Thursday, 9 June 2011

My Fitness Story... - Sarah

My guest poster today is Sarah, who blogs at The World According to Sog. Since the start of 2011, Sarah has lost an incredible 50lb, or around 3.5 stone if you think in those terms and so today, Sarah is telling her story of how she lost her baby weight and reached her goal. Sarah has chosen to call this post...

Inspired to run

Ever since I gave birth to my daughter in 2007 I've been trying to lose the "baby weight" I gained while pregnant. My motivation received a kickstart after my son (then age 3) told me very innocently that I was fat. I started going to aerobics with a friend once a week, and 6 months after that I began a weekly circuit training class. I began to tone up in my arms and my stamina increased slightly, but I never lost any weight because I wasn't dieting and I was drinking a lot of alcohol too.

Around September 2010, I got hooked on The Biggest Loser. It's a TV show from the USA where very obese individuals are given the chance to turn their lives around, with professionals overseeing intensive exercise routines and giving excellent nutritional advice. I was inspired: seeing these people who could hardly walk become lean, fit, and diet-aware individuals was amazing. I was determined to make changes to my lifestyle and finally shift my excess weight. "If they can do it, so can I!"

A friend suggested I join the local running club. I was hesitant and postponed joining for several months. I "didn't think I could run", although actually I was kidding myself (I had run years previously and loved it). I worked freelance in the evenings so didn't think I could spare the time. Then, it was "too cold"! I was just scared of failure.

So, with New Year approaching I made my resolutions: to join the local running club and go every week; and to eat healthily. (I might as well make the pain of running count by dieting properly!). I weighed myself and was ashamed that I was over 13 stone, with a BMI that put me in the obese range.

My first ever run was 2.5 miles, a mix of 5 min running and 1 min walking. I was elated! The diet kicked in too: I cut out bread, cheese, alcohol, chocolate, and unhealthy snacks. That first week I lost 7 lb!

By the end of January, I was running (with short 1 min walks every 10 min) twice a week, just a couple of miles each time. The weight loss was continuing well, giving me much needed visual reward for my hard work: I was seeing losses of 2-4 lb every week. Finally, my resolutions were working!

By March, I had lost 21 lb and was running four times a week, distances of 3-5 miles (still with a walk every now and then). I felt confident in my body and with my abilities, so I made a big decision: I entered a 10K race! It was tough, and I admit now, I was terrified. But, I completed the race in under an hour and I was so pleased (and relieved!). I'd run 6.6 miles with no walking breaks and achieved a time I could only have dreamt of in January.

Where am I now? With respect to my weight, I've lost 50 lb and reached my goal (under 10 stone with a BMI in the healthy range). I'm very aware of what I eat, I try to keep portion sizes small and avoid eating carbohydrates such as pasta or potato in the evening. I do drink alcohol, but very infrequently, and I sometimes eat bread (although not too much).

And, I'm still running four times a week; I usually run 4-5 miles with the local club and then go for one long run (7-9 miles currently) on my own at the weekend. You see, I'm in training for another race: a half marathon at the end of August! I think I might be addicted to running!

Thanks go to Sarah for contributing to My Fitness Story... this week. It's certainly an amazing tale and demonstrates what can be achieved in a relatively short time. I'm glad that she has found the thing that works for her - running is not for everyone but finding the regime - whether it is exercise or diet - that works for you and your lifestyle - seems to be the key factor in success. There seems, to me anyway, little point in enduring a diet that doesn't work for your lifestyle and that you don't enjoy - because it's not sustainable in the longer term and you're more likely to go back to old habits. 

Feel free to share experiences, as always, in the comments below. My guest posters really do appreciate the messages of support they get from readers.

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. 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. I am particularly short of posts at the moment. Do please join in - or ask your friends if you know someone has a story to tell, even if they don't blog.

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

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