My fitness journey really began about three years ago, midway through my second year in college, studying nursing. It began really when I saw a photo of myself with a group of friends on a night out. To be honest I was shocked, the person I was looking at in the photo was not me. I knew I had put on a few pounds since moving away to college, but I didn’t realise how much I had let myself go. A year later of drinking and eating rubbish had got the better of me.I had never felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. I continuously wore baggy, dark clothes but when it came to the occasion where I had to wear an outfit for a dress up for one of our rugby socials, that’s when I realised how much weight I had put on.
That Christmas, I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I felt so insecure and horrible. Every time I looked in the mirror I wanted to cry because I was so disgusted with how I looked. Everyone had recognised it. The last straw for me was when I was working over Christmas. I was working in the care home, where I had worked before I left to go to Bristol for my nursing. One of the staff members said ‘you have put on so much weight’. I wanted to cry there and then, as harsh as that was, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I knew in my head straight after Christmas, this weight has got to go. Leaving Ireland to go back to Bristol, I was weighing in at just over 14 stone.
I remembering buying Vicky Pattinson’s 7 minute workout because I felt too intimated to go gym, so blasted out some workouts in my apartment everyday. Growing up, I had never been a gym goer, I just played a lot of sports and found whenever I went to the gym, I didn’t have a breeze what I was doing and like every other person, didn’t want to look stupid.
Eventually I plucked up the courage to go into the gym. I remember just seeing the treadmill and thinking OK well grand at least I can manage that contraption. One of the trainers in the gym came up to me and introduced herself. Later did I know this woman would be responsible for the majority of my weight loss, my ankle rehabilitation and my motivation. She offered me personal training, and looking back now, it was one of my best investments. Not only because she pushed me but it so important to get professional advice especially when you’re a beginner.
A few months went by and the more weight I lost, the more it strived me to keep going. I felt great, and had so much energy. Don’t get me wrong I had my bad days but overall I was consistent. Until about August 2015, when I was diagnosed with anxiety/ depression and the gym took a back burner. Attending cognitive behavioural therapy regularly for a couple of months, taught me a lot about myself. Highlighting, not only the importance of what’s on the outside but how you feel on the inside too.
As hard as it was I forced myself to go to the gym. Luckily, I had the support of so many people and have an amazing family. That old feeling of routine started to set in and I was no longer forcing myself to go gym and do normal day to day things. I started taking my training serious and counted macronutrients, I know this may not be for everyone but I saw it as a less restrictive diet, which allowed me to see results and living a balanced life.
Looking back to when I started ‘trying to be healthy’, my mindset has changed so much. At the start it was all about losing weight, just to feel nice in clothes. Now Ive learned the positive impact exercise and looking after your health can have, not only on you physically but mentally.