My Fitness Adventure

by Vicki Notaro

Me the day before my mission began, wearing size 12 shorts and with a BMI of 25.1 – just barely in the overweight category.

A few weeks ago I undertook a mission from the Evening Herald, a paper I regularly contribute to.  I’d been chatting to my editor about my extreme laziness when it comes to exercise, and my increased levels of gluttony since I went freelance. My eating was out of control – biscuits for breakfast, an abundance of takeaways, frozen pizzas and waffles and at least one bar of chocolate as well, all on top of my fizzy jelly habit. I knew it was ridiculous and wanted to put a stop to it, but needed help. I casually mentioned writing a feature about getting fit to the Ed, and when she told me to leave it with her I promptly forgot all about it.

I had no idea what I was getting myself in for when she came back to me a few weeks later with a plan. My mission, if I dared to accept it, was to drop a dress size by Christmas with the help of Irish fitness guru Pat Henry. I didn’t have to be asked twice – I was in. I thought it would involve working out maybe three times a week, and gradually going from very slightly overweight to more toned. In my mind I was still a size ten, but in reality I had crept up to a 12 over the past year. I was looking chubbier, and hating any photographs of myself I saw, so my personal aim was to be happy with what I saw in the mirror and fit back in my 28-inch jeans comfortably once again.

An advertisement for the piece just before the first article. This made it real!

Pat Henry had other ideas. From the moment we met, I knew this was going to be harder work than I initially thought. First off, I was to work out 5 days a week. Secondly, I was told that any fitness regime needs to be balanced out – 60% diet, 40% exercise is the secret to success. I could give up my ideas of working out, eating chips and slowly losing weight. This was to be a complete lifestyle overhaul. No more white carbs (so see ya potatoes), very few brown ones, lots of meat and as little sugar as humanly possible – even natural sugar in fruit. Oh yeah, and 2 units of booze a week which is too little for me to even bother with. I thought the initial fitness assessment was tough, especially when Pat told me I weighed a whole stone more than I thought, but it was after my first weights workout that I was really frightened. I went home white as a ghost, completely stiff and feeling nauseous and cried in my boyfriend’s arms.

Week one. Hideous photos, but a real reminder of why I was actually doing this.

Week two. Major lifestyle change = big water and weight loss.

Week three. Still making progress and losing weight and inches. Looking noticeably thinner in the pics.

Thankfully, it’s getting easier – I’m actually starting to enjoy it (sssh, don’t tell anyone). My “journey” is chronicled in every Monday’s Herald (here are weeks two and three of my diary, sans photos) and I’m noticing a real difference. I think I’ve pretty much already achieved my initial goals, but this project is continuing until mid December – by then I’m hoping I won’t even recognise the old me.

Wish me luck!  And do follow my progress in the paper. If this effort being chronicled in a national title isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.