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We asked TeamTEG member Maxine about her experience with TEG as she completed our 6-month “cutting challenge” and got some incredible results I’m sure you will agree! If you want to get inside the mind of one of our TEG hall-of-famers, this is your chance. Over to Maxine…

What’s your age, where do you come from and what is your day job?

I am 43,  live in Chelmsford,  Essex and currently I am a support worker to adults with a learning disability,  although I am due to start work as a lab technician in a school next month.

What was your lifestyle like before starting TEG?

Before TEG I had tried many diets. Starting as an unhappy teenager, bullied for being overweight, so joined Weight watchers at 14, then I was bullied for losing weight as I had a bit of confidence that was quickly crushed. I discovered I had epilepsy when I was 17, by which time I was body conscious and low self esteem, didn’t want to do things for fear of a seizure.

I have been up and down in weight, lost weight with Weight watchers then had my daughter at 24, but was in an abusive relationship, got pretty big, met and married someone and lost weight again, started running and went back to Weight watchers. Got to a size 10 but stresses and strains in my marriage and moving to America once again landed me the biggest I had ever been at 15 stone, miserable and eating massive packs of sweets, in denial about how big I had got.

Exercise was running/walking so I thought I was still healthy. My relationship broke down and I moved back to the UK, very miserable, feeling worthless and fat. Yet again Weight watchers meant I lost a bit but I still hadn’t really learnt any lessons, still doing a bit of cardio here and there. I then met my current husband who was in the army, I swore I would weigh less than him by the time he came back from Afghan which I did.

I continued in the same vein putting on weight, losing it again.. Weight watchers, slimming world, Atkins, the 4hr body, juice plus, slim fast. I then got to my 40th birthday and onto 5:2 fasting diet. I got to my lowest weight ever, I signed up for a 10k charity run and was running every day,  abs forever in my mind but forever out of reach.  2 days a week of 500 calories and 5 days of pure sugar some days. I maintained my lower weight for 2 years with huge amounts of cardio and 5:2.

How did you get into fitness and begin your transformation?

A couple of years ago I moved to Blandford with hubby and started to go to bootcamp and boxercise class, found a love of building strength and stamina. My PT friend said I should try weights with her but as the army is she was posted and we lost classes and I struggled to do a programme from books I had bought but was scared of the weights room and therefore inconsistent. I then got to know Steph better,  she was always in the weights room and said I could join her.

I loved it for 6 months and then Pauls time in the army came to an end and I moved back to Essex. I joined a new gym,  didn’t know anyone and had no training partner ( she used to set it all up for us too). That meant I stopped being consistent, weights were usually done when nobody was looking and I put on 10 lb. In January this year at the age of 42, Steph tagged me in a post of TEG cutting challenge.

I tried to miss the deadline so I had an excuse as I didn’t think I would be accepted as I felt far too big and unfit, but Steph asked me if I had entered and I didn’t want to let her down, so I got my daughter to take my first awful pictures and then couldn’t believe I was accepted. This meant I had to go to the weights section and sort it myself and grow a pair, I still hid and even now get wobbles but constant emails and articles from TEG make me laugh but more importantly make me brave and boost my confidence.

How long did it take to start seeing changes?

I read up on the nutrition. I couldn’t believe I could have so many calories I was scared I would balloon, but I lost 5lb within 2 weeks. I gained confidence in myself, started to see changes within the first month. My strength increased, I started to lose fat.. Yes fat not weight, I finally started to understand the difference.

I started to read up more, learn more, eat tasty yet healthy food. I learnt so much, I was spouting it to my hubby who has trained for years about what he was eating and at home I have made changes to the foods we eat, made him try my bakes from the TEG recipes which mostly he has enjoyed. I love the recipes.

How has the way you feel about yourself and your body changed?

I now have bags more confidence, I can wear leggings and jeans without the baggy black hide everything tops. I wear tight fitting gym wear and don’t feel self conscious. I have worn a bikini this year for the first time ever.

I feel strong and confident within myself, I can chat to the big boys in the gym and not feel like the nerd hiding in the corner. They often ask me what training I am following and I tell them about TEG. I have had lots of compliments on my progress and how I look, and I have made friends.

What is your diet like now and what’s your relationship with food like?

I still have days where I eat more than I should but instead of a downward spiral of self disgust that leads to more binging but I get back to eating the right foods and get back on track. I often look at food when I am out and eat for pleasure and purpose now depending on what I still need for the day.

I have learnt the importance of calorie counting, macros, the importance of good fats and that my diet prior to cc2015 had mainly consisted of carbs with very little good fat or protein. I have learnt how detrimental this is to building a strong. Lean body.

Did you get any positive comments from friends and family?

My husband is proud of me, being heavily into fitness and training himself he has given me so much support, even getting up earlier on a Saturday to take my progress photos. I wanted to make him,  my friends and family proud, but I also needed it for me. I even heard my mum telling her friends that I had come 3rd in the challenge.

Steph was so happy for me too and I am pleased I did her proud. I have had several people message me asking me how I had done it and what my secret was and my answer is TEG all the way. It’s no secret,  it’s hard graft with a program that really works and nutrition that means you actually eat great food,  done starve on shakes and sweat forever on cardio.

What was the biggest lesson you learned by going through this process?

Stick with it always.  Don’t go back,  go forward.  I never repeat a week just push through whatever has happened in the previous week. I don’t beat myself up so much anymore and if I need extra support I go to the TEG family on fb who are full of words of wisdom,  empathy,  fun,  grit and determination.

What three things were the most helpful for helping you stay on track?

I read articles on TEG website and check out their snapchat, instagram, twitter for photos of food and inspiration. The weekly check ins from TEG, progress photos, unending support and humour keep me from giving in even after a few days off such as holiday time. Emails to TEG soon get a response full of understanding, motivation and a push in the right direction.

They don’t let you down, being so approachable means I have emailed around issues several times and they are always eager to help, even when I had injuries I could still follow the plan with TEG help and managed to come 3rd without training my upper body for the last 13 weeks of the plan. I finally found my abs,  along with my balls in the weights area.

Sending in weekly progress photos kept me motivated as did looking back over them, even now and the variety of the training kept me interested,  never gets boring, really clear and easy to follow with a calculator to update nutrition values meaning there was no hard calculation involved, I was glued to my emails waiting for each new month to come in, and to find out who had transformation of the month and see their progress, knowing these people were real because I was talking to them.

What advice would you give someone thinking about joining TeamTEG?

Main advice, trust TEG and keep in touch, don’t let a bad week make you think you can’t achieve. I have learnt this is a lifetime lifestyle, not a quick fix. I no longer weigh in once a week and then on that day eat everything in sight and then feel guilty and depressed. I have learnt that bodybuilding is a series of bulks and cuts and they don’t look like that all year round. I have learnt I can do this.

What is your next fitness goal?

I have had loads of friends tell me I look amazing and my aim is to continue. I was bulking but shoulder injury made it difficult so I cut down on carbs with advice from TEG and now I am leaning out for Xmas ready for a bulk come Xmas/new year. Next June I want to be stronger / leaner as a fit nanny lol