Jamie Atkins

  1. How Pamela Dutkiewicz Overcame Her Insecurities

    “I never thought you’d be able to see abs on my body” - How Olympic Hurdler Pamela Dutkiewicz Overcame Her Insecurities

    With multiple medals at national championships as a junior athlete, Pamela Dutkiewicz had always been a prodigious talent. Super fast and always in the running for podium finishes, in 2010 she was the third fastest U20 hurdler in the world. Behind the scenes though, she felt insecure and uncomfortable about her appearance. “I once overheard one of the coaching staff describe me as ‘the chubby one.’” she told WortAthleten. “The thought of a photo of me appearing in a newspaper would scare the living daylight out of me. It was all I could think about in the days following a competition.”

    International sporting events are a microcosm of the world that we live in. They’re full of stories of determination and courage, of people overcoming overwhelming odds to achieve their dreams. We see the same choices we make every day play themselves out, their consequences amplified on giant screens. Success or failure, elation or disappointment. But the problems we see in society are also on show, including body image issues. A combination of revealing outfits, coaching pressure, and internal pressure to try and conform to the ‘ideal’ shape for their sport can cause even people who have physiques that the rest of us aspire to to develop a negative body image.

    While still in competition Pamela started to eat inconsistently, eating nothing all day and hardly drinking anything when she knew she was going to be weighed the next day. The advice she received from coaching staff and nutritionists was conflicting and sometimes downright dangerous - “Once one of the staff told me: ‘Just have an apple and drink tea for the rest of the day.’ Knowing what I do today, I can’t believe anyone would pass on this kind of advice to an athlete. Back then I would do exactly as told: eat one apple a day and stick with tea for the rest of the day. I wasn’t questioning it. In the sprints, every extra kilo will show in tenths and hundredths of a second.” Sometime after that, she was given a meal plan to follow that included three main meals and two lighter meals each day. “That meant I’d sometimes be eating when I wasn’t even hungry. The first six months looked promising, then my weight stalled again. I came to the conclusion that if not even nutritionists could help me, I’d never be able to lose weight.”

    A painful injury in 2015 turned out to be a blessing in disguise when the doctor who was treating her at the Bochum clinic referred her to Mark Warnecke, founder of AMSport and former swimming world champion. Together with another nutritionist they began to work on a plan that would help her stay in top shape while also trying to address her insecurities about food. Pamela was to keep eating similarly to how she had been, but cut back from five meals a day to three. Breakfast was a freebie, where she was encouraged to eat whatever she felt like that day. The results were impressive, and the pressure that she felt under - both on track and off - began to lift.

    “I could see changes in my body every week. I never thought you’d be able to see abs on my body. Now I am confident when I am standing on the track. Back in the day my focus was on anything but the track – 1000 distractions. I’ve lost 10 kilograms since I made those changes without starving myself or dieting. Meanwhile, I gained an incredible amount of knowledge, confidence in and understanding of my body.”

    Two years later, Pamela Dutkiewicz lined up in the finals of the 100m hurdles at the 2017 World Championships in London focused on nothing but the hurdles ahead of her. 12.71 seconds later she looked up at the screen to see her name next to the number three. She had been in fifth place going over the final hurdle, but a strong finish saw her take home the bronze medal. “I dreamed of this moment, but I can’t believe it - it’s just crazy” she said, once the tears had dried after her celebrations. “This is like in a movie.”

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  2. Honey and lemon chicken skewers with pear salad

    These succulent chicken skewers have a sweet and tasty flavour that is complimented by the fruity and tangy pear salad. It’s the perfect summer meal for those of you following the AMFormula diet!

    Ingredients:

    For two portions:
    • 2 chicken fillets
    • 1 lemon
    • 3 sprigs of thyme
    • 2 tsp honey
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 spring onion
    • 300 g cherry tomatoes
    • 200 g carrots
    • 1/2 Bunch of chives
    • 1 medium sized pear
    • 1 tbsp fruit vinegar
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 wooden skewers

    Preparation time:

    60 minutes (including marinating time)

    Cooking time:

    <10 minutes

    Preparation:

    1. Cut the chicken fillets into pieces. Wash and halve the lemon, rubbing the peel over the chicken before squeezing the juice from half over the top. Wash the thyme, then pull the leaves from the stem.
    2. Make your marinade by mixing some lemon peel with 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of honey, thyme, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken with the marinade and cover for 1 hour.
    3. For the side salad, wash and chop your spring onion, tomatoes and pear and combine in a bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrot into long thin strips. Finally, add the shaved carrots and chopped chives to the bowl.
    4. Make a simple dressing by mixing 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of honey, 1 1/2 tbsp of olive oil before drizzling it over the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste, then plate the salad ready for the chicken skewers. You’re almost done!
    5. Once the meat has had time to marinade, place it onto some wooden skewers. Coat a frying pan with ½ tbsp of olive oil and fry the chicken skewers for 6 minutes, making sure to cook each side evenly. Tuck in!
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  3. Smoked Salmon Rolls

    These elegant and simple smoked salmon rolls can be stored in the fridge for a healthy, low-fat snack for you to grab in between meals, or can make up a light meal themselves along with a few slices of whole-grain toast.

    Ingredients:

    For two servings:
    • 40g of low fat cream cheese
    • 1 cucumber
    • 1/2 bunch dill
    • 150 g smoked salmon (sliced)
    • Pinch of salt & pepper
    • A little of your favourite curry powder

    Preparation time:

    20 minutes

    Instructions:

    1. Place the cream cheese and washed dill into a bowl and stir to combine. Once it’s nice and creamy, season it with a pinch of salt, pepper, and curry powder to taste.
    2. Halve the cucumber and use a vegetable peeler or mandoline slicer to cut the cucumber into long, thin strips.
    3. Place the cucumber strips on a plate, then top with the sliced smoked salmon. Spread the cream cheese and dill mixture evenly over the top, then roll each one up.
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