Thursday, 21 April 2011

My Fitness Story - Laura S

Hello and welcome back to My Fitness Story... , my weekly guest post slot where people share their stories about fitness, diet, weight gain, and weight loss. This week's story is about the last of those - but it's not just about one person's battle with weight loss, it's about two people. Laura, who blogs at cakeandteablog, has agreed to tell the story of how both her and her husband lost weight (over 15 stone between them), their slide back down the slippery slope when a baby came into their lives (when doesn't it?) and how they have overcome it by fitting a healthy lifestyle around a baby. It's a really inspiring story, so please do settle down to have a good read as Laura takes up the tale.

David and I met in 2001, when I was 18 and he was 21. We were both morbidly obese, and had been heavy right through our childhoods. Through the next few years, we talked a lot about losing weight. We started diets for a couple of weeks at a time before getting bored and even had a couple of lapsed gym memberships. But nothing ever really stuck- life got in the way, motivation faltered, and somehow we just couldn’t get the momentum going to make any real lasting changes.

We got engaged in 2005, and set a date for our wedding in 2008. Finally, in August 2007, something clicked. With just under a year to go until our wedding, we both joined a gym. Coincidentally, our jobs were both changing around the same time. David was a salesman, on the road every day and living on junk food from service stations, but he was becoming more office based. I was leaving my prestigious, high pressure graduate training scheme which had me staying in random hotels for weeks on end, to work locally in a job with much more sensible hours. Suddenly, we had the time and the motivation to really do something.

This is us the month before we started out:

Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that we were both blinkered to how big we actually were. I was a dress size 26, David was struggling with size XXXL. We had fooled ourselves for a long time that everything was fine. It wasn’t.

We started slowly at the gym, beginning with some gentle cardio sessions, and upping the intensity gradually. David found the weight fell off him to start with, I found it came off slowly and steadily, which was frustrating because it felt like I was lagging behind! But the more we did it, the more it became part of our routine. We didn’t do anything special with our diet to begin with, we just started making healthier choices, and these eventually became normal for us.

By the time our wedding came around, I had lost 4 stone and David had lost 6. We looked and felt like different people. And when we got back home, we kept going. We started to do WeightWatchers online, which gave our weight loss a boost, and we looked for new fitness challenges to keep us interested, and started to run together.

To start with, that little voice in my head that said I would never run. It told me that people as big as me didn’t run. Eventually, I told the voice to shove it. So, here we are the start line of the Silverstone half marathon in March 2009. 18 months after starting to lose weight, I am about 7 stone lighter than the first picture, and David is almost 8 stone lighter.

And this is us in May 2009. Just before I got pregnant, and it all went a bit wrong! This is the lowest weight that either of us have ever achieved (so far!) in our adult lives.

When I got pregnant, very little changed at first. We didn’t change our diets too much, and I kept an eye on my heart rate when I worked out. Then I started making excuses... oh, I’ll just have this one takeaway, this one packet of Maltesers, this bucket of crisps, because I’m pregnant. That had an effect on David, who would help me with said takeaway/Maltesers/crisps. Then, as I eased off the exercise, so did he, because we just weren’t pushing each other anymore. Then it got even worse- I spent the last 2 months of my pregnancy going in and out of hospital with gallstones. I couldn’t really eat anything during that period, but David was stress eating- going back to an empty house with a convenient kebab, and worrying.

Just after I gave birth, I weighed 3 ½ stone more than at my lowest weight, and David had put on about the same. But of course, the last thing you can cope with through the sleeplessness and mayhem is of the newborn period is thinking about diet and exercise- thinking about basic personal hygiene was enough of a challenge! Plus, I had to wait three months to have my gall bladder removed, then it took weeks to recover from surgery enough to exercise.

We each had a few goes at losing weight at different times, but parenthood brought a new set of challenges. Every time we got some momentum up, something would happen, usually teething or a bug, that would disrupt sleep to the point that healthy living went out of the window. And where we’d always taken so much strength from exercising together, we now had to do it separately, so that there was always someone at home looking after the little one. With so much more to juggle, it was just harder.

Finally, we made New Year’s resolutions to start again in 2011. This time, it’s working. I have lost 1st 8lb since 1st January, and have 12lb to go to get to my pre baby weight, then another 2 stone to reach my ideal weight. David has lost 1st 11lb so far, with a stone and a half to go to his target weight. It’s slow, and it’s hard, but we are determined to get to the goals that we didn’t quite reach the first time around!

We make time for exercise - and sometimes that involves planning our evenings with military precision so that we both get to do what we need to. It’s tiring, but we are both happier, more confident, and healthier for it. We have learnt to stop making excuses and make time for ourselves, even when life is hectic. We have learned that losing weight is a long and frustrating process, but success will always come, as long as you never give up. And we have learned that getting fit alone is a hard and lonely battle - we need each other. Even if we can’t exercise together much anymore, the support is still there, and we keep each other going.

We have our son to set an example for now  - and if he has good role models, enjoys a healthy, active lifestyle, and never has to battle with weight like mum and dad, then it’s all been worth it.

Thanks to Laura for telling their fitness story today. Both David and her should be really proud of their achievements, even with their slip ups along the way. They have learned that slip ups happen, but the key is not to let it destroy your progress but to get back into it as soon as possible. As ever, and this is a common theme with the successful dieters who've written for me, they have made their regimes work for them, and found a way to build healthy eating and exercise into the lifestyle they have. I wish Laura - and David - the very best of luck in achieving their ideal weights. I'm sure that will happen very soon. 

As usual, please do comment to show your support or share similar experiences in the comments below. If you would like to share your fitness story, then please contact me on Twitter or email me on the address on the About Me page. Posts can be partly or fully anonymous, or if you are happy to be named, I will link back to your blog. All contributions are really appreciated so do get in touch, even if you feel yours is not a worthwhile story. If it's a personal experience, it is. And I mean that even if you have failed at something, because it is still YOUR fitness story and you learned from it.

Thanks for supporting My Fitness Story... and do come back for another guest post next week.
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