An incredible fitspo

So, ladies and gentleman, I want to share with you an utterly amazing weight loss journey that I know will provide inspiration to many people.

My boyfriend Dan hit an all time low in 2011/12 when he weighed 24 stone (384lbs for you Yanks) and was told by his doctor that he was slowly killing himself. He made the decision to lose weight and get fit and the results are phenomenal.

Over the course of a year, he changed his diet and went from cycling to running to weight training. Dan lost 12 stone/192lbs (almost double my own weight), a feat which was deemed impossible without gastric band surgery.

In the pictures below there is Dan at roughly 21 stone/352lbs and a photo taken yesterday where he weighs 12 and a half stone.

Dan's weight loss

As you can imagine, I am incredibly proud of my love for taking charge of his health and turning his luck around. He’s worked hard and the results speak for themselves.

I know the wonderful fitness community that follow FSB will be wowed by his transformation so I thought I would share his journey with you to show no matter how big you are, you can have the body you’ve always wanted through sweat and determination.

Body fat percentage update

It’s been 9 months since my last body fat percentage check and I was 24% last time.

As of today, weighing 47kilos and standing at 165cm my measurements are as follows:

Neck at collar – 32cm
Hips at widest point – 78.5cm
Waist at smallest point – 63cm
Forearm – 20cm
Wrist – 15cm

Although it’s not incredibly reliable, it still gives you a good idea. Now my body fat percentage is roughly 17% which puts me in the category of ‘typical athlete’.

Exercise may not help depression

BBC News have posted on their site today that new research suggests exercise as treatment for clinical depression makes little to no improvement for patient’s recovery.

You can read more about the study here and their results. What do you think about this NHS-funded study and its results?

If the NHS now believe that exercise doesn’t have an impact on clinical depression, those with the condition will simply stop exercising because they won’t see the point.  Then they will fall into a trap one of my family members has; he eats because he’s down, he doesn’t see the benefits of exercise therefore he doesn’t do any, he gets insecure because he’s gained weight and then eats because he’s down – a typical vicious cycle. When you’re depressed, things you know you need to do become difficult in day to day life, let alone things that have just been discredited by doctors.

Whether it helps long-term or not, exercise should be actively encouraged regardless because of its potential to release endorphins and boost self-esteem. We shouldn’t be spending money trying to give people more reasons not to get fit.

The obesity epidemic in Britain has gotten much worse in recent years and the government have been trying to encourage a more active lifestyle to save the NHS time and millions of pounds. So this new research seems completely counter-productive to me.

Do you agree/disagree? Does this research irritate you as much as it has done me?

The ‘in between’ period

Hey everyone,

Sorry my posts have been a bit sparse, but I have just been absolutely rushed off my feet between working and trying to get everything sorted for my vacation. I leave on Friday and noticing that none of my swimwear or underwear fits me any more was probably the worst time ever for finally realising how much my body shape has changed. As you might be able to sense from this first paragraph, this post is a bit girlie as it is about the changes in my body and how it affects my wardrobe (sorry guys!).

So on Monday with just four days before I leave early Friday morning to go on holiday, I rushed into town to try and find some bras and a bikini that fit. After having my chest measured properly, I was told not only had I gone down one cup size, I had gone down a cup and a half. That leaves me slap-bang in the middle between two sizes; one too small, the other too big. 2 hours and 24 bras later and we could not find one I was happy with. I was well and truly fed up by this point so I thanked this poor woman for trying to help me and went off to find swimwear that fit. That was a completely pointless affair for the same reasons.

I got home at 4 and I was very tired and feeling rather pissed off. This might seem a very trivial thing to get annoyed over in the grand scheme of things, but after working so hard on my body, finding clothing that accentuated my new-and-improved shape was supposed to be easier, not harder. To top it all off, I then had to work  long hours into the evening to make up for the time lost while in town, hence why I was quiet yesterday and I’ve had to do the same today, hence why I’ve been quiet today, too!

Mum to the rescue!

My mum offered to help me out this morning so I went back out into town with her. It still took us a bloody long time, but I found a bra I was happy with. The swimwear was a lost cause so I just gave up and bought some nice-fitting shorts and a black vest top – I am going on holiday in Britain so I doubt it’ll be hot enough for a bikini anyway! I’m feeling far more cheerful now I have at least one bra that fits.

After trying on so many items of clothing that were so unflattering in the past 24 hours, to boost my confidence again I bought myself a couple of sale items from Topshop that I tried on and they made me feel how I’m supposed to feel about my new body; confident, proud and happy.

I bought the new top (above) and this is the first time I have ever bought a top that doesn’t completely cover my tummy. I was very self conscious about my tummy prior to working out so this is a really big deal and I’m very happy about this. However, as you can see from the shot on the right, my jeans don’t fit any more.

It seems dumb to buy new jeans seeing as I haven’t gotten to my goal shape yet and jeans are expensive, so I’m wearing old pairs with a belt when I need to, and wearing shorts, skirts and dresses the rest of the time while I’m in this transitional period. In a peculiar way, it’s kind of nice wearing jeans that are too big because it is a constant reminder that at one point not so long ago, these jeans were too small.

Speaking of dresses, these are the only things that haven’t let me down or fit stupidly since I dropped a few sizes and here is my latest one I managed to grab for 30% off the marked price.

These past couple of days have made me realise that a) working after it’s gotten dark really sucks when you’ve been up since 7am and b) it’s not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to obtaining the physical look that you’ve always wanted. For the foreseeable future, I’m now going to struggle buying underwear and swimwear but you know what? Bikinis can go to hell, being in between bra sizes can go to hell, so long as I’m able to wear dresses like this and feel gorgeous, I’m smiling like that ^ and walking with a spring in my step.

“Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape”

My first proper before and after

fitspo

When I was at my heaviest weight I avoided full body shots at all costs if I could help it. So I don’t actually have many “before” pictures. The picture on the left I posted on its own before and some of my readers suggested posting a photo of me hooping taken recently to show the comparison between what size I was and how much my body shape has changed since. So, be it a little blurry, on the right was a photo Thom took of me this evening while I was goofing around with my hoop. It’s not in the exact same position and angle as the first one was taken, but I tried to get it similar to how I had remembered the photo to look. Also, please excuse my silly face, Thom likes to take photos either when I’m not paying attention or I’m talking. 😉

I stayed about the same weight on the left up until summer last year, I lost weight by eating right but I didn’t exercise regularly. The only full body shots I’ve got of me from last summer are of me in flattering clothing or when I was on my horse, Lily, so this is the closest to a “before” and “after” comparison I’ve got at the moment.

If I can get a photo taken of Lily and I when I’m next riding, I’ll be sure to post it as it will be easy to see a massive difference there because riding trousers are massively unflattering. But I’d have to ask one of my friends at the stables to take a photo as I tend to go see Lily on my own.

For now, this’ll do and it also shows you how much better my hooping technique has gotten. I no longer have to bend excessively to keep the hoop up, or have one foot further in front than the other. I really wish I had more space to hoop because it is so much fun.

Thom: “You’re looking really slim and it’s weird for me to get my head around.”
Lucy: “Why? It’s not like I woke up one morning and had dropped loads of weight”
Thom: “I know but I’ve only just noticed, you know I’m not the most observant!”

What Thom said made me chuckle because it’s true, when you see a person who’s losing weight on a regular basis, you don’t tend to notice until it suddenly hits you. I’ve been feeling like that, although I knew I was changing shape, I didn’t realise how much bigger I was than I am now and just how much my body has changed. 😀

Please give a friendly welcome to Thunderthighsandlows

fitterstrongerbetter and thunderthighsandlows

My sister, who I briefly blogged about running with in April, has joined the dark side and started a fitness blog on WordPress. This is a link to her blog and I’d love it if my followers could stop by and give her a warm welcome. The WP community is a wonderful one and it has certainly helped me having a network of fellow fitness bloggers and fanatics to provide support, advice and encouragement, so it’ll be sure to help her too.

Some of the readers I regularly interact with may find it a little hard to relate to my journey because admittedly I’ve never had an issue with weight, only being a stone over the ideal weight for my height when I was at my heaviest. Ally is a big girl with an even bigger heart, so fellow curvy ladies would probably be more inspired by her progress than mine if I’m perfectly honest. It’s tough enough starting your fitness journey when you’re a healthy weight and decent level of fitness like I was, let alone being a few dress sizes bigger with little to no stamina like Ally was when she started earlier this year.

So if you want a light-hearted fitness and weightloss blog to follow, this is the blog you need to check out! Oh and did I mention she’s absolutely gorgeous? Then again, I am biased. 😉

10 awesome abdominal exercises

side bridge exercise1) The side bridge

Great for glutes and also shoulders, this one is done by lying on your side and propping your upper body up on the weight of your elbow closest to the floor, hand on hip with arm closest to ceiling. Have your knees bent for balance and lift your hip off the ground. For beginners, aim for between 3 and 10 seconds and slowly build up to 60 seconds as you get stronger. Remember to repeat on each side.

2) Scissor kicks

Lie flat on your back with your arms fully extended and on the floor, lift your legs with a slight bend in the knee so your heels are roughly six inches above the floor to get into the starting position. With knees still slightly bent lower one leg so the heel is about two or three inches from the ground and raise the other leg at a 45 degree angle. Repeat by switching right and left legs into upper and lower positions. Remember to breathe throughout because this one is a toughie!

3) Reverse crunch

There are many variations to the crunch and this is one of the most highly regarded out there for working your abs healthily. Start with your legs extended on the floor and arms at your sides, palms flat on the floor unless you are advanced, in which case you can do as the picture shows. Move legs up into the air with knees bent so your legs are at a right angle, thighs perpendicular to the ground and while inhaling, lift your legs towards your upper body, allowing your pelvis to roll forwards as you raise your hips off the ground. Allow knees to go as far as you can manage safely without straining or losing form, hold for a few seconds and exhale as you move your legs back to the right angle shape they were at before. This is a reverse crunch and boy, will you feel it!

superman plank

4) Superman plank

A great variation to the normal plank. Get into the normal plank position, on your elbows with your lower weight on your toes. Move your upper body up one arm at a time so your arms are fully extended, spread your fingers to help spread the surface area. While inhaling, raise your left arm and extend out in front of you with the top of your arm level with your shoulder and your right leg up in the air so it is level with your back. Breathe throughout while holding this pose for the desired time, then exhale as you lower your limbs back down into the arms extended plank. Repeat with right arm and left leg.

butt up exercise

5) Butt up!

Begin in a plank position with your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. While arching your back outwards slightly, raise your butt up to the ceiling, squeezing your abs tight – in this exercise you will need to breathe out as you raise up and inhale as you come back down into the starting position. Remember to not let your back collapse down towards the floor as you go back to the starting position.

ugi twist

6) Ugi twists

Begin sat with your butt on the floor, bearing your full weight on it as you lean backwards with your upper body and raise your legs off the ground, this is your starting position. Bend one knee and contract your leg towards your hips, keeping the sole of your foot level to the ground. As you do this, with a ball/cushion/whatever you have that’s easy to hold, twist above the hip to touch the ground with your object, holding it with both hands (see picture). Twist your upper body back to the centre and extend your leg back out to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg and side. In regards to keeping your balance, doing this move quickly is best as opposed to slowly but make sure you do not lose your form.

hanging leg raise exercise

7) Hanging leg raise

There are plenty of variations on this exercise, but we’ll go with the one pictured here, minus the leg twist. Using a dip station or similar weight-bearing gym equipment. stand central and place your hands on the bars. If it is above your waist, you will need to push your bodyweight up in order to extend your arms, but if it’s a dip station, you won’t need to worry about exerting yourself to get your arms straightened out.  With your arms straight have your legs stretched out and straight at an angle just over 90 degrees, making your body an L shape (pictured). Inhale as you raise your legs with your knees bent, bringing your knees to touch your chest, hold for a few seconds while breathing normally and exhale as you straighten your legs back out so your body is back to the L shape. Repeat for desired reps. If you are losing form, do less reps.

lower back curl

8) Lower back curl

This one’s easy to do and great for your abs. Lying with your torso flat on the floor, arms by your sides and leg weight supported by tucking your toes under as if you were doing a plank exercise (see picture), inhale as you lift your chest up off the ground. Hold that position and don’t allow your shoulders to slouch and keep your chin parallel with the ground. Exhale and slowly return to the starting position with control.

dumbbell side bends

9) Dumbbell side bends

Good for your abs and those pesky love handles you’re dying to shift! Stand straight and tall with your desired weight dumbbells, one in each hand. Keep your abs tight and exhale as you lower one dumbbell towards your knee, allowing your torso to lean from the hips over to that same side. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed on both your legs and while inhaling, slowly return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

cross body crunch exercise

10) Cross body crunches

 Lie flat on your back with your knees bent at a 60 degree angle, feet flat on the floor, hands loosely behind your head. As you exhale, curl up and bring your shoulder and elbow on your left side across your body while lifting your right knee to touch your left elbow. Contract your stomach muscles as you are doing this and think about reaching with not just the elbow the shoulder too. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position – keep it controlled and don’t collapse in a heap! Repeat with the right elbow and left knee.

Tip – when doing the alternating exercises, remember to work each side evenly!

Enjoy these exercises, do them with correct form and don’t strain yourself. Please note I spent a long time sourcing images of the movements and writing quick guides on how they are executed, so if you do use this on your blog/site, be sure to mention fitterstrongerbetter. Thanks!

Images are not my own and are credited when source is known.