If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you
So here we are, the end! How quick has that gone.
I have been writing this post in my head for the last few days (sorry it's late by the way) and there are so many things I want to talk about as well as sharing the last pictures and final measurements. One of the main things is about body image. Now, what I'm going to say is probably what a lot of us think (especially ladies), may make me sound crazy, and I may contradict myself, but as I've said before this blog is about being real and these are my thoughts.
There are so many parts to this I don't even know where to start, so bear with me.
Body image and how we see ourselves confuses me, scares me and makes me really mad.
I'll start with the confusing bit. Just before I started this blog, I came across a, erm, 'sexy' pic of me (sexy in good taste I might add, not black strip across the eyes stuff) that was taken post Isabelle and I'm not joking, my body looked amazing (and a few of my good friends who have seen said picture can vouch for that). So why am I confused you may ask.. well I was confused because I don't remember when that picture was taken, thinking 'oh my god, you look amazing' or, 'yep, I'm happy with my body'. I was shocked at the picture and would have given my right arm to look like that again.
This then happened again during this 12 week challenge. When I had comments from some of you at the very beginning about my before pictures saying 'you don't look bad' and 'I'd be happy with your before pictures', I was like really? And then even further on into the challenge, I could see the changes, but still wasn't happy. It's only right at the very end now that I can really look and say, hell yeah, I look good. However, I won't lie, I said to Esther the other day... hmm maybe my next challenge is seeing if I can change my ass (it's just a bit flat you see). So my question is, are we ever happy (or is this just me) and if we aren't why is that, is it human nature, is it just being a woman (although I know men have issues too), or is it the media...which leads me nicely onto the angry part.... (this is flowing better than I planned).
So angry... celebrity magazines, celebrities themselves, crazy 'quick fix' diets. These are what make me angry and I think these are to blame (in part) for the reason we are never happy. Air brushing is obviously one of the worst things, but I remember a few months ago and I was in a petrol station and as I was walking out (no, not the day I wanted mini eggs) and I saw on the front page of of a couple of magazines, Chantelle Houghton, who had just had a baby, running on the beach, looking, well, like she'd just had a baby, and the headline was awful (can't remember exactly, but it was something about her letting it all hang out).
Now, I know that sometimes these things are set up and it may be that it was sneaky PR for a forthcoming fitness dvd or something, but that aside, I thought, this is a mother, a female (come on where is the girl power) and she is clearly trying to do something about her body by running, so why and what gives the magazines the right to ridicule her and more than that, I imagined how I would feel if that was me being plastered all over the front of magazines to be ridiculed by the world. It made me feel sick. Surely we should have been applauding her for trying to do something positive to lose the weight. It just baffles me. I don't buy or read these magazines but I have in the past and I know that they are full of things like circle of shames and snaps of cellulite etc, so it's no wonder that we aren't happy with our bodies when the media is like this. But I know it's never going to change, and may in fact just get worse. Which then leads me onto the scared part
So yep, I'm scared, for my daughter. I can do the very best I can to give her a healthy attitude about her body, weight, exercise, food, but I can't stop her reading these magazines when she's older and being influenced by other people outside the home. She will hopefully read this blog one day and take something positive away from it, but I feel lost how to protect her from the other elements, because the magazines wont go away, stupid trends like thigh gaps wont go away (I mean come on, a 'thelfie' 'thigh gap selfie, how about a helthie, a picture of a girl looking healthy??).
I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts about the whole body image thing? Do you agree, disagree, have other thoughts? I could talk about it all day.
So onto healthy and this challenge. You'll notice that my goal was never to be skinny, I just wanted to be at my 'happy weight', no actually, it's not even happy weight because the scales don't matter. I wanted to look healthy and be happy, and that I am, thanks to the help of Esther and crucially, the support from you guys.
The last week of the challenge didn't quite go according to plan and it's fair to say I crawled over the finish line following a sickness bug which completely wiped me out. Add that to week 11 and Toe-gate and the end wasn't as I imagined.
Sick bug happened the day after I wrote my last post on the Sunday and took me and Isabelle down. Monday was clearly a write off but on the Tuesday I thought I was well enough to go to Esther. Hmm, I thought wrong. We decided to do Insanity, and oh my god we were insane. My body had nothing to offer. I honestly felt what (I imagine) you'd feel like after running a marathon. My legs were aching, my tummy was sore, urgh! We had to pull the plug early. So Wednesday was back to work after a year off on maternity leave, so needless to say, I didn't workout, same for Thursday. I wanted to give my body a proper chance to recover. Friday I did Insanity again and I am happy to report it didn't kill me. Saturday I went to Hale Country Club with my fabulous friends Vicky & Karen and we went to the gym before heading to the pool. Again, after 10 minutes on the bike and 15 minutes running, my body felt fatigued again so I just had a quick go on the rowing machine and did some abs then went for a swim. So there, that was my final week. I was owned by a sick bug.
ok ok, I've kept you waiting long enough, I'll shut my babble hole and get on with the big reveal. I'll start with the pictures.... Ta daaaar (I'm not drunk on the 12 week pics by the way, it's the camera that was leaning on an uneven surface but I only realised today when I was uploading)
Now for the stats
So there you go, I can't grumble at that can I *happy face*.
Before I end this blog there are a few things that I need to say. So is it true that 4 weeks you notice change, 8 weeks your friends and 12 weeks the rest of the world? Yes, absolutely. I know that you could all see the changes on here, but in real life, when clothed, it was like clock work when the compliments came. I found myself laughing when it happened. So if you are completing your own personal challenge, stick with it, the results WILL happen and they can happen, in just 12 weeks.
Obviously I can't end this blog without saying a huge great big massive thank you to Esther Farrington at Transform Personal Training. I don't even know where to start. She has been amazing and kept me going throughout. 12 weeks seems such a long time at the beginning but Esther has made it fly by. It's been hard, it's hurt, I've been up, I've been down, I've been good and I've been bad (oh god, don't remind me), but Esther has been a constant support and never judged me when I've fallen and been there to pick me up. I have to say as well, I have mentioned it before but we have worked as training partners throughout this whole process so everything I have done, she has done too. We can't bear to part so after this challenge we are still going to train together. If you want personal training and you're in Manchester, look Esther up. And add to that she is now a certified Insanity instructor (one of the first in the UK!) after a 8 hour Insanity masterclass (how on earth!?).
Check out all the details here on her website http://www.transformpersonaltraining.co.uk/
I also have to thank Elite Academy in Wigan and Ricky Murphy for 6 weeks of his time during the awesome 6 week challenge and Carl Taylor for pushing me during bootcamps and Get Ripped. If in Wigan, check out the facility! You can take your kids with you and leave them at Kidszone while you train, and most importantly, it doesn't cost the earth and the classes are brilliant. http://www.elitefitnesswigan.com/
Last but no means least, I want to thank everybody who has read this blog (over 5000 views!!) All the comments on facebook and when I have seen some of you, have been invaluable and let's not forget the forgiveness when I have fallen off the wagon! You have been amazing and played such a big part in me completing this challenge.
I'm really really REALLY going to miss this blog, it's been so much fun and I've loved writing it.
For now, Carrie Bradshaw of the health and fitness world, is logging off (thank you Vicki Bradley for that title).
Now go get fit!!! NO EXCUSES!!