Here’s how Emily Gallego-Martin, 36, drastically changed her lifestyle in just a few months.
When my mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, I was devastated and heartbroken. I was determined to do everything within my power to support and help her through this trying time but unfortunately, in late 2018 my incredible mum lost her battle with cancer. My whole world was shattered, so I turned to comfort eating in an attempt to try and bury all my feelings and emotions.
I would eat anything and everything from pizzas to burgers and chips. I never payed too much attention to the quantities or quality of the food I was consuming.
I very rarely exercised and when I did it would consist of doing weights at the gym, but I was just running through the motions, never doing it with any set goals. I became so uncomfortable in my own skin that I started to wear baggy clothes to hide my weight. It made me feel ashamed of my body, I was angry that I had allowed it to get so bad, but I didn’t have the energy or inspiration to do anything about it.
I knew something needed to change and then that’s when I noticed that Anytime Fitness was doing its 8 week challenge. I thought this could be the opportunity I had been looking for to reinvent my lifestyle. It would help motivate me to get on the path to good health and fitness, ultimately losing the weight I had put on.
Leading up to the start of the challenge, I began writing down all the things I would need to implement, and exclude, to achieve my goal. I mentally prepared myself so that when the challenge started I would have no excuses for not sticking to my plan. The progress I was making was enough to keep me motivated and focused throughout the challenge.
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On September 1, 2019 I weighed myself at the beginning of the challenge, I was 123.60kg, the heaviest I have ever been. During the Anytime Fitness 8 Week Challenge I lost 26kg, since then I have lost a further 7.6kg, so in total I have lost 33.6kg in three months and now weigh 90kg.
As part of the challenge, I overhauled my diet. I cut out all processed foods, sugars (excluding whole fresh fruit), deep fried foods and breads, pastas and grains. I incorporated whole fruits and vegetables and protein including fresh fish, lean turkey, chicken and beef.
I also started intermittent fasting, made sure I got at least eight hours of sleep a night and drunk plenty of water.
Now, I eat a couple of pieces of fruit for breakfast to refuel myself after the gym, lunch is a lean piece of meat, chicken, turkey or beef, with vegetables and dinner is fresh fish with vegetables. I try to eat like this every day of the week.
I tend to exercise for 1-2 hours a day. I love doing a mix of cardio, crossfit, bike, stairmaster and treadmill, followed by full body weight training. I tend to exercise six times a week.
The biggest lessons I’ve learnt from this whole experience is that I am capable of anything. It has shown me how strong, ambitious and determined I am. I can achieve anything I put my mind to.
I found that the biggest challenge was overcoming a plateau in my weight loss. Sometimes, it was the exercises I was doing and other times it was what I was eating or the quantities I was consuming. Because I kept a thorough food and exercise journal I was able to determine what worked for me and what didn’t so I could refine these areas to overcome the plateaus.
My advice for others
- Never give up and never beat yourself up. People need to work at their own pace – don’t worry about what others are doing, just focus on your own progress.
- Incorporate fitness and exercise wherever possible, whether it be allocating yourself time to go to the gym, going for a walk around your local neighbourhood, playing with your kids or simply taking the stairs and choose to walk wherever possible.
- Be consistent with your efforts, eat as healthy as possible, eat smaller portion sizes and if you have a slip with your eating, don’t give up completely just get back into it. If you don’t feel like eating healthy, do it anyway because when you look back on the day you’ve had you can be proud of yourself that you stuck it out and achieved what you set out to do. And you know that tomorrow will be easier.
- The days you don’t feel like exercising, still do it because they can be the days you have your best training session.
- Make sure you get a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night, as this will help your body repair and recover. Drink plenty of water to hydrate, this helps maintain energy levels and water also helps flush toxins.
- Keep a food and exercise journal to track your progress and it will help you refine what food and exercise works for you and what don’t.
- Surround yourself with people who support you and your goals. Leeanne Walker from Anytime Fitness in Gawler Green was such a support during my 8 week challenge, she was always willing to help me however possible and I’m so grateful to her.