I've joined a Slimming Club, yes... thats correct you read it right - I Paddy Cunningham, qualified Personal Trainer, currently studying advanced nutrition, and former runner up of a reality TV weight loss show has joined a slimming club. WTF?
But Paddy, did you not previously do a blog b*tching about Slimming Clubs?
Well, somewhat yes indeed I did - more specifically I shared my experience of different slimming clubs, and discussed the ones I thought weren't of much use and let me still state that 100% a slimming club type that I am still against whole heartedly is those which promote Very Low Calorie Diets. These specifically eliminate all / most normal foods and replace them with shakes meaning you consume somewhere typically between 500-800 calories. Absolutely NO ONE should be doing these unless you have been given a very clear stern direction from a hospital as part of a very specific treatment - most commonly for super morbidly obese patients who are trying for weight loss surgery.
Anyway, what the heck am I doing joining a slimming club I hear you say! Paddy have you failed, have you finally given in that you can't achieve what you preach to others, have you thrown it all away and said F**K it?
No - if anything the complete opposite.
For the past few years I have torn my mind apart (literaly) by trying to understand my body and my mind - and this very gradual process is bit by bit making me a much stronger and clearer person in terms of what works for me and why - and the flip side what dosent and why.
Over the years I have suffered with severe binge eating (which you can watch my vid about by clicking here - or my reading the blog on it here) . I've half starved myself (mostly because of the mental pressure I was putting on myself to look a certain way to do a certain thing to please others... eh yea, fcuk that!)....I've trained hard in the gym, I've done loads - LOADS but yet weight returned to an uncomfortable level.
If you missed the blog entry about where someone point blanky called me out for being fat again you can read it by clicking here too.
Anyway - one of the main things I've identified is that I can have all the knowledge in the world, all the food in the house that I need, a gym at my side - but yet still have great difficulty in doing what I want to do..... why?
Consistency & adherence to my plans.
My biggest challenge is being accountable to myself. I essentially cheat on myself and my goals! Because I think ah well, what does it matter.... sure I can fix it next week, next month etc - all of which just prolongs me achieving my goals.
Well my friends, aside from the obvious nutrition and exercise - consistency and adhering (sticking) to your plans are absolutely crucial to you being successful long term with your goals - wether that be fat loss, muscle gain, sports specific training etc.
Its all well and good with getting all fired up, doing something for the first few days or weeks, and then gradually slipping right off that wanderly wagon!
I believe that one of the main reasons I was successful on Biggest Loser was not because I was on a severe calorie restriction ( I wasn't) ... or that I was working my ass off in the gym (I was!) ... but moreso for the 21 weeks of the production I had to be accountable to people other than myself.
Now, lets not confuse this with doing something to please someone else - what I mean is that during Biggest Loser I had to stand up, be counted and be mature about the effort and results I was putting in - and indeed do so very publicly. During the 15 week at home period, I had my Team Mate & House Mate Wil, and also my Personal Trainer Richard Jones from Reading who I was accountable to.
Since the show, if I'm honest - I've had no-one to really be accountable to, meaning my consistency with sticking to my plans has been a tad sh*t.
This is why I joined a slimming club.
Not to be given a meal plan, or to stand in a class and be clapped at each week, or to go against my beliefs - but to SUPPORT my belief and personal need, and I 100% absolutely am more successful with my goals when I am accountable to others, whilst still working on goals to please me and not them.
As the homepage on my blog says, this time its personal - and thats very true. I am making decisions that support me, and help me achieve what I need to - as opposed to making decision to please people on social media or in day to day
life. I did that for way too many years and the pressure was too much for me, which
in turn led to unhealthy eating habits also ( I know .... how ironic!). You can read my blog about body image, where I got half naked here (yes.... me... half naked... on the internet !!!)
So, what slimming club did I join? Well before I answer that I must stress that the choice of club was based entirely on one I was familiar with from before, and one that logistically was near home & work. With that in mind I joined a local Slimming World group - where I have to say the group leader is absolutely stunning at motivating and inspiring you. I am not really bothered about syns / points etc - for me its about the emotional return on investment I am getting for the effort I am putting in - eating the things I know I should be.
I absolutely am eating things I enjoy (as people who follow my instagram and snapchat will see!!). I will admit however the fear of all fears was in me walking into class.... on my social media I interact with a lot of amazing people who support others group groups like Unislim, Weight Watchers, Slimming World etc - and people who attend these classes... and I was so fearful of walking in and being faced with people I interacted with and being judged.... but that was only momentarily as then I thought ... well fcuk it.. I am not doing this for them.. I am doing this for me .
You see, people get too caught up with going through the motions of something, as they feel they have to - as they think its what other people expect.
But stop and ask yourself - what support do you truely believe will help you be successful.
It could be knowledge which means research on nutrition and training could be what you genuinely need - theres SO much free content online that can help you here.
If could be support with exercise -perhaps you are ok food wise but would like to work out more - then maybe either join a gym if you can afford it and its not too daunting and ask for a free workout plan to follow.
Maybe its both nutrition and exercise you need support with, this is where a personal trainer can really be of value - in addition of course to them adding that extra accountability too.
If you think .. you know what, I do a bit of exercise and I eat fairly ok - but I just can't stick to it long term then I would say there are a few options. Firstly do you have friends or family who "get" your struggle - and that you can rely on, who will hold you accountable? If so - great ! If not, then maybe a weekly club of some kind is the answer you need - some people might join a class / bootcamp or even a slimming club for that emotional support.
One thing I do want to revisit however is Binge Eating and eating disorders as its important I'm clear that there is absolutely a time and a place for qualified specialists / professionals to be called upon and its these situations that I would suggest this. For me, the binge eating would have continued I feel if I hadn't of gotten the specific professional support I needed - and I'm now 3 years on and haven't binged once whereas before it was a very regular occurrence. No Personal Trainer, no slimming club, no online group etc could have gotten me these genuine long term results. I needed the professional qualified support.
So.. there you have it.
Oh... my progress and how am I doing?
Well here is my weekly weigh in results so far:
Week 1 - loss of 7 pounds
Week 2 - loss of 3 pounds
Week 3 - loss of 3 pounds
Week 4 - loss of 3 pounds
Week 5 - loss of 1.5 pounds
Week 6 - loss of 2 pounds
Week 7 - loss of 3.5 pounds
Total loss so far of: 23 pounds
Only this week I have started back doing some exercise as I feel ready and
to - I have feck all time, but this is an excuse. We can all find time if we make it a priority and stop hiding behind excuses - yes this can be difficult with families and work and day to day life, but if its a priority we make time. My time has come from sacrificing majority of my lunch time a few days a week to now nip out for a quick 30 min workout in a gym near where I work.
Anyway, I really hope this helps to put some peoples minds at ease to know that a) its ok to do things that support your mindset and goals and to not fear the opinions of others ... and b) even the most knowledgeable and strongest of us need support at times too.
You are not alone, do not let fear hold you back from reaching out for the support you need - instead let the possibilities of success motivate you on to be bold and grab that opportunity with both hands.
Never Give Up.
(Ps as always apologies if spelling / grammar isn't spot in .. I write in the heat of the moment from the heart so the words are more genuine as opposed to polished!)