Thursday, 24 February 2011

My Fitness Story... - Holly

Today's post is by Holly, who has been an online friend of mine for several years. Over the last year or so, Holly has totally overhauled her diet and her lifestyle and lost a dramatic amount of weight, dropping 4 dress sizes so far. She agreed to share how she's done it and so, without further ado, I'll hand over to Holly to tell her fitness story. 

In October 2009 I was fat (18.5 stone) and unhappy. I was working as an IT Consultant over 150 miles away from home during the week, away from all friends and family and had £25 a night to spend on food. Joining a gym was pointless as I was never at home to exercise and the more frustrated I got in my job, the more I ate - then I got upset that I was putting on weight and didn’t like the way I looked - so I ate more.

In Vegas October 2009
That month, I flew out to Las Vegas to see one of my younger sisters get married - when I saw the wedding photographs I realised that I couldn't continue at the weight I was - I looked horrendous! Double chin, massive stomach - The fact I was quite tall meant I could 'carry' the weight better than someone shorter, but when you're buying size 22 clothes, you can only bury your head in the sand so long.

When I got back from Las Vegas I went to see my Doctor - I burst into tears and said I was miserable with life - I hated my job, hated how I looked and was having very bad thoughts. The Doctor was lovely and suggested I needed to find another job as soon as possible and lose weight - she suggested the 'GI Diet', one that I had never heard of before. January 1st 2010, I started my 'healthy eating' (I hate the word 'diet') and also started looking to move jobs. The GI diet worked for me as it wasn't complicated - there were no 'points' and no 'bad food' although I did stay completely clear from chocolate, crisps and alcohol for the first 4 months.

In March 2010, I found another job which was much closer to home and this meant I could join my local gym which is conveniently located a 2 minute walk away from my house. I also decided to get a personal trainer so that he could kick my ass if I fell off the wagon. Within 3 months, I had lost 2.5 stone and felt a lot better - my complexion was better, my double chin was going and my confidence was growing. Rather than wearing very baggy tops and shirts, I started buying fitted clothes and liking myself a bit more.
My friends and family were all so supportive, even to the point that they wouldn't eat 'fatty' foods when I was around. I started taking a massive interest in cooking as I was no longer living out of hotels, so started cooking my meals from scratch and I really believe this has helped a lot in my weight loss. Even now, over a year later, I still try and make it my mission to cook one new healthy meal a week, and I still follow the GI principles.

The one thing I struggled with the most was 'guilt' when I ate something I deemed to be 'bad' for me. I had been on diets before (Slimfast, Weight Watchers etc) and when I had a cake, some chocolate etc, I felt that I had let myself down, so my willpower plummeted and I thought to myself 'Well, I've failed, so I may as well just not bother' and I would sabotage myself and continue eating rubbish for a few days. I won't lie and say this hasn't happened in the last year, as it has, but I am still trying very hard to retrain my mind to say 'You know what? You've been to the gym 3 times a week and eaten healthy all week - you CAN have a bar of chocolate and not feel as if you've failed...'

From this
to this
Where am I now? Well, I have lost just over 6 stone and am now 12 stone 2lbs! Have I got to where I want to be? No, not yet as my BMI is still 27, so I know I need to lose some more weight. However, I am so much happier, healthier and for the first time in YEARS, I like what I see in the mirror. To keep myself motivated, I have registered for the Reading half marathon and even if I don’t finish it, I’ll be proud that I tried my best. My current wardrobe consists of mostly size 14 jeans and tops, but I have a couple of pairs of size 12 jeans that I can fit into and if I can slim down to an ‘average’ size 12, then I think I’ll be chuffed.

I learnt a lot of things along the way – the biggest epiphany was that people can sabotage you or demotivate you without even wanting to. For example, when my ex-work colleagues found out I was trying to lose weight, they seemed to take extra interest in my lunches. ‘You’re not allowed that’ was said to me on more than one occasion, along with ‘How can you eat that if you’re on a diet?’ so when I moved jobs, I kept my weight loss goals to myself which worked very well indeed. One friend, who was also trying to lose weight, wasn’t doing very well so she’d try and sabotage me by arranging to go to the gym with me, then cancel at the last minute and suggest we go for pizza! I felt sorry for her, but never said yes – the only person I had to justify my healthy eating plan to was myself.

I’ll never be overly slim, nor will I ever be ‘model’ material – however I hope to continue to be happy in my own skin and like myself. I consider that a success.

Thanks so much to Holly for telling her story today. I am so chuffed for her as I know how much it meant to her to lose weight and keep going this time. She found what has worked for her and stuck at it. Learning to overcome hurdles and dealing with bad days seems to be an important factor in the long term success of any fitness regime, whatever it is aiming to achieve. Losing a lot of weight is a long, long road. There are bound to be problems along the way so getting up again after a slip up ensures you get there in the end. 

Have you lost a large amount of weight? Please share your experience in the comments below. Alternatively, if you have a fitness story to tell, then get in touch with me on Twitter or via the email address on the About me page. I will link back to any blog you write if you wish, or you can remain either partly or fully anonymous. 
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