Liz Henry – October 2014 BodyBlitz winner
A busy lifestyle was enough to keep Liz Henry’s weight down, but that didn’t mean her health wasn’t suffering. With the support of her husband and a PT, she was able to turn her life around.
I entered the BodyBlitz challenge because I had to change the way I was living my life. Last year I took on a fantastic management role with lots of learning. It was highly demanding, however, and I found myself choosing convenience over nutrition. Some days I was lucky to have more than two serious meals. I have been vegan for two years, wore a size six, weighed 50 kilos and relied on adrenaline to keep my weight low. I never exercised because who had time to? My social life meant lots of champagne and social smoking. I realised none of this was helping my health.
When I stood down from my job at the end of last year, I immediately gained weight. By January I had gained eight kilograms, I couldn’t sleep and was always tired with no strength. It was my husband who took me down to the gym and encouraged me to sign up; he has lost 25 kilos over the past two years and now goes to the gym every day.
My gym put me in touch with a personal trainer, which was immensely beneficial. He researched effective vegan nutrition and taught me how to get the most out of weight days or cardio days simply by consuming certain oils and protein sources. He also showed me that my capacity for strength and endurance was far beyond what I thought possible.
Incorporating fitness into my daily routine was a struggle; it was challenging to resist the urge to spend an extra hour in bed, but within a week my fitness routine was something that I really looked forward to. With activity came so much energy, happiness and lack of stress that I just wanted to keep that incredible feeling going.
I took time to learn about my body and how to reconnect with it. I changed my eating habits and made time to be active. I have since learned how to eat to nourish my body, not just put something in my mouth to keep me going.
Monday: Shoulders, triceps, back, 30 mins yoga
Tuesday:10km interval run
Wednesday: Biceps, chest, abs, 30 mins yoga
Thursday: 10km interval run
Friday: Calves, legs and glutes, 30 mins yoga
Saturday: 40 mins yoga
About five weeks in I suffered a minor muscle tear left of my belly button, which made me realise how vital my abdominal muscles were. I could have dropped the ball but every curveball is an opportunity to improve. In the following weeks to let it heal I focused on working other areas of my body.
To maintain motivation, I would write my goals down and place them where I could see them at least once daily. My husband and I kept a whiteboard near our living area with goals for the immediate and long-term future. It says, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” I apply that to everything I do in my life.
I learned how wrong I was to neglect my health, even when I wasn’t gaining weight. I now value the time I give myself to invest in my health and longevity. I have a beautiful nine-year-old stepdaughter and it is vital to me that I am a positive role model who makes healthy lifestyle choices.
Breakfast: Wholegrain oats with protein powder and blueberries
Snack: Celery with hummus, or an apple with walnuts, or homemade cacao, goji berry and coconut protein balls
Lunch: Two slices of rye bread with an avocado rainbow salad tossed with flaxseed oil, and a protein shake
Dinner: Lentil dahl served with quinoa and brown rice, plus a large kale salad with seeds and nuts
Dessert: Chia seed pudding made with cacao, almond milk and raspberries
Through the challenge I gained strength, muscle tone and lost body fat. For the first time since childhood I am comfortable wearing shorts. I am going to keep on with the changes I have made because there is always a new goal and the rewards are priceless.
I feel like a different person. My outlook has changed dramatically and the woman in the mirror is motivated, strong and empowered.