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RACHAEL'S STORY (From 12 to 9 stone)

Over the last few years, I moaned a lot about the way I looked and felt. One day last year, when I was outwardly suggesting finding a personal trainer, at the same time dismissing it due to cost, my other half pointed out that I could do it if I really wanted to. Yes, there’d be some financial changes needed, but it was not impossible. He was irritably waved away, but it was a thought that quickly seeped in and had me consulting Google later that morning.

Rachel at the start

When I met Anthony, he was clear that his purpose wasn’t about providing a short-term bikini body fix. He was about changing unhealthy habits permanently, so that I would feel better in my mind and completely comfortable in my body and live a pain free, happier, life.

The guidance and expectations he gave were clear, the bar was high, and it was a completely different way of living than I was used to. While daunting, the clarity made things easy and meant I could start making small changes: It would mean I’d have to talk to my family about needing the one room we live in for an hour on a Wednesday morning, deliver small human and fury animal breakfasts before he arrived at 7am, organise my work calendar and at-work days, carve out some quiet space to fill out the booklet he'd provided etc. Basically, push out other things that made space just for me. Very uncomfortable while also exciting.

It’s been a journey. From being educated on why I’m doing this exercise or that, at what speed, in what way – what connects to what and why my body reacts in this way or that, to how I provide nutrients to myself that very quickly make me feel happier and calmer.

I still eat ‘naughty’ things, but my diet has gone from 90% processed to 90% fresh. I don’t feel the need to eat at volume anymore and I can taste the flavours in food that I just didn’t notice before. Weirdly, when I eat processed/junk food now, I get all excited only to notice how it tastes of nothing and is gone in a millisecond, leaving me as hungry as I was to start with.

It’s interesting, learning this way though. A bit by doing and a bit by listening. It’s led me to pick up books I wouldn’t have previously or listen to pod casts that have continued to build on his learning.

I have honestly never felt better at any other time in my life than I do now.

For me, the biggest change has been in my head. The amount of time I must have spent silently criticising myself. Now there’s just quiet. Or at times, quiet congratulations. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t believe that I’m in this kind of physical shape and all my persistent aches and pains have disappeared (knee, back, neck, hernia), but I find the mental peace revolutionary!

On the outside, I have been promoted (after 12 years of being at the same level), got engaged (after 20 years together), and said ‘yes’ to so many opportunities I would have been too scared to go for before.

A big part of the benefit for me is in the relationship with Anthony. It’s been a bit like having my own personal Jerry Maguire. There is genuine support, without judgement.

I know he wants me to feel mentally and physically healthy – have more energy, sleep better, live a happier life. I will be forever grateful for Anthony’s investment in me, my health education and constant positive encouragement.

A word from Anthony

When I first met Rachael, she said that she wanted to work with me because I explained that I had struggled with my health and my weight over the years and had found a solution to living a healthier and leaner life. In truth, it has taken me years to finally adjust my health. Rachael was able to shift her health within a matter for 8 months.

The journey wasn’t a simple one. For most of Rachel’s adult life she had suffered with extreme neck pain – something that many people that work behind a desk have experienced – as well as injuries in the left knee that prohibited many of the exercises. Boxing would trigger the neck, and lunging, running or squats would trigger the knee. Cardio was problematic and the back wasn’t balanced. Adding to that, a dislike for exercise and Rachel's lack of self-belief she had become accustomed to her auto ego ‘fun Rach’– the Racheal that loves a Pino or 6 and has a laugh!

In the early days, the snack draw would often call to her at the end of the day, drawing her in to have a cheeky bite or two. It wasn’t easy. Her job was pressured and overwhelming, her neck would be in constant pain and very early on a misstep in running with her dog lead to an injury in the knee that limited most exercises. Couple this with having a snack draw full of her favourite goodies (pro tip, that’s a bad idea to have in the house!) she would often weaken. Bigger than all of that was the inner voice. The internal bully that would call her names and bring her down. "You look fat, you can’t do that exercise, you aren’t motivated enough, you will quit, your neck will never improve". For her, she explained it was constant and exhausting.

At this point people often start to build a sense of learned helplessness - when no matter what you do, you can’t find the willpower and your body and brain won’t play ball, You're plagued with constant injuries and your life is so pressured and overwhelming that you struggle to find the mojo to push yourself through the barriers. You start to let that inner voice win and just accept your fate.

That’s how it felt for Rachel...

This time it was different though, instead of guessing or quitting to avoid the embarrassment of failure, Rachael would seek for me to find the answer to the problem – after all that is what she hired me for. She would fill in her habit tracker accurately and honestly and we would review her behaviour and her pains and address them head on. We would add in recovery strategies and adjust and adapt her plan regularly to build her body up week by week, helping her to overcome mental and physical hurdles one at a time. We reached a place whereby she is largely pain free, has full freedom in her movement mechanics, eats intuitively and has remained at her ideal weight for many months now. She trains each morning as a routine, listens to her body, rests well, drinks well (with the occasional pinot time to time!) and feels healthy each and every day of her life. Things that used to cause worry and concern are not even factors that she thinks about today.

You see, when we first started, Rachael's issue wasn’t her weight; it was the voice in her head, criticising and judging and creating doubt and conflict. "You look fat, you can’t be fit, you don’t have the discipline". Each week Rachel fought back with physical progress and each week the voice got quieter in her head. Now, she claims there is space to think, there is less stress, there is a better relationship between her body and her brain, and she's embedded these habits and behaviours into her life, meaning it's no longer an effort to do the right thing with her health.

There are two reasons that explain Rachels success more than anything else. First, she kept consistent with tracking and would seek for me to guide her through her problems, this is often not the case with people attempting to change their health. They lose faith and focus too easily. The second is she asked me a question. How long do I have to keep this up for? This question is the most important question I have ever been asked.

When people start a journey to weight loss or better health they are often seeking to adopt a habit of exercise for a period of time, to lose a stone for example. This is called short term habit change. The issue is when the goal is if achieved the old eating and drinking habits soon arise and there you are right back to the start again.

When Rachael asked me, I told her the hard truth: ‘for life’. You will need to exercise, eat well, and rest well for life if you want a good and long and healthy life. Of course, some days it won’t be possible, but if you want to remain free from those voices in your head and live in better health, you must become this way. It’s the only answer that has ever helped me to keep the weight off. It must become you, and for Rachael that’s exactly what’s happened, here’s to the new you Rach!

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