I am lucky because I love what I do, my job as a fitness instructor is really cool. I get to do loads of interesting stuff, and am always learning new things. It’s great having a regular crowd of people who support my local fitness classes every week, and I really enjoy helping them to increase their health and wellbeing through fitness and good nutrition.
I wouldnt be doing this job that I love so much if I had never been fat. My own issues with weight and bad habits like smoking and drinking have lead me down an amazing path of discovery, and ignited in me a passion for helping people to change their health habits for the better.
I started porking out at around the age of 10 or 11, and by the time I was 23 I weighed exactly 16 stone- 100 kg!! You can see me in the photo above, second from the left.
I had to ask an old friend for this photo because there are so few photos of me at my heaviest weight. When I asked my parents if they had any fat photos of me, my dad said there werent any because I used to hide from the camera all the time.
My mum and my sister were on the heavy side too (oops- they might be reading this), so I just thought it was in my genes.
Because most of my family were overweight, I thought I was born fat and would always be that way. I honestly did not think I had any choice in the matter, I just thought I had been unlucky enough to inherit fatness.
But then my mum and my sister did something that totally amazed me and dismayed me in equal amounts.
They went and got slim! Bastards!
I didnt see them for ages as I was away travelling, but when they came to visit me in Australia they stepped off that plane, both at their ideal weight.
It blew me away. How could they do this?
I was proud of what they had done but I was also very jealous.
Slowly, the realization dawned on me.
If they could do it, then so could I!
Maybe I wasnt born to be fat after all, maybe I had a choice. So I went ahead and started dieting, and lost 5 stone in a year. Then binged about 3 stone back on.
Then lost it. Then gained it.
It drove me demented. I tried every single diet, all sorts of exercises. The weight would come off but not stay off.
It was on this yo yo journey that my passion for health and fitness developed, so although it was a tough road, it was the making of me because I learned so much.
If it wasnt for my desperation to lose weight and keep it off, I would never have become an exercise junkie, which means I would never have become a fitness instructor.
Once I became a fitness instructor, my passion for healthy activity extended to eating for health, and helping others to do the same.
When I started to shift my focus away from weight loss, and onto health, things gradually began to change.
I learned about how a weight problem can be a symptom of a lot of other things, like emotional issues, or hormonal imbalances. Finally, I realised that conventional diet advice was flawed, which was why the weight never stayed off.
I tried: Rosemary Conley, Weight Watchers, Scottish Slimmers (was even a class manager for Scottish Slimmers for a while!), the Atkins diet, cabbage soup diet, fasting, juice diet, calorie counting, Slim Fast etc etc.
They all worked for a while, got some weight off, but every time, it went back on again. Eventually I came to realise that something was missing from the conventional dieting advice.
So many people say to me: I know what to do, I know how to lose weight, and I just cant make myself do it.
Im pretty sure thats because they actually don’t know what to do to get the weight off and keep it off, because they can’t make themselves do it for ever!
So then I started digging deeper. I signed up for a course in nutrition, and I learned some really cool stuff about hormones, sleep and stress management. I began to understand that when you do things to make yourself healthier, and to cope with stress more effectively, your hormones balance out, and then the weight problem takes care of itself.
Once I began to figure all of this out, I decided I had to share it with all of the amazing people that I work with as a fitness professional.
I now run 28 day “Drop a dress size? online detox programmes, teach a variety of fitness classes in the area, and also work as a personal trainer. I am currently developing the online side of my coaching business, which is very exciting for me.
My personal health and fitness journey continues, and this is something I try to make my clients understand. Health, fitness and slimness are not a destination, they are a continuous journey. You don’t just get slim or fit and then stay that way without long term effort and commitment. I am now at a weight that is comfortable for me, and I expect to stay that way for life. I am not perfect and I do not pretend to be. I still eat cake sometimes, I enjoy a few drinks at the weekend, and I do tend to pork out a bit over Christmas, but I know for sure that I will never be 16 stone again!image
I think that my personal health and fitness journey helps me to understand and have empathy for others on a similar path, and I intend to keep on helping those who want to be helped.
Sometimes the life of a fitness instructor can be a tiring one, having to go out and teach classes every evening, and always being there to answer questions and offer support at all hours of the day.
But it is the people who I work with that keep me motivated to work hard and try my best to get them the results they are so desperate for and I hope to keep doing this job for many years to come.