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Slummy mummy to yummy mummy?

Like many of us, my relationship with food has always been a tumultuous one. My mum was a war baby so she brought me to up to believe that to leave food on your plate was practically a cardinal sin, so I would often eat until I was fit to burst. And then I hit my teens and my hips and boobs expanded …. and by my early twenties I was Bulimic. It took me years to even realise that I had an eating disorder and even longer to conquer it, but these days I never step on the scales because I know the addiction still lingers deep inside. I don’t need the scales to tell me I’ve put on weight, once my clothes are scarring me by the end of the day, I know I need to think about what I am eating.

Working long hours as a TV director in my 30s I was on my feet all day with very little time for meals and so suddenly I was slim like everyone I was working with, I didn’t have to try.

Then in 2009 I fell pregnant with my first child. I was starving throughout and the pounds crept on. And then I did it all over again in 2014, before I had had time to shift the last weight gain, and since then it seems impossible to shift.

I’ve tried all sorts over the years – running, yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise, Pilates, the gym, swimming….but I never seem to be able to stick at it for long. I either get bored or I just don’t see enough of an improvement to make it feel worth it.

Lockdown 2020 brought a whole new world of comfort eating. I am a full-time professional photographer, a lot of schools and nurseries, and always people, so suddenly the business I worked so hard to build up disappeared overnight, and right at the start of my busiest season. So, for a few months I felt utterly sorry for myself and was practically rocking in a corner with chocolate in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. I knew I needed to do something, not just about my comfort eating, but also my mental health, I just didn’t know what.

I met Jo Beardsmore-Dilks through a networking group some years ago and always thought what an amazing person she was – so much energy, spinning all the plates and always with a smile on her face. Of course, I knew she did fitness and dance classes but I didn’t join because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to stick it to it (the usual excuses of “not enough time, too busy with work and the kids” always came into play) and then I would suffer the guilt and the shame of being a quitter.

When I heard Jo talking about who her new “Lift Lean” programme was for, she described me to a T – over 40s, struggling with energy, feeling unmotivated, overweight, hormonal……it was like it was designed especially for me.

As we were in lockdown it was all done on Zoom – which appealed to me as it meant I only had to be prepared 5 minutes before the class started, I didn’t have to go anywhere; if I couldn’t make the class I could catch up later on Facebook; and if I wanted to do it in my PJs and keep the camera turned off, I could! AND it was only 30 minutes at a time, surely I could find half an hour during the day, three times a week?

So in November 2020 I signed up for my first course. I was nervous – could I make it at 7.15am even in my PJs? I am not a morning person, never have been and never will be, and usually need a cup of coffee before I can even speak to anyone, even my own kids!

It was never fully about the weight loss, I have laid those demons to rest, but I needed more energy, I was tired all the time, and could barely get to the top of the stairs without some serious heavy breathing. I had all the motivation I needed, I just needed to actually DO IT!

……Find out how I got on in Part 2.

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