I started working from home in earnest three years ago. The flexibility was fab for child care but it did mean other things went out the window. I’ve always been a curvy lady but commutes and office life kept my weight in a reasonable place. Stepping away from office life meant my only exercise was walking with the kids on the school run.
I was great at making salad pack lunches for my family – but crisps, a sandwich and biscuit was good enough for me. If I was bored or struggling with a project there was always the fridge, the kettle and a cheeky biscuit. Because there was no dress code, jeans became standard.
The weight slowly but surely piled on. So what if I went up a size I reasoned, it was just a size right?
Two things prompted me to join Pete’s first bootcamp – the first was my 85-year-old mum commenting on my breathlessness as I walked and talked to her on the phone. The second was a good buddy handing me a magazine with a free voucher for a slimming club. Suddenly it was enough – people who loved me were telling me to start looking after my health, even if at that point I didn’t really care for myself.
I went to my first bootcamp with two friends and it was hard as hell. The next week one of them couldn’t go. An excuse to cancel? Absolutely, but instead it became a 2-on-1 training session that has become one of the highlights of my week.
Every Friday afternoon I put on my trainers, meet up with my buddy and Pete, shake off the frustrations of the week and exercise in the open air. Banter is at a minimum we’re too busy lifting slam balls – and being proud of it.
When I started exercising ‘I can’t’ was a big part of my vocabulary. Pete challenged me to work on that. I can still dig my heels in, but I’m getting better at believing I’m capable of new challenges that are set. If Pete changes a weight or adds reps it’s because he knows we can do it. It means my vocabulary now includes ‘I’ll try’ and ‘I can’.
My diet has changed too – gradually crisps, bread, chocolate, have become treats rather than every day staples. I have found myself liking salad. I can say no to chocolate. Once I pop I can stop.
I have also started to join in, rather than avoid activities with my family. It isn’t a chore or endurance because I’m confident I can keep up with them and enjoy it too.
A year in and I’m nearly two stone lighter. My wardrobe issues involve throwing out things or getting them altered to fit the new me. Is it about the weight loss? I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of it. I see a new me in the mirror and I like what I see.
But a recent listen to an interview with Byrony Gordon, a curvy lady who loves running, made me realise what lies at the heart of this fitness journey. “It’s about what you gain,” she says. And that sums it up for me. I have gained a more positive mental attitude, a resilience and outlet for stress. Fitness is now diaried time for looking after myself and my wellbeing. Because self care is not just good for you, it’s good for your family too.