When injury and illness forced 37-year-old barrister, Helena, out of her usual exercise routine, she thought she would soon bounce back.
But a few months’ rest turned into a two-year break, and her uncontrolled eating habits just kept adding inches to her waistline.
Try as she might, she couldn’t find her way back to healthier habits and it left her feeling down about it until a chance meeting with a friend opened her eyes to the results-driven programme at Ultimate Performance.
Helena’s weight had ballooned to 93kg, but with just 12 weeks of training at U.P. London City, she has dropped to 75kg.
“It has really transformed my life, I mean it sounds like a cliché, but it really, really has changed my life.
“I have noticed a positive impact on my self-confidence. And overall, it has set up great lifestyle habits – around sleep, food and all that kind of stuff.”
Helena had always been good at keeping on top of her fitness and training, but a combination of unhealthy eating habits, a time-starved lifestyle, age, and injury made bouncing back hard.
“Looking back at the first photographs we had taken, I remember how I felt which was a bit sad and just a bit hopeless because I’d been trying to diet and trying to get back into good habits, get back into training, and I just couldn’t really find the way to do that.
“Over the course of a couple of years, I just got a bit fat, but more than that I felt really lethargic. I couldn’t fit into my clothes, and I felt a bit depressed about it.”
Along with an inadequate training regime, Helena was hindered by her eating habits.
An over-reliance on convenient sandwich shop fare showed on her waist.
U.P.’s nutrition plan was a significant change, but she stuck to it faithfully and the results quickly began to show.
“In the first couple of weeks, I saw quite a quick drop in weight, and that was the real motivation to keep going. The meal plan I got was full of things I really like eating, so I didn’t feel particularly hungry for the most part.
“And once in a while when I felt hungry and found it hard to stick to it, I just thought ‘you can go to bed early now, get some good sleep and get up and have the nicest breakfast’ – the thought of a spinach, avocado and salmon breakfast kept me going!”
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One of the things that Helena found really beneficial was learning about nutrition, and discovering that with a few simple tricks she had all the self-control in the world.
Now her old compulsion to indulge in sweet and sugary foods has abated.
“I think it’s about putting food into a better perspective and knowing that you don’t have to eat what’s in front of you just because it’s there or just because someone is saying so.
“I think it’s really telling that after the 12 weeks I don’t have a particular desire to kind of go and find the nearest cake to eat.”
Before she started, Helena was stuck in a cycle of overworking and stress-eating.
She felt unusually tired and couldn’t concentrate at work.
This led to longer workdays, which in turn led to endless cups of coffee and overeating.
Breaking that self-destructive cycle turned out to be the biggest benefit for her.
“I am eating regularly, and I am finding it quite easy to prepare my own food, but that’s just a part of it.
“It’s about getting into a really good routine, and that’s something this training programme has given me – a structure.
“I come in here a couple of times a week, and it means getting up on time, going to bed at a decent time and you end up feeling more energetic the next day, feeling more refreshed.
“I have been able to have a better balance in time spent at work.”
Lifting weights might not have seemed the most fun way to spend an hour previously, but Helena has really come to love the challenge.
“I’ve really enjoyed the weight training sessions.
“The ups and downs of training sessions have taught me perseverance.
“I don’t get so stressed if things don’t happen instantly. I genuinely feel more relaxed; it’s like I’m sort of taking things in my stride a bit.”
“Best of all, I feel confident that I will be able to sustain these changes after my 12 weeks have come to an end so that I can maintain all the benefits I have won over the last three months.”
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