Over the years I have slowly gained weight, so slowly that I didn't even notice it was happening! I was bumping into people that I hadn't seen for years and they would always say 'You're looking really healthy' or 'you've gained weight, but it suits you' and it has never bothered me because to be honest I do believe that everyone has a weight that suits them. I think I do look a lot healthier than when I was a size 8 but it is more than just how you look.
My regular clothes size is a 12 and I am quite happy as a 12 but I noticed that my 12 was becoming a little too snug and flesh was starting to hang over the top of my jeans, everything felt like it was being released when I got undressed, like I have been holding it hostage all day. So I decided to weigh myself!
At nearly 11st it dawned on me that I weighed more than I did when I was nine and a half months pregnant with my first child (he was two weeks overdue) and thought it was time I got myself into shape.
Well this was a couple of years ago and it is easier said than done isn't it? I found it pretty difficult to give up eating anything so I signed up for a 5k superhero race in the hope that training would help me drop the pounds. It did for the time it lasted but after the race I lost all motivation and stopped running. My aim was to get to 9 and a half stone and I have even put it on my bucketlist as a reminder to keep trying.
In January I decided to join the health-club at work, its been running for a few years but as I only work part-time I have never got involved before. The health-club is run by one of the teaching assistants who also happens to be a qualified zumba instructor and she started it to encourage us to live healthier lifestyles and achieve our weight-loss goals.
How the health-club works
It runs between January and July and is great for all those with new years resolutions to lose weight or be healthier. We had 16 members and held weekly weigh in sessions on a Friday morning. We each set a weight loss goal that we would like to reach (and maintain) by July. There started off with 16 members and every Friday we would pay £1 while being weighed. Our weightloss was tracked to see how much we lost and it would be a big talking point in the staffroom by lunchtime to see who had lost (or gained) the most.
All the money was put in to a kitty and saved to use as prizes for the participants that had lost the most. Over the weeks there were members that were not seeing changes and dropped out but for those of us who had lost a few pounds it was great to compete against each other and the prize money was a great motivation to keep going.
I didn't want to go on any fad diets and lose loads of weight only to put it back on again by the end of the challenge so I decided to make healthier choices, cut down my portion sizes and do some more aerobic exercises that would get my heart pumping. It can be a bit disheartening when you don't see massive changes or even when there are weeks that you stay the same or put a pound back on but perseverance is a great thing and the challenge of competing against others and reaching an end goal really kept me going.
And the winner is....
Not me, but I did come second and got myself £60 worth of Debenhams vouchers as a prize, but even better than that I don't have to squeeze myself into my size 12 jeans anymore! I lost 16lb altogether and was just 1lb away from my target of nine and a half stone, this was a couple of weeks ago and I am pleased to say that I have kept the weight off and according to my scales I am now 9st 7lb!!
There are no massively different 'before and after' pics because I don't think I particularly look much different but I do feel better and that is the main thing, I am now happy with my weight but would love to tone up a bit more so that is my new challenge (I love a challenge I do) over summer.
The healthclub was a great motivator for me and can be set up by anybody (you dont even have to be a zumba instructor) in any workplace or setting that has a large group that would like to join in. It would be great to do between August and December as the prize money could help towards Christmas (sorry to mention the C word) so if you have a target why not go for it!
Now I just have to decide what to spend my vouchers on...