My Weight Loss and Fitness Transformation (With Before and After Pics!)

Weight Loss and Fitness Story

Although it’s the end of January I feel like this is our first post of the year. Finally the kids are back at school and the eight week summer holiday is over. Phew! Eight weeks! Gosh, that was long.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s been great having more family time, endless beach days and a couple of long camping trips. But I’m more than ready to get back into the boring routine that helps create an extraordinary life.

Over the holiday I had less time for work and a lot of time for thinking, not just about those grand plans for 2015, but also about the rest of my life.

It’s pretty clear that I’m all about travel and adventure. That’s been the case since I left school nearly 30 years ago and I don’t see it changing.

What has changed radically since I was in my twenties is the way I look after myself. Let’s just say that I never exercised until very recently and, as a young adult, I did all kinds of things (drinking and smoking spring to mind) that don’t exactly fast track you to good health.

As I get older (I’m 46 already!) I know I need to stay fit and keep in shape if I want to enjoy the grand adventures, hikes and overseas trips I’m dreaming of.

Last February 2014 I shared weight loss tips for women over 40 because the kilos were creeping on. That’s common in midlife so one year later I want to stand accountable and share how I not only lost weight but kept it off.

Over the last 12 months I lost 5kg (10lbs). That isn’t a massive amount of weight but this story isn’t about weight loss. It’s about staying in shape and keeping fit so when the opportunity for adventure arises you’re ready for it.

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Do you want to stay fit and feeling fabulous in midlife? Here’s what’s helped me:

1. Exercise with people younger and fitter than you

Every week I train with the Shred Club, a group of (mainly) young and super fit people. Most of them are 20 years younger than me but I keep up with them now. When they do five sets of the killer steps I do six to improve my own fitness and try to catch up with their fitness level. When they stop at the top of the steps to recover I walk just a little bit further up the hill.

I used to call those workouts exercise but I noticed that they talk about training and I liked the word. So now I train too and if anyone ever asks me what I’m training for I’ll say I’m training to be a fit old bird because that’s the truth.

I’m not interested in running marathons, I just want to be adventure-ready at all times for as long as possible. But fit old birds are few and far between so those youngsters have helped me get fitter faster than I would have if I’d been training alone or with people of similar fitness levels to myself.

2. Ditch the gym, get out in nature

I also tap into my love and need to be in nature by training mostly outside.

I know I’m blessed because I live in the tropics but I do train come rain or shine, and even in the winter when it means getting out of bed on a cold, dark morning at 6am.

3. Embrace technology

I’m still using my Suunto heart rate monitor to give me training feedback and show me how much fitter I’m getting. Last year a session on the killer steps raised my heart rate to over 200 beats per minute. These days it rarely gets as high as 190. That’s traceable progress.

The Full Fitness app helps me track my weight over time (screen shot below) and see improvements or problems there. Even on days or weeks when I’ve overeaten and gained a kilo or two I can see that on the whole the trend is downwards and that motivates me to get back on track.

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4. Swap treats for healthy eats

Despite those 7 Books and 7 Lessons on Paleo Eating and Fasting I still eat chocolate almost every day. Along with travel, nature and wildlife, chocolate is one of my passions.

I just try to eat less chocolate and to substitute my favourite Moser Roth dark mint chocolate bars (from Aldi) for home-made amazeballs which I keep in the freezer. Made mainly from dates, walnuts, raw cacao and shredded coconut the amazeballs give me a protein boost, fill me up and satisfy my sweet tooth.

Check out a few other changes I’ve made in Healthy Ageing: 3 Easy Changes I’ve Made This Year.

5. Give it time

My approach to fitness has been very different from reality TV shows where they push unfit people to tears.

Even though I’ve been pushing myself reasonably hard (but never to tears!) I’ve stayed on track because I made training fun and mix things up. I run, bike, swim, tone and hike. Sometimes I train with a group, other times with one friend and often alone.

I make sure I never get bored so I look forward to my fitness session.

I’ve also learnt from experience just how long it takes to get really fit. High fitness levels don’t happen in a few months.

It’s taken me a year of solid training six mornings a week to get to the point where I feel like I’m ready for any adventure that comes my way.

Sounds good?  If you’re getting older, gaining weight and losing fitness don’t despair. It’s fully irreversible.

I’ve never been so fit in my life and I feel as if I’m ready for anything. Staying fit and feeling fabulous in midlife doesn’t need to be hard work and it really does make you feel great.

If you’ve been letting your fitness slide or gaining weight now’s the time to take charge of your health because it’s the key to looking and feel better.

Good fitness is essential to boost your self-esteem and help you stay on track with all your goals both personal and professional. Because without our good health we don’t have anything.

I’ve built momentum now and got to the stage where I can’t imagine ever not training or abusing my body for years on end as I did when I was younger.

I’m not getting any younger (and I’ve never been more in need of Low Maintenance Beauty Tips for Women Aged 40+!) but I am getting fitter and, most importantly I’m ever-ready for any adventure that comes my way.

How about you? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear about your transformation (for better or worse!) or how you stay fit in  midlife. 

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Happy 2015 Hotties! I hope you’re as excited about the coming year as me. I’m looking forward to helping us all stay on track with good health and all those travel dreams.

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  1. Sara January 27, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Annabel, you look fabulous! I like that slight twist of changing “exercise” to “training”. It’s amazing how a little change like that can really be the difference in how we feel about what we’re doing.

    Happy 2015!

    • Annabel Candy January 27, 2015 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Hi Sara,

      Thank you! Yes, that one small name change helped change my mindset – and fitness ;)

  2. Johanna January 27, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    You look fab Annabel. Fit, strong and healthy. You are not an old bird yet (take it from an older, less fit non-feathered tweeter) and I think the way you’re going, you might outrun old age couch potato syndrome. Love that you use the word Training. Fab. Keep on inspiring :)

    • Annabel Candy January 28, 2015 at 8:54 am - Reply

      Hi Johanna,

      No, I’m not an old bird yet! Just in training to be one – give me 15-20 years and I hope I’ll be there!

  3. Sidney January 28, 2015 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Wow, this is really inspiring, the before and after pics. I’m subscribed!!
    I’m on a diet now and so far so good, 10 lbs down.

  4. Barbara Hammond January 28, 2015 at 6:24 am - Reply

    You are absolutely right about working out with people younger than you. In fact, that’s true in general. We’ve always had friends younger and older than we are and I believe that keeps you current on music, trends, life in general.
    You look great, and HAPPY!

    • Annabel Candy January 28, 2015 at 8:56 am - Reply

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s a great point. I love having young friends too for a fresh new outlook on life :)

  5. Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel January 28, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Hello! I am so 100% behind you with the exercise outdoors point. I have been a gym member a lot but really don’t like using it now as I so much prefer to be outside.

    Did the Big Swim last Sunday and will probably do the Bondi 2km in a couple of weeks. I’m not exercising… yes I like the word training better too… today at all but might still get the 10,000 steps in. I’m using the newish Fitbit Charge which is a good motivator. Like you I am committed to being fit enough to really enjoy an adventurous middle and old age!

  6. Desolie January 28, 2015 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Well done, Annabel.
    You look fabulous!
    One of the ‘best’ benefits I’ve found from keeping fit is that I can enjoy doing all sorts of fun things with my grandkids – excluding playing tennis with the teenagers. I love be a fit Gramma!
    Pilates, walking, sugar-free (well, most of the time) foods are my mainstays.
    Have fun!!

  7. Brad Mifsud January 28, 2015 at 11:15 pm - Reply

    HI Annabel,

    Great advice and great transformation!

    I would also add to make sure once you are good with a drill/exercise change it up to something more complex (but that you can still achieve on 4 out of 5 attempts). more complex movements train your brain as well as your body. For example once you have some push ups try dips, then once they are under control try dips on gymnastics rings. Each movement progression is more complex then the last and helps further your progress by increasing the muscles required to perform the movements but are still training your pushing strength.

    Good progress and looking great!

  8. Monique@The Urban Mum February 4, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Hello, I just pushed publish on a post about loosing the post holiday bulge (unfortunately the 8 weeks of school holidays left me with excess baggage…). So I loved reading your successes, your change of mindset, and your suggestions…consistency and moderation I guess are the key…now to maintain the mantra.x

  9. Kerstin Pilz February 5, 2015 at 3:23 am - Reply

    HI Annabel,
    that’s fabulous and inspirational. I’ve just moved to Malé in the Maldives, which supports more than 100.000 people on 2 square kms, so outdoor exercise is a challenge and my post-Christmas weight a real burden. So I’ve joined a women’s gym today to do fitness classes. It’s the first time in years that I’ve done this and I must say I am loving it! But only because there is no other way to exercise, or better, train here, for me. Thanks for an inspiring post!

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