Maria’s journey with RNT began at the end of March 2020. At that point in her life, she was at an all time low. She had ended an 8 year relationship, the pandemic was putting everyone’s life on pause and she was on furlough. She felt stuck, like she was in a limbo and she knew that something needed to change.
“At the end of 2019, I had gone to Columbia to visit my family. When I got back in January, I was looking through all the photos and when I saw myself I just couldn’t believe what I saw. I had put on so much weight, my legs and arms… oh my goodness! I was so so shocked. I have a sister who is very close to me in age and we look quite similar as well, and now I looked about twice her size! I pulled out my weighing scales and when I weighed myself, I realised I was 75 kgs! And I knew that I had to do something, I couldn’t be at this weight all over again!”
The Importance of Nutrition
Maria had struggled with her weight before. While she was growing up, her parents were quite insistent on exercise, while there wasn’t a lot of emphasis on nutrition and food, they did encourage Maria and her siblings to be active.
“I remember going to the gym with my parents at 5:00 am. We would all wake up and go to the gym together. So exercise wasn’t alien to me, but we were never taught anything about nutritions and portion control! I only learned about that after I started my journey with RNT!”
The effects of Maria’s lack of know-how in nutrition really hit her when she left Columbia and moved to the UK in 2007. Looking back she thinks if only she knew more about food she wouldn’t have ended up overweight and unfit.
“I was living alone when I came to the UK. I was studying but I worked part-time in the hospitality industry. I worked at a cafe and I had free access to all the food. I also used to wait tables during special events at 5 Star restaurants, there I had access to the most amazing food and it was all for free! I had no control over how much I was eating, it tasted so good that I just ate as much as I wanted.”
The Aha Moment
After she finished her course, Maria got her first job. It was a demanding job in construction and she worked really long days. Plus the company gave her a car so she could travel easily to all the construction sites. Her long hours meant she found herself pulling up at the drive-throughs a lot. The car meant she didn’t have to walk anywhere. All of this combined sent Maria’s fitness levels spiralling downwards.
“I realised how bad it was when I went to Columbia to visit my maternal grandmother in 2010. She was ill and we all knew that she wasn’t going to live for much longer. During that trip, I was staying with my sister who lived on the 10th floor in an apartment building. I had stepped out with my father to buy some groceries and when we got back the lift wasn’t working. We had to climb up the stairs to the 10th floor. When I got half way up I was a mess! I couldn’t breathe, my heart was racing, I thought I would faint! I struggled to make it up the 10th floor and when I got to the apartment, I had to sit down! My sister is a doctor so she was taking my blood pressure and she was concerned, she said if my heart rate didn’t come down in the next 5 minutes she would have to call the ambulance! That was my wake-up call! I couldn’t go on like this!”
Gained Control Only To Lose It Again
Maria went back to London and decided to clean up her act. She straightened up her diet and went to the gym. She pushed herself and managed to bring her weight down from 85kgs to 65kgs. She managed to lose 20kgs in a year.
“I managed to maintain that weight for quite a while. I still didn’t have an amazing diet but I made sure I went to the gym and worked out regularly. But I still was socialising a lot, we would be out drinking every weekend, long brunches on Saturday and there was no structure at all! Things really started getting out of hand when my boyfriend at that time moved in. We were so lazy, we never cooked: we had so many take-aways. We would spend the entire weekend lazing around in bed and eating all kinds of junk food. The relationship itself had no positivity and I had no motivation to be better. By the end of 2019, we both knew that the relationship was over and it came to an end. Bringing me back to that start of my journey with RNT - it was January 2020, I was overweight again and completely lost.”
Maria found this 2nd decline in her fitness levels really distressing. She felt like she just didn’t have it in her to go to the gym and workout and watch her diet all over again. But when she found RNT - she thought she would sign up, hoping that this time she would regain and maintain her fitness levels.
Determined to make a lasting change this time Maria started off her RNT journey with great gusto. She started listening to the podcasts, made sure she went to each of the workouts, weighed all her foods and followed her meal plan with utmost sincerity.
“I was so angry at that time, angry with my ex, angry about the lockdown, angry that I was in this situation again! I took out all my anger in my workouts, the anger did fuel me to a degree and it did work. I started listening to all the RNT podcasts starting from the first one - as I listened to them I really felt like I could relate to everyone’s journey and I suddenly realised I wasn’t alone.”
Maria was inspired to clean out her routine. She made sure she was in bed at 10pm and woke up every morning at 5am. This meant that she stopped crowding her mind with mindless TV and she woke up well rested with abundant energy for her workouts as well as the resources to steer away from temptations.
“I followed everything so religiously that I started noticing how my body felt when I changed things around, especially my carbs. I never realised these subtle things before. At school we were taught about the different types of food and we were told an average man should consume between 2500-3000 calories a day and a woman should consume 2000-2500 calories per day, but they don’t say that this is an average for those who are already healthy and live active lives! I wish I had known and I think I would have made better choices. There is so much valuable data in weighing yourself, measuring your waist, weighing your foods, these are such important markers to show you the way!”
Maria has reached her goals: at her transformation checkpoint she weighed in at 59kgs. She says she is finally at a place where she is at ease with herself. She feels calmer, the anger has gone and is so much more self aware.
“When I find myself falling off the radar again, I recognise it now and check myself. I introspect and question myself over and over again. I love this sense of peace that has settled on me. The turmoil has gone and life is good. I make better choices and I know that I need to first focus on myself.”
Physical as the Vehicle
Once all the muck that was bringing Maria down had settled, she found clarity of mind and clarity of purpose. She spoke to her managers at her company and reduced her working hours. She is now taking the time to broaden her mind by signing up for some courses that would augment her career.
When asked what advice she would give to other RNT members that are just starting off on their journey, she has this to share:
“We only have one body, for our whole life and we have to take care of it. The RNT journey is tough but so worth it. Enjoy the victories but don’t be too hard on yourself when you struggle. Some weeks are so easy, other weeks are really hard. Give yourself time to reflect, don’t lose focus and don’t let things get out of hand. Just be grateful and choose to be happy.”