“For as long as I can remember I’ve loved dancing, sport and just generally being active. Throughout my childhood I was a member of dance schools, netball teams and athletic clubs, and in turn, I never really worried about needing to make a conscious effort to be fit or healthy or watching what I was eating as it was just a natural consequence of my chosen lifestyle.
However, once I moved from education to my first full time office job, I soon realised that it was now more of a struggle to find the time to get to a dance class or the gym, and instead of spending most of my time running from activity to activity, I was sat at a desk all day.
During my early 20’s I was gaining weight and starting to be a lot more body conscious, and in turn losing confidence. I attempted to get myself back to the gym time and time again, but I was perhaps unrealistic about how quickly I’d see results. I noticed that even when I was training hard and eating well, my body wasn’t really changing at all, around this time I was also constantly unwell and felt exhausted. After months of testing from doctors, in 2016, they finally diagnosed me with hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) is where your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Common signs of an underactive thyroid are tiredness, weight gain and feeling depressed.I finally had a connection between the weight gain, the struggles with motivation and understood why I was finding it hard to lose weight.
Treating hypothyroidism can be tricky, with small increments in medication made in 3-6 month periods, until your body hits the optimum levels. This meant that for a while I was still feeling a bit rubbish and struggling with my motivation to find my fitness again. In late 2018 I was finally feeling back to myself and decided I needed to get my act together, so in January 2019, I went on a “New Year, New Me”, well more like finding the “Old Me” campaign. I decided to find myself a personal trainer/coach and committed to three sessions a week, I also took a look at my nutrition, but instead of just cutting carbs or sugar or following a fad diet, I decided to track my calories and macros as advised by my PT.
Within just a few months I was starting to see huge progress, and once I saw the progress I had all the motivation I needed to push on. Within just over 6 months I’d lost 24.5kg in weight, I’d dropped 29cm off my waist and 20cm off my hips, but most importantly I’d found my happiness and confidence again. I’d also rediscovered my love for exercise and dance, and decided to qualify as a Zumba teacher and started teaching at my local gym.
Just over a year into my new found fitness regime, the world was hit with COVID-19, which meant lockdowns, gym closures and all sorts of mental challenges to deal with. I was determined to keep going with my fitness journey, and despite having access to limited equipment at home, I’ve still managed to make progress. Making the most of the world of the internet, teaching Zumba over Zoom, joining Our Parks classes and training in my spare bedroom or garden (weather permitting). I’ve also reminded myself how important it is to just get outside and walk!
My journey hasn’t been easy and neither is it over, I’m constantly trying to improve and make progress, not necessarily because I want to look a certain way, but because I want to make sure I’m keeping myself fit and healthy!
A couple of things I’d like to pass on….
Don’t rely on the scales as the only way to track progress, take before, during and after photos, and listen to those compliments that your friends give you!
You can always make time to be active and exercise – it’s great for both your physical and mental health
Stay away from the fad diets, still eat the things you enjoy, just make sure you track them and keep some balance!”