The eagle eyed amongst you might have noticed by my Twitter feed that I've taken up running recently. It's true - don't laugh! Believe me when I say I was about as fat and unfit as they come. When I quietly mentioned that I fancied having a go at running to my nearest and dearest, around the end of December, no-one said much. You could see that, although they didn't want to be unsupportive, they were thinking "yeah, right! I give that a week!" I didn't post on here about it because, if I'm honest, I didn't think I'd keep it up myself. I didn't buy myself any running gear or fancy trainers (for a few weeks, anyway). It just sort of snuck into my life. However, I'm slightly amazed to report that, sixteen weeks later, yes, I am still running three times a week and yes, I am loving it. No-one could be more surprised than me! I now run 5k three times a week, and I'm signed up to do the Hull 10K on the 19th May. I'll be honest, this absolutely terrifies me. Still, it's good to get outside one's comfort zone, yes?
It's all been part of a drive to live a healthier life. There are lots of reasons why I wanted to improve my health, and I'll share those in a future blog post. However, dear God, I wanted to be WELL. 2 years of illness made me realise that health was a precious gift and if I didn't do everything that was within my power to wring the last drops out of life, then I was a fool.
I've been asked to share pictures by lots of people now. I've lost quite a bit of weight. This isn't just from running, I've been consciously eating healthily too - and breastfeeding has helped me, certainly. I've been stuck in a weight loss plateau for the past 5 weeks and, although I am diligently eating healthily and exercising at different levels of intensity 5 days a week, its very frustrating. I've not put these photos together before, so it seemed like it might be a good motivator for me too.
Although I've lost weight, this is part of a journey. I've been losing weight very slowly for 10 months now. I expect I still have another year or more to go. I'm over half way, but this is very much a work in progress. This picture sums that up better than words:
This was me at the start of my journey (July 2012), at the heaviest I've ever been. I only own one photo as I found them all so revolting that I deleted them straight away. My Mum has some on her camera though as she refused to delete them for me. I am hoping that I get my hands on those one day.
This was me in January 2013:
This was me yesterday:
That's 80lb gone for good, or just shy of 6 stones!
I feel better for it in every way imaginable. I just feel more comfortable in my own skin, I'm not afraid of running up stairs or running for a bus or similar. My IBS symptoms have gone - ditto headaches and random aches and pains.
I still have another 4 stones to lose to get to a sensible BMI; I was very overweight. I see this as a work in progress. I've never been a thin adult but this time I am going to nail it, before my 40th in March 2014.
You'll probably be curious as to how I've done it. I could write a whole BLOG about that, its not always been successful and its not always been pretty. In short, there's no secret or trick, I've just eaten healthily and exercised. Eaten less, moved more. However, here are some of the things that have worked for me. They may not work for you; I honestly believe we need to find our own recipe to living a healthy lifestyle.
- I write down everything I eat and drink, without fail. It makes me accountable. I use My Fitness Pal - its free
- I exercise between 3 and 5 times a week. Mainly running, but also swimming, walking, cycling, dancing and weights. I need to exercise to eat the type of food that I want.
- Great music and gripping audiobooks motivate me to exercise.
- I eat a treat every day - biscuits / cakes / chocolate all work for me. In order to do this I exercise and juggle calories from elsewhere. it keeps me motivated.
- I realised I don't like most diet food, so I don't eat it. I just eat a bit less.
- I weigh all my carbs without fail
- I eat wholewheat
- I've mostly given up alcohol. Sweet treats were more important to me.
- I eat smaller portions - its not as painful as I thought it'd be
- The Hairy Dieters book is BRILLIANT
- I home cook from scratch as often as possible
- I follow healthy eating blogs and I belong to a supportive Facebook group. We all need cheerleaders.
- I give myself days off and don't feel bad about it - this is a lifelong change. I'm not fat because I eat Easter eggs at Easter. I'm fat because I eat a packet of biscuits every day without thinking about it
- It wasn't my willpower that was lacking, it was my ORGANISATION. Meal planning and shopping ahead make healthy eating far more likely
- My tastes are changing the longer I eat healthily. I'm not even that keen on McDonalds these days. This is a very big deal for me.
- I forgive myself if I make poor choices.
- This is controversial - Slimming World didn't really work for me. I lost weight initially but I failed to keep it off (many, many times) because it didn't teach me about portion size. I needed to be more directly connected to calories in order to re-educate myself.
There are more, I'm sure. If anyone wants to add me on My Fitness Pal or Runkeeper, I'm ClaireBoynton. I'm happy to provide encouragement and support.
If you're inspired by this post, please will you consider sponsoring me for the Hull 10K? I'm raising money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. She was such an inspirational woman, and a great example of someone who achieved what she set her mind to. The charity does great work in supporting children's and cancer charities - sadly I have known too many people this year who've been diagnosed with cancer - scarily all of them women, and all of them my age. One of them is no longer with us :(
If you can afford it, £1 would make such a difference.