I'm a cake loving girl, if you didn't know this by now, where on earth have you been? ; )
2013 has seen me judging with the team at the Cambridge Bake Off competition through to enjoying & reviewing afternoon tea tiers across the region, even chatting on the radio about my sweet tooth and appearing on ITV's "The Alan Titchmarsh Show" (see the video clip here!) to waffle about dunking biscuits in your tea...
No wonder I've been easily swayed when it comes to indulging my naughty sweet side, but with all the reviews and food-based events I've hosted and been lucky enough to be included in, I've put on a few stone since my last weight loss mission - of which even had me enjoying a healthy lunch with "Masterchef's" Gregg Wallace in London!
So, why on earth am I going on about losing weight BEFORE Xmas and the New Year and not following the usual "resolution" method for 2014?
Well, I'll tell you. I was invited to a networking event at the "Cambridge Alternative Network" by the lovely Antonia Brickell at MAGPAS as her guest and I met a table of extremely interesting business owners.
One of said business owners was a young woman called Sarah Matthews, a Personal Trainer within her own company, "Primal Performance". She stood up within her 60 second intro and mentioned that she was looking for people to train for her fitness portfolio as a case study... Well, I went up to her afterwards and mentioned that I'd eaten a heck of a load of cake and wanted to lose it.
The very next day, I was hosting the lovely lady in my home, making her a cuppa and getting started!
I'm going to be writing up a diary of the first 6 weeks of my new diet & fitness regime (circuit training, jogging, sports massages, a new diet, lots of new rules to follow... all included!) over at www.localsecrets.com in the new year, so I won't spoil it, you will have to read about my first steps on this exciting and equally tiring journey over the last month or two - so watch this space, I'm going to promise to be brutally honest and open as to how it's going and what I've been eating and doing, it's been so much fun I can tell you!
If I hadn't met Sarah, I'd be doing the very same thing as I always do, eating loads of rubbish (just "because it's Xmas!") and most likely getting even lazier and even more unfit over my Christmas break. But, instead, I've lost over a stone in the last month, toned my body, upped my fitness level and completely detoxed and put myself on a healthy "raw food" diet.
In all honesty, I feel AMAZING. Tired, but awesomely amazing! And I have Sarah to thank for the very start of a very important new friendship and team... Even inspiring my friends and family to get fit with me, I'm heading for a healthy and extremely exciting Christmas.
So. I'm not going to preach, but if you've been thinking of getting fitter, healthier, slimmer, more toned (etc,etc) in the New Year...why wait?!
Get started now, you won't regret it and will be more likely to stick at it during 2014 and beyond for doing so.
Here are my top 10 thoughts and reasons behind why it's going to be useful to get it kicking now and not next year:
1. When was the last time you felt amazing about your body? For me, it was in February 2013, following a photo shoot and makeover with the gorgeous Dorothy at John Lewis (now a fantastic friend as a result) and I had lost a few stone on a weightwatchers plan (and put it all back on a few months later!). Dorothy helped my confidence hugely and then something else knocked it massively (no thanks to an unprofessional local fashion show and a serious bout of depression that followed the entire experience - not blogged about due to the issues it caused me personally) and I want that feeling back for my 30th birthday in April 2014. There may just be one reason to get you inspired, then let it be that YOU want to feel incredible about yourself.
2. Even more Xmas TV and films to choose from this year means the potential thought of moving simply from the kitchen to the sofa. Whilst that's no bad thing on a mini holiday, a little movement still needs to be involved if you don't want to turn into a huge walking & talking Ferrero Rocher! Take a brisk walk to keep your fitness plan on check in the morning or during the afternoons. Chilly winter days are fab for waking you up, wether you have a pup to take out or not and you will be guaranteed to make human contact at least once or twice.. Which always raises a smile or two as you wish each other a "Happy Christmas" as passing strangers on Xmas Morning - It's a great feeling, try it!
3. If you find a sport or activity that you love before festivities, you could add some equipment or required clothing to your list for Santa. This way, you are asking for something you very much want and will use. I'm hoping that Santa will be bringing me a set of Kettlebells and a Medicine Ball to enable me to throw my weight (literally and constructively ; ) around the living room - that beats my body weight in Toblerones, hands down.
4. You will save money on the usual long term "New Year Gym Offer" or weight loss group membership if you get your own motivation now. It's really surprising just how hard you can work yourself without having to go to a gym. Use a mix of online diet and fitness blogs (I'm working on a list of helpful and interesting "healthy" blogs as I speak!) and perhaps kick off with one or two sessions with a personal trainer to save you money and get you exercising more frugally at home.... You are more likely to gain better results than a few hours on an uninspiring gym treadmill, with a trainer mixing your exercises up every time to keep you on your feet!
5. If you are eating healthily and working hard before the real celebrations set in this festive period, you are more likely to make wise choices when it comes to the over indulgent food and drink and you won't have as much to work off your hips in January as a result. You will start thinking about if polishing of an entire box of mince pies is worth it and won't necessarily want to get wasted every time you hit the cocktail bars, so it may well keep you in line on the food front too!
My Xmas day treat is pulled pork in brioche buns with roast potatoes cooked in goose fat, I cannot wait and it'll be worth the wait!
6. Getting healthy can be a fantastic excuse between friends, family and even couples to get bonding in a cost effective way, sharing the cost and having a laugh as you go. Squash is a great game for me and y friends, it's fun and fast paced and I now play once a week. For couples and friends training together, it gets quite competitive but helps to keep you on track instead of having them doing all they want to indulge whilst you sit and watch. It's a great way to gain their support and build up relationships at the same time! And they'll thank you for motivating them too.
7. Getting healthy now gets you into a pattern and used to it so that you can enter the New Year with a smug feeling, knowing what you are doing, what you need to eat and not wasting time getting to grips throughout the first month or two- you're already there! You can also use the break you may gain over Christmas to learn to relax and switch off. This is something I'm very guilty of... I go to sleep with my phone being the last thing I see, so I need to personally work on a more relaxing bedtime ritual to help me sleep better. Sleep is needed to help you lose weight, if you don't rest, you don't lose as well as you should... What better reason is there to get serious about relaxing??
8. You've already set some realistic goals for a "new you", you aren't just doing it because you feel it's the easiest resolution to stick to for January. I'm heading for being "Fit & 30, not Fat & 30 and in going to do it. It's not a fad, it's not a quick fix, I'm signed up to my local (and free) running group in February, I'm going to be looking a million dollars by April and then even better still for the summer. I'm excited and nervous, but I'm not going to be unhealthy any longer, I'm taking my time and being realistic.
9. If you start now, you can make the most of pre-Xmas freebies... Personal trainers might be looking for case studies to show off to prospective clients in the new year, local gyms might be giving away a free membership or two on social media and exercise classes may be trialling a new workshop or session for free to ensure it's going to work in January. You might save yourself a fortune by entering into these competitions and ideas - I did, even the free Hot Yoga class wasn't for me, I still gave it a good go and took advantage of the free session.
10. Getting fit BEFORE Xmas is going to benefit the seasonal activities you might want to plan in such as ice skating or skiing... Your fitness levels are going to be much better for these things. You'll also potentially have aimed for a fitting of an old party dress for the office celebrations and you may finally fit back into that sexy little number you haven't rocked in since 2009!
Whatever the reason or the date of reading this post, it doesn't matter when you start your fitness plans, but my advice would be not to put it off... You honestly won't regret it : )
Lastly, Sarah, you were in the right place at the right time for me and I know I've thanked you a million times, but accept it again, you've changed my life for the better - You are AWESOME!
Should you be interested in Primal Performance yourself, Sarah can be found here - with exciting plans for the future, you'll want to be a part of it!
Have a very HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone and thank you SO much for reading my wafflings this year, you are also awesome for supporting me!
And if you can't wait to read more on my diaries and weight loss journey with Sarah / Primal Performance, why not get in touch and ask me personally?
Or leave a comment below with your own thoughts, questions, wishes, resolutions and plans for your very now health and fitness in the New Year?
Let's inspire each other!
Please note - My training is currently a complimentary offering due to offering myself up to being a case study for Primal Performance. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this if I don't like it, but I simply choose to share my thoughts with my readers, should I enjoy the experience or product in question. In this case, I also have to have my photo taken in my training underwear, so it's a HUGE incentive to gain my readers' support and look amazing in my "after" photos! Any questions, please do email: email@example.com