Some of you will know Manuela from Fitness Junction or around the neighbourhood! Here, Manuela tells us about her journey from being sick, stuck and overweight to feeling light, happy and actually looking forward to her cardio workouts!
When I was younger I definitely wasn't sporty. I played some netball but that was it. I was not that active and definitely had a sweet tooth. I had a lovely stepfather who used to spoil me with sweet treats so I was definitely on the heavier side. As a teenager my weight was always up and down and I had periods in and out of the gym. Basically, like a lot of people I've always struggled with my weight.
Spending most of my working life in an office and sitting in a chair eventually took a heavy toll on my health. One night whilst walking home from work I was struck with crippling pain, my lower back ceased up and my legs didn't seem to want to move. I basically stayed like that for 2 years. I had lots of physio, chiro, massage, cortisone injections but nothing really helped. I had a great physiotherapist who eventually said you know what - nothing you do physically will make your back worse but you really need to get some weight off and that's the best way to start. I ended up back at Fitness Junction after a 15 year hiatus, why did I ever stop!?It was so hard and it took a while to get going. I hated exercise in the beginning because it was hard and I felt like I was getting nowhere. I was fifty-ish and felt fat and frumpy. I thought this is what getting older would be. I had a lot of excuses.
A few months after returning to the gym I was made redundant from work and took the opportunity to test early retirement. Miraculously, within a month or so of getting out of the office chair, my pain was reduced by 90%. I still had a pronounced limp and a lot of muscles weren't working properly but the clouds had lifted and the pain was a lot less. 10 months down the track and I was feeling better, enjoyed the gym more but still hadn't lost weight. I'd developed some bad habits and somewhere along the way I had become a lazy person and that's how I was thinking. One morning I was thinking of that saying 'if you do what you always do you get what you always get'. It was getting close to a year of not working and what did I have to show for it- that was the turning point. I decided to get in touch with Fitness Junction. We decided on a 6 week focus to see if I could actually lose weight. I didn't want to diet. I wanted to find something that worked in everyday life. So armed with my Fitbit which I had not been using properly until that day, I started logging all my food and kept track of what I was burning each day. Low and behold I lost a kilo a week for those 6 weeks, I didn't feel like I was on a diet and I was eating carbs! I was hooked. 14 months later and I've lost 27 kilos!!
Lucky for me, alcohol is not an important part of my life. I would rather eat calories than drink them.
I'm exercising 6 days per week at the gym but now I love it. I'm still trying to lose a bit more so the more I burn the better. The thing is I'm not working so at the moment health is my priority which is definitely a luxury. If I feel tired I'll have a day off. My workouts are made up of more cardio. (yes I love cardio now). So some days I do an hour of cardio and no weights. I think the interval training as been key to loosing weight and making me fitter. Because I wear a fitness tracker I feel like I know exactly where my heart rate is and how many calories I'm burning. At the moment I burn around 500 - 600 calories each workout.
Thankfully, maintenance is looming and my plan is to put just as much effort into that as losing the weight. I take nothing for granted knowing I've lost weight and gained it before. I've been logging my food into my Fitbit (super easy) the whole time and I'm still going to do that. Exercise is an everyday thing now and I think of myself as an active person (not the lazy one anymore) so I'll continue to make active choices and that includes staying at the gym.
I'm definitely not perfect with my diet. I love food. I do treat myself and I think occasionally you can have your cake and eat it to. I make healthy choices most of the time. If I don't, I just own it, log it and do some extra exercise and move on. I don't feel guilty anymore because it's just food.
I guess my big tip to anyone wanting to lose weight is forget the fad diets. They don't work which is why there are so many of them. Calories in versus Calories out is what has worked for me. It's that simple and it makes complete sense. Get yourself a Fitbit and use it properly. You can log your food straight into it and it calculates how much you burn in a day and how much you need to eat to loose weight. It takes out all the guess work and It's also motivating to look back over your progress.
I absolutely love being a part of Fitness Junction. The workouts are fun, it's different everyday and the trainers really know their stuff. I find it really inspiring to workout with lots of different age groups and fitness levels and especially all the people that are older and fitter than me.
Thanks Manuela, your story is an inspiration to many around you and we love having you there motivating others as well as just being your lovely self :) We look forward to many years to come enjoying your company and following the rest of your journey.
If you're interested in doing a 6 week program with us, put your hand up, we don't bite and it is of course all confidential. We love to help people who are keen to help themselves.