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.

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!

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