Gym Review: EasyGYM

I haven’t updated this blog in a while because I keep falling off the ‘wagon’, and keep putting on weight. I have lost a lot of weight but it’s always fluctuated and sometimes it’s easier to focus than at other times. For this reason I have tried to go with the flow of what’s happening but after months of good living, good loving and everything else in excess, it is time to step up to the mark, get back on the wagon and firmly stay there.

Having the idea in your head is easy enough; who doesn’t want to lose a bit of weight? But having the focus to stick to it is something else. I had to think back to the past and assess what worked at a) getting me back on a healthy eating plan, and b) staying on it. I have come to one conclusion – exercise – as much as I may want (and even need) to lose weight without resorting to getting sweaty, the time has come to admit defeat and step back in the gym.

If you ask a lot of people, they will say they hate the gym – peacock men, sweaty bodies, germs and a stuffy atmosphere are all reasons why many people stay away. I, on the other hand, love the gym and always have. It’s what got me fit and active, it’s what helped me to lose weight and get my life back on track. I have nothing but lustful emotions for working out in the gym.

The problem has been that because I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome high impact exercise has been nigh on impossible. However, now I am out of the acute phase, I am actually in a position to get back into it. It is with this in mind that I joined my local Easy GYM chain and had my first session a few days ago.

 Sign up

The sign up was very easy to do. I just entered my details online and gave my bank details et voila. I was lucky enough to sign up while they have no joining fee attached, which was a very attractive offer to me. I was given a number to key in when I arrived, which would give me entry and the rest was up to me.

It is a budget chain, so you get the basics and if you want any more you have to pay extra. You are entitled to an induction but if you want individual training, accesses to classes or entertainment extras on the machines you have to pay a bit more. I received an entertainment trial with my package.

It told me to get a locker padlock myself (which you can buy inside of the gym) and a towel and to just turn up – so this is what I did.

Stepping inside

I was nervous about going for the first time, I always am when I haven’t been for a while. There was no need however, it was simple to navigate with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I got in the gates with my new code with no problems and found the changing area. There was a sign saying “no towel – no workout” which I was impressed with as many people just do not bother taking a towel when they should, me included. I was lucky that no one noticed and I was able to fully enjoy the experience.

It may be a budget chain but it seemed anything but once inside. I have been to a number of medium-end gym chains such as LA Fitness and Fitness First but the inside of Easy GYM seemed better than either of those. The building, which had just opened with the Easy chain (although it was a Fitness First prior to this) had clearly been done up with all new machines, equipment and bathroom features. I was very impressed.

Getting on the machines

I have been in gyms a lot over the years so I did not need an induction, it was just a case of getting on with my thing. The machines initially looked complicated but they turned out to be very easy to navigate and were very enjoyable to use. They had the latest technology, worked well and had a number of different workout programmes to tailor to your individual needs. You could log on and it would keep a record of your workout in your account. I forgot my password so couldn’t use that feature but I will definitely be using it in future sessions.

Fitter than you think

I haven’t been in a gym for a year or so and was therefore sceptical about my fitness levels. When you couple in the fact I suffer with extreme food intolerance which causes fatigue, I wasn’t hoping for much. However, I have been doing a lot of walking over the last few months, sometimes up to 10 miles, and this has clearly stood me in good stead. I managed a good half an hour interval training and felt great afterwards!

Weighty business

Once the cardio was done and dusted I headed over to the weights area. There are two locations within this massive gym where weights could be done: a free weights area and a machine weights. As a female, I felt more comfortable in the machine area – not that I ever use the machines, but they do have dumbbells and bouncy balls, which suits me down to the ground!

The last time I was using the gym I’d built up my weight tolerance quite high and although my capabilities were still quite impressive, I do have a way to go to build back up to my optimum. I had to be careful as I have a tender right arm at the moment from sleeping in cramped conditions. Still, never one to be put off by physical ailments, I proceeded and really enjoyed the experience – all except needing to constantly look in the mirror to make sure my form was correct.

Lots of orange t-shirt wearers

I have been a member of other budget gyms in the past and staff members – fitness instructors – were thin on the ground. Often I’d have to go into the office to find one! That is definitely not the case here – there seemed to be quite a lot of staff members on the floor, talking, walking, working out through boredom, and just being accessible. I really like this. I am not someone who feels a need to go and ask advice these days because it’s hard for them to understand how ME/Chronic Fatigue is affected by exercise, but its re-assuring to know there are people there if I need them.

In conclusion, I have to say I am very impressed with Easy Gym and am super excited to be getting my teeth into exercising in there. If you are thinking of joining a gym and have an Easy GYM near you, I wholly recommend it.

Motivation

I havent been doing very well with dieting lately. I am not sure why. Ironically, I think its because my diet is so restrictive. You’d think this would help me, not hinder me, but it doesnt. This is because when I am out and about there is so little I can eat, and especially snack on, that I end up breaking my food rules (imposed by a health condition) and then its a case of ‘in for a penny; in for a pound’ – except those pounds keep adding up!

Throughout my dieting life, I have never managed to lose weight for me. They say, don’t they, that the first rule of dieting is to do it for yourself. This has never worked for me. If I were to do it for myself I would go round and around the roundabout of dieting and never get anywhere.

What I am going to say now is fairly controversial in the dieting arena. But any time I have ever lost weight I have done so in order to impress a guy. People have always been very quick to tell me that this is the wrong reason, that I should lose weight for myself and no-one else. While I agree with the sentiment, I don’t think reality is that straight-forward.

So what if I lose it to impress someone else? And so what if it doesnt work, or doesnt sustain their interest? At the end of the day I am still slimmer, fitter and healthier when they go off into the sunset. I have still achieved something positive to take with me into the future. I say whatever it takes to motivate you into weight loss – go for it.

I do however need to get serious about my weight loss again. Up until now I have struggled with no real goal or motivation but I am in a new relationship now, so if that isnt reason then I do not know what is. I seem to have developed an addiction to sugar at the moment, which is one of the food stuffs that makes me ill so I need to come off that. As of today I am off it. Completely. Utterly. Absolutely. I need to be well (not fatigued) as my life is so much busier, and I need to lose weight. I cannot and will not get big again. Three days it should take – and then I will be over withdrawal and I can be strong with food and get on with the task of looking, feeling and being healthier.

Swings and roundabouts

Life has taken an unexpected busy turn lately so I havent been able to update but I have been trying hard with my dieting. I am however still yo-yoing but am determined to get on top of it.

I have been watching the videos on http://www.eslim.com and trying to employ a more stringent effort with mindful eating. Am I hungry? If so, how much? Am I eating for any other reason? Do I need to continue eating this meal until it is all gone? You know the drill.

One thing I struggle with and feel that I will always struggle with is emotional eating. That is, eating to fulfil an emotional hole rather than for physical hunger. How do you tell the difference? Paul McKenna gives good advice for this: he says hunger isnt in the stomach like we all imagine – instead it is in the Solar Plexus, an area above the stomach and below the rib cage. For me, real hunger isnt a feeling in any one place (unless emotionally fragile), but is a feeling that permeates all of my body. Its quite easy to tell the difference if you pay attention to it.

Something I have noticed more and more in the last couple of years is that I am so much more hungry in the week before my menstral cycle begins. In fact, I am ravenous and its completely impossible to satisfy me, no matter how much I eat. I’ve often thought this is an emotional need as is taught from mindful eating practitioners but from the day my period begins my appetite completely wanes and I swing the opposite way – not wanting to eat but having to in order to remain healthy.

Does anyone else suffer with monthly swings in appetite? Have you found anything that counteracts this? Maybe a supplement or behaviour? I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

Weight Loss Website with a Difference!

ImageI have been on my weight loss journey for a long time now, a good five years. Some periods in this time-frame have been more successful than others. When I look back on these recent years, one thing stands out: my weight loss success directly correlates with my mental health.

I have always suffered with depression. And I have had a lot to deal with in recent years so its no mean feat that I have achieved such a big weight loss in this time. Depression is definitely the reason I am struggling to lose weight at the moment, so when I was given the opportunity to review www.eslimclub.com I jumped at the chance.

I’m very picky about the way in which I embark on a weight loss programme. I have been through them all – you name them, I have tried them! And with very little success. The only one I have had any success with has been an NLP based one that encourages mindful eating rather than calorie counting. Me and calorie counting do not go down well; when I am recording every single morsel that passes my lips I end up in binge mode quicker than you can say “binge mode”! So I point blank refuse to count calories anymore.

As I said above, lately depression has taken a hold. And I have become pretty desperate to lose weight. The more effort I put into losing the more weight I seem to be putting on. And the more the scales go up the more anxious I become. I joined www.eslimclub.com initially thinking it was a calorie control programme and thinking maybe I will give this a go because nothing else is working – I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The last thing Eslim Club is is a calorie control programme. I only signed up yesterday so I havent had a proper chance to get into the website yet but I have had a good look around and am impressed by what I see – and excited to get started!

It’s been founded by an NLP practitioner (I am a massive fan of NLP for weight loss, and pretty much everything else) and a Sports Science practitioner, with a Masters degree in his subject. The website is an online course that focuses on the emotional side of eating; it educates with the science behind why we overeat, informs with techniques on how to overcome the problem and entertains with structured videos that help you through the process. Click here to find out more.

Have you ever thought about wanting to lose weight without all the hassle of weighing and counting every calorie? Want to eat what you want to eat and still lose weight? I know I have, and its the only way I can ever lose weight (calorie counting is artificial and not beneficial in the long run, if you ask me). Www.eslimclub.com can equip you with the skills to eat in a normal way, like normal people and not feel deprived or like you’re on a diet.

It also has a community forum attached to it. The site is fairly new at the moment so the community does need building up but what better way for this to happen than to take part. I know whenever I have been involved with a support network for losing weight my focus is definitely stronger. I think its what I need at the moment.

As I said before, I have only just signed up to this site, and I have been given 90 days access so will come back in a few weeks with a more in-depth review of the site, but for now I am really excited to sit down with the website and do the exercises (no running around the park required!) it suggests and see what happens. I know after watching just one video last night, I was much more aware of my eating habits so I am really hopeful.

www.eslim.com is a website that can help you to lose weight. The course costs £29.99 for three months access. There is no other fee involves and the course can be completed within 6-10 weeks.

Subscribe or follow my blog to keep updated on my weight loss progress over the next few months!

Weight… gain???????!

Hello! It’s been a while – you may have guessed why! Yes, no sooner had I hopped on the wagon, I lost my balance and fell right off! In short, I am really struggling with my weight at the moment.

Its not even that I am maintaining, the more I try to lose, the more I seem to put on. Of course, a lot of this is down to depression but I have had depression my whole life so that is no excuse. I really need to get focused and get on it.

Here are some reasons that I think are holding me back: 

  • Mental health – as I said above, I am really struggling with this at the moment and I seem to be craving lots of high carb foods such as pasta, porridge, etc…
  • Diet – the problem with these cravings is that I am intolerant to all carbs except for rice, which increases my lethergy and anxiety.
  • Exercise – when I eat badly I cannot exercise, in fact due to my health condition I cannot leave the house.

So you see it all becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I need to just get on top of it. Another part of the issue is for half of the week I do not have anything planned so get quite lazy. I have just asked work to increase my hours to include another afternoon (I am working in the voluntary sector) so things will start to look up.

I went to the doctor and explained I need help with my depression and he prescribed me tablets, which upon my own investigation I found are given to underweight people to stimulate their appetite, so I wont be going there!

Today I am going to create an excel document and start writing everything down. I have recently done this with budgeting and its making me more aware of what I spend, so fingers crossed I’ll be more mindful of my diet once I do.

Its all good, I tend to go up and down the same stone so much I get dizzy, luckily though I dont put on more than this – its just a matter of getting my head around weight loss when my diet is so restrictive!

1st weekly weigh-in!

I only realised today that yesterday should have been my weekly weigh-in. I know I am laid back about these things but letting it go by unnoticed is an interesting concept, even for me! Luckily, I weigh every day anyway, so I know what my weight was yesterday.

This has been my first week of concentrated dieting in a while. I had been going up and down the same few pounds, not trying, and the point of setting up this blog was to help me get focused.

I started off by writing everything down in a black book. This isnt a rule I normally follow but decided to do it because I had been eating sugar products and was finding it difficult to give them up when I wasnt being accountable. This not only worked against my losing weight, but because of my intolerance to sugar it was making me extremely fatigued too. Writing my food down helped in that it stopped me eating sugar products so much (although I did still allow 85% cocoa chocolate) and helped me to focus on eating when I need to (when I wanted to eat and knew I would have to write it down I thought about whether I was really hungry or not).

Where I found it didn’t help was that it was making me think about food a lot more than I had previous to writing everything down. Although I was eating healthier, I was eating more. More nuts, more rice, more eggs, more goats cheese, more everything really. And while I continued to write in my book, my weight did not shift at all.

Then I just gave up writing things down, and bought some gluten-free oats. These are normally a big no-no because they aggravate my ME symptoms. But I wanted something filling that was lower in calories so I thought I would take the fatigue hit. I wasn’t as fatigued as I would have expected (despite having sugar in the porridge) and the weight began dropping off me.

This is great, I thought! Then I had a driving lesson and while I wasnt fatigued it very quickly became apparent that the sugar was seriously affecting my concentration. Twice during the lesson my instructor had to slam on the breaks to save us crashing – and I am not new to driving (I have done around 35 hours) so this should not have been happening. Lesson learned.

So now I am road testing the oats with stevia, to see if that is any better for my ME (and my weight).  I suspect not because the stevia is bulked up with other stuff, but the oats are helping with the weight loss so I will probably stick with it, apart from the day before a driving lesson.

My diet is very restrictive and that is helpful to my health but it gets very boring very quickly and it becomes a challenge to stick to my weight loss plan. Insomnia is also a large part of my condition and this week I have been taking Nytol in order to help me to sleep. It hasnt worked and seems to cause me to binge eat sub-consciously.

So with all of this in mind for the first week of my weight loss plan, I am very pleased to report that I am 4lbs down, and now only have 22 more to go.

 

This has spurred me on. The daily weighing is very helpful day-to-day to keep me going but the weekly weigh in gives me a real sense of perspective, not only about the whole journey but how easily it can come off and accumulate into a success story.

I am fully expecting the weight loss to slow down now I am over the initial period of water loss, but I am hopeful that I will come back next week able to report on further successes.

How has your weight loss been this past week?

Why diet?

Since losing a substantial amount of weight the one question I am asked is: How did you do it? My truthful answer is: I don’t know, I just kept trying and something worked in the end.

In hindsight, I do have some ideas about why I managed to lose 100lbs and keep most of it off. I think the best bit of advice I can give to anyone is:

Follow only one rule – that you will not follow any rules.

There is a multi-million (billion?) pound diet industry with a lot of set ideas on how to lose weight. Why does this industry thrive so easily? Because the advice it gives, and the rules it manipulates readers into following, are counter-productive to a healthier, slimmer you. Let’s face it, if they really told you how to lose weight, you wouldn’t need to buy their products. The more you rely on them for your health information, the more they can increase their profit margins.

  1. Eat a low fat, high carb diet.
  2. Do not weigh yourself daily.
  3. Count calories.
  4. Take exercise every day.
  5. Weigh your food.

These are just five of many weight loss rules the industry packs into our sub-conscious. And you know what? I broke every single one of these rules, repeatedly, over-time through my whole weight-loss journey. Every morning I weigh myself; if I am up it helps me to be good, if I am down it spurs me on. I eat a high protein, high fat diet because I have a condition that dictates this. You know what? I am never hungry and the weight falls off (its only when I have a lot of carbs my weight stalls). I don’t count calories, or weigh my food, because I take part in mindful eating. If I am truely hungry I eat, and if I am not I don’t. All it requires is self-honesty and being disciplined. And I cannot exercise daily because of the ME, sometimes I am laid up for days. And yet, when I put my mind to it I have no problem with losing weight.

The most important thing to do, in my mind, is to listen to your own body. If you are craving fat, its probably because your body needs it (coconut oil is a good option). If you crave meat, or fish, or cheese or whatever, there is some nutrient in that food you are in need of. Though it is important to understand this rule does not apply to sugar – sugar acts as a drug in the body and you will go through withdrawal when you omit it, which isnt the same thing.

I recently took part in an online nutrition course done by a top university in America under the MOOC system. I wanted to gain more understanding about how food works in the body at a molecular level. I was sourly disappointed. The whole course was aimed at supporting the government claims (which are sponsored by the food industry) that grains are the secret superfood we should all be eating. I stopped doing the course in the end because it wasnt giving me valid information about nutrition, it was giving me propaganda to boost up the homegrown farmers who grow these crops. 

If you would like an honest look at nutrition, I cannot recommend Chris Kresser enough. He is intelligent, independent and passionate about informing the public about the realities of what we eat.

Whatever you do, whatever diet you follow, I urge you to do your own research and find what works for you. Experiment. Be happy. Enjoy your food and your exercise. Make sensible, informed choices and watch the weight fall off.

Dieting is stressful, why put yourself through it when you don’t need to?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, I am just someone who has lost weight (and is continuing to do so) and this is my insight based on my own experience.