I was overweight by about three stone when I joined Slimming World in 2018. I'd set myself a conservative weight-loss target and within six months I lost two stone.
As well as losing weight, I wanted to improve my overall fitness. Colleagues recommended Couch to 5k and, even though I loathed running, I thought I’d give it a go. Surprisingly, I found I enjoyed it! It’s a slow and steady process and the more I ran, the more I noticed my stamina and strength increasing. I’m a slow runner, but my mantra is ‘slow running is better than no running’. I Tweeted about my progress and received lots of online support from friends, colleagues and complete strangers. In January 2019 I ‘graduated’ from Couch to 5k, slimmer, fitter and with more energy.
Running has helped me through a lot of personal and painful changes in my life, but it’s not always been easy. At the end of last year I faced a hurdle that impacted on my mental and physical health - my marriage broke down and our family home was sold. I found I didn’t have as much time for myself and I started to put on weight. At the same time, and as we moved into the coronavirus pandemic, I began to go through the menopause, bringing more weight gain, hot flushes and ‘brain fog’.
However, I recently started a YouTube walking programme that you do in your own home. My fitness has improved again and I’ve gradually progressed to longer workouts. I also enjoy walking in nature and find that this has also been a big help with my mental health. My partner and I have just got an allotment and I’ve got the growing bug! I’ve enjoyed gardening for a while, but now find myself happily digging over the plot and planning our vegetable planting for next year. In this challenging year, the allotment has given me a healthy focus, as well as improving my fitness.
It’s been very difficult to shift the menopausal weight, so in January I will rejoin Slimming World. I’ll also be repeating Couch to 5K when the days get a bit longer. I really enjoy running, but I need the structure of a programme to kick start me again.
The support of colleagues and friends has been invaluable. I would encourage anyone thinking of losing weight and exercising to get a good support network around them.