Heathers Story: From Obesity & Despair To Health, Fitness & A New Life
Heathers Story: From Obesity & Despair To Health, Fitness & A New Life
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My story begins back in 2017 when I found myself in a very bad place both physically and mentally: my weight had ballooned and I was suffering from severe depression.
When I was first diagnosed, I tried to resist using medication, as I’m not a big fan of taking pills. So, I opted for group therapy instead.
Unfortunately, this didn’t work for me. I also tried one-to-one therapy with little success. I actually faked happiness so that I could be discharged. At that point, I felt that my mental health was declining rapidly and I was becoming increasingly scared. In desperation, I asked my doctor for antidepressant medication. Initially, I was prescribed 50mg; this was then increased to 100mg and then ultimately to 150mg, but to no avail.
At that point, I was pretty much ‘off my face’. I felt nothing; I was just numb, and as far from happy as you could be.
Things began to change after a visit to the doctor for a routine check-up. She took my blood pressure and weighed me. I was well aware that I was overweight and it’s something that she addressed. When I asked what I could do about it while on a pretty high dose of medication, she simply said, “Well Heather, you can either be fat and happy or skinny and miserable”.
I was terrified that I’d be stuck like that forever, just existing on pills. Although I was on ‘happy pills’, I still wanted to take my own life. I was exhausted waking up and feeling the same day after day, however much I tried to cheer myself up or fake being happy.
At that point, I knew that I had to take back control and do what was right for me. I had to be the one to drive it. So, I decided to take myself off the medication and go ‘cold turkey’, which was very challenging and not something I would recommend.
I then decided that to tackle my weight. I needed to throw myself at it wholeheartedly, so I joined Everybody’s Gym in Spalding. Walking into the gym on my first day was the game changer and, in all honesty, probably saved my life. That was in November 2017.
At that point I weighed 24 stone (152.4kg) and was size a 26. My measurements were:
• Waist: 141cms (55.5 inches)
• Bust:121cms (47.6 inches)
• Arms: 39cms (15.3 inches)
Initially, I did a free gym program. I also counted my calories and started prepping my meals. For me, meal planning was critical to my success. I set a goal of losing 6 stone (38kg) and by June 2018 I had lost 3 (19kg). My main aim has not only been to lose fat, but to change my body composition by increasing my muscle mass and effectively re-designing my body shape. To this end, my training programme comprises mainly resistance training with some cardio.
Throughout this process I decided to write a blog about my journey on Instagram. I thought that if I was open and honest about my own struggles, it might help others in a similar situation to not feel quite so alone, as depression and anxiety can be very isolating.
Each week I weighed myself and took measurements and pictures to track my progress.
I then began having personal training with Adam Jones, the proprietor of Everybody’s Gym. He not only supported me, but also provided me with expert advice and instruction throughout the whole process. I’ve even cried on him on bad days when it all seemed such a struggle.
At this point in 2022, I have now lost 10.5 stone (66.6kg) and my measurements are:
• Waist: 97cms (38.1 inches)
• Bust: 95cms (37.4 inches)
• Arms: 32cms (12.5 inches)
Although a reduction in calorie intake and an increased calorie expenditure through exercise have been primarily responsible for my weight loss, I have benefitted from the use of number of supplements. These include:
Heathers Story – Time 4 Joint Pro
I’m a huge believer that what you put into your body is what you get out and it’s important to look after yourself from the ground up, so to speak. So, I take Time 4 Joint Pro. This is a specially formulated combination of natural substances shown to help to promote joint health.
Heathers Story – Time 4 Whey Protein Professional
Consuming sufficient amounts of protein is key to building muscle, which can be difficult, particularly when reducing your calorie intake to lose fat. Therefore, I use Time 4 Whey protein. This is a time release blend of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate and micellar casein plus and additional amino acid blend of glutamine and branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) with added probiotics. It’s really easy to prepare when you are on the go: just add water and use a shaker bottle to mix. I can honestly say they are the best tasting protein shakes ever. If you haven’t tried the Raspberry Smoothie flavour, you haven’t lived!!!
Heathers Story – Time 4 Pre Workout Shot
Let’s face it, we all need an extra kick from time to time. So, I use Time 4 Pre Workout shots. These are a combination of substances which have been shown to boost energy levels, reduce fatigue, and improve mental focus and alertness. They are designed to be ultra-fast acting so you can take them immediately before training. My favourite is Mojito flavour; it sure gives a kick.
Losing the weight goes far beyond just reducing my body fat; it’s been life changing. It’s allowed me to gain the confidence, self-esteem and, I suppose, even the self- respect I was lacking. It has built me up to the person that I am today. It hasn’t just helped me physically, but also mentally. I just really wish that the mental health benefits of fitness would be more widely recognised. I’ve also made some incredible friends. In short, it’s given me a far better life.
Before joining Everybody’s Gym, I didn’t really like myself. I used to eat massive slabs of chocolate to try and make myself happy. Whereas at the gym, I’ve had the support and kindness which, in the bigger picture, has saved me. The drive has had to come from me, but I’m also very lucky with the people that have helped me along the way. Without them, it could have been a very different story.
When I hit rock bottom, I used that as my foundation to build up from, as I couldn’t sink much lower. I’ve gained strength physically but also mentally throughout this process.
In a way I’m thankful for that doctor giving me that advice. It may have not been the best advice, but it gave me the kick that I needed.
I am now training to be personal trainer and hope to help many other people on their health and fitness journey. I not only want to improve their physical health, but also make them feel happier after having a session with me. For myself, I just want to be happy. To be my true authentic self who is happy in her own skin. A faked life is a miserable life and I know that from my own personal experience.
My advice is to believe in yourself and care for yourself, and always, always try to be positive.
Heather has been lucky to have been given sound advice and support from the start of her journey. Here at Time 4 Nutrition, we understand that this is not always available to everyone and there is a lot of misleading and potentially harmful information in the public domain. Therefore, our team of exercise and health professionals have developed the Time 4 Fat Loss series of original articles looking at the science behind fat loss.
We also understand the importance of having the right mind set to achieve successful long-term health and fitness goals. To this end, we have commissioned a series of articles on mental health and behaviour change by PHD Psychologist Dr Pat Partington.