I didn’t think I would come close to losing 20kgkg. I’m in the best shape of my life for my wedding and I feel amazing.
Carmen’s wedding was just around the corner, but stress, sadness and binge-eating had taken over her life.
She turned to junk food and ‘quick fix’ microwave meals to help deal with stress of striving to achieve ‘perfection’ at work.
But the instant relief she got from eating would always turn to regret, and before long it became a vicious cycle she couldn’t escape.
As 28-year-old Carmen gained weight, her mood sank lower and lower to the point where every time she looked in the mirror, she said she felt ‘ugly, inside and out’.
With her wedding day in touching distance, Carmen wanted to break this negative cycle and feel good about herself again.
Having a professional trainer by her side at Ultimate Performance changed everything.
Now she understands her binge-eating triggers, she’s built healthier food habits, and she now has strategies to deal with her stress.
Regaining control of her diet and having a targeted training program has helped her lose 19kg and feel happy in herself again.
So much so, she feels fantastic slipping into her new wedding dress ready to tie the knot.
Carmen explains how she brought her dream figure to life, below…
What was the main reason for embarking on this transformation process with Ultimate Performance?
There were many reasons, but the number one reason why I wanted to do this transformation is because I wanted to feel good about myself, about my health. I needed a win.
I was not in a good place mentally or physically. The way I felt about myself and when I looked in the mirror was bad. I don’t have another word to describe how I felt. I was deeply disappointed in myself every time I looked in the mirror and I felt ugly inside and out.
What I didn’t like on the inside was my perfectionism and how stressed that made me. I noticed that because of my perfectionism, I was actually letting a lot of people down in my surroundings. It takes up a lot of time when you’re a perfectionist because you want to do everything for 110%, otherwise it’s rude. And then you go to bed really late because you’re working until late in the evening.
That takes away from the quality time you could have with loved ones and friends. And then I noticed that I’m disappointing them, which makes me stressed, but I’m also stressed because I’m not able to finish my work and then I binge eat.
Tell us about your relationship with food prior to training with Ultimate Performance,
Binge eating was my outlet for when I was stressed. I would feel good for a short time. It’s only the moment you put it in your mouth, you feel good about yourself.
When you start chewing and you swallow, you’re like “oh God, what am I doing?” But then you can’t help it.
My trainer showed me a video and I didn’t even recognise the person in it. I was stuck in a spiral of bingeing, feeling bad about that, feeling bad about other stuff then bingeing again.
I was running in circles and every time I tried to fix it, I actually made it worse.
When was the turning point for you to respond and do something about it?
One thing that motivated me was my wedding. I was trying to train and watch my food intake and try to get in shape by myself for the wedding. I was failing at that, obviously.
Covid and lockdown also messed with my head. It affected my mental health. Before Covid, I was in a good place, both mentally and physically. I was working out, I had a rhythm. I was almost finished with my studies, and I was looking forward to starting work as a physiotherapist. I was optimistic about life.
I always thought of myself as a resilient person, but with every lockdown, I saw my progress deteriorate. It’s demotivating, it didn’t feel like it mattered anymore because I’d be back at square one in the next lockdown. You go downhill from there.
How has your fitness journey at U.P. helped to address and alleviate your binge eating habits?
I worked on identifying the triggers that would send me down a path of binge eating. Every time I felt the urge to start eating, I would start writing, and that would help me consciously see what was happening. I wrote down the situation I was in, how I was feeling, then identify the trigger.
Every negative thing that happens always has a positive, but I didn’t see that at first. My world was black and white. There was no grey area and no nuance. It’s either 110% or it’s ruined. But then there was a grey area starting to develop.
I started to understand that it wasn’t always me causing the problem, and that brought some relaxation to the situation.
We had a mantra: “Train your brain”, which I really liked, and then when you’re hungry, be grateful. Your body’s burning fat.
I also had another one, which was “Food is fuel” to remind myself that food is nourishment. It’s not a band aid for an emotionally tough situation.
My trainer made me write about who I wanted to become, how I saw myself towards the end of this whole journey. I got there, I got even better, and I’m in a much better place mentally, physically.
How do you feel about your results from a physical perspective after losing nearly 20kg during this process?
The goal that my trainer and I had was to drop 20kg, and eventually it was 19.6kg, which I’m okay with. It’s fantastic. I didn’t even think that I would come close to the 20kg. I thought 15kg maybe.
I think I look amazing. I also feel amazing, so mentally I also made huge steps in the right direction. When you nourish the body and give it what it needs, which is good exercise and enough sleep and good food, mentally, you’ll feel much better.
I had a lot of goals, physical goals, wanting to lift heavier in certain lifts, wanting to be able to perform certain stuff physically. I wanted to be in the best shape for my wedding.
A lot of these goals I reached. One that was very important to me was being able to dance. I was into ballet. I’m an enthusiastic amateur, but still, I had been doing it since I was nine and I tore my Achilles tendon in 2017, which was one of the reasons why I started spiralling.
Now my calf muscle can carry me, and I can get up again ‘on point’. I’m really happy I can do push-ups and pull-ups because I felt so weak not being able to pull my own weight or push my own weight.
And then, of course, getting married and being in this shape.
Do you feel that you’ve escaped the place you were in post-Covid? And do you feel that you’ve been given the tools to avoid returning in the future?
I got out of the bad place I was in after Covid. I didn’t recognise the person I was before starting my transformation at U.P. You taught me a lot of tools to face difficult situations in the future.
The journey hasn’t been smooth sailing, it’s always had ups and downs. Writing was helpful because I could analyse the situation, and now I know what to do about it.
I am who I was again, I feel more like myself. I felt like I was disappointing the people I love – my friends and family – because I was so depressed and stressed, but I’m not anymore. I can make them happy again. I can add more value to their life by being happy again.
Make sure you feel your confident best ahead of moments that matter to you. Our methods, tried and tested by over 25,000 clients, are proven to deliver life-changing results however big your goal.
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Our reputation is that we are the best trainers in the world for helping you to unlock your potential, & we can lead you to the door, give you the key, even turn the handle and push the door open, but we cannot walk through it for you.
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