Exercise? I thought you said extra fries!


An activity created that is painful, makes you sweaty and exhausted. Why would we want to do it?


Anyone who knows me, knows that I dislike going to the gym.  It’s often smelly and lacks aesthetics. But I now do it because it keeps me healthy (and so I don’t feel so bad when I have that scoop of vanilla ice cream with caramel on top! 😛 )

Growing up as I mentioned before, I was never a small person but I was active. When I exercised it was for fun. I played sports like netball and I was an avid dancer with the Cayman Islands Dance Unlimited Dance Company. Working out in a gym was not for me. Or so I thought!

When I first entered Miss Cayman Islands, people started telling me that I had to lose a significant amount of weight to have any chances of winning, but I didn’t take it seriously at first because remember in my earlier posts, I had won several beauty pageant titles, just how I was.

But when I completed the registration form, it did have a weight requirement. But unlike the myths and stereotypes about pageants and modeling, the requirement didn’t ask everyone to be 120 pounds but it asked you to maintain within the healthy range for your height and age. So for me that was between 128 and 168 pounds.

When I weighed in at registration I was 200 pounds, which meant I had to lose 32 pounds minimum in 6 months. How in the world was I going to accomplish that?

Now I had two choices. I could give up and drop out of the competition OR I could do what it took to reach my goal.

What I learned through this experience was that if you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before.

Over the years, I wanted to lose weight but I didn’t want it bad enough to do something about it. And I had never before put myself on a disciplined plan to actively lose weight.

It was kind of like, yea it would be great if I could lose weight but did I really need to? The doctors all gave me a clean bill of health every check-up so, I’ll just cruise but stare longingly at that cute pair of size 2 pants that I wish I could fit into.

It wasn’t a very effective or rationale approach really now that I think about lol!

But thanks to the competition, I now had a reason. I had a desire to win that outweighed my complacency. I wanted it bad. I wanted it bad enough that I would step out of my comfort zone and do something I had never done before. I wanted the crown and part of that meant being fit so I would do what it took even if it meant going to the smelly gym everyday of the week.

*Side Note* Gyms are not smelly when you go at 5:00am before the rush hour.

I started out by myself, working out in the gym using the exercises they gave us through our sponsor gym, Life Extension. Their group classes were amazing. But I was intimated at first by the other contestants who were way more fit than I was. It felt like my goal was pointless because they were already fit and small.

After 3 months I felt like I was getting no where. I lost 10 pounds but I still had a long way to go. Problem was, I only had 3 months left.

I started to panic and despair that I would never reach my goal.

But my mom suggested I try a personal trainer. And so I chose Ernest Ebanks of Body Sculptors Gym. We scheduled 5 days a week for me. Two of those days would be personal training and then 3 days would be a boot camp class with Andre (Training with Dre).

But the funny thing was that he was more focused on my eating plan.

I thought to myself, why is that important? Isn’t it just exercising that gets you to lose weight?

Turned out that eating right is 90% of the battle. So he worked with me to come up with a better eating plan than I was on. More veggies, more protein, less carbs. Consistency was key.

My biggest struggle was with sugar. I love sugar. I had it with everything!  To cut down on it broke my heart at first. But there was no time to lose, I had to get this right. But it wasn’t easy. I was warned not to just cut it cold turkey and instead to slowly decrease my sugar intake. This way you don’t shock the system too much.

So what this looked like for me, for example, was going from 5 spoons (yes, I did say 5 spoons) of sugar in my tea to no sugar in my tea. Each week I would put 1 less spoon of sugar in my tea to adjust my taste buds to the taste.


It worked and I was amazed by the transformation. The weight starting dropping off like crazy. It was a piece of cake (mmm cake! lol)

There were many days that I felt like quitting, sleeping in rather than going to gym class, eating that burger or ice cream instead of the celery and apple I packed for a snack.

Some days I literally cried because I just wanted to eat anything with starch! But I (and my mom, my trainer, and my friends) kept reminding me of my goal. This is also the time when I say it is great to have a really good support group, that holds you accountable and encourages you to keep you on track.

Every time I cheated on my eating plan, the scale made me know it and my trainer gave me that disappointed look. You know the one your parents gave you as a child when you threw paint or flour all over the floor when you were two years old? Yea, that one!

As I became more comfortable with the routine and schedule, I grew to like the gym because of the great feeling I had after my workout. The small wins of completing all my reps without passing out lol or being able to do 5 more burpees than I did the week before. The gym was now my friend and we had a blast!

In the end, I lost 35 pounds and I realized that even though it was super challenging to eat right and exercise regularly, it felt good to reach my goal and be able to walk on the stage proudly.

I may not have won the pageant that first year but I felt happier, more nimble and I had more energy than I’d ever had before. And yes I may have been healthy before but now I was even healthier and had significantly reduced my risk of heart disease and diabetes.

And if you’re struggling with weight loss as well, why don’t we journey together? Staying healthy and fit is not an easy journey but it’s not an impossible one. And having a support group to hold you accountable makes all the difference!

Let’s pass on the fries and take some exercise! 🙂

Feel free to leave a comment below. Look forward to hearing from you!

See you next week.


Anika Conolly





3 thoughts on “Exercise? I thought you said extra fries!”

    1. Hey that’s awesome! What are your goals? What is your aim? How much do you want to lose? What are your habits now for eating and exercise? Talk to me about your thoughts on these questions and let’s start from there


      1. My aim is 145

        I reallllly want to lose the weight

        I hardly get to exercise due to work

        I hardly eat food only when am really hungry I eat


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