Dubai Resident Gabriella Soto Takes on Shape's Body Challenge - Part Two

16 Jul 2013

We catch up with our current 8 Week Challenge contestant and Dubai resident, Gabriella Soto

This month, Gabby chats about her progress so far and how a bit of positive feedback goes a long way. We also speak with Gabby’s trainer, Tribe Fit’s, Matthew Glass and Healthtrendz’s Senior Nutritionist, Lovely Ranganath, to get the lowdown on Gabby’s fitness and nutrition regime.

At the moment, I am half way through the 8 Week Challenge – and to be honest, I don’t want it to end! On top of working out 6 days a week, I started the Healthtrendz meal programme. I went to their office for a consultation and they advised me on the programme I should be following. They determined my daily caloric intake should be 1,500. With this in mind, they deliver my meals every day to my doorstep – a big package including breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and evening snacks. I have to say that this has been a pleasure – I don’t even feel like I’m on a diet!
The most important change so far is that I have gotten into a routine. Every morning, I prepare my gym bag and bring it to work, then at 6 pm I head directly to the gym. I believe this has been the secret to success. I am sure that if I had to go back home I would find 101 reasons to stay on the couch rather than coming to work out. I am confident that I will keep this routine even after the 8 week program is finished.

What obstacles have you faced?
The occasional injury. I pulled a leg muscle during the second week of the challenge, and then another on the 5th week. However, these injuries have only been a reason for Matt (my trainer) to get creative and make me do more burpees or pushups instead of squats. I have been taught that a localised injury is not reason enough to stop working out.
What positive results (mental and physical) have you seen?
The results have been progressively noticeable. I started noticing changes in my body about three weeks into the programme, but since then I have been able to actually feel and see that I’m getting fitter, faster. Also, it feels great when other people start noticing the changes – it motivates you so much. Every once in a while, you need someone or something to tell you that you are doing things right.
I am also very happy that I no longer find myself making excuses on why not to exercise or why not to eat healthier. I have proved to myself that healthy living is possible and that there’s nothing wrong about it.

What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
TEMPTATION! In an ideal world, I would’ve taken this challenge on a desert island. It is difficult to say no to dinners, nights out, after-work drinks –especially when I was used to going out every other night. I have managed to change my habits, but the world stays the same, so I have ended up in a lot of difficult situations where I really have had to convince myself to stay on track.
When I started this challenge, a good friend told me,  “When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason you’re doing this in the first place.” So I do just that. And it works! I’m doing this for myself, to look and feel better, and the fact that I am seeing results gives me a huge reason to keep pushing.

Lovely Ranganath
Over the past few weeks the Healthtrendz team has given Gabby the ‘Nutritionist’s dream client’ title ! She is motivated, extremely focused and sensible.
The first session with the Healthtrendz Nutritionist gave the team an understanding of Gabby’s requirements, keeping in mind her lifestyle, her medical & social history and food preferences – among other parameters – which helped to set sensible targets. There was total agreement that we would focus on fat loss while also ensuring Gabby does not feel tired during the day and that she has enough strength to go through her physical training routines.
The total kcalorie recommended for Gabby was 1500kcal/ day. Gabby’s  body fat mass was 30kg and the target was to bring this down to 17kg. The goal is to lose 13kgs of fat and bring her BMI below 25.
Gabby was placed on the Healthtrendz Balanced Fat Loss Meal Plan where she had three balanced meals consisting of two fruits, a vegetable salad, a skinny dessert as well as a work-out snack that would range from raw nuts /  low GI snack bars / mini sandwiches, etc. The  Balanced Fat Loss Meal Plan would give Gabby portion-controlled meals at regular intervals, which would mean that her blood sugar is maintained, negating the risk of low-energy moments.
After two weeks, Gabby’s INBODY analysis showed a healthy drop of 2.2kg fat mass and a muscle mass gain of 600gm. Her fitness score jumped from 75 to 78.
From the third week on, the tailor-made meals were based on feedback.
Gabby is exceptionally focused and committed  to the point that she was  requesting the Nutritionist to stop including the low calorie tarts, cakes and puddings! But keeping in mind that we wanted Gabby to maintain long-term, sensible habits, which are centered on moderation, it was agreed that these would be included twice a week. All other days they were replaced with nutrient-dense options like edamame beans, low fat yogurt, veg’ crudités with hommous dip, etc. We will be meeting Gabby often and will continue to make modifications to the meals based on her requirements and progress. Gabby has decided to give her health a priority and Healthtrendz meals takes the stress off from shopping, cooking, counting calories.