Growing up I never really cared about my weight or even particularly how I looked, even in my GCSE years I was more than happy to rock a tracksuit and counting calories was never something that I thought about.
However, my weight started to increase when I was around 17/18 – I was very lazy, exercise was an alien concept to me and I was, and still am, a big comfort eater. I became more and more conscious of my size and despite never weighing myself I could see I was getting bigger, yet all this led me to do was eat more and more. In the year or two leading up to and during my first year at university I lived off a diet of crisps, chocolate, takeaway pizzas and KFC and a lot of alcohol. My weight had made me so self-concious that I avoided going out in daylight because I literally didn’t like the thought of people seeing me. I would sit in my little room and wait for the sun to go down and then waddle to the corner shop to buy junk food and energy drinks and then fall asleep in a sugary stupor at 4am and repeat it all again the next day.
I got a summer job after my first year and two of the girls I was working with were going to the join the gym next door and asked if I wanted to come along. I laughed in their faces, me in a gym? Hilarious! Let me continue eating this entire garlic bread in peace please and thank you. They insisted I go with them to have a look around and honestly I owe them so much because going that day changed my life.
We went for a tour, the personal trainer showed us the machines with skinny people writhing all over them and we all signed up for membership and a spin class the following morning before work. That class will forever remain in my memory. I turned up wearing a white long sleeved top that was in no way intended for the gym, a regular bra as of course I didn’t own a sports bra, thick grey leggings and white converse. I took the bike in the far left corner and I remember thinking how hard can sitting down cycling really be? I’d been on a bike before.
The following 45 minutes were the hardest, most disgusting 45 minutes of my life and I think the instructor was genuinely worried I was going to die on that bike. Instead of putting me off, it made me want to get better and for the rest of the Summer I went to the gym every single day and fixed up my diet immediately. I swapped my greasy, beige meals for fruit, nuts, salad and grilled meats. I drank honey, lemon & hot water every morning and I think I caused a melon shortage in Sainsbury’s.
Within a couple of months I’d lost as many stone, every time I weighed myself the numbers went down as my confidence went up and after a year I’d lost five. I could run for half an hour and I went to spin classes multiple times a week – always on the same bike where I had my near death experience. The personal trainers would approach me in the gym and tell me I was an inspiration and that they admired my dedication, people that I hadn’t seen for a while didn’t recognise me and people who wouldn’t give me the time of day suddenly had time for me! Thank GOODNESS for that.
I’m currently down 80lbs and I’ve maintained my weight, fluctuating slightly either side for two years. Nowadays I don’t go to the gym everyday and I most definitely eat bread again. I ran a half marathon in 2014 and am doing another in 6 weeks, I’ve worn crop tops and shorts outside of the house and felt good about myself and I no longer look in the mirror and cry because I hate the way I look.
I’ve never really written about my weight loss or even spoken about it in depth before and I don’t know how interesting any of this will be to anybody. As far as ‘weight loss tips’ go I don’t really have any except you have to really want it and be prepared to work hard and be very strict on yourself. Counting calories worked for me initially but it really is so much more important to count nutrients rather than numbers.
It may sound cliché but losing weight and living a more healthy and active lifestyle has completely changed who I am. Not just physically but I feel like I am a totally different person to who I was 4 years ago and I can’t nor want to imagine how my life would be today if I didn’t go to that sweaty spin class.