I was never a sporty child and would be the first to get out of a PE lesson if I could!
There wasn’t the emphasis on sport and healthy eating that there is now in schools, so as children we didn’t see the importance of it and didn’t really have any sporting role models. School was a tough time for me, weighing 15 ½ stone with very little confidence and self-esteem, I felt I wasn’t like the ‘other kids’ and struggled to gel and fit in with others. I was badly bullied and would often go home in tears, this in turn would make me turn to food for comfort and most certainly didn’t give me the encouragement to go out to exercise. I was worried what people would think, how they would judge me and what they would think of me when they saw a bigger girl exercising. My parents were aware of my weight and the constant struggle at school and would often give me incentives, support and rewards if I were to lose a little weight. At this stage in my life I just wasn’t interested and never thought it would be possible for me to ever be slim, so didn’t try.
After leaving school, stepping out of my comfort zones and meeting new people, something clicked and one morning I woke up and didn’t want to be like this anymore, from that day everything changed.
To begin with I looked at my diet and made a conscious effort to ensure that my diet was full of all the right things, and most importantly that I wasn’t going hungry, there’s nothing worse! Before I knew it, it became routine to eat healthily and think about everything that went passed my lips. I still allowed myself the odd treat and found that I was actually savouring and enjoying them more than before. There were tough days, very tough days, days when I would feel that I was the only person in the world that was dieting and how unfair it was, but with the support of my family and seeing the scales go down these days soon passed.
After losing a couple of stone I was ready to start exercising…
I started off with exercise DVDs in the house, there was no way that I would venture outside let alone step foot in a gym! Davina McCall was a massive inspiration to me at this time I could relate to her as she was a ‘normal’ woman, who also like me, was trying to lose weight and trim up. The weight was still coming off steadily and I was receiving compliments left right and centre, which for me was the biggest drive to carry on. Compliments, people’s kind words and support from my family helped me so much and helped my confidence grow…so much so that I started swimming! Now getting me into a swimming costume was never easy, I would have sleepless nights before swimming at school and would dread the next week as soon as it was over, so swimming for me was a huge step. I swam 64 lengths (a mile) every other evening, and it felt great! I was now a regular at the pool and made some great friends, friends that gave me support and encouragement. On an evening that I was lacking enthusiasm, I knew when I got there I would be fine as my friends would be there too.
As the weight coming off started to slow up, I decided I needed to introduce something different, something harder, something to really push myself. I waited until it was dark, layered up so people couldn’t see me, stepped outside and slowly eased myself into jogging.
At first I jogged for a minute and then walked until I could manage to do a circuit just jogging. My running went from strength to strength and with the support of my mum on her bike, I was soon jogging at least 3 miles at a time.
As my confidence grew, I signed up to the gym and even started going to classes! Once your there you realise that you’re not the only one feeling nervous and self-conscious. You are all there for the same reason, to sweat, work hard and feel great!
Now 7 ½ stone lighter, and feeling FANTASTIC I am happier, more confident, love to socialise and most importantly, LOVE to exercise! I have completed a half marathon and am currently training for my next! 7 years ago I would have never thought it was possible and never imagined in a million years that I would be sat here now in size 8-10 clothes having once squeezed into size 18’s. I am not saying that my journey was easy or that it happens overnight, there were many times where I could have given up but didn’t as I knew my life was changing for the better. For me it is the best thing I have ever done and something I am so proud of.
Anything is possible…the first step is the hardest but every other step after feels easier!