The twelveness of twelve

Phew! Week 12 has arrived already! How do that happen? It seems like a lifetime away when you start off but before I knew it I was on week !2! Time to reflect.

12 weeks is the time it takes to develop new habits- the changes are effortful up until that point, or so I've read. After that they should bed in.

The idea is that you set out to make a behavioural change and then stick with it systematically for 12 weeks and after that point it sort of becomes the new default position. Well, we'll see next week!

Here are a few reflections.

Gave up drinking for about 8 weeks completely and now relaxed that a bit but have well below national guidelines each week. Don't feel deprived and don't need it as a crutch. Saved a load of money. Sleep Better.

Gave up everything like sweets & cake for about 16 weeks now. Treats are not things I eat. Or rather treats are a cup of tea and a banana. Bananas feature heavily in shopping now.

Didn't miss the sweet stuff once, not even a twinge. Saved a load of money.

Surprised myself by getting running and quickly getting over 5KM but that isn't an established habit yet - I've got a busy week and some of the days will mean three runs this week will be hard to do. But I'm factoring in the runs and or lack of them into the week's planning like I never would have dome previously. This still needs work

Really improved my cycling, speed, endurance and distance all improved. Back as fit as I have ever been - taken decades off my fitness age.

Started doing strength training (Weights) slowly building up arms & shoulders to start with.

Learned a huge amount about my own nutrition. Planning nutrition carefully every day and still experimenting. Eating healthily every day and saving a fortune in for bills.

Learned to get a grasp on the link between diet, activity and body weight. I know I can manage it now. I know what the previous downfall has been (booze) and thats been put to one side. I know if I need to shed a Kilo how to do it and how quickly I can do it.

Learned that weight loss sometimes speed up and sometimes slows down but weight loss happens.

Changed my beliefs about what a healthy me is and is going to be. This has been the biggest shake up. Previously I'd have given you a million god reasons why BMI didn't apply to me. No longer. I know I have more weight to lose to get to a healthy BMI and I might accept a few KG over the top of the range but not the 10+ I would have argued for previously. I'm building up a composite of what a healthy me looks like, eats like, relaxes like, exercises like and lives like.

That's been the biggest change and its still not quite there partly because I'll very soon be entering uncharted territory. (here be dragons) I'm pretty close to the lowest adult weight I've ever been, and I mean since I was 16, and to get to a healthy weight I'm going to go below that. When I started the 12 week plan I could not conceive of that and I still struggle with the idea.

The healthy eating is fun and frankly gets easier and easier as the habits build. I struggle when Im doing a big physical activity but I went away and did a load of research and I asked questions on here. Now I get it much closer to what I need. The exercise is a revelation. I'm fitter than I've ben in decades. Stronger in some ways than I can ever remember being and this was totally unexpected.

12 weeks is a good start. Its got some things into the easy box. Some things are still in the I don't know how that works box and I'm sure there is a whole load of stuff in the you haven't thought of this yet box.

Fore the next 12 weeks I am going to have to find time for exercise - well running - I do cycle regularly but the running is what has really boosted my fitness. The strength exercises need addressing too, they are not automatic. I'm still working on my mental blueprint for a healthy version of me, what I look like, what's acceptable and whats got to go. How the healthy me manages stress, anxiety and pressure, and how the healthy weight me stays a healthy weight. I think some of the things Ive take on board will need to stick around permanently - calorie counting and weighing myself for two as well as running & weights.

I;ve also learned to be patent and persistent and not be thrown off by anything. I can and will prevail.

After 12 weeks I am frankly astonished at what I have achieved and learned and the impacts I've had on my health & well being. I know there are plenty of others out there with similar reflections. SO if you are still getting your head around 12 week plan & C25K then my advice is stick with the plan, be honest, accept no excuses, get good measurements, ask better questions, set yourself ambitious targets, Don't worry about how long it will take, take responsibility, do the difficult stuff and reap the rewards for the rest of your life.

If I can do this anyone can. 12 More Weeks Bring it on!


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18 Replies

  • Wow - Im so pleased for you - it sounds like the first major part of your journey has been completed and is so interesting to me because like you Im going for a whole person overhaul. Im doing the Dryathalon so Im 15 days into that - I gave myself a couple of weeks of gentle exercise and my first Park Run (in which I brought up the rear but didnt care). Now Im onto the next very essential stage for me which is upping the exercise to a meaningful level on a daily basis as its the only thing that I can honestly say fully backs up my healthy eating to result in real weight loss.

    Im back at the gym & went swimming for the first time in months yesterday and today as soon as i got up did 10 mins on cross trainer at home and 50 ab crunches - I intend to make the latter part of my morning routine - upping the time as my day allows.

    I can honestly say that I already feel better in myself, more clear minded and very surprisingly (as I previously maintained that a drink and full belly helped me sleep) I sleep better and for longer than Ive slept in ages.

    So keep up the good work and leave a trail of low fat crumbs for us to follow :)

  • Coming at the back on a park run is a million times better than never starting! AWESOME. I remember when I started I'd go to the Gym and sheepishly struggle to do 20 mins on the cross trainer, then go home and rest. That wasn't too long ago. Sounds like you're on the right trajectory (Hey I spelled that right!) to get the results you want. Well done for you - Keep posting!

  • Thanks for your positive reply :) ...Oh and dont forget to leave us the trail of low fat bread crumbs... ;)

  • Totally inspirational Andrew, an amazing post for newbies and doubters to give them the positive boost needed too. Those mental boxes serve as a reminder of where you have come from and where you are going. Travelling into uncharted territory can be scary and a little daunting, but you have equipped yourself well and are in a much happier place to cope with any future challenges. Big hand to your efforts so far, good wishes for your future success. 😊

  • Hi Andrew,

    So much achieved within 12 weeks. Really enjoyed reading your post.

    Here's to your next 12 weeks. :-)

    Lowcal :-)

  • My goodness, here's somebody who has completely changed their life around! Well done to you, there are lessons for all of us in your post.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts and I wish you well for the coming 12 weeks.

    Best wishes.

  • Great post Andrew! You have learned so much about yourself and all positive. Well done you! :)

  • Well done Andrew !

  • Hi Andrew, so much happens in this twelve week journey...I'm at week three and a bit...not quite as simple as abc, but despite hospitals and funerals, visits and birthdays...I too am getting fitter. It's an exciting life for us all....and you're prooving IT ! Thank you...

  • Great post Andrew. Many thanks.

  • You seem to have done brilliantly over a 12 week period. I think it took me about a year to get to the attitude you appear to have now. Keep it up.

  • Really great post Andrew! I agree with Andyt, your attitude change is amazing for such a short period of time. I love the way you state that you fully expect to come across things you need to learn/master that you haven't even thought of yet. Life is full of surprises. Great to hear you've saved loads of money. I had no idea you gave up drinking for 8 weeks, that's such an incredible achievement for something so embedded in your old lifestyle. During my 12 weeks I massively reduced my drinking (from 20-30 units/week to around 6units/week), but never actually gave it up, so big respect due to you! Loads of luck for the next 12 weeks, for getting your head round the idea of reaching and surpassing your lowest adult weight, and continuing to reap the rewards through fitness, energy levels, strength, everything :)

  • Congrats on finishing the 12 week plan. I too have finished it and now comes a new set of challenges I am sure you will overcome.

    I think your reflection was a great read and it is pretty obvious you are much happier now then when you started.

    The thing I have found most useful post 12 week plan is to now think of this as my new lifestyle. I no longer use the template provided by NHS and simply try and have around a certain number of calories but I try not to get too obsessed. Still use my fitness pal and exercise almost every day and that is enough. Well done and Good luck

  • What an inspirational post Andrew.

    To be honest, only being on week 2, I can't even imagine being in your position in 12 months, or 12 years!

    You epitomise the whole concept of the 12 week plan and I bet the powers to be could kiss you! :)

    Your story gives those of us at the beginning of our journeys hope and encouragement to continue striving for our own bright futures. Thank you.

    Congratulations, you've done an amazing job.

  • What an excellent positive story :)

  • Hi Andrew and many congratulations on completing the 12 weeks. I some how missed your posting, but it's better late than never. You must be so proud of all of your achievements along the way. Very well done :-)

    How's the running and strength training going ?

  • Hi Trafford - Thanks! :-)

    The Running is going really well - working on 6 KM three times a week and cycling once to twice a week. The strength work has, strangely, been something I have not been able to build into a routine - but as this demonstrates the forum kept us honest and focussed! I'll be on it tomorrow - perhaps its the bigger things that need to be planned into the day that get attention!

    We shall see!

  • Wow 6 KM three times a week is great Andrew. Strength training is definitely beneficial building muscle will increase your calorie burn so always a good one to build into your routine. I need to do more weight lifting on both upper and lower body now to tone and shape and get more of a burn. I love running and did a 10 km just last week and I felt so good for completing this as this was a goal I set to do before the new yr and already checked it off my list. Enjoy the strength training tomorrow and keep at it your doing great

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