I've done something stupid...

Time will tell just how stupid it was.

But, before I tell you what it was, let's dive into the backstory.

Various reasons led to me gaining weight in 2020/2021.  Nothing major, and I'm well within the recommendations for my height.  But it was enough to make me sad every time I looked in the mirror.  I went from having a totally flat stomach to having rolls of fat in places I never had.  And, while everyone was very supportive and said all the usual kind words ("Oh, no, you look great!"), it didn't matter.  Because I knew I didn't want to be this way.

So I joined a badminton club.  I bought an exercise bike.  I ate as little as possible.  And it worked for a bit.  I did lose a little weight.  But those stubborn rolls of fat round my tummy and abs wouldn't shift.

Then I did the stupid thing.  I signed up for 12 weeks of fitness help with Phil Agostino.  

Why was this stupid?  Because I'm genuinely terrified and not sure I'll be able to see it through.

I'd seen Phil's posts on LinkedIn and before and after photos of my friend and mentor, Jon McCulloch, who had worked with Phil.  While I didn't want the six-pack, I did want to look better and feel better - and it wasn't working on my own.

Phil took time to get to know what I was looking to achieve, what I was currently doing and then put together a plan of what I should be doing.  Over the course of the next twelve weeks, I'll be blogging about how it's working and what I'm doing.  I won't share the "before" photographs Phil made me take because, honestly, they made me cry.  But, maybe, if there's significant improvement, I'll share the "afters."  Maybe.  

Day One

The first thing Phil told me was that I needed to create a calorie deficit.  I already knew this and was trying to do that by eating as little as possible.  This, Phil kindly informed me, was not the way to do things.  We're aiming for 1,400 calories a day because I weigh 140 pounds.  (I used to be 98 back in the good old days.)

I switched my toast for two boiled eggs and patted myself on the back that I had had a healthy breakfast.  Although I was surprised by how much fat is in an egg!  This was followed by homemade macaroni cheese for lunch, but no dinner because I wasn't terribly hungry - and because I was already over my fat and calorie count. 

I exercised for 20 minutes on my bike.  I bought fitness bands that haven't arrived yet and that I'm sure I'll get tangled up and twang myself with.  I read Phil's notes.  I watched Phil's videos.  I felt very overwhelmed.  

Needing support, I told a friend what I was going to do.  "Oh dear," they said.  "I don't know why people bother with that."

Although their comment wasn't as supportive as I wanted, they made a good point - a point that Phil had also made.  Why?  Why bother?  One of the main points I gleaned from listening to Phil was that, without a compelling reason for getting fit, it's all too easy to make excuses and wriggle out of your exercise and healthy eating.  Fortunately, I'm a very determined little thing (in the words of Dick King-Smith: "small but very determined") - however, I wrote down my reasons for wanting to do this, recognising that this is a very important step.  I've seen friends lose weight and then meet a set-back and give up, because they didn't have a compelling reason.  

Was any of that progress?  I've no idea. 

Day Two

The bands came, predictably after I finished my exercise routine.

I was nervous and put off doing it for as long as possible.  

Today, I was focusing on the lower body and Phil had created a customised workout for this.  After (eventually) finding them in the app (who knew you just had to tap on "Home lower body workout"?) 

I began with a general warm up (five minutes on my exercise bike), then something called a side lying clam (which I did very poorly.)  On to glute bridge (lying on your back lifting your thighs), hamstring curls and squats.  All of these were extremely easy as I wasn't using the bands.  

There was a huge difference when I began doing something called a dumbbell reverse lunge.  Yikes!  

Last on the agenda was a half plank - which I was rotten at!  I lasted for approximately ten seconds, with the aim being to last 60.  

However, my muscles were pleasantly sore - the kind of ache that feels good because you know you've worked hard.  This inspired me to do an extra five minutes on the bike to cap it all off.

I felt extremely positive as I made myself a cheese salad and planned what I was going to have for my Friday night takeaway.  (Phil says I can have my takeaway if I plan the other meals carefully.)


Honestly, I doubt anyone has actually read this far.  And I certainly didn't mean my professional copywriting website to turn into some kind of boot camp diary.  But, when you think about it, self care, exercise and healthy eating have a direct bearing on the kind of work I'll be producing.  If I feel good, I'll write better than if I'm distracted by how miserable I feel.  This is probably the most honest, raw piece of writing I've done outside the confines of my diary - and what better to do with it than post it online for all and sundry to read!