I said in a recent post that I was willing to go a bit deeper with my blog posts, and so thought that something about my own journey with my body so far was probably the most important. I genuinely think it’s really difficult to follow someones ‘fitness travels’ without having the full background of what they’ve gone through to get to this point. Plus, I’m not a PT (yet!) nor am I a nutritionist, but simply sharing what worked for me both mentally and physically.
Sometimes I think it’s really easy to just see a transformation photo with a simple caption like ‘hard work and good nutrition’ or something along those lines; and just make assumptions about what happened between. When it’s more than likely to of had a lot more depth behind it! Personally, I explain that I struggled with issues around eating and body image; but as it’s still a relatively fresh issue in my mind, I sometimes shy away from it. Not because I’m ashamed, but because it’s almost a little too raw? Sorry if that sounds really bloody poncy, but I don’t really know how else to explain it haha.
Sooo, I’ll start right from the beginning. Little Anna. Or not so little Anna, awks.
I’ve always been a really active gal, whether it was school team sports or club swimming outside of school. Being active was never an issue for me, sport was my social hub. I was at a tiny all girls school from the age of 4 – 16 and not only were my best friends my friends since being teeny tiny, but they were also my netball team! It sounds so Enid Blyton, but I loved school matches with my gal pals almost as much as I loved match teas (lol). I was also obsessed with all things theatre, I had virtually no inhibitions – put me on a stage and I was in my element. I had no cares about what I was eating, I LOVED food. I can remember each time before my swim training sessions, I would buy a cheeky Aero Mint bar and munch on it whilst getting my swimmers on. I just didn’t care, I knew I was bigger than a lot of my friends but I was happy and confident in myself. What more could a gal want?
It wasn’t until I was about 13 that it hit me that being ‘cute and chubby’ was no longer cute, and I was actually just chubby. Not just chubby, but overweight. It was a time where all of my friends and me were getting into that OMG BOYS phase – and believe me, at an all girls school this is a life changing epidemic. The most excitement we’d had around males was one under 60 year old gardener, who reportedly impregnated one of the older girls. Actually, still to this day never found out the truth behind that. Scandalous.
Anyway… I’ll set the scene. It was December. We were at our first EVER girl – boy disco. The eyeliner was on fleek (not at all) I had my first high waisted skirt on, I was feeling saucy. The glow was real – by that I mean I was sweating profusely and honestly looked like I’d been dragged through a gushing waterfall. I had my LG mobile ready to get those numbers noted down, boyfriend here I come. It got to the end of the evening and to my credit, I think I got at least one number and a slow dance to Robbie Williams. I was so out of breath by the end of it, I remember looking in the mirror and just seeing the sweaty reflection of an overweight teen staring back at me. I got home that night and was determined to make a change of things. If I’m honest, at that age there probably was a bit of male motivation, what 13 year old doesn’t want to feel attractive to dem boys? If I could go back now I would’ve slapped me in the face and highlighted all the real motivation that actually matters – like your health for one!
I got myself started on a 1200 calorie diet (I KNOW I KNOW WHAT WAS I THINKING) and began to run every day. I don’t know how I stuck to it, but I started to lose weight very quickly and I was loving it. But slowly this turned into weighing myself every day, longer runs and less food. I didn’t realise at the time what I was getting myself into, but I had teachers and the school telling me take it easy and expressing concern. But, I just dismissed it. I wasn’t about to let someone get in the way of what I wanted the most. It got to the point where I reached my goal weight (losing 2 stone in 4 months) and instead of feeling happy, that fear of gaining it back set in. In this time, I began to lose a lot of myself – overcome with wanting to look a certain way, I lost a lot of confidence, which was tough when I had such a big passion for acting.
A lot of my holidays for the next few years were clouded over by my aggression and refusal to spend time with my family, due to fear of being made to eat properly. I was really vile to be around and I’ll never forgive myself for how much time I missed out with my little sister as she was growing up and wanting to play with me in the pool. Now it’s me wanting to do handstand competitions in the pool haha!
Then it was time to leave school and throw myself in to A levels, leaving my girls school bubble and facing sixth form. I don’t think I realised how shit I was with change until this point. Everything I knew and was used to was thrown out the window, and with this so did my eating. I began to binge eat, mostly triggered by late booze filled nights, alongside not knowing wtf I was doing. My body was essentially starving and I gained weight back very quickly. As a result I began to avoid all social situations, skipped a few classes and my work went downhillllll verrrrry fast.
It was then that I discovered the world of Instagram, which sounds strange because in this day and age I’m pretty sure even an embryo has at least 20 followers? Anyway, I feel like every girl with an Iphone goes through this sudden discovery of the ‘fitness IGmodels’ and my first one was Kayla Itsines. Despite having different opinions on her fitness guide now, at the time this was one of the most positive discoveries for my mind and body. It only took me a few transformation posts to download the guide and get started. I stuck to it religiously, following the food plan – which at the time was a lot more than what I was used to! I began to see changes and even set up my own ‘AnnasBBG’ insta. Bless. I eventually stopped the BBG guide and just put into practice what I’d learnt from the process. That summer 2016 was our sixth form leavers ball, as well as the pilgramidge to Ayia Napa. Best Summer of my life. Honestly, I couldn’t believe just how happy I was, then I found out I’d got into Leeds Uni and was like IS THIS REAL LIFE.
Going to uni was one of the best things for me, that first year of freshers is a blur. Literally a blur. But a good blur yanno? I study Sociology, which at the time only had 6 contact hours, so a lot of my time was spent reading (my mum will read this), watching youtube, going to the gym, socialising and a teeny bit of drinking (a lot) and I was loving life. Fab mates, fab time 🙂 Diet went amiss, replacing food with vodka, but I wasn’t bothered. I was getting all my nutrients off Revs watermelon shots. I was living and loving the uni life. I also found out that there were a few of the insta fitties I followed at Leeds (Gains4Girls / Emlouisefitness) and I was like corr bleemey that’s a heavy bar they’re working with – whilst I was squatting a 3kg dumbbell. I also found Nikki Blackketter and Heidi Somers on youtube, and was baffled by how much they were eating… and lifting… so I thought eyyyy why not give it a go. It was scary to start with, which sounds pathetic, but when you’re almost used to restriction and the basic cardio – it’s bloody daunting. I upped the calories, lowered the cardio and began to weight train. It was the first time I felt those same endorphins I used to when playing team sports, I LOVED IT. My body changed, muscles grew (a little) and I felt good in myself . Plus, my love for food came back and I wanted to make the ‘protein version’ of every sweet treat out there. I felt proud that I’d finally seen through the whole ‘quick fix’ and worked for something, plus I loved the process and still do to this day.
And yeah, the rest is truly history. I still get my moments of funny thoughts around eating, and I’d be lying if my self perception is always best. But, it’s more like two steps forward, one step back as opposed to one step forward, 50 steps back. Wow does that even make sense? I guess there’s no real ‘finish line’ to a fitness journey, nor I do have an ‘end goal’. As long as I’m still loving it all, whilst doing everything a young gal can do – that’s all I want. I started up my blog and instagram because I just wanted a place to share my journey and show others that they can do it, life throws battles at you constantly, but I’m grateful for it.
Ok that was long, almost too long. But I’m a rambler through and through x
Lots of love Anna x
PS. Please feel free to share your own fitness journey, I’d love to hear 🙂 Wahoo x
Personal Instagram: @annahammersley