Beginning to Turn Things Around…
So I stopped going out partying for the most part and joined a local council gym and started going. To start with it was terribly difficult – I felt nervous about going to the gym on my own, because I was so unfit and it was an alien environment. I lived in a rough part of Birmingham and I would be the only young white girl in the gym amongst a load of beefy black guys (who looked very intimidating but after a couple of weeks, they were very friendly and helpful to me)!
To begin with I set my self a goal to run a mile and when I finished I felt like my lungs were about to explode! After a few weeks I managed to get my mile time down from 12 minutes to 11 minutes and then ten minutes. After that I ran more miles – two miles and then three. I felt like it was such an accomplishment running three miles. That was the most I had ever run in my while life, it felt good! So the improvements in my fitness and my new found enjoyment of the gym motivated me to start eating more healthily too.
Overnight I had gone from drinking virtually no water; living on coffees and teas and fizzy drinks to drinking 2 litres+ of water at the gym. By now I had moved out from university halls into a shared house with friends and was cooking for myself. I was mindful to choose better foods when shopping and cooking. I’d make chicken curries with rice and baked potatoes with tuna, and prawn and vegetables stir-fries. I know now that this is by no means an optimum diet (or very alkaline one) but it was a vast improvement from the McDonalds and Subway and Chinese takeaways I had been eating before.
When I left university, I was well and truly on the path of fitness and health. I moved back to Devon and joined my local YMCA gym there. One of the gym instructors, a lady called Naso, saw me running on the treadmill and said that I should enter our local half marathon. I told her that I had only ran about 6 miles as my furthest distance and that I was a new runner and not super-fit. She told me that was nonsense and that I should definitely enter. So I did. I ran my local half marathon for the first time in 2002 and loved it. Well kind of. It was tough, but the sense of achievement I got when I finished was really amazing! Watch the video version of part 2 of my journey into alkaline health here:
My Change in Diet & Lifestyle
After running my first half marathon, I gave up smoking. It seemed ridiculous to be working so hard on my fitness and then leaving the gym and lighting up a cigarette – it was totally INCONGRUENT with my new lifestyle. MY TIP FOR GIVING UP SMOKING: Read Allen Carr’s book “The Easy Way to Give Up Smoking” – totally worked, I gave up instantly and have never looked back.
I had also been avidly researching nutrition and fitness on the internet and reading lots of books on health and diet. At this point I was eating a lot of fruit and some vegetables – I’d make vegetable curries instead of chicken curries and take a big bag of fruit to work every day – well more like a sack as my Mum used to say (…“Laura you’re never going to eat all that food are you?!”). The way I figured it was that for 100 calories I could have two pieces of chocolate that would take 20 seconds to eat or two small apples that would take 10 minutes to eat. As someone who loves to eat, a lot, it was a no brainer – fruits and veg all the way for the win.
I was now supremely in touch with my body and its needs and the value of calories. As a non-exerciser, it is so easy to eat 500 calories and not even give it a second thought as to how much that is in terms of fuel. As a runner, 500 calories now represented 5 MILES on the treadmill – about 50 minutes of non-stop graft, so I became much more mindful and aware of how much I was consuming. By eating lots and lots of fruits and veg and cutting way back on meat, dairy, processed foods and other junk, I felt much better and had an abundance of energy for my running. I was eating like a horse and still losing fat month after month. I had found a formula that worked and I was really enjoying it.