Back in March 2020 when the world went into lockdown I found myself at a loss to know how to keep up my exercise regime and also how to motivate my family to keep moving.
Facing 3 weeks entirely at home (which went on longer and longer than anyone could have imagined) was a daunting prospect and so we joined the JEFF fitness revolution and started doing daily online workouts via Facebook along with many others in our community.
We were grateful for something “different” to do with the kids every day… but the motivation waned (for them) and I found myself heading back to my previous workouts run by my former in-real-life instructor on Instagram in order to support her through lockdown. As the months went on I found my own interest waning and my stamina for the 1 hour long classes dropped down to 30 mins.
Then, in November 2020, my company joined the JEFF revolution and offered JEFF Life memberships (R200/month) to everyone. I decided to make the switch and quickly started doing 3 x HITT sessions a week. The 30min time was far more up my alley and suited my schedule much more.
As I became more invested in the JEFF Life I dabbled in joining the JEFF Cook classes and did a few Flow sessions too. I started to see more and more of the BEFORE and AFTER pics shared by those on the 1-on-1 programme and my interest was piqued.
The reality is that my weight has been a frustration for me for as long as I can remember. I was a skinny teen, but it was all downhill from 21 when I got married and almost immediately started eating the same portion sizes as my new husband! No one told me that me have different metabolisms to us!!!
Then we went over to the UK and discovered that the “Heathrow injection” was a real thing…. coupled with a staff canteen serving up stodgy British staples for lunch everyday and long commuting time resulting in way too many Tesco convenience curries!
We moved home after 2 years and almost immediately I fell pregnant and saw it as an opportunity to indulge… little did I realise that I’d still be paying the price 15 years later! I dropped some of the preggy belly, but then fell pregnant again a few years later and with the baseline being higher than before my 15kg weight gain pushed me over 80kg this time around!
The next decade was filled with kitchen teas and baby showers, kids birthday parties and hundreds of blog events and launches filled with delicious treats. My husband and I discovered a love for wining and dining and this general “good life” led me to a position where I crept up to almost my heaviest pregnancy weight again – without even realising!
In March 2020 I hit my highest non-pregnancy weight of just over 78kg and the idea of hitting 80 freaked me out. I had only been that weight at 9 months pregnant!
As a former skinny girl I had no idea how to watch what I ate and had unwittingly found myself with a BMI of over 25. As a positive person I prefer not to dwell on negative thoughts and feelings… but underneath my happy face, the fact that my waistline was bulging over the rim of my jeans or that my favourite clothes didn’t fit anymore was always in the back of my mind. Of all the things in my life THIS one got me down. It feels silly to say aloud as I really live a good life and weight seems so trivial to obsess over. But it’s my lived truth. I turned 40 in July and from friends who are a few years ahead of me I am aware that metabolism slows right down, and weight picks up from here on out. That thought worries me.
When I received an invite to join the JEFF 1-on-1 programme (R2250/ month) in Jan 2021 it was an instant YES I started my JEFF journey (2.0) on 1 February 2021 I was partnered up with JEFF Coach Mel and we met via Whatsapp video to chat through all my goals and how the 1-on-1 programme works. I filled in my details, weighed myself, took my measurements and then snapped my BEFORE photos. This was a wake up call. I have never been one to spend too much time in front of a full length mirror (for obvious reasons) and I then it had always only been from the front. I was OK with this view. It was the side and, especially, the back view that gave me a shock! You NEVER see yourself from the back! It wasn’t pretty. Who knew I had folds of BACK FAT lurking back there. I certainly didn’t!
My starting weight was 76.8kg (For a month in 2020 I tracked my every morsel via an app and managed to drop 2-3kg, but since then I had stagnated around 76kg, fluctuating by about 1kg every month).
Mel and I set my first monthly goal as 72kg. To be honest I baulked. The thought of dropping almost 5kg in a month seems impossible to me!
After my first chat with Mel (a week before the official start of my programme) I decided to start eating better to get me on track. If I’m honest the concept of this programme freaked me out and I was so nervous to make all the changes at once that I figured I would ease myself in.
My biggest problem is my self-discipline. I have ZERO. If it looks nice, I’ll eat it. If it tastes nice, I’ll eat more. I do not believe in self-denial. Ever. It is my biggest problem. Interestingly enough as soon as I identified that I was much better able to discipline myself. Strange, but true! So here I am. 1 week in. So far, so good!
Right from the start I was sent an eating programme which outlined how many calories I should eat and suggestions on how to divide these up across the food groups of protein, fat and starch for each meal. There are no set menus and no hard rules. I do have to keep accountable for what I’m putting in my mouth and I think that has made a big different to me thinking twice about what I eat. I’ve really appreciated the guidance of the coach when I’m trying (or failing) to make healthy choices, esp when it comes to my daily snack.
I appreciate the flexibility of the plan and the opportunity to find meal options that work for me and my family. It’s been interesting to challenge myself to come up with nutritious breakfasts and lunches everyday and to find ways to cook for my family at night while limiting my own starch intake at that meal.
I have discovered that I was a completely unconscious eater. I didn’t think twice about anything I put in my mouth. I have also discovered that healthy eating requires commitment and planning ahead. Too often we relied on convenient, last-minute meals like frozen fish and chips. We ate far too few vegetables. I hate WAY too many carbs.
Eating this way for just over a week I have already come to realise that although I thought I was eating well, and I possibly was for some meals of the day, there were many times when I wasn’t thinking twice about what I was eating. I was most certainly over-snacking, over-drinking and over-eating in general.
My go-to’s have been smoothies for breakfast alternated with overnight oats or low-carb granola, fruit and yoghurt. Lunches have actually been easier than I thought and I’ve relied on salads and coleslaw with a protein most afternoons.
Adding in 2 more sessions per week has been interesting. I thought 3 x 30mins sessions was a lot! I am NOT an exercise gal. I have lots of friends who are obsessed with running or cycling or yoga. I’m just not that into it!
About 5 years ago I made a decision that exercise HAD to be part of my life – for my health. My cholesterol in particular was bad at that time (over 7!) and so I started running, but within a year I realised it was not for me (hello plantars fascitis). I tried some yoga which I enjoyed, but always felt very intimidated going to the classes. I joined a gym instructor leading classes at her home and, although I enjoyed them, I certainly felt like I was the biggest, clumsiest, unfittest of the class – not ideal for my headspace or confidence. Ultimately online classes have been a total game changer for me. I’ve even started working out in just my sports bra (usually reserved for those with 6-packs only!) Trust me it’s FAR cooler!!!
The variety of classes offered by the JEFF 1-on-1 programme has been great for me. I’ve enjoyed challenging myself to do them the best I can. That being said I’m struggling with the added length of some of them. I think it’s a mindset thing. I am all in for 30mins, but if they go on longer or have additional exercises to do afterwards I’m done. I hit my stop button on my Fitbit and collapse!
I have discovered that I really need to exercise early in the morning. I’ve tried to set myself a goal of doing it at 8am or earlier… but I’m not being very disciplined. Some days I’m up and at ’em, others I’m a pap, lazy lout. I need to get better at making the session part of my early morning routine. I once tried to do a class I had missed at 6;30pm and it was diabolical. Also lunchtime sessions are way too hot and I’m not very motivated. If I do get it right and do it first thing in the am I generally feel great about myself and have a good day. If I leave it too late, the guilt hangs over me all day and I feel awful – and I don’t have a great session later on because I’m too tired and lacking in energy.
I have only missed doing 2 of the sessions so far – both on Saturdays. I’m not used to exercising on weekends!!!
Truthfully I think the biggest change so far has been my mindset – and for that I really have to thank Coach Mel. She’s been so encouraging and positive. Really “seeing” a positive, healthy future for me and dragging me there when I just can’t!
She’s always available to check in with and she sends me positive voice notes and generally has just been someone I can be honest with – on good and bad days.
It’s amazing how simple the process is (in fact you might think it’s very easy to do yourself) BUT it’s also imperative to have someone hold you accountable and this has been the only reason I’ve managed to be so self-disciplined so far!
So that’s week 1 of JEFF 1-on-1.
Here are my results so far… Weight isn’t a true reflection of progress, cm’s count more BUT it’s the one thing we all do tend to focus on.
Starting weight: 76.8kg
Current weight: 75.6kg
Goal weight: 72kg (this month!)
I’ll try to share my feedback on the programme every week for the next 3 months, but it might become fortnightly. Will see how I go!