What happens after you have reached your goals? Do you stop your new found healthy lifestyle and go back to the lifestyle you once lived or do you find a way to sustain your new one?
Jessica Semmens went through an inspirational transformation just through using Instagram. Her transformation was widely reported by the media. By uploading photos of her meals onto Instagram, she lost 9st. In just the short space of two years, she went down six dress sizes.
Her transformation has been inspirational and motivational, but here at Aflete, we were interested in knowing what happened after the transformation. How did she manage to sustain her new healthy lifestyle?
Here she tells us how she does it, her food intake, workouts and advice!
Nice to meet you Jessica. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Hiya!! So… where do I start? My name is Jessica Semmens and I live in a place called Exeter which is in the South West of England. For work, I manage a research unit (HeSRU) for the NHS, and I absolutely love my job.
In my spare time, I’m privately studying for two A Levels as I went straight into work after my GCSE’s, I’m teaching myself from books which is really hard, but I would love to go on to do a degree some day so I need these A Levels. I also like to spend time with my friends, family and boyfriend, I go to the gym and love to shop!
After going through your amazing transformation, how have you managed to sustain your healthy lifestyle?
I would go as far to say that maintaining a healthy life style is harder than weight loss. When you’re SUPER dedicated and your weight loss is the only thing on your mind, it’s easy because you’re completely consumed with it. The best thing and worst thing about sustaining this lifestyle is allowing yourself the treats, cheats and everything else that goes with every day life and controlling your willpower to not over-indulge like you used to. I live a really normal life, I work in excess of 40 hours every week and I have a really hectic social life, so staying healthy is hard. I surround myself with the right people who support me and I just do what I can. I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I try to eat ‘clean’ rather than living off lettuce leaves, I allow myself treats because I know I’m healthy and I work out. I feel better than ever.
Has it been difficult to keep being healthy and motivated?
The biggest part of my transformation wasn’t physical, it was emotional. I was an emotional overeater who ate for comfort. I no longer do that, because I’ve finally learnt how to cope better on this journey. So, no it isn’t difficult to be healthy, and I definitely am motivated. What was hard was believing in myself, learning to love myself and no longer abuse my body due to emotional strain.
People would love to know what type of workouts you do? How many times a week? What do they include?
I aim for at least 3 sessions a week, sometimes I only manage 2 and some weeks i’ll manage 5 sessions a week. I have a problem with my hips, I have impingement which means I have had to stop high intensity classes like Insanity and GRIT because this irritated my hips, but I used to do a lot of the classes that are at my gym i.e. Body Attack, GRIT, Spinning, Circuits, etc. My sessions tend to start with a 10 minute warm up on the cross trainer or a walk on the treadmill, 25 minutes of weights and 15 minutes of cardio, I finish on the powerplates to stretch off. I will do an arm session and a leg session on my own and I have one personal training session a week. I research workouts a lot and do new things that I find online. All of the answers are out there, you have to just look for it. I like to swim and usually count this as a session.
What does your weekly workout routine look like?
1 x PT
1 x Arm day
1 x Leg Day
1 x swim
Eating healthy is super important, do you ever have a cheat meal?
I know a lot of people who eat healthy 6.5 days a week and have a massive blow out ‘cheat meal’ once a week, this doesn’t really work for me. I have learnt to eat healthy food that I love, I love everything I eat and it’s all healthy. Everything in moderation! Every day feels like cheat day to me, because I enjoy my food. I’m extremely sociable, so I go out to dinner a lot. I try to make good choices when i’m out, but I guess these if anything are my ‘cheat’ meals. I love wine and gin, these are also cheats!
Most people struggle with the balance between eating healthy and unhealthy, how do you manage it? What’s your philosophy?
I tried every fad diet out there, and I believe this is why people struggle. I’m a great believer of ‘different strokes for different folks’, and people should do whatever works for them. For example, I have friends who have lost a shed load of weight by doing slimming world, but all I did was lose £15 and gain 6lb. But… I genuinely believe the only way to find the balance is to enjoy what you’re doing. If you live off of shakes for two weeks, the likelihood is you’re going to put the weight back on. If you starve yourself all day, the likelihood is you’ll over eat on things you shouldn’t in evening. Plan decent meals that contain food you like and eat when you’re hungry. Eat REAL food. ENJOY your food. ENJOY life. And don’t put too much pressure on. Enjoy yourself and enjoy being healthy.
For people that are looking to start their transformation, what advice would you give them? And what 3 things would you say to them that really helped you?
A. Work out why you want to do this, write the reasons down and whenever you feel like giving up, read them over and over.
B. Chances are, you’ve tried this before. You need to understand why it failed and where you went wrong the last time. Think about this so you don’t make the same mistakes.
C. Get ready for a LONG process. There may be weeks where you do 6 work outs and eat the healthiest you’ve ever eaten, and you might gain a pound. Try and weigh yourself as little as possible, judge yourself on how you feel, not how much you weigh. It’s a long process, stick with it, it’ll be worth it.
Oh and one more…
D. Give yourself treats, don’t deprive yourself of anything. You’ll resent being healthy, and that’s more toxic than anything. Everything in moderation -have the odd slice of cake, it isn’t going to kill you.
Similarly what advice would you give others who are currently in the process?
Do your research, you’ll be surprised what you can learn in 10 minutes of surfing the net. BUT take everything you read with a pinch of salt. The health industry is rapidly growing and there are a lot of bogus products and claims without any real proof.
What are your thoughts on these fad diets, weight loss teas and pills?
Absolutely not, there all rubbish. Don’t touch them. They are EVIL.
How has social media and the interest in media been like?
I love that becoming healthy is all over the media, it’s encouraging people all over the world to be healthier and live longer, happier lives. I’m all for it!
What’s next for you? In your health journey?
I’ll continue to live my healthy lifestyle with great, delicious food and fun work outs, but with studying over the next year I don’t know if i’ll have time to do anything too drastic. We’ll see….
What your opinion on our app?
Oh it’s awesome – it’s right up my street. Well laid out, easy to use and really fun to see what everyone else is up to.