I left my last blog post on a bit of a cliff hanger and it honestly wasn’t my intention to leave you hanging for quite so long…
I’ve been doing some thinking about my blog and what I’m hoping to achieve here. I have spoken to lots of really helpful, knowledgeable people and I’m so very grateful to everyone who has taken the time to send feedback on my first couple of entries.
This blog is about me. It’s autobiographical and brutally honest. I love to write and my hope is that, by sharing my journey here; I can inspire other people. Whether it be related to running or exercise, or something else entirely, the premise is the same; you have to find courage and self-belief in order to chase your dreams.
Back to early summer 2017. I had completed the Liverpool Rock & Roll half marathon at the end of May and, in the weeks that followed, I found it very difficult to motivate myself out of the door for a run. During June I only ran three or four times and July wasn’t much better. I’m a determined person but I’m human and, without the goal of the half marathon it became all too easy just to stay at home – to switch off that early alarm and to sit and watch the telly in the evening.
I slumped. Completely and totally. My girls broke up for their Summer holidays and I caught a horrible bug, which turned into a chest infection. I’d forgotten how good running made me feel and convinced myself that I really wanted to stay at home. My training came to a virtual standstill whilst the girls were off and, at the end of the school holidays I ran my slowest ever competitive 10k at Ellesmere – just short of 1:07, meaning I was slower than when I first started running 10k.
The photographs from that event make it very clear I didn’t enjoy it and for a long time I refused to look at them – all I could see was the weight I’d gained over the holidays and my grumpy face!
2017’s running finished in very unspectacular style – my mojo was noticeably absent and I had no events entered for 2018. My weight crept up a little over Christmas and I quite clearly remember lying in bed thinking “even if you go back to a size 14, you’ll still be slimmer than you were, it won’t matter”.
Now nobody prepares you for how difficult maintaining a significant weight loss is – I fully believe that, for the first few years at least, it is as difficult as losing weight. This is one of my main issues with the ‘diet’ industry – nowhere near enough attention is paid to educating people so they can learn how to maintain their weight. When you think about it, if you are running a business, it doesn’t make good business sense to give people these skills – because if you did it and did it well, they’d never need your product again.
I’d been here so many times. So many times I’d applied myself to the task of losing weight and successfully altered my physical appearance, only to let myself slip back into my old habits and regain all that I’d lost plus a bit more for good measure. Not this time. I looked in the mirror at the beginning of January 2018 and I was already unhappy with what I could see happening – I’d forgotten how good running and exercise made me feel, consequently I’d been making poorer nutrition choices and, without even stepping on a scale, I knew there had been a big change in my body.
So, I did something about it. I decided to do RED January and forced myself to run at least a mile everyday. It meant getting out before it was light some days and I’d never run in the dark before but, if I commit to something, I’m doing it. So I did. By the end of January I’d entered Wrexham half-marathon in March and my heart was back in it… I’d remembered everything I loved about running and the fire in my belly was burning brighter than ever.
By February 2018 not only had I rekindled my love affair with running – I’d also started up a bit of a thing with the gym… and more specifically, with the weights room. In typical female fashion, I started with the thigh adductor and abductor machines coupled with a few bicep curls, before seeking some proper help and learning how best to optimise my time in the gym (clue- it will NEVER include the thigh adductor or abductor machines).
By March I had also decided that what I really wanted to do was retrain as a Personal Trainer and help as many people as I possibly could realise the incredible way that exercise and being active can change your life. I had known for sometime that I didn’t want to go back to my old life – accountancy had turned the edges of me grey and I didn’t want any part of me to be grey anymore, I wanted to exist in full technicolor. For me, a career in the fitness industry seemed the perfect choice.
And so began the next chapter. More on the next post. But, in the meantime, if you are struggling with your motivation, or finding it difficult to maintain your weight, I would suggest this. Just do one thing. One. Make a better choice at lunch today. Don’t buy that bar of chocolate when you pay for your petrol. Get outside for half an hour, if you can’t face running then take a walk. Tomorrow try and do two things. Put those scales away and just do this for a week or so – let these little changes become habits and try and notice how you feel, not what you weigh. Do you have a little more energy? Are you sleeping a bit better? Bounding up the stairs a bit easier? That’s what matters – not the number on the scales. Focus on what matters.