After posting a recent picture of myself on Instagram, my personal trainer, Matthew Print contacted me saying the Simply Gym would like to use my recent transformation as a feature on the Simply Gym website and newspaper. At first I was a bit taken aback by this as I am usually a private person and not one for splashing my personal information all over social media. I thought about it for only a few seconds and thought WHY NOT! I have worked so hard to get to where I am today so here goes …
For as long as I can remember I have always struggled with my weight, however in July 2016, I topped the scales at 17 stone!! When I saw this I was mortified and asked myself how I let myself get to this! I knew that this was not a healthy lifestyle but also wondered why I was so heavy, as for as long as I could remember I had always been active. I had held several gym memberships over in my late teens and early twenty and attended various classes include Body Combat, Boxercise and Zumba. I had always enjoyed exercising but never really managed to lose weight.
In July 2015, I moved from Sheffield to Coventry to live with my partner, Darren Harriott. Like me, he loved exercising as well as food! He attended the gym and played Touch rugby a couple of times a week so when I asked him to join a local Zumba class with me, he was totally up for it – on one condition… that I played Touch rugby once a week with him! After learning the rules, I played at a local session which he run and thoroughly enjoyed it. The amount of exercise that I was doing had increased since moving to Coventry and I noticed that I was slowly losing a bit of weight, however not as quick as I would have liked!
“As tough as it is, I try not to use the scales and now I exercise to be healthy and not skinny”
To help with this we both attended Slimming world, which worked for a while for me but then I stopped losing weight. It was very disheartening knowing that so many people in the sessions were losing weight. However, they were not doing half as much exercise that I was! I knew that I was going wrong somewhere!!! Darren did extremely well as lost 3 stone, I couldn’t believe his transformation! He also took up running and has completed 3 half marathons since!
In July 2016, I decided to speak to Matthew who ran the local Zumba session, about his personal training sessions and I was delighted that he was able to fit me into his busy schedule. So at the beginning of August, he invited me down to Simply gym in Coventry, where I joined up and we discussed my lifestyle, diet and goals. He instantly made me feel comfortable and I trusted in everything that he said to me from that day! It was also very reassuring and encouraging to know that he had been in a similar place to myself and had made his own amazing transformation! He has taught me so much about health and fitness and he has totally changed my mindset! One of the biggest lessons he has taught me is to put the weighing scales away. For years and years, I would use the scales as an indication of how healthy/unhealthy I was. This is not the case!! Just because the scales say you weigh 9 stone for example, this doesn’t mean you are healthy. As tough as it is, I try not to use the scales and now I exercise to be healthy and not skinny!!!
I currently weigh 14 stone and I know I still have a very long way for go. I know that this journey isn’t about a final destination and that it is going to be a lifelong commitment. Matthew has given me so much advice about food and I am very lucky that Darren also supports me in this. Making simple changes such as eating full fat natural yoghurt instead of low fat flavoured yoghurts which is full of sugar has helped me to get where I am today. As much as I miss eating out and snacking on a bag of Haribo, I don’t feel like I miss out on ‘nice’ food. Using Matthew’s recipe ideas and those from the Joe Wicks Lean in 15 books, I have tried so many new foods which are not only healthy but extremely delicious too! Life gets very busy, especially working as a primary school teacher and trying to exercise at least 5 times a week, but Darren can be found in the kitchen on a Saturday morning ‘prepping like a boss’ for the week ahead, while I do all the other housework. I don’t have to worry about what my next meal is going to be and what makes it better is that I know that it is healthy as well as tasty. I also know that I can always text or speak to Matthew if I need any support with my diet or work-outs, which I am incredibly grateful for.
To date, I have lost 3 stone and I have seen my BMI decrease as well as my body measurements. I now LOVE to work-out and in particular enjoy my weekly PT sessions with Matthew as well as the weight-based training which I do at Simply gym. I also enjoy many classes at the gym include HIIT and circuits. More recently, I have tried incorporating running into my training, which I believe is one of toughest forms of exercise you can do! Yes, I am no Jessica Ennis-Hill, however I recently completed a 5K charity run in Coventry in 30 minutes, which I never believed I could do!
My journey continues, I am determined to carry on no matter how tough it gets. I will continue to push myself to achieve further goals I set myself and look forward to doing so. For people reading this and looking to do something similar, keep at it, think about not only the health benefits but also mental benefits too! Remember exercise to be healthy not skinny!