It's been a while since I updated you on my lean journey - my quest for a leaner, healthier body. My 50th birthday and Christmas are behind me and the new year brings new goals and plans.
I started my journey back in April 2016 - see my first post here. I had been skiing in Austria and had struggled with skiing, my fitness wasn't good enough and I felt overweight and unhealthy. And my beloved ski trousers no longer fitted and I had to buy a new, bigger size and I hated them! Enough was enough.
I finished The Body Coach Shift Shape and Sustain Plan back in September with fantastic results. But during September and October my journey was halted slightly by having to have a frozen shoulder treated. I continued to eat healthily by following The Body Coach SAS Plan - you can only sign up for this if you have completed SSS but my exercise was a bit limited although I didn't stop. However after two months on SAS I decided it wasn't for me, I loved the exercise but the recipes were a bit limited, they didn't really lend themselves to family meals. It was too restrictive.
I feel that I have had an extended period of not really knowing what to do with my eating. I signed up to a second round of SSS to get a new plan (this meant I got the recipe quantities tailored to my new measurements) and I have been using this since November but something was still bothering me. I hadn't quite found my sustainable way forward. But I have maintained my weight and inch loss and even lost a little more during December so I was quite happy with my progress but I knew I needed a new focus.
Then two things happened. A new gym opened in Marlow near to where I live. Zac;s Fitness is a PAYG gym with 4 different styles of class, all done in 40 minutes. Stability, Speed, Strength and Stamina. I liked this approach and was keen to give it a try. My lovely friend and PT had decided to 'retire' from fitness at Christmas and I lack the motivation to train alone at home (one to two times a week is okay but not four times). I tried Zac's classes and felt reassured that I could create a new fitness routine. But I needed to make sure my eating was sustainable and that I wouldn't be tempted back to old habits (skipping lunch, drinking too much wine, snacking on crisps and chocolate)!!
Zac recommended a Sports Nutritionist and I met Alex Cook last week. So I'm not intending to sign up for any more structured plans. I feel I know enough now to go in alone and this will be easier as I can fit it into family life.
My new routine:
Now I do find it hard to fit all this in! Yes I am at home full-time but I still lead a busy life and I like to get up and choose a nice outfit and do my hair and make-up. I need to change my mindset a bit and concentrate on how good I feel, how much I will love being confident in my bikini at 50 and that I will be up, dressed and ready by 10 am with exercise done for the day!
There is a huge change in the health and fitness industry. Women are finally getting wise to the fact that many of the popular weight loss programmes are not sustainable for the long term. You lose weight, you relax your eating habits, you gain the weight back and more. Your metabolism is wrecked. These plans don't include exercise so you might be losing fat (but you are losing muscle too) so your body is not strong and lean - gaining muscle doesn't mean you will look like a body builder but muscle burns calories and fat much more efficiently. It is the way ahead. It is a permanent lifestyle change but it works. And you feel so much better for it! I have more energy, better skin, stronger nails, thicker hair. I do not intend to ever go back.
All I have to do is exercise 4 times a week for approx 40 minutes a time and choose healthy, wholesome food. I can still have cake and chips if I want to - just not every day. But because my metabolism is now working properly my body can deal with these treats and I don't feel guilty about it. I am not hungry either, I am not depriving myself.
If you are looking for inspiration and would like to look at my journey in more details with photographic evidence then do take a look at my fitness Instagram page michelle_fitatfifty. Also take a look at the post I wrote about the hugely motivational Facebook group A Big Girls Journey to Lean.
So following on from my Less is More, Quality over Quantity post, I have been giving some thought to investment purchases and what I really do want in my wardrobe.
I do love quality and I'd much rather have a good piece of knitwear from Hobbs or Boden than three of four from Primark or Next. They last longer and the cut and fabric is just so much better. I feel better wearing them.
However, I do have a habit of buying too much, spotting a bargain and then finding when I wear it, I don't like it as much as I thought I would. I end up with items in my wardrobe that are okay but they are not my 10/10 or they don't have the X Factor (read more about this from Donna over at I Won't Wear Sludge Brown.
But what items am I missing from my wardrobe, what investment purchases would I like to make? And what have I got already?
I think some investment purchases will tie back into getting my capsule wardrobe right and I hope it will all evolve over time!
I will be looking at items such as:
How much do I want to spend? An investment purchase might be high end High Street or it might be designer wear. I very rarely buy designer although I do make an exception for handbags and sunglasses.
And I'll be thinking about cost per wear. If I spend a lot of money on a good pair of jeans for example I know that if I have got the colour and fit right then I will wear them over and over again and they become good value for money. This is easy to do with jeans as they are a staple wardrobe item that can be styled differently and you don't feel you are wearing the same thing all the time. However, with a dress for a special occasion it is different, very often I only wear my dresses a few times, sometimes only twice, until I feel that it has been seen and cannot be worn again so I get less value for money, although I have enjoyed having the right outfit for the right occasion.
Sign up for my email updates so you can follow my progress on this!
Top tips for finding the right investment piece:
Ditch the trends and go for timeless staples instead
Take your time and make sure you get the fit just right
Go with your gut, do you love it?
For my 50th birthday present my parents took me, my husband and two children for afternoon tea in The Georgian Restaurant at Harrods. It was my Dad's suggestion, as I have mentioned in previous posts, my grandfather and various aunts and uncles worked for Harrods so there is a long family association. My first haircut was at Harrods, my pram came from Harrods, lots of my toys too and I used to go to the children's parties at the Harrodian Club in Barnes. So when he suggested it I was delighted to accept.
We made a day of it, drove down and parked nearby, then had a look around Harrods, but as it was the Sunday before Christmas it was VERY busy! But we enjoyed the Food Hall and I took a look at some dream handbags.
The Georgian Restaurant is really lovely, I liked looking at all the old photos of it through the years. The service is excellent and the afternoon tea delicious. I had to have mine with some pink champagne of course. We had the added bonus that local schoolchildren were performing in a Christmas Choir in the restaurant which was very cute and perfect to listen to them singing the Christmas carols.
I've had this nagging feeling for a while that I have too much clutter! Too many clothes, too many posessions. When it came to writing a birthday and Christmas wish list I struggled as I tend to buy what I want or need as I go along.
Turn the clock back 15+ years and life was very different of course. When I gave up work to stay at home with my son we really struggled for money. But life has got easier, I was happy I didn't have to go back out to work, that I was able to bring up my children myself. Then when I saw posts on instagram and faceook about Christmas gifts I had an unesasy sense of too much excess, that we all just have too much than we really need. It all just seemed rather too indulgent, I felt we had lost of sense of what Christmas is all about. When my children asked me waht I wanted to Christmas I said 'for us all to be together, happy and celebrating, quality family time'. I got that wish and it meant a lot to me. My husband bought me a diamond necklace for my 50th birthday, it is absolutely gorgous and is something I have wanted for a while, but it cost a lot of money so as my birthday is just before Christams I asked him not to buy me anything else, the necklace was more than enough for both.
So when it came to New Year New Goals I started thinking.
Less is More. Quality over Quantity.
I admit I tend to buy more clothes due to a lack of confidence in myself. I love clothes and I like to look nice. For years, I didn't have much and so now I can afford to buy more I have made the most of it. But I am now seeing that I'd like to streamline things a bit. I'd like a stylish capsule wardrobe that works for me, that is full of good quality classic items. My one wish has always been to be able to go to my wardrobe and have something suitable to wear for every occasion without the need to rush out and panic buy. I think I am getting there. Of course it is a ongoing process, things wear out, spring holes or just get generally tired so there is always a need to replace and rejuvinate.
I've not been full on sale shopping yet although I have had a little look in the shops and online. I did buy a classic black wool coat from Fenn Wright and Manson at John Lewis just before Christmas when the reductions started and I think it is a good buy. But in truth I have looked at the sales and so far not found anything that has inspired me at all. There is nothing I really need right now.
I read a couple of posts by Avril at School Gate Style this week. She was mulling over her future as a blogger, it bothers her that she in some way encourages us readers to spend more. We see sometning she is wearing and feel we need to rush out and buy it. I know I am guilty of that. I hope that some of my posts and instragram photos inspire outfit ideas rather than the need to buy something. Avril has now decided to do the 30/30 Challenge - she she has chosen 30 items from her wardrobe and will wear just them for 30 days. I will be keen to see how she gets on.
I am not sure how I will turn my Less is More, Quality over Quantity mantra into reality. But I am planning to think about it and have it in the back of my mind before over spending. My husband would of course be delighted to see me saving some money! Although I suspect I may just spend the same but on less - better quality items that last.
I'd love to hear what you think?
My look book below. Classic items. A classic mac, good quality cashmere, one handbag that works for most casual outfits, black, red, simple colouring for a mix n match capsule wardrobe. Now how to make it happen?!
Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties, I share fashion, beauty, lifestyle and exercise/nutrition tips to inspire others to be fifty and fab too … join my mailing list below for regular updates and offers. And don’t forget to take a look at my social media pages Facebook and Instagram.