What a difference a year can make…in the not so good way

2011 Before

       ‘After’ losing 26kg

Ive written about how in 2010 I lost 26kg. These are my ‘after’ photos as a result of cleaning up my diet and learning to run and love racing. By mid 2010 I was the healthiest, fittest and happiest I had ever been. I had found the balance of eating, exercise, work, friendships and relationships that worked for me and I was fizzing – i felt like I had all engines running in peak condition. I hadn’t cut anything from my diet – I was eating a sensible range of real food with the odd big night out and indulgence and did a was regularly running, cycling, boxing or weight training. 

In mid 2011 I got a new job – it was a step up and I was excited for the challenge. My new job was great – I met Jane and a bunch of amazing, talented individuals, I got exposure to a new and very interesting industry and added a number of new skills to my growing professional ‘tool belt’. Things were great – i.e nothing really changed in my life. I was running to and from the office, logging off at 6pm and had an amazing 3 week trip around South East Asia with my best friend at the end of the year.

Jan 2012

On top of the world – January 2012


But slowly I got out of balance, waaaaaay out of balance. Jane and I both started on an exciting project that was a great opportunity for us both but had high demands under tight timelines. My drive to run up the corporate ladder overpowered all other instincts to log off at a decent hour and go for a run or sit down for a nutritious dinner instead of eating lunch/dinner again at my desk and working till 2am. Because we were based offsite 35km out of the city I went from running the 4km to and from work to being picked up and dropped off at home by the car pool. I was  attached to my phone and laptop 24/7 and was in a 8-way relationship with my colleagues on the project (not really but you get the gist) as we were all working as hard as each other. In other words, I would put anything work needed ahead of any commitment I had made to my friends or family, chasing the idea that it would all be worth it ‘soon’. Jane and I were regularly working 70-80 hours a week throughout 2012 and 2013 and while our diet and exercise was not thaaat bad, we were in a constant cycle of trying to manage high stress with little sleep and relying on high sugar and caffeine to get us through the day and repeat. We were as Dr Libby would say ‘rushing women’ and displayed all the symptoms that go with that. The photo below speaks for itself….

Before and after 2012

The top photo is a photo of Jane and I at the cure kids adventure race in April 2012. The bottom photo was taken at a friends wedding in December 2012. Can you believe this is only 8 months difference?! These photos are shocking and sad and the reality of what constant stress and adrenal fatigue does to ones physical appearance. And this is nothing compared to how you feel on the inside. When Jane and I saw this comparison the first thing we both noticed was that we had both lost the sparkle in our eyes and joy in our face in those 8 months. To us, that was more scary than the weight gain. 

I can’t tell you how many exercise regimes, diets and detoxes I started between 2012 and 2014 to try find the healthy weight I was at from 2010 to mid 2012. When you work till 1am you have to choose 4 hours sleep or an extra hours sleep instead of the gym – to me this seemed like a lose lose. I was always either angry at myself for getting a little more sleep and missing the gym or being a walking zombie for trying to exercise and work on 4-5 hours sleep. This was my mentality for the better part of 2 years. It never occurred to me to say no to work, log off at 9pm (or earlier) and try fit in work and personal commitments (like the gym, run or dinner with friends). You might ask ‘why didn’t i just eat/exercise the same way i did when i lost the weight?’. I did! I tried eating the same way I did in 2010 but it just didn’t work anymore – the weight loss equation is so much more than just what goes in your mouth and how much you exercise out. I read a quote in Dr Libbys new book (the calorie fallacy) that ‘you don’t have to lose weight to be healthy – you have to be healthy to lose weight’. This really hit home to me because no matter how much I exercised (i was training for the NY marathon in 2012 and put on all this weight in the process) or how clean and healthy I ate I wouldn’t lose weight while I was on the stress and coffee merry-go-round. 

This is why Ketllebells and Cookies was born – we know there are many many other professionals out there dealing with the same issues and priority clashes Jane and I have been through over the last few years. We have learnt SO much about ourselves and developed a number of tools and techniques we use every day to better manage our time, work more productively and effectively and find a better healthy balance. 

Check out my post Progress Update – July to read how my quest to get to healthy weight and healthy balance. At the moment, my main goal is getting marathon fit to run the NY marathon on the 3rd November (in 9 weeks time) and lose as much weight as possible so I’m not carrying too much extra weight  for 42.2km around the Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Manhattan! 


7 thoughts on “What a difference a year can make…in the not so good way

  1. Single Mom Dating says:

    I hear ya on a job taking priority over fitness… I definitely fell into that when I was a manager, and now that I am not and I have shifted my priorities, when I refuse to skip a workout to cover a shift I definitely get guilted and the look/talk about needing to step up and help. Thing is I don’t mind to help and no one acknowledges when I do, just when I don’t. Gotta love it. I’m learning to put myself first and not feel guilty and to help where I can but not sacrifice my health.

  2. Amanda @ MoveLoveEat says:

    Great post. I love Dr Libby’s books because she does look at more than just calories in and calories out! I’m curious as to whether or not all the extra hours put in at work ended up being worthwhile or not too?!

  3. Dale says:

    Congrats Laura, you look fantastic and reading your post you would inspire all of us to acheive what you have. Well done, I loved your words about being healthy to lose weight. How right you are. Love the body. No matter what you have been though and not happy with yourself your lovely happy personality always rubbed on off on us.Dale

    • ltopp says:

      Dale you gorgeous lady!! Thank you for reading and for your kind words. I had soooo much fun working with you and hope we can again soon. Love always, Laura

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