5 years ago I was 6 stone heavier than I am now. Years of poor diet, stress, and a lack of understanding had led me to become overweight and totally unfit. My confidence was in the pits and I spent my days sitting at home eating junk food.
After being told by a stranger that I was fat and needed to lose weight I decided that enough was enough. No longer would I feel the way I did about my weight and I would never allow anyone to tell me I was fat again.
Being a size 16 and very unhappy with my weight I had tried every silly diet out there. I had been to the GP who had prescribed my orlistat… the side effects were horrendous but I was willing to try it thinking that there must be a miracle pill out there… It didn’t work… I tried the shake diets and whilst I lost weight initially, weeks of eating no food took its toll and I gave up and gained all the weight back and more within a week. I had no idea about good nutrition or exercise but I knew what I had done so far hadn’t worked.
My husband Mr C (the other half and brainy side of SharedGains) suggested a slimming group, I wasn’t sure about the idea at first but decided to give it a go with his support. Fired up with the nasty comment I went along to my first group and was mortified when I saw the numbers on the scales…. 14 stone. 26 years of age and I was obese. Seeing those numbers really frightened me and I knew I had to give this my best shot.
A week later and I lost 7lb! I was amazed! I was trying new foods and experimenting with receipes. Fast forward 12 months and I had lost a staggering 4 stone and gone from a size 16 to a size 10! But my weight loss hit a plateau and whilst I had learned to eat healthy I was still unfit. It was at this stage I joined DW Fitness. I started doing group exercise classes. I quickly made friends and it became an integral part of my life. For years I had used every excuse not to exercise, “I don’t have time” “I am too stressed” But here I was in the middle of my degree, a mum of 1, working 37 hours a week but making time for my health and getting myself down to the gym to work out at least 5 days a week.
6 months later and I hit my final target. I had lost 6 stone.. almost half of my original weight. Being the sort of person that doesn’t do things by halves I had achieved more than I had ever expected and I was a size 6, a healthy BMI and felt amazing!! We got engaged and eventually got married in Oct 2014.
After the wedding my health and fitness focus changed. Fueled by my previous success I decided to push my body even further and achieve an athletic shape with a view to competing in a fitness competition. My drive to succeed and to push myself further meant that I would not allow myself to fail but I knew that if I got Mr C on board I would have the winning formula. We have always achieve the best of ourselves together and with some gentle persuasion I encouraged him to push himself and work to an aesthetic target and get lean and ripped alongside me!! We worked hard alongside a personal trainer who taught us how to eat clean. The slimming club had enabled me to eat healthy and I will be eternally grateful for that. But eating a high protein clean diet helped me to reach new heights in my body goals and educated me on what makes up the calories in our food rather than just counting the calories. I found that I could eat a lot more food this way which kept me more satisfied and powered me through my workouts. It also gave me a healthier outlook of food. Losing so much weight previously on a slimming club plan had given me a scales obsession and I was cutting calories to dangerous levels. During the 17 week challenge I learned how to use the scales as a rough guide only and to measure my success on the way I looked and how my clothes fitted and I learned how to eat again. I started to train with weights in the gym and found my body shape changing drastically within just a few short weeks. I fell in love with lifting and never looked back! 17 weeks later and I was in the best shape of my life.
In 2016 I made the decision to compete in a fitness competition for the first time. My prep started on 1st January coached by the same trainer that put me through my paces in 2015. I endured a tough prep and had to work off the body fat I had laid down during my off season bulking phase and at times it felt like it was an impossible task but I trusted my coach and worked hard and the results soon followed. I also made sure I devoted a lot of time to posing and enrolled myself onto Audrey Kaipio’s posing course. I literally committed every part of my life to my prep and on April 23rd 2016 I hit the Pure Elite stage and came home a champion! I placed 1st in female transformation and 2nd in female tattooed muscle earning my pro cards in both and 2nd in couples. I secured my chance to compete at the pro show at the 02 in November 2016. 4 weeks later I hit the stage again and placed 3rd in bikini fitness at the UK Ultimate Physiques London qualifier and again earned my chance to compete at the final also in November 2016. I loved being on stage. It was my proudest moment to date and although I was incredibly nervous I felt that I belonged up there on that stage and can’t wait to feel the heat of the lights and the smell of the tan on my skin once again!
Since the competitions I have been lucky to work with several excellent fitness photographers and worked on the La Diva Design stand at Bodypower showcasing my beautiful stagewear. These are experiences I would have only dreamed of a few years ago but here I am living those dreams and inspiring others in the process! Eating clean and training has become normal life, I enjoy food without feeling guilty and I am lucky enough to be in this wonderful position where I can inspire others.
It hasn’t been easy though… I have had to sacrifice those nights out, meals out with friends and family and the box of chocolates in the staff room… I got used to saying no… a lot. Most people supported me and were happy to help me on my journey but I faced negativity and lack of understanding too. Some people just felt that my lifestyle was too extreme and that I was making others feel awkward and guilty for eating the way I was. Thankfully this reaction was rare but it was experienced. Meal prep has become my life. I spend hours making up several Tupperware containers full of my meals for the week so that I can easily reheat them in work or eat them cold on the go. This is the only way that I have been able to stay on my plan. It would have been impossible to simply go out and find something that suited. Likewise the training has been tough. I work nights and 12 hour shifts and I have had to get up at 5am some days to fit a session in. Have I wanted to give up, yes. Have I wanted a lie in instead of a leg session, yes. But my desire to succeed always overtook this feeling. I thought about what I wanted long term rather than what I wanted that moment and it saw me through. This journey isn’t for the faint hearted but it is worth it. I am loving being part of this industry and although I am now in an off season I still train hard and eat clean to maintain what I have worked so hard for. Meal prep is still necessary and discipline is key. I look forward to preparing to compete in the finals at the end of the year and being even stronger. I know it’s going to push me to my limits but I have every faith in myself that I CAN do it especially with the support of my husband who I know will help me to reach my highest potential.
I WAS that fat girl… the lazy girl… the girl that hates herself and has no self confidence…the girl that couldn’t be bothered… Not anymore. Now I am that fitness competitor, that athlete, that girl that changed her life, that girl that is going to live a healthier longer life, that girl that loves life and a girl that is comfortable in her own skin.
People use the term inspirational… That’s a big responsibility to take on… but if I can help just one person to change their life then it’s all worth it.