MyFitnessJourney: We Meet Fitness Instagrammer Sarah Moloney
Sarah chats to us about overcoming body image issues and what being healthy means to her.
When did you start training properly?
I gathered up the courage to start weight training about a year and a half ago. That’s when I seriously became dedicated to working out properly. I actually really enjoyed it and it instantly became a hobby and my passion. I recently took on Ashley Crooks as my coach so she’s been helping me progress further.
How long has it taken you?
Altogether it’s taken me nearly three years to get into the shape I’m in now. At the beginning I just started jogging as I wanted to lose weight, and then I started the weight training in order to tone up and get definition.
Has it been difficult?
I can’t lie and say it’s been easy because it was probably one of the hardest things I went through but saying all that it was one of the best things I did for myself. One of the main reasons why I found it such a hard process was because of the fact I started off on an extreme low carb diet which made me binge nonstop on the weekends until I felt sick. I felt many times during the process that I wasn’t working hard enough which discouraged me.
When I transitioned to a healthy balanced diet called flexible dieting, I got my life back and my diet became my lifestyle. The hardest part for me was being around friends. I am a very determined person and when my friends were eating sweets I told myself I wasn’t going to give in and at 15 it was such a mental battle. Bringing myself out of those sad times made me the strong person I am today.
What has been your inspo throughout the process?
My inspiration throughout the process was toned stomachs on Google images. I actually scrolled through so many of these images and screenshot one or two to keep looking at when I felt like giving up. Originally, I was a young 15-year old who wanted to be skinny but now I want to look fit and healthy. It wasn’t until I got into weight training that I discovered fit inspirations like Paige Hathaway and Michelle Lewin that now are my inspiration and motivation.
What do you do in the gym now?
I solely focus on weight training at the moment to put more muscle on my legs especially my glutes and hamstrings. I train on a lower/upper body split now that I’m on Ashley Crooks’ program.
How often do you go?
At the moment, I go to the gym five days a week for about an hour. I wish I could train longer because I love it but with school, study and homework I find it hard to make any more time than that. It’s hard to balance it all but I feel young people in school should not have to give up hobbies that make them happy.
What does your daily diet look like?
My diet varies everyday because I recently started carb cycling. Basically this means my carbohydrate intake varies everyday depending on what I am training that day. For example when I am training upper body my diet would look like this:
Meal 1 (breakfast): 2 eggs, smoked salmon cooked in butter or coconut oil
Meal 2 (snack in school): handful of almonds
Meal 3 (lunch in school): Steak and vegetables cooked in coconut oil
Meal 4 (Post workout): 3 jaffa cakes, Greek yogurt or a protein shake depending
Meal 5 (dinner): Turkey mince, vegetables (asparagus and courgette is my favourite) and potatoes
Meal 6: Huge bowl of oats with 85% dark chocolate or Nuts n’ more peanut butter
Meal 7: Bagel with banana and cinamon
Meal 8: Last meal could be more oats or greek yogurt or chicken and rice
I really do fit all that into my stomach to fuel the muscles.
Does being healthy mean we’re going to be hungry?
Definitely not! Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t have to be miserable and cruel once you find a diet that works for you. It can become a lifestyle.
What treats can we eat?
For me I do not see food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. As long as you reach your calorie goal at the end of the day you can still make progress even while eating your favourite treats! Most of my meals are healthy meals but I fit in fun foods here and there. This has created a healthy balance with food which is so important and has stopped my binges because I am not restricting myself. Flexible dieting has changed my outlook on food and my life.
What about the days we want to skip the gym and eat junk?
I set goals on a Sunday for the week ahead, which helps me stay motivated in the gym. By the end of the week when I’m ticking off those goals it gives me the biggest boost of motivation to continue. When I crave junk food I eat it. I don’t go binging on it, I have one or two squares of chocolate, this satisfies me and stays within my calorie goal so I am not hindering my progress.
Do you have cheat days yourself?
I don’t do cheat days. I used to when I was on a low-carb diet but that led me to binge eat, not only for one day but the next day and the day after until I felt sick. When I tried to stop those cheat days and stick to my low-carb lifestyle it then led to extreme weight loss leading me to become underweight. Instead I fit in small treats nearly every day of the week because this works a lot better for me.
Do you cook all your meals yourself from scratch?
I cook every single meal I eat myself. I get up on a Sunday morning and meal prep my meals for lunch and dinner up until Wednesday. Then meal prep again on Wednesday for the rest of the week. I am finding it easier to find healthier meals in school and in restaurants which makes such a difference.
Is there a lot of pressure on girls your age to look a certain way?
There is so much pressure on girls nowadays and I even get emails from some girls worrying about belly fat and calories and every time someone emails me they seem to get younger and younger. One girl at the age of 12 was worrying about her weight and food. This make me so sad because girls that young should not be worrying and missing out on events because food is a problem. I went through such a bad body image myself at 15 and it made me miss out on special occasions because I was on a ‘diet’. I don’t want young girls to go through the same stuff I did.
Where do you think the pressure comes from?
I think it stems from pictures of girls on social media, especially Instagram. You see all these girls with abs and small waists and they immediately start comparing themselves to those girls and picking on themselves. They don’t realise a lot of those photos have be edited in some way to enhance their looks.
First things first, take a look at your diet and see where you can make improvements. I use MyFitnessPal to track what I eat. This is a great app to use because it just makes sure that you are not fooling yourself on what you eat because a lot of people don’t know how much or how little food they put in their body.
Next step, if you haven’t already, start weight training. You won’t look manly like many people think but it will make your body look fit and healthy. I train like all the men in my gym and haven’t ended up looking masculine. If you’re trying to lose weight I would incorporate some sort of cardio, whether it be steady state, HIIT or high volume and little rest with weights. Choose whatever suits you and what you enjoy the most, because that is the most important thing! It will help you stick to your plan for the six weeks comming up to Christmas.
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