04 March 2015 Last updated

Life Challenge Week 2: Inga Stevens

Life Challenger Inga is hitting the gym and eating plan with vigour and getting brilliant results

Aquarius magazine
18 Mar 2012 | 03:21 pm
  • Inga to the leap and went skydiving to try and conquer her fear of heights.

    Source:Supplied picture Image 1 of 3
  • Psyllium seed husk has no calories and is tasteless, and when mixed with loads of water is a good way to feel full after a gym workout.

    Source:Supplied picture Image 2 of 3
  • "Trying to merge my ‘previous self’ with my ‘new and improved self’ is going to be tricky."

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM Image 3 of 3

Week two, day one: It’s all about the tummy 

Here is an interesting fact for you: Did you know that we have two nervous systems – one in our brain and one in our stomach? Personally this is news to me but it certainly does make sense. If you are ‘love sick’ your tummy is usually the first place you feel the butterflies. And nerves and fear often go hand-in-hand with a dodgy stomach. I wonder if happiness means good tummy health? Lily’s second revelation, the fact that around 80 per cent of your immune system is housed in your stomach, really hit home with me. I’m not quite sure where I thought my immune system was (think I oddly thought it was in the brain!) but knowing that it is in your stomach really hammers home the importance of healthy eating!

This afternoon’s session with Lily (my nutritionist) consisted of Abdominal Massage Therapy. It was surprisingly relaxing and she even recommends doing it at home; a light massage over your stomach’s lymphatic system which is just under the surface of the skin.

Lily has added psyllium seed husk to my diet which is a dietary fibre. It’s has no calories and is tasteless, and mixed with loads of water is a good way to feel full after a gym workout.

Week two, day two: Any excuse

Weekends are all about relaxing, eating and spending time with friends. Or at least they were. Trying to merge my ‘previous self’ with my ‘new and improved self’ is going to be tricky. I keep telling myself that it is ok to have a day off, or a ‘cheat day’ as I appear to have termed it in my head. But is it really? Trying to find an excuse ‘not to be healthy’ is a slippery slope back into my old life. I’m determined not to go there.

This morning I got up at 7am and went for an hour’s power walk around the community. I never realised how many birds (the feathered kind) live on my street. My weekly food shop was considerably less stressful than on week one and I breezed through the health food aisles like an old pro. It felt empowering having a trolley laden with healthy goods instead of the usual weekend dash to the check out hoping that no-one noticed the frozen pizza and can of diet cola in my basket.

It’s my close friend’s hen party tonight and I am all set to enjoy my weekend!

Week two, day three: Cheat day

Creamy mashed potato, succulent sausages and aromatic onion gravy with bacon bits. Sound good enough to eat?  Well, it was good enough to eat and I didn’t regret a mouthful of it until I had practically licked the plate clean and the guilt started to set in. OK so I am not prefect but I am going to make it up to myself. Six days down at the gym this week instead of the usual five and an extra portion of fruit added to my meal plan. I promise…

Week two, day four: Pins and needles

Lily has kindly arranged for five acupuncture sessions for me at the Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre to help me finally kick my nicotine addiction. The years that I have spent denying my addiction would have been much better spent trying to actually break the habit. Just think of the money I would have saved not to mention how sick and tired my poor lungs probably are of being covered in soot!

I’m surprised how deep the needles actually stick into your body – it must have been at least 2cm on my tummy (no doubt the layer of fat had something to do with that). Most of the needles were in my shins and if I moved my toes even an inch it felt like my legs were on fire.

The connection between having pins stuck in your legs and kicking a smoking habit is a little beyond me but I am willing to give anything a go!

Week two, day five: Flight fear

This was an email from Patricia, my Life Coach, after our first session last week…

Hi Inga,

I was listening to the recording of your session and got very excited; you can really do great in your life and make a difference! The only little thing we need to deal with is fear, and we will see that in your next session.

You see, it is so important to solve it now, this is more evident in your fear of flight (which is also very symbolic).

Yours in evolution,

Strange to think that someone who loves travelling as much as I do, can be so petrified of flying. But I am determined to not let it get the better of me and I have tried everything I can think of (loud music, meditation, yoga, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medication, rum…for the record, all unsuccessful) to conquer this flight fright. Even a skydive…

Week two, day six: Weighty problem

So today was the day I was dreading. The weigh-in day. The D-day. The day that determines whether I reach for a double cheese burger or for a soya fruit smoothie. The day that I either go back to the gym and hit it like the world-class athlete I have become, or lie on the sofa for a Coronation Street re-run.

Ok, well it’s not really that dramatic but, after two weeks of careful meal-planning (with only one cheat-day!) and 11 gym workouts, I feel more nervous about the number on those scales than I did finding out my exam score for my finals at university. The thing is - it has left me really confused.

So here it is:

  • Overall weight: Up by 200g (yes, you read it correctly)
  • Skeletal Muscle Mass (SMM): Up by 2kg (they tell me building muscles is good)
  • Percentage of Body Fat (PBF): Down by 3.6%
  • Body Fat Mass (BFM): Down by 2.6kg
  • Fitness score: Up from 63 to 70 (apparently 70-80 is optimum)
  • Body Water: Up from 34.6 to 37.0 (could have been the 2 litres of water I drank since breakfast)

The moral of the story is that I need to stop staring at the number on the scales. I’m not going to lie; I was pretty gutted to see that my weight had actually gone UP over the past two weeks. But having deconstructed my body stats, I can see that what I have achieved is actually good. Muscle mass up, body fat down. It’s more about how I feel and how my clothes fit and, to be honest, I feel better than I have done in a long time.

Aquarius magazine

Aquarius magazine