My journey to a healthier body and mind
12 months ago – Feb 2017
This time last year I was tipping the scales at near enough 13 stone, I’m 5 ft 4 inches and 41 years old and this was the heaviest I had ever been but I couldn’t see a problem with it, who cares it’s my body and I’m happy with it – but was I? No, not at all, I was lying to myself. I turned 40 and we went off to New York to celebrate, at the time I truly believed that I ate well and that it was just middle age spread, we had an amazing time but as with all my holidays lately there was a undercurrent, one I couldn’t quite put my finger one, perhaps it was because I was reaching my 40s and a little bit of apprehension crept in, well anyway I plodded on, the trip to New York came and went and I’d greedily devoured all the wonderful delights that the big apple had to offer. So back to work and normal life began and getting ready for the next break.
It is worth mentioning now for the past ten years or so I have been suffering with bouts of depression which is intrinsically linked to an awful stomach condition which has ended up with me in hospital. I always just put up with it and would think that was just the way it is for me. I had this problem whilst in New York with crippling stomach pains. So as I said back to working and facing the anxieties that I have always had, feelings of no self worth, like I am useless at everything, acting like the victim and this is what life has in store for me.
I have some real dark times and can honestly say my mental health had been pretty poor over the last few years which all stems from confidence, I don’t want to go into the reasons why as they are deeply personal to me but I will say they are very much linked to traumatic events in my past.
This coupled with my increasing weight gain started to really take its toll, my fiancé would always get frustrated at the amount of carbonated sugary drinks I would consume but I was in no mood to listen, what did he know? I mean I could drink up to 2 litres of coke a day – where was the harm in that? As the year started to move along and I put on my brave face as I always do our next holiday was Ibiza (my favourite place). All seemed fine and off we went to enjoy some sunshine but low and behold the dreaded return of my stomach problems and suffered for two days resulting in having to stay in my room.
I still wasn’t ready to accept the obvious, I could eat and drink what I wanted remember, it’s not linked to that remember it’s just the way I am! Back home we returned and the descent into the dark times returned stronger than ever and the vicious circle of consuming everything in sight and anxiety spiralled and I faced some really tough days.
I love a holiday and always have one planned so for the summer of 2017 me and my kids decided to go to Salou, mainly for the huge theme park. I got there again as always it seemed fine but low and behold guess what, day 3 there I was in agony, crying and throwing up. My children weren’t too happy, as kids do, which I now realise is because they could see what I refused to (note – I could see it but I wasn’t ready to accept it). So that is the third time away and yet again my body let me down, it was hard being me so when I returned the self pity set in and the dark times prevailed, I could see no way out, felt useless, paralysed by own fear of everything and the refusal to accept change was needed.
Just a little side note – my diet consisted of Saturated fats, high sugar drinks, chocolate, junk foods, high carbs – I couldn’t see a problem with it, I can eat what I want to eat right?!
Six months ago – Late August 2017
My good friend at work was always very healthy, a vegetarian and always ate that healthy shit as I referred to it, for which I know feel extremely bad about now, she had been also taking part in some sort of exercise programme and I remember how she had really changed in terms of body shape and thinking oh fair play, that’s not for me though…..blah, blah, blah.
Well after the horrendous time spent in Salou feeling awful I had what can only be described as an epiphany, I can’t go on like this anymore something has to give, I need to drag myself out of the big dark hole where bad food was feeding the monster, I needed to do it for me and my family.
After much deliberation with myself I took the plunge and made contact with ALM fitness, this was the ‘club’ my friend had joined, I remember when Amy made contact with me and asked to have a 1-2-1 call to discuss my goals and what I want to achieve, my heart fluttered and I nearly talked myself out of it, I won’t answer the phone, I’ll do it myself, all that nonsense, well I didn’t listen to myself and when she called I answered and I am so happy that I did as that was my turning point and I haven’t looked back.
I was brutally honest with Amy, told her I was addicted to drinking Coke and junk food, I was anxious and suffered from depression and I needed to make a change. Amy listened and offered wonderful advice and support and outlined what she could do to help me to change, because ultimately Amy can help you but you have to do it for you and want to make that commitment, so after a lovely chat we agreed this would be the right thing for me and I set a date for my ‘transformation’ to begin. Saturday 9th September would be the start of the new me!
Off I went on that Saturday morning and I was extremely scared and apprehensive bearing in my I had done no real exercise since school and that was limited, so this was going to be one of the biggest challenges I faced. We met in a group environment and Amy explained how this would work and the commitment needed to get it done, I remember it was like a light bulb went on in my head and I actually felt excited at the prospect of this challenge, for those who know me, I am very competitive and love to achieve things, we headed to the scales and it wasn’t a surprise in terms of my weight however when we covered my body fat % I was horrified, 45% ?!?!?! The years of abuse my body had taken from all the ‘bad’ food culminated in being way past what I should be in terms of body fat % – This alone gave me a goal I needed to smash.
And so-it began for the next six weeks my mindset had to change and I needed to make this change not only for my own health but for my family.
I can remember attending the first transformation session and I thought ‘oh my god’ I can’t do this and going home and I cried to my other half, my muscles ached, I was so hungry and I craved sugar so much but I battled on with the support of Amy and the other lovely ladies following the course, I woke up the next day and my muscles were killing me and I convinced myself that I couldn’t go, it was a 6am class and I lay there wide awake a 4am arguing with myself but I didn’t break and I got up and went, looking back now I have had some difficult classes but nothing as bad as that morning and that has been my motivator from the start.
It wasn’t only the change in me in terms of being active that was hard but changing my whole attitude to food was really tough and it took some real determination for me to not cave in and return to the old me. I’m pleased to say I did achieve my goals and at the end of the first six weeks I had lost 13 pounds, nearly 5% body fat and 15cms across my upper body, and that was just after six weeks. So what next, well why would I stop so I decided to carry on and join Amy’s family full time and I haven’t looked back.
My mindset is so different now and I love exercise so much, it’s part of my daily/weekly routine, my eating is now clean and I haven’t had a drink of Coke since September 2017 and I don’t want one either, the other massive benefit is the impact it has had on my mental health, I now cope a lot better and my confidence has sky rocketed, I can do anything I put my mind too and when I’m feeling a bit low it doesn’t linger half as bad as it used to, I also don’t pity myself half as much anymore, you are the only one that can change things and I finally got there in the end.
As I write this I am in the best health, shape and mindset I’ve ever been and now I must battle to keep on going, health and fitness is part of who I am now and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Of course I do face daily battles, which is totally expected, some days I am shattered and quite frankly can’t be arsed but then I take a step back and think about Why did I change in the first place? What will sitting on my arse actually achieve? I also face challenges in terms of other people’s opinions, ‘Oh one McDonalds won’t hurt you’ , ‘It’s Christmas, go on treat yourself’ …..blah,blah, blah – I can’t honestly say this doesn’t annoy me at times but it does motivate me to continue, so they can carry on regardless. I’m doing this for me and unfortunately I have come to realise some people say these things out of pure jealousy and not because I’m thinner or smaller but because they haven’t been brave enough to face up to what they need to change in their lives and that is hard for them.
So it’s nearly 6 months since I started and I have lost 16.2 kg/10% body fat which I am more than happy with, I’ve also come from a size 16 to a size 10 – Wow never thought I’d say that!! I also love exercise, I have also taken up running and really enjoy just feeling fit and rating to go, this year I will looking to compete in small events to build on my running and overall fitness.
Now the hard work begins as I need to maintain and keep on top of my game, this life suits me and I am not going back to that dark abyss of bad food and poor decisions and to top it off I’ve just returned from a holiday (yes I know I have a lot) and how different it was, no stomach problems, exercise maintained and also good decisions in terms of food with a few treats thrown in which was my own choice and not driven by the way I felt, well that’s a success if I do say so myself.
Here’s to my happy and healthy future and I haven’t had any stomach problems since my education in clean eating.
My message to anyone who feels the way I did is that there is always a way out, you can achieve anything you put your mind too, but remember no one else can do it for you, you have to do it for yourself and work out the best route for you, my goals are designed for me and what I want from life, you need to figure out what is for you and run with it, you can do it, have faith in yourself and find the strength is within.
Thank you for reading