Inspirational stories: Many of us have them but may not even realise how important they truly are or are too modest to shout it from the roof-tops. Successes should be shared and enjoyed, especially when certain hurdles or obstacles have had to be overcome to get there. Your story could help others reach their full potential. For this reason, I wanted to find some truly inspiring people who have a story that needs to be told. Each week I will bring you a different story with a different angle but one that you will just have to read.
This week Jen Mellor talks about her amazing weight loss journey and how she achieved her healthier weight and lifestyle.
I first remember thinking I was fat when I was about 7 years old, looking back I was actually pretty average but as I had very skinny friends I saw myself as fat. I went on to have a relationship with food that was based around me feeling fat anyway so when I was doing a paper round aged 13 I would spend my earnings on sweets and ice-creams. When I went to university at 18 I had a very typical student lifestyle, too much beer, too many vending machine snacks during lectures and nowhere near enough fruit and vegetables, in fact, I probably went through my whole course without buying and fruit or vegetables (unless you count on top of a pizza)!
I have never been a confident person and being overweight didn’t help that at all. I was in plus size clothes at university and onwards from there. I think once you get into plus size clothes and shopping in the “larger” sections of stores you easily creep up the sizes. I found whilst my self-confidence was low I also got into abusive relationships which saw my confidence drop too. I spent years being put down and made to feel worthless. So what do you do when you feel rubbish? You eat rubbish! Throughout most of my twenties and early thirties, I thought nothing of ordering takeaway pizzas a few times a week, eating a family size pack of custard creams for breakfast, and bingeing on big tubs of ice cream and bags of chocolates whilst watching the television in the evening feeling unhappy. My weight kept increasing, I knew this because I was buying bigger and bigger clothes, the biggest I got was wearing around size 30 clothes, I didn’t actually have many women’s clothes so it is hard to tell, I mostly wore men’s jogging bottoms, t-shirts and hoodies, they were size 4XL. I was wearing men’s clothes as it was easy then to kid myself I wasn’t in such big women’s sizes and also I never went out anywhere and had no confidence so hiding in black jogging bottoms a black t-shirt and a navy hoody was exactly what I did, day in day out.
In 2014, when I made my New Years Resolutions, I knew things had to change. I was in an unhappy relationship where I felt worthless every day and I wanted to get out of that. I wanted to build my confidence enough to feel like I didn’t need him anymore and I wanted to be a new person, one who felt average not huge! I just wanted to be average, someone who fitted in. It took me weeks to be brave enough to join my local Slimming World group and when I did I weighed in at just over half a stone less than my GP had me at which was a relief. I did, however, weigh a shocking 22 Stone 4lb. I was horrified and determined I would never see those numbers on the scales again, and I never have!
I started cooking all my meals from scratch and didn’t order any more pizzas, when I went shopping my trolley was full of fruit, vegetables and all the staples like rice, pasta and potatoes. I swapped binging on ice cream and chocolate to eating fruit and fat-free natural yoghurt. I didn’t want to do any exercise and decided that if I struggled to lose weight at any point then I would consider starting some form of exercise. The weight started dropping off. I lost 10lb in my first week and went on to lose the first 8 stone in just 37 weeks. In total I lost 10 stone 4lb to my target weight of 12 stone. I am 5ft 10 tall so this actually has me in size 6-8 clothes. During my weight loss I hadn’t actually done any form of exercise, a few times I had started going to the gym or walking but never more than a few days before giving up so I can be sure it can’t have contributed to my weight loss! I had gone from morbidly obese to super skinny in 16 months and that wasn’t the only way my life had changed. During my weight loss I had got out of the unhappy relationship and my confidence soared.
Around a year after getting to my weight loss target and after maintaining around that
target reasonably well I decided I wanted to start running. This was an alien concept to me as previously I would only run across a road if I thought my life depended on it! I have always loved to do things for charity and I decided I wanted to do the Great North Run half marathon for charity. Being the stubborn person I am I didn’t listen to advice that I should start running and see how I do before signing up for anything and I signed up to the Samaritans Great North Run team before even having run up the road! So with 20 weeks to the half marathon I started running. I was determined but still lacking in confidence so I started running around a quiet local reservoir where no one could see me. I built up gradually and 20 weeks later I ran the Great North Run in 2 hours 24 minutes which I was so proud of.
If you had told me back at the beginning of 2014 that I would be wearing dresses that summer and the following year I would be wearing a bikini I wouldn’t have believed you! If you had told me I would start running and enjoy it I would have laughed in your face, but I do. I still often look in the mirror and can’t believe how much my life has changed. I feel like I am a better mum now with so much more energy for my son, I used to get out of breath walking up the stairs but now I can have a laugh with him and chase him upstairs without a problem. I am in a happy relationship now with a man who respects me and makes me feel like a princess. My confidence will always be a struggle for me and I do have times where my depression still really affects me but on the whole I am a happier more confident lady who actually now feels average, which is all I ever wanted.
I share my story and all the ups and downs of my continuing journey to improve my confidence and keep my weight down on my blog www.justaveragejen.com For me helping others see that it is possible to lose weight and build your confidence is so important because I did not believe I could do it and I am sure there are others out there in a similar position. On my blog I share recipes I enjoy, my running, reviews of products I have discovered and how my life is still changing and ideas and tips to help others change too.