and it’s a message from this Glenn chap, my new “personal trainer” getting me to commit to our first session before 2018 has come to an end! I remember thinking uh-oh, this just got real… I’m in trouble!
I did my first few sessions with Glenn and thought this man is out of his mind with some of the exercises he had me doing. Goodness me, I couldn’t even touch my toes at this stage because my tummy was so fat and here this guy has me picking stuff up and pushing stuff and lunging and squatting and and and. He believed that I could do it even when I didn’t believe in myself. Always with a gentle nudge to just keep moving, just keep going and just show up.
Glenn specialises in nutrition and helped me figure out which eating plan I should follow and be able to stick to. In the first few weeks, he checked in to see how my meal prep was going and got me through the challenges I was facing with getting the right food into my body. My inner fatty is starting to die of neglect as I have not even as much as licked an apple since the first week of January when we established Keto was the way to go. I had to adapt to using words like “green power shot” and “celery sticks” – yikes!
He tailor made exercise programs for me that included circuits, HITT workouts, steady state cardio, boxing as well as strength and conditioning plans. No two sessions are ever the same which is really great as that way, I never know what type of “torture” he has planned for the day’s session. I think we are going one direction and then BAM – he hits me with some or other exercise that leaves me contemplating the purpose of life.
Needless to say, my health issues got in the way and I had to suck it up and tell Glenn of my very personal breast issue which I chose to keep under wraps. Without batting an eyelid, he made sure he understood what it was that I had, without causing me any embarrassment and adapted my workouts immediately by reducing from high impact to low impact training. I was very worried that the low impact training would be less of a workout but he has me burning over 1000cal a session! It was so simple to just speak up and be honest and left me feeling so comfortable and confident that we can do this, knocking the awkward “personal trainer stigma” out the park!
As the weeks passed by, the kg’s started falling off. With his support, I went from “oh my gosh, how am I going to pre-plan 4 sessions in a month” to “let’s smash 3-4 sessions a week!”. I set targets for myself and with each of those targets, I attached a reward to it. Some big and life changing, others small but really mattered to me on my personal quest to bettering myself. Week after week Glenn and I engaged a celebratory high 5 when I reached another goal, although there were some sessions that left me wanting to high 5 his face, the scale does not lie and I keep coming back for more.
When my busy work schedule gets even busier and I am onsite working through the night on a product launch or awards dinner or off to another country to execute an incentive program – I tend to put on weight. Glenn custom designs an exercise program for me to make sure I don’t fall completely off the rails while travelling.
A little weight gain here and there does tend to happen and to not get discouraged by this weight gain and as a reminder that it is an absolute privilege in life to be in a position to be able to pick and choose what to eat, knowing that there are so many hungry people out there – I make soup. Hearty, wholesome, veggie soup and donate it to a local soup kitchen in the Honeydew area.
6 months in and I am now sitting at 23kgs down with another 7 to go. My breast issue is persisting and pestering me more than ever (to no fault of my training and weight loss) but I have had the most amazing realization after meeting with Professor Carol-Ann Benn that if I could succeed at this full life style turn-around with these challenges – how many ladies out there are struggling to take that first step of taking control. Struggling because it’s too hard, they are too busy or it is just too painful.
With this in mind, I decided to start a blog – sharing my experience, my challenges, my research on what to wear and what not to wear when training with a breast issue and very importantly – partnering with the right professional. I invite any and all ladies struggling with motivation to get started to follow me and contact me via my blog and let’s journey together!
Please don’t get me wrong, exercise and I have not fallen in love with each other. Some days, I have to dig so deep to get in my car and go train after a busy day at work, knowing that there is a long evening as a mom ahead and more often than not, I have to trick myself that before I even realize what has happened, I am standing next to Glenn punching a bag and swearing like a trooper!
I share this information to empower other women in the hopes that some may be inspired to step up, throw the first punch and keep fighting.