Clóda Scanlon, 22, Irish Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, UCC Student, Rome.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Fitness/Health Journey

I was never a heavy girl, but I was definitely an unhealthy girl (in many ways).
So this isn't really a shocking "Transformation Tuesday" or anything.
I'm making this post to show how I changed my lifestyle for the better 2 years ago and how I stopped my health/fitness routines and  hopefully it will motivate you and myself to get back into it.

This photo taken 3 years ago shows me at my biggest, or should I say unhealthiest. I was a very squeezed Size 10, verging on Size 12.

I had just finished 3rd year and I ate at least 1 Slice of biscuit cake, 2 sausage rolls and a packet of crisps everyday in school. Then I would usually eat another 2 packets of crisps that evening at home as well as biscuits and sweets etc. I ADORED cheese and I still do. I turned away milk as a baby so cheese became my only source of calcium. I had cheese with every meal whether it was melting mozzarella onto my dinners or actually eating slices of cheddar for fun. And without fail would have 1 Chinese meal and 1 Indian meal each week. I didn't see the harm, why would you when you're 15?? Until I began to feel more conscious around my slimmer friends.

I always played Camogie in/out of school so it wasn't as if I wasn't active but I had to do more than just go down to training. Transition Year was THE turning point for me and I honestly would still be unhealthy only for it. We were involved in regular activities and sports as part of the TY programme. So we began Boxercise, coaching from a Gym Instructor and trained for a Marathon.
Training for the Great Limerick Run was tough as we ran about 4 times a week for 4/5 months and it did the world of good for us. I noticed my legs toning up and getting stronger and I was actually able to see my knees (which were previously surrounded in flab lol).

I was beginning to actually like my body and feel confident, so I didn't want it to end there. The goal at the time was to start fitting into Size 8 clothes and have a flat tummy.
It's so important on a fitness journey to set yourself goals so that you are always looking forward and you don't stop until you achieve that goal.

I knew that the exercise could only bring me so far and a good diet had to come into play.
I cut down to maybe 2 biscuit cakes a week. I had to wean myself off the bad food slowly instead of making drastic changes. I began to eat all things wholemeal whether it was bread, pasta or even crackers.

This took me as far as the beginning of 5th year. Then my diet really improved. I was desperate. I knew I was still being too generous with the rubbish food. So I went to a nutritionist. Everyone should go see one at least once, no matter what size you are!!
Because not only do they inform you on healthy habits but you may discover you have a deficiency you never even knew you had. 
Apparently me, the cheese lover is dairy intolerant? And this was half my battle with extra pounds. I never had pains or felt anything really after eating cheese but as I said, I refused cow's milk as a baby. Baby's instinct I guess.. I was told I had to cut out all dairy in my  diet. Well I nearly cried when she told me because how would I replace my beloved cheese that melted onto everything? 

But I did, I had to. That meant no cheese, no hot chocolate, no pizza, no chocolate bars, no yoghurts, no cream, no ice cream, no creamy cakes, no butter.. The list seemed endless. But take that much out of your diet alone and look at the difference?
There was alternatives surprisingly. I now enjoy Soya butter on my wholemeal toast in the mornings, and I eventually became immune to Goat's Cheese and Feta! I snacked on Dairy free chocolate when I had cravings. On the odd occasion I would have dairy and that's OK but just not on a daily basis. Last summer I got a Large (and I mean large) Hot Chocolate because I didn't have one in months. I said sure what harm? It was dosssssed in milk.. I will never forget the pains it gave me and how sick I was for days afterwards. This had proven to me I was in fact dairy intolerant and I needed to be careful.

But besides my deficiency, I'll go through some diet changes I made for the better. 
Houmous and raw vegetables became my lunch everyday. Houmous is made from chickpeas which actually burn fat!!! And you cannot get much better than raw veggies. People in school were in disbelief at me bringing in uncooked carrots and peppers everyday but I didn't care. My body felt so good afterwards. I also brought 2 slices of homemade brown bread to school with me each day without ham or butter or anything. It was quite bland but so healthy.
I began to cook EVERYTHING with coconut oil. It has zero calories so why wouldn't I?
 I ate chickpea dishes for dinner (more fat burning). So between all of this I was actually burning fat while eating and it tasted amazing. Win win!
I cut out eating Chinese's for months. Mam would be bringing home a takeaway for everyone and I had the willpower to say no, and bare in mind this was a weekly occurrence.

I also began drinking LOADS of water, whereas before I'd be lucky to get in a glass a day. I  brought 2 litres of water to school each day and drank another 1 or 2 in the evening. I was in/out to the toilet as often as I had classes but it definitely flushed my body out loads and I was always hydrated.

So at this point my head was in the books and it was a year after training for the marathon. I was definitely not as active as I was in TY but I was still slightly toned from the running of the previous year. So, busy schedule and needed to tone up again to achieve my goals, I decided I had to exercise from home. I downloaded some amazing fitness apps including Pop Sugar fitness, Nike training, Couch to 5K and tried various 30-day challenges! I got into great habits altogether and I achieved my goal of fitting into size 8 clothes!!! 

A year later I'm still fitting into Size 8 things and even some size 6 clothes, which was never my intention. However, I'm still struggling big time with my belly. People tell me "Oh it's not big you're slim now" but it's a goal I set out in Day 1 and I would love to achieve it. I suppose I let myself go throughout 6th year as anyone would. Comfort food became a must and I didn't keep up the same fitness and exercise levels.

However, lots of training with my Senior Camogie team has kept me fit and toned!

My appendix burst when I was 2. For days we didn't know and the poisonous toxins had gotten into my bloodstream. They got me just in time and I had a life-saving operation which left a big scar above my belly button. The scar kind of sinks inwards, so my belly below it juts out. So maybe I won't ever fully be able to change my lower belly. I mean above the scar is fairly flat from ab work but I can't seem to get the lower belly in shape.

Maybe I should be happy to be alive instead of worrying about looks, but it's my goal for myself so if anyone has any recipes they  would like to share with me or exercises I should try, please let me know as I'm eager to motivate myself again and feel healthy and strong again!!

Please feel free to share your journies with me and give me tips or ask for advise and I'll do my best to help you!

Lots of love,

Clóda x

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