Back In September 2010 I received an email from one of the Sports Lecturers in the college I work for, asking if I would be interested in being a 'real life client' to an HND Fitness, Health and Exercise student. Feeling it was time to make a change I offered my services, convincing myself that I was 'doing my bit' in helping out a student and also secretly hoping that I would be able to make a dent in my ever increasing weight problem. I had my reservations and on more than one occasion I thought about pulling out. Little did I know at the time that by saying yes, it would be the one of the best decisions I ever made.
Weighty Matters ...
On returning to work from my holiday to celebrate my anniversary, I found an email lurking in my inbox from my assigned student. A really nice guy called Will. We arranged to meet up and talk about what I wanted to get out of our working together. I knew what I wanted. I wanted what every woman wants, I wanted the holy grail, the answer to that all important question.... How do I lose weight so that I look shit hot?! Of course, not wanting to scare the poor guy i settled for the next best thing; wanting to improve my general fitness and lose a bit of weight. Following our initial meet up, I was faced with the prospect of the horrific initial fit-test. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about, I was going to have to get on the scales and face the reality of my weight problem. The day came and I had to suck it up and get on with it. I'd love to say that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It was worse, and it was nothing to do with my Trainer, it was being faced with the reality that I was morbidly obese. Being just 5ft 1, I weighed in at an obscene 16st 6lbs .... I know, shocking eh!
Thats me in the pic up there back in September. I hate looking at that picture, not because of how I look but simply because I now vividly recall just how unhappy I was back then. I had convinced myself that I was okay being that size, that size being a size 22 and the waist band feeling more than a little tight, and that it didn't bother me. I was kidding myself. I'd dieted in the past and each time I would give up, bored with the lack of results. Always looking for a quick fix and giving up when it didn't happen quick enough. I lacked self confidence, was totally de-motivated and at a loss as to what to do about it. I had just turned 30, I had been diagnosed with Asthma in April, put on a steroid inhaler and a reliever, my dad is diabetic and on insulin. The prognosis wasn't good, I knew I was slowly killing myself.
My trainer never passed comment on my weight, simply made a note of it in his notepad and carried on with the other measurements. I clearly remember trying to appear unaffected and cheery about the whole thing, inside I was in shock. I remember looking at him and waiting for a reaction -nothing - and my mind running off with what he must think of me. In fact, I felt sorry for him - Poor guy, he's certainly pulled the short straw getting me.
But instead of getting caught up in mammoth task ahead of me to shed the weight, I decided to just take it a step at a time. I started cutting all the rubbish out of my diet. No crisps - i had to go cold turkey on those- more fruit and vegetables, smaller portions, less of the heavy carbs. All of the things that I knew I should have been doing and actually doing it for once.
A good friend in work had signed up for the same and her trainer had suggested that she try a Ladies Muay Thai Kickboxing class as part of her new fitness regime. Deciding she wanted to give it a go she asked if I wanted to go with her. And go with her I did. After the first class I felt like I had been hit by a bus the next day, but I went back the next week, and the week after that..... The Muay Thai classes are amazing; they are challenging, knackering, but also highly rewarding. I would recommend anyone try it if they are looking to get pushed to and beyond their personal limits or simply want to try something new.
At the same time I had started meeting with my Trainer twice a week to do some circuits/workouts made up of simple body-weight exercises, kettlebell and a variety of other exercises.
Within a couple of months I had gone from doing little-to-no exercise to exercising 4-5 times a week. My typical week consisted of:
Monday: Circuit/workout (with trainer)
Wednesday: Muay Thai Fitness class
Thursday: Circuit/workout (with trainer)
Friday: Muay Thai session (with trainer)
Sunday: Body Combat/Zumba/Swimming (whatever took my fancy!)
And the strange thing was that I actually started to love the exercise and relished the post-workout pains, that satisfying burn in the muscles reminding me how hard I had pushed myself. The weight started coming off without me even thinking about it. I stuck to making good choices with regard to my eating and got my head down when it came to the exercise. I found that because I was working hard in the gym and at classes that I didn't want to undo all the hard work by getting sloppy about what I was eating. My sessions with my trainer started to increase in intensity, difficulty and variety and I was loving it. I loved the sense of achievement I started to get after every session. In fact, I hated the rest days, when I wasn't actually exercising I was thinking about exercising, or reading about exercising, researching and thinking about what I wanted to try next. Obsessed much ... oh yes!
Loving experimenting with new types of exercise, I started making up my own workouts to do at the gym and in the house. Buying my own equipment which now includes Kettlebells, skipping ropes, exercise DVD's (just in case I am stuck indoors should the dastardly snow strike again!), interval timer (Gymboss, which I would recommend as a must-have to anyone looking to do some interval training).
By January it was time for another fit-test. But I was a changed woman by that time. I wasn't dreading getting on the scales, I was excited!
Much to my and my trainers delight I had lost just over 2 stones by the end of January (4 months since the start of my journey.)
Following on from that I continued to work with Will and go to my Muay Thai classes. I had my last session with Will just a few days ago. And at this point I have lost over 3 stones, dropped just over three dress sizes (now wearing 16-18), and feel absolutely AWESOME!
My good friend, Sheena, has been a constant source of support and encouragement and my reliable partner in crime. My husband can't believe how I am shrinking before his very eyes and constantly showers me in praise. Will has been an absolute godsend and has done an amazing job in educating me and has set me on a path to success. It's not been easy so far, its been damn hard work and I have sweated my butt off and without the help and encouragement of my friends (old and new) and my family, I doubt i would still be working as hard as I am. I've learned a lot about myself, the most important being that I am much stronger than I ever thought I was or could be.
But this is just the beginning of my story, I am no where near finished yet, hopefully you will join me as I start on my new fitness ventures .... I'm so excited!!
That's me, 3 stones lighter and holding the size 22 trousers I was wearing back in September that were too tight on me. A reminder that I won't be going back there any time soon. These are by no means 'after' pictures, oh no, these should be classed as 'during' pictures.