My journey has been made up of baby steps towards a bigger goal
I never used to give myself enough time to exercise. I always prioritised everything and everyone before myself. I felt I was trying to be a good mum, wife etc, and exercise always got left behind.
What I eventually realised was that over time I became unhappy about how I managed stress, by comfort eating and not exercising. Each time I was pregnant I got gestational diabetes, which would resolve after I had the baby, but unfortunately after my last pregnancy I was told that I had an 80% chance of remaining diabetic. I was devastated that I would have to rely on medication to manage my diabetes and that I may end up with coronary heart disease which runs in my family.
This shock to the system was what eventually motivated me to make the change, I wanted to be around for my children, I didn’t want my children to follow my example of an unhealthy diet and not exercising. I realised I needed to be the change that I wanted. It was up to me to lead by example and find a way to manage this before it was too late!
Initially I started running, I really struggled to fit it in, but with the support of my family, I went out for 30 mins to run short distances. I found I enjoyed tennis and badminton and began to play with the children and signed up for lessons. As I got older though my joints began to hurt because I had arthritis which had began in my late twenties early thirties.
I tried different sports, but for years I yo-yoed with my weight and exercise.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to juggle exercise and home and a work life – the key is to not let this deter you – I had to remember that consistency and baby steps was still progress.
Then in October 2017 I started karate. After watching my children do it for 15 years, deciding to participate myself was a big step. I was supporting my boys when they were competing at the world championships in Canada when I saw the veteran’s category, I thought to myself, “ I reckon I could do that, I want to compete at the European Championship in two years time!” everyone thought this was funny and that I wouldn’t follow through.
But once I got back to England, I started in earnest and went to my first lesson. The teacher told me to keep it a secret and not tell the kids, so I secretly trained for 6 weeks, and then turned up nervously at my first grading. I proudly graded to a yellow belt and can honestly say that it was one of my most precious moments in life.
Four months later, in February 2018, I started competing in local competitions. I came last in the first one I entered, but I kept trying. Two years on, I’ve managed to win 20 medals, including a silver in the European championships as a veteran! My aim now is to keep fit, keep going and hopefully I may get a Gold medal before I’m 60!
I would love to be able to inspire others, especially now more than ever, when lockdown is affecting so many people in all age groups. I usually have karate lessons once a week and have had to train over zoom during lockdown. It’s so easy to let it slide but I’m keeping going by varying my routine to help me stay motivated. I watch inspiring films when I’m ironing either on Netflix or YouTube about fitness. I’ve recently watched Strong – the series that shows 10 women that are dedicated to get stronger and fitter for themselves and to inspire other women.
I struggled with my weight for a long time, and it’s taken me the last 15 years bit by bit to reach the fitness level that I am today.
Fitness is the one thing that no one can take away from you, and the good thing is you can use whatever you have around you.
If you have equipment that’s great but nowadays there are so many great things you can find online that show workouts that use body weight only. When I’m at home I’m a great fan of body weight exercises, balance, core work, squats, stairs, walls and chairs to do press-ups etc.
My journey has been made up of baby steps towards a bigger goal. If I can do it so can any girl. I’m passionate about the fact that I’m an ordinary mum and I encourage you all to take that baby step and persevere!