When I first decided to share my progress pictures I was so nervous of how people would react. I was scared I would be judged for even sharing them. Just because I think I have done well doesn’t mean other people will see that, plus I thought people wouldn’t like what they see.
I have to be honest that I was overwhelmed with the support I later received from others after I posted my progress pictures online. People I haven’t spoken to in a long time or people I knew from school or college gave me such positive feedback. I realised how lucky I was to receive such encouragement from others. It really shows you how nice people are and how people can really help to inspire you.
Although my progress pictures may not be drastic in some people’s eyes they still meant a lot to me. These pictures didn’t just show an improvement that I had made to my life; they also allowed me to remember the journey I have been on over the past few years.
In fact, this is a journey I have been on for about 15 years. Whoa I’ve just realised that now. This has been a long journey. That also makes me feel a bit old too. I forget I am getting ever closer to 30 eeek.
Let’s go back to the beginning!
When I hit around 11 I started to put weight on. It was a lot due to puberty and being young. My mum used to say “it’s just puppy fat, you’ll grow out of it”. I believed I would. But when I reached the latter stages of high school I realised that it wasn’t going to fall off, I would need to make it happen.
I remember one day in particular, I was putting my favourite pair of jeans on, I had to lie on the bed and after a real struggle I finally managed to get the button shut. I stood up and my stomach hung over the jeans. I remember hiding in the toilet for a while and just feeling so ashamed at how I looked. I felt sad because I was so uncomfortable in everything I wore and I didn’t want to buy bigger clothes. I remember at school being teased for my weight. I hated getting changed for PE class, I felt people staring at me. I was embarrassed by my appearance and I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
Most of high school I avoided the regular canteen food of burgers and chips. Instead I ate salads, baked potatoes and anything I considered healthy. I limited myself with snacks too and I got stuck in during PE. I always finished the class bright red and sweating. I had such determination to lose my ‘puppy fat’.
By the time I was 16 I started to get the odd person saying “Jen you’ve lost weight”. That’s when I realised my hard work was paying off and I was starting to notice a difference. I started to feel better about myself and happier about my appearance.
I maintained this through to my early twenties, I tried to eat healthily and did the odd gym class to keep the weight off. However as I got into my early twenties and went to college people use to say I had a nice figure. I always thought ‘nonsense, I’m fat’. I couldn’t get my head around the comments as I thought yeah I look OK on my good days, but most days I never saw anything great in the mirror. I was still that chubby girl in high school.
I remember one day standing in Tesco for 45 minutes working out the calories for a chicken salad. I was so scared of putting on weight again that I couldn’t see that I was losing control of reality. Once I realised what I was doing I decided that I needed to stop this behaviour with food. It was never easy but at least I was conscious of my behaviour now.
I was kidding myself on
Every take away, bar of chocolate or packet of crisps, I would beat myself up about what I ate. I would look in the mirror and call myself fat. Paul just rolled his eyes, but I genuinely felt I was awful to look at.
At the time I wasn’t going to the gym or eating particularly healthy. My weight hadn’t changed much but I just wasn’t happy with my appearance again. In fact the days I felt I looked good were the days I had not managed to eat much and then I thought I looked thinner due to absolute hunger.
I joined PureGym and thought I would go and get myself together. If I worked out I knew I’d feel better and have less reason to beat myself up. But after I moved away from home I just lost all my confidence. I must have drove to that gym about 15 or 20 times and was just too scared to walk in. Too scared I’d forget my pin, or people would laugh at me or I’d do something silly. I thought of a million and one reasons. So I went home with my gym kit in my hand and felt guilty yet again as I never went to the gym.
The Day it Changed
One day I just thought f*** it, I’m doing this. I had the number to a Personal Trainer at the gym so I text him and booked a training session. It changed from that day onwards!
I got advice on equipment, I got a gym plan and I now knew how to use the equipment so I didn’t have the same reason to feel nervous. I also now knew that my pin worked on the door 😛
Ever since I started going to the gym and booking a few more training sessions, when I had some spare cash, it changed things for the better. I am so much more confident in the gym, in fact I’m happy in the gym now. I’ve learned more about nutrition, I’m eating more than I ever have yet I still remain the same weight. I also look better as I have developed more muscle content.
Everyone has their own fitness goals and I respect each person’s individual reasons why they workout. I’ve worked out for a whole variety of reasons now. We all have our own reasons for training whether it’s losing weight, bulking up, putting on weight or improving your mental well-being. Fitness can be a total life changer and in some ways can save you. Over the past year I have developed a real passion for fitness. I love working out, I love how it has improved my confidence. I even started a few classes which I never thought I would have the confidence to do. Most importantly I now like what I see in the mirror and I feel better about myself.
There are so many reasons why you should start working out. Most importantly just try it!
Start your fitness journey
A Personal Trainer is a great way to show you the ropes if your nervous or needing an intensive training plan. If you don’t like the gym then try a class. I cannot express enough to you what this has done for me. Not just for my appearance but for my well-being. I never leave the gym thinking ‘aww I feel rubbish after that workout’. I always feel amazing, alive, more confident and happier. I sleep better and my immune system has got a lot stronger too. In fact I was the only one who never got the cold last winter, which is a first. And to top it off I have officially been free of any illness for an entire year and that has definitely never happened before.
I still have loads of progress to make. There are still goals I want to achieve and equipment I still want to learn how to use. However these goals are good as they are keeping me motivated and working hard.
I now regularly take progress pictures as it’s a great way to show me where I have started and where I am at now. I always like to compare my most recent picture to my very first picture and see what I have achieved. Remind myself of how hard I have worked. This inspires me to push on, learn more and sweat more.
If I could, I would spend every day in the gym just so I can feel that sense of achievement again and again. I thrive on the fact that I always leave the gym looking red and sweaty. I think I probably smell a little too but I don’t care as I feel fantastic. Working out really is the best medicine!
I’ll keep you up to date with my progress and hope to keep encouraging you to achieve your goals.
Happy working out, in whatever you choose to do!
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