As I was approaching my 40th birthday last year, I was going through some big life transitions. I had just sold a business, which was a big deal, and I felt a bit lost. My confidence and energy levels had taken a dive – and as I weighed 80.8kg (12.7 stone) with a height of 5’ 10”, I had a “dad bod” without even having kids.
I started doing a lot of work on my mental health – meditating, reading and therapy – and that led me to realising that I also had to sort out my physical health. The phrase “healthy body, healthy mind” is really true.
My diet was poor – I was eating too many takeaways, too much bread and pasta and drinking excessively – and I was pretty inactive. I knew that I had to change things as I was heading into the next section of life: midlife is a time to really look after yourself. So I joined a gym and had a PT assign me a diet and exercise programme.
Jack, my PT at Roar Fitness, first looked at my diet and told me to record everything I ate and stick to 1,700 calories a day for the first three months (previously I would have had no idea how much I had been eating).
He also recommended eating more protein and when I did have carbs, I should choose complex ones, like brown rice or pasta, as well as more whole foods and lots more fruit and vegetables than before.
He told me to cut down on drinking and snacking – I realised that I was absent-mindedly eating a few hundred extra calories when I ate things like an afternoon bagel with peanut butter.
He wanted me to move my body much more – starting with walking 10,000 steps a day. It was a huge change and, in and of itself, a really good mental health boost. But on top of that, I was doing strength training three times a week, which was incredible. It felt like I was getting the blood flowing to new parts of my brain.
As my body started to change – I dropped more than 10kg and lost 3.5cm in fat from my stomach in three months – my confidence soared. The changes I’ve made have had such a big knock-on effect on the rest of my life outside of the gym; I feel better at meeting new people and approaching new situations. It was exactly the change I needed.
Now I’m maintaining my weight I eat about 2,500 calories a day, but I’ve kept it high in protein, which fills me up and feels like a really sustainable way of eating.
Breakfast: Omelette with vegetables
Lunch: A chicken salad
Dinner: Fish with a vegetable stir fry
Snacks: Peanut butter with carrot sticks, and sometimes a protein shake if I need extra protein that day.
Carbs: I avoid pasta, bread and rice unless I’m training, in which case I opt for brown versions, which are slower-releasing in the body.
Caffeine: I have one coffee in the morning
Alcohol: I’ve really cut back and definitely don’t drink beer anymore. If I go out, I’ll have a tequila with lime and soda, which is lower in calories and doesn’t spike my blood sugar.
Sleep: My sleep has massively improved, I feel physically tired after training and walking, which feels really good, and I have about 7-8 hours every night.
[email protected] or visit roar-fitness.com
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