Saturday 28 January 2017
As our 6 month life transformation programme The Embracer proudly supported by The Health Discovery Co comes to an end – we asked our participant Kelsey how she found it and what she’s learnt throughout the journey.
What did you get out of the Embracer programme?
The Embracer programme has allowed me to understand what being healthy really means, and has equipped me with new tools to learn to embrace my differences along my journey to improved health. It has facilitated a complete change in mindset and has allowed me to gain control back over my body. It has given me hope in challenging times and allowed me to understand that everybody is different, and it's about embracing those differences to reach good health.
What has improved for you?
I have seen my back injury completely improve to the point where I can now partake in functional movements. I have seen my skin clear up, my gut health improve completely and I have seen improved self-confidence within myself. Alongside this, I’m in a better state mentally and don’t think so negatively about my circumstances and health conditions.
What was your favourite part of the programme?
My favourite part of the programme was the support I had from Emma and Ben. Changing your life can be a daunting and challenging task, but both Emma and Ben provided support in whatever form I needed. Whether it was telling me what I needed to hear, in comparison to what I wanted to hear, or taking me food shopping. They were both committed completely to helping to make lifestyle changes, and that was my favourite part of the programme.
What's been the hardest thing for you over the course of the programme?
I think the hardest thing for me was (and still is) changing and maintaining my healthy mindset, away from the potentially damaging view of health that society can portray. Whether this was learning to not judge myself on how I look, but on how I feel, or learning to accept that some foods cause more havoc to my health than they’re worth. It was and still will be a struggle to accept that to stay in good health a 'normal' lifestyle is not the lifestyle I will live. However, I have a new normal, and I have a healthy mindset and body, and that is worth so much more.
How has this programme affected your life?
It is most definitely not an understatement to say that this programme has completely changed my life. The programme was centred around the idea of the 'whole picture' of health and this is what has enabled me to improve my life, and give me the tools to continue to do so for the future. I feel as if this is the most crucial thing of the whole programme, and Emma and Ben have set me up for the rest of my life. This is why I say that it has changed my life - because not only am I a much healthier person than I was six months ago, but I am also walking away with the determination to continue to strive to achieve my best possible health.
On the days that you were sore and didn't want to train what did you do?
I went anyway. I actually never not wanted to go to my training sessions with Ben. He was always reading me before I could read myself, and if I wasn't feeling too good or if I was sore, I would just tell him, and he would adjust the session accordingly. I always felt it was better to go and walk away having done less, than to not go at all. I also needed the training sessions for my mental health. For me, it was more about doing what I could do. And that carried through to what Ben was teaching me through his sessions. However, if I had planned to do exercise on my own, and I really felt the need for a rest, I would take one. I was taught through the programme to listen to my body, and if I was super sore or I wasn’t feeling well, I probably needed a break, which I was okay.
What do you think healthy is now? (compared to when you started)
Previous healthy for me was focused on weight, numbers, physical looks, and the clothing size I was. Now, I believe for me that healthy is more than just physical measurements. Healthy is trying your best to fuel your body in the way it responds well to being fuelled. Healthy is focusing on how you feel and not how you look. It is about listening to all the signs from your body, and responding accordingly. It is about doing the best you can do for your own body, while living your life and enjoying everything it has to offer. It's about mental health, physical health, sleep, fuel and social aspects, all coming together. Acknowledging that you are perfectly enough the way that you are, and improving your health is an added extra.
What is the most valuable thing Ben and Emma have taught you?
Emma and Ben have taught me the value in doing your best to care for your body. They have taught me that despite my health challenges, that this is all they are, challenges. That where there is a will, there is a way. I am enough the way I am, and now I know how to listen to my body. This is probably the biggest thing - listening to your body will tell you everything you need to know about the lifestyle you are living on your way to improving your health. Listening to when my body responds well to something, or when it doesn't. As someone who has struggled with all aspects of health, this is the most valuable lesson I am walking away with.
Are you sleeping better?
Through the use of my Fitbit, I have been able to listen to my body and establish a much better sleeping pattern. I would say I still have a while to go in improving my sleep, however I have seen a substantial amount of change in a small time. Largely centered on stress, and allowing myself to switch off to go to sleep. But also about improving my overall health, which has enabled me to have less restless sleeps and wake up feeling stronger.
When did you last weigh yourself and will you do it from now on to keep on track?
Throughout my whole six months in the programme, I have only weighed myself once. And this was about 2 months into the programme, after returning from a 3 week holiday in Canada. For me this a challenging time, and I did my best to relax and maintain a healthy lifestyle while travelling. But I was concerned about the impact this would have on my hard work in the beginning of the programme. However, I now don't personally see the benefit in weighing myself at all. I was weighed at the beginning of the programme but to avoid unhealthy comparisons chose not to look. And whilst I felt I needed to weigh myself at the time of returning from Canada, I no longer feel the need to do so. I am happy and confident in judging my health based on how I feel and the signs from my body. And as someone who struggles with body confidence, I know that for me personally, weighing myself is unhealthy.
Were there times when you wanted to give up? What made you keep going?
Absolutely. A lot actually. Change is hard, and sometimes it's easier to admit defeat than to carry on down the path of change. There were moments when I would lose sight of what I was striving for, and fall back into unhealthy mindsets. However, with the support of Emma and Ben, I was able to begin to learn that the benefits for me far outweighed the challenges. And whilst it was potentially one of the most challenging things I have done/ am doing, I was reminded of how important good health is for a number of reasons. As cliché as it may sound, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think now I am beginning to see the benefits that come from pushing through. A good support network was crucial in keeping me going.
Could you have made this progress on your own?
Definitely not. There were many failed attempts previously. But I mainly put that down to a misconception about what good health meant. Emma and Ben have taught me so much, and helped to support me as I learnt about good health and experiencing what it means to get there first hand. It is quite challenging to change a mindset like that on your own. Without them, and the programme, I wouldn't be where I am today.
Have your friends and family noticed a difference in your health - physical and mental?
My friends and family have definitely noticed a shift in my mental health. I am a much happier person now, and that must shine through in my personality because I have had people comment on that quite a bit. I have also had a number of people acknowledge how hard I must be working because they can see some big physical differences. This is always an added bonus to hear, as I don't focus on those sorts of results. It almost comes as a bit of a shock, but adds to my confidence in the programme and in striving to be healthier.
What are you proudest of achieving through the programme?
I am most proud of achieving confidence through the programme. Confidence in myself and my abilities despite injury. Confidence in my health and how I can now help improve it. Confidence in my mindset, and mental health. But also confidence in the fact that despite health struggles, I can achieve what I want to achieve, and that I won't let my challenges stop me from helping to become a much healthier person.
Why do you like Ben as a trainer?
Ben is amazing at what he does. He can read people extremely well and listens in order to cater each session to the person. He is determined to help people better themselves and isn't scared off by a special and differing health needs. In fact he is extremely good at working with people that have special health needs and doesn't stop working to help them get the results they are after. Ben can have a laugh with his clients, but will also push you to achieve your goals. My favourite thing about Ben is how supportive and encouraging he is. There were times where I would have faint moments and have to stop early, but Ben would always ensure I wasn't discouraged, and reminded me of how far I’d come.
Why do you like Emma as a Health coach?
For me, the most important thing that I like about Emma is that she has walked a mile in my shoes. In fact longer. Her similar health challenges to mine made her the perfect candidate to support someone like myself. I knew that what she said to me, came from a place where she had experienced it herself. She is very much a practice what she preaches sort of coach. She was supportive when things were hard, but also was prepared to tell me the hard things that I didn't always want to hear. Emma was so committed to helping me, that she had a 24/7 motto when it came to support. Her dedication to inspiring me, and helping me is noble. She is one of the most amazing ladies I have ever met, and her strength helped to dig out a strength in me, that I didn't know was there. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else in this programme. She was the difference in understanding all aspects of health.
What advice do you have for anyone who is wanting to make lifestyle changes?
I would say that it is the best thing you will ever do. Everything improves in your life, like one big jigsaw puzzle when you look to make lifestyle changes. It may potentially be one of the hardest things you will ever do, and it will feel like it's not worth it. But it is, and I can promise that the positives outweigh the negatives. It is a small thing to endure, for long term happiness and improved health. There is nothing stopping you from achieving your goals, you may just have to achieve them slightly differently than others.
Is the Embracer programme everything you thought it would be?
I think this question is something I can't answer without being completely truthful. Being chosen to be a part of the programme was always a bitter sweet moment for me at the beginning. I was so excited to embark on the journey and to have some much needed help. But I was naive to not consider how hard it would be. The Embracer programme challenged me in more ways than I could imagine, and at times tested me. However, in saying that, it has left me as person that I could have never imagined I would be. I think the programme was everything I thought it would be and more. It has really changed my life for the better. I couldn't have asked for anything more.
Is there anyone you'd like to thank?
I also think that having the support from the sponsors has made all the difference for me, and I would like to thank them. Promoting exercise through my Fitbit from Graeme Rowe Lugtons Real Estate and being able to track my sleep has been huge in my journey. Alongside the support from my Go Healthy supplements that have had a huge impact in improving my health. And the added bonus of goodies from Ooooby Waikato and Wheyhouse has made making new foods way more enjoyable. Not to mention, being able to feel good while working out in my Embracing it gears from Admor Promotions and Sentinel Homes Waikato, and of course having the flexibility to work out how I want and when I want, with the gym membership sponsored by The Health Discovery Co.
And most importantly, Emma and Ben. I don't think I could thank these two enough. Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for taking a chance on me and supporting me when it got hard. I am eternally grateful for everything you have done for me, and will be for the rest of my life. I am so proud of how far I have come, and it's all thanks to you two. You are amazing people, and you have helped me grow beyond my wildest imagination. Thank you guys for everything!
Any final words?
Thank you to everyone that participated, watched, sponsored and supported me in this journey. You have all helped to change my life forever, and I am so grateful. I have now learnt the true understanding of Embracing It, and I can tell you all that this is a brand I whole heartedly believe in. I am now an Embracer.