Thursday, 10 March 2011

My Fitness Story... - Emma

Welcome back to the My Fitness Story... series of posts. This week's story, by Emma who blogs about her life in Cyprus at A matter of choice, is her tale of how she overcame an almost lifelong struggle with her weight and changed her habits for good to finally lose the extra pounds. 

As far back as I can remember, I was overweight. I was always told I was not fat, I was ‘big boned’ and I suppose from that over the years, I assumed that there was nothing I could do about it.

Before
At age 12, I was 12 stone, and as I got older, it gradually increased. When I left home, I ate junk and drank beer and did no exercise at all. I thought I was being good by eating ‘healthy’ ready meals. Once, I joined a gym but left after just a couple of sessions. It felt like a pointless activity and I ‘knew’ that I could never be a size 12. I started a new job in 2001 and they had to order me a special uniform in a size 20 but even then I didn’t do anything. I even got married at that size and didn’t even think of trying to lose weight beforehand.

There was no ‘lightbulb” moment for me. My Dad, in a bid to encourage a friend, had started going to our local Slimming World group and I was so surprised. I thought if he could do it, then maybe it was worth a try, maybe I could lose a few pounds.

I started going in January 2006, I had no target in mind at all. My ideal weight was so far from where I was, I felt there was no way I could lose that much. In the first week I lost 2.5lb, in the second 5lb. I was stunned – I had lost weight and not only that I had lost over ½ stone!

Still with no final target in mind, I just kept going, doing pretty much the same thing and averaging one or two pound loss each week.  It totally changed my eating habits and it taught me to cook as well. For the first time, I was eating fruit and fresh vegetables, I was cooking from scratch rather than buying ready meals and I felt so much better for it.
After

I also started exercising, it was hard at first having never done it, apart from being forced to at school but slowly it got easier, and to my surprise I actually ended up enjoying it!

A year later, I felt it was time to set a target weight and in September 2008, I reached it; I had lost just over four stone. It’s no exaggeration to say it changed my life, I felt so much healthier and confident. I had thought that losing weight would be impossible so now I had done that I realized that I could do anything if I really set my mind to it.

There were several amazing moments but one day I was walking past a shop window and saw my reflection and thought it was someone else – I stopped dead in the middle of the high street and stared in amazement.  The other was being nominated by my group for “Woman of the Year” and coming second in the regional finals. I was featured in our local paper and a national newspaper too – not bad for a girl once called “Emma the elephant” at school!

At the Woman of the Year regional finals
The Slimming World plan (and I do think of it as a plan not a ‘diet’) is brilliant, obviously it is designed to help you lose weight but it taught me so much more than that. It is not a ‘quick fix’ but about changing your eating habits for the better. There is nothing you can’t eat but it does teach you to eat more of the ‘good things and less of the bad.  Because of the change it had brought about in my diet, I am confident that I can bring my son up knowing the importance of healthy eating. It was always a worry of mine that I would have a ‘fat kid’ like I had been and I wouldn’t be able to help.

When I got pregnant in 2009, I obviously put on weight but the day I was to be induced I stepped on the scales and I was still lighter than I had been at my heaviest. I still have about a stone to lose to get back to my ‘new target’ I am not aiming for the lowest I have been as I don’t feel like it would be an easy weight to maintain, my goal is to fit back into my old clothes but mainly to feel as fit and healthy as I did before.

Although I know the Slimming World plan inside out, it is much harder without the support of going to a weekly group, as I moved to Cyprus a year ago and  had to leave my group behind. Fortunately, Slimming World has just reached us out here and a group has opened in my area. I will soon be attending to give me the added motivation for this last little bit.

Even now, I am still stunned and amazed that I did it, and although it sounds like a bit of a cliché, if I can do it anyone can. I just now need to remind myself that if I did it once, I can do it again, and get back to my target weight.

Thank you, Emma, for telling your story today. Don't you agree that she looks fantastic? I realise this is the second post in as many weeks that have seen success with Slimming World but I can promise you that this is a coincidence and that no-one has been paid to write these posts. These are personal experiences and it has obviously worked for them. As Emma points out in the post, it's a longer term change to eating habits and leading a healthy lifestyle more than it is a diet, so it has a better chance of long term success. 

Please share any experiences you have 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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