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A change for the better - Karin Lowe

After years of yoyo dieting, Deborah Roberts was searching for the perfect lifestyle balance. With the help of an online trainer and a well-structured food and exercise plan, she discovered that commitment and determination pay off.

Deborah Roberts Before and After

I have always been relatively active, but never quite achieved the correct combination of diet and exercise. I was a classic ‘skinny-fat’ person, slim enough most of the time but really struggling in some body areas. If I went off my diet I would stop exercising and have a break, which would ultimately see me back at where I started in no time at all. I had two entire wardrobes of clothes in a range of sizes to fit every part of the yoyo cycle. After 25 years of being on a string of diets I decided I wanted to get off once and for all.

I wish I had not waited so long! I signed up for the help of an online coach, Sharna Haller from Ideal Bodies Online.

I knew what I had been doing wasn’t working, so I put my fitness goals in the hands of a professional trainer and made sure I followed the guidelines. The power was in my hands. I was able to own and run my own program. Several people laughed at me about having an online trainer that I had never met, but they are not laughing now! I have learnt so much about eating correctly, how to combat injuries, reasoning behind weights training and most importantly how to take control of my own life.

None of this was easy. I faced some pretty heavy demons in the first few weeks. I have a busy full-time job, so scheduling eight workouts each week was a challenge in itself. I had to compete with the negative voice in my head, I didn’t have time to cook and prepare all the food; however, after only a week I was forming a routine and I was on my way. At week six I strained my hip flexor and had to stop all cycling and dancing classes, which limited my high cardio options. In week eight I strained my shoulder and rib muscles so badly I could hardly breathe and running was no longer an option. At week 10 when I thought I had recovered, I injured it again. I felt like giving up and certainly had a day or two of self-doubt, but decided I had come too far.

I wasn’t a perfect angel; I did stray from my meal plan, but only in small ways — a mountain bread wrap here or there, or a small piece of chocolate to keep my sanity. What I really wanted to achieve was a healthy eating habit to keep for life. I found after week nine my body had accepted the food changes and no longer wanted to deviate from the diet plan.

Before the program my main problem was ‘stickability’, and this has now become my buzzword. I believe if you have ‘stickability’ and consistency you can achieve anything. The 12 weeks sounded like a long time, but it went so fast. I lost 8.5kg and I’m in the best shape of my life. The other bonus is I now have the knowledge of how to structure my own programs and the ability to continue to live this healthy lifestyle. I’ve always liked the idea of training for a figure or fitness competition, so maybe this will be my next goal. It’s never too late, right?

Eating Plan

Meal 1: Wholemeal oats with low carb protein powder, 1 tbsp flaxseed oil and cinnamon.
Meal 2: Cottage cheese and blueberries.
Meal 3: Rice cakes with tuna and cottage cheese, and green salad.
Meal 4: Protein shake or almonds.
Meal 5: Salmon with vegetables or salad.

Exercise Plan

30 minutes interval running, 45 minutes weights session (legs/arms), 15 minutes stretching.
Tuesday: RPM class.
Wednesday: 30 minutes interval running/walking, 45 minutes weights session (back/shoulders).
Thursday: Rest day.
Friday: 45 minutes weights session (legs/arms), 10 minutes abdominal workout.
Saturday: Three hour Argentine tango dance class, walk.
Sunday: Body conditioning class.