As the lead trainer for All Change Personal Training, I felt like the time was right for me to share my own fitness story with you.
It’s pretty long so I may end up sharing it over two blogs so bare with me. In keeping with the way we do things at All Change, I’ll be really honest and open because it may well make a difference to someone out there. Some of it is not easy to share and I can imagine some of it is not easy to read but if I’m going to ask you to trust me as a personal trainer then knowing the journey I have been on in the last six years is really important…
The story starts in mid-2010 when I went on holiday to Disneyland in Florida for my 30th birthday. It’s one of those places that everyone should go to in their late 20’s and early 30’s when you have a little expendable cash and before kids come along and you can just have a completely bonkers holiday. It should have been the holiday of a lifetime. It should have been fun and silly and one of those holidays you still talk about with a massive smile on your face 30 years later. Yes, it should have been. It really wasn’t though. It turned out to be the trip that changed my life. It was hot! Hot, sticky and humid and for a girl like me, carrying the extra weight I was carrying at the time, felt like I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t have fun. The only place I felt comfortable was in the swimming pool or in a cold shower. Being daft enough to book a holiday to Florida in August was the dumbest, luckiest thing I’ve ever done. It put me in an environment that forced me to come face to face with the reality of my state of health.
At 30 years old I was wearing size 26 clothes, had a resting heart rate of well over 100, elevated blood pressure and was in a pre-diabetic state, heading for full on diabetes and heart disease within the following 20 years of my life. My hips hurt, my knees hurt, my lower back hurt – all because of all the excess weight I was carrying. I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t go out and socialise at all and though I couldn’t see it at the time, I was so very unhappy. Life consisted of going to work, coming home, eating, staying up late because if couldn’t sleep anyway, eating more, going to bed for a few hours, getting up and eating. Then repeating the cycle five days a week.
On the weekends I camped out at the cinema with bags full of food – because it’s dark and no one can see just how much food you’re eating over that three-hour period. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to see four movies in a day and eat for the entire time I was there. I’d buy food on arrival, restock during breaks between movies and sneak loads of food in there in my back pack too. Oh yes, that little blue backpack full of food and pop came everywhere with me. I would get really panicked if there wasn’t enough food around.
There were just no limits to what I would eat. When I ordered Chinese I ordered a meal for three. And at it all. When I ordered Pizza, I ordered one or two large pizzas with half a dozen extras. It cost an absolute fortune but at the time, I didn’t care. Or at least I told myself I didn’t. I did really, deep deep in the recesses of myself, where I just didn’t dare look. Oh, I cared more than you know.
Everytime I walked down the road and someone called my a fatty, or barked at me or called me some other shameful name I fixed my eyes ahead and walked on, pretending it had no effect but crikey did I sob my heart out when I got home, over my triple sized Chinese meal and 2 litres of coke. My poor brother had to work so hard to get me to come out and be sociable and thank goodness he did or I would possibly have become even more insular. There were regular weekends when I came into the house after work on a Friday evening and didn’t leave again until Monday morning. It was hard. Really hard.
Now before this turns into a complete sob story, don’t worry – it has a really happy ending.
In next week’s blog I’ll tell you how I managed to change my life and get from being that unhealthy, unhappy, size 26 girl, to being a personal trainer focussed on helping people get fitter and stronger and healthier and happier.