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How I lost what weighed me down

Every year around spring-time people start rummaging through their wardrobes, trying on the old linen suits and the white jeans that have been staying untouched for several summers. Emerging from the gloomy winter days we can’t help, but start dreaming of the next holiday destination and the fancy cocktails we could have on the beach at sunset. These sweet moments of anticipation, however, change their taste once we fail to zip that pair of jeans or button up the sexy tight top we bought last summer from Italy.
Spring is the time when the spinning classes suddenly become full and all the treadmills busy at lunchtime, evenings and even early mornings. In the restaurants along Bahnhofstrasse I notice women nibbling on salads or sushi, drinking ginger lemonades and green tea or freshly squeezed juices. So what does it really take to lose weight and how much do our mood and spirits become influenced by the size of jeans we wear?
Speaking to friends I find that many complain how difficult losing weight has become with increasing age, but I also know people who, in their late thirties and even forties, suddenly have become fitter and healthier than in their teens. This and the countless meetings I’ve had with nutritionists and fitness trainers have driven me to the conclusion that the biggest mistake people tend to make when they decide to lose weight is that they set the wrong goals and the wrong attitude. But I also have realized that for every person there is a different formula that works, which is why there are no universal diets and fitness regimes. The two most important things when we decide to lose weight is to talk to a nutritionist and find a personal trainer. The first will motivate you and set goals for you depending on your lifestyle and the second will always find a way to challenge you till your next session. Choosing the right nutrition specialist and the right personal trainer is as important as finding the right GP and psychologist.
To prove my point I have two examples: a friend who lost 30 kilos over 29 weeks and who has kept her weight stable for more than a year now, and myself, who lost during the same time 4 kilos, but won the confidence that the way I look is a result of my own choices and beliefs.
Here is how it all started: A year ago I decided to sign up for a 6-week Boot Camp at Holmes Place. Over a couple of stressful years I had managed to put on an extra 3-4 kilos and I didn’t want to get lost in a vicious cycle which might never end once I start looking for excuses. This is where I met Eugenie, who “wanted to become a bit fitter and healthier”. At that time she weighed 90.5 kilos. The programme started with a blood test and a personal consultation with a nutritionist. In the course of the next six weeks we had to attend 2 private sessions with a personal trainer, one nutritional consultation and three cardio sessions. The Holmes team wanted us to exercise every day and rest only one day during the week.

Eugenie was at a full time job, while I was more flexible, but the good news was that we could choose our own time for the sessions independently from the other participants within the programme.

Eugenie had almost never visited a gym before, while I used to spend 6 to 7 hours weekly at the fitness facilities. She never paid attention to her eating habits because, as she said, she simply didn’t know how and I was almost at the level of a health freak who signs up twice a year for a fasting week and hasn’t touched meat over the last 10 years. To me wakame and shiitake were not foreign words. Most of the things our nutritionist had prepared I already knew, but what I needed was to reboot my motivation levels with someone who could teach me once again to be patient with my body, to build and follow a steady, but also exciting food plan and to inspire me with new ideas for healthy meals and combinations I would enjoy.

For Eugenie things were looking quite different: She took all the Kcal tables, the lists with the nutritional values of foods, she followed every single detail on the Nutritional Plan with stunning devotion and discipline, saying to me: “It is only for 6 weeks, I can do it”.

I, on the other hand, was focusing on a lifetime plan and to me the 10 Questions for Thoughts for example that Gemma Bischoff, our nutritionist, gave us was what mattered.  The things that challenged me during the Boot Camp were the discussions about the factors that influence my eating habits and how emotions affected my food choices. What I found most beneficial was the food diary we had to keep and then discuss weekly with Gemma. I remember having to discuss with her issues like guilt and unrealistic expectations, the way I see my body and where I want to be 5 years from now.

Looking at Eugenie I was thinking how much easier it must have been for her to lose these 30 kilos when she could actually see results every week, but I was wrong. Despite that seeing concrete results can be a great motivation force, the difficult part still remains wiping out the old memories and habits form your kitchen cupboards and every day
meal regime, spending hours during the weekend, reading food labels at COOP and Migros and basically starting a food plan from zero. Eugenie made it though, she did it all following every single rule by the book strictly and I remember her saying: They should teach us basic nutrition at school.

How did she do it? Is this possible for every one of us? Read the full interview and the questions to the expert here.
Tsitaliya Mircheva

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