Spotlight Sunday – Val Gayes! “I was after a life change, not a quick fix!”

I am French born and bred, so needless to say I am naturally blessed with a healthy obsession with good food and wine. I’ve never been particularly overweight, never been skinny either, and never completely happy with my weight.

Val B+A

Since getting married just over 10 years ago, I’ve gradually adapted what I eat to accommodate my rather fussy eater of a husband, just to save me from cooking separate meals. Over time, this has led to compromise and laziness, and my waistline has suffered as a result. Admittedly I wasn’t living on crisps and chocolate, but I was eating too much, and not enough of the good stuff.

Val before losing 30 pounds

Val before losing 30 pounds

I had tried losing weight before, mostly through starving myself (though that could never last longer than a day or two, life is just too short!), or meal replacement shakes that would never reeducate my brain and stomach about what constitute a healthy eating lifestyle (and often contained as much sugars as a chocolate bar!) I had had some success a couple of years ago when enrolling on a personal training programme that addressed nutrition and exercise, but somehow, that didn’t make a lasting change on my habits.

Last September, I saw a friend’s post on Facebook; it was a special offer for 6 months with PW Physique and Fitness. I had come across Worthing Personal Trainer Anthony a few years back when he gave a talk at an event I attended, and he seemed to know his stuff about food and exercise. I emailed a few questions and quickly signed up in cold blood. My mind was set, I was ready to do something about “it”.

My battle was fought mostly in the kitchen, and weighing every meal ingredient was a real eye opener. For the first week, I kept wondering where was the second half of my meals… I’d pretty much been eating for two. My brain would try to convince me I needed more so I started to drink more water and green tea. Coconut oil and snacks of biltong became my new friends.

I printed off every single download I could find on the PW member’s website – All the meal plans, the nutrition manual, the recipes – and I put everything in a big folder that I studied like a geek and took action. To start with, I struggled with guilt for letting my husband sort his dinners out but concluded I was doing what was right for me.

I don’t have a natural love of exercise, so the workouts were not particularly enjoyable to start with, but my mind was made that I was just going to turn up, do as I was told and go home. I would not let my mind talk me out of it, and soon, 2 PT sessions a week became the norm. I threw in a yoga class too for good measure.

I was setting up good habits and the weight was falling off. Not super fast, but I was after a life change, not a quick fix. I’d already tried the quick fixes, it was time to do it right!

Val-BFI have so far dropped 32 lbs over about 20 weeks, that’s just over 1.5lb a week, I’m happy with that. I’ve gone from a near size 16 to a nearly size 10, and had to punch an extra 11 holes in my belt. I’ve dropped all my “Excess” body fat, going from just over 30% body fat to just under 21%. I am now starting to think about the next phase of maintenance and how to live without a weight loss mindset.

And it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it might be. The most important factor in my success was deciding from the start that I wanted to do this.

My attitude to food has changed too. It’s no longer used as a source of comfort, but as a source of nourishment for my body. I eat well and exercise because I want to look after the body I have now, not necessarily because I am aiming for the perfect body (whatever that is?!) And if I go away for the weekend, or have the odd meal out, I don’t agonise over what to eat, I just enjoy it!

Val's had to punch 11 new holes in her belt!

Val’s had to punch 11 new holes in her belt!

I am very thankful for all the help, encouragement and knowledge I have been given by Anthony and his team. There’s a real community and family feel, and we all seem to be rooting for each other. Come along, you’ll be in good company!