As part of our birthday celebrations, we are taking a look back at some of our best and most inspirational stories that have come through our doors over the last 25 years. First up, the wonderful Helen who lost an incredible 6 1/2 stone with us.
Valley Leisure member Helen has one of the most inspiring stories we’ve heard, and has managed to turn her health around in a big way.
Check out Helen’s story and find out how it’s possible for anyone:
‘I started training at the gym and attending classes 10 years ago. Over that period of time, my weight went up and down and I was never happy with myself.
For years, I would wake up already knowing that my day was going to be predictably stale. This included my health – my whole being – and I couldn’t see any reason why it was going to get any better.
I had resigned myself to living with the same digestive issues, the same dark circles under my eyes and the same allergies, mood swings and excess weight on my body that I’d had for years. People and friends I would talk to were the same. I was numb to what I really desired, I was so unhappy and I knew deep down I wanted something to change.
I went spinning one Monday and talked to Bev, the instructor, who has become a dear friend to me. I told her I was not happy and was thinking about leaving. It seemed so easy at the time to blame the leisure centre and not myself for not achieving any results. Bev listened to me and recommended I talk to Nic, a personal trainer. A voice inside me told me to be brave and do it, and that for anything to change, I have to stop what I’m doing. Only I could do this. I remembered I am the author of my own story and creator of my destiny.
So my journey began.
Nic listened to the problems I had with my training and diet, and we put a plan in place. She then saw me every two weeks, and would weigh me and take my inches. I kept a food diary and she only ever made suggestions on what I should change in my diet, as it was up to me to actually do it.
My relationship with food had never been great, so I thought this was going to be challenging. Most of all, Nic listened to my life and how food could fit in. For example, I never liked to eat a big meal after training in the evening, so she guided me on what I could have. I found smoothies worked very well for me.
Very, very slowly I changed my diet. I went from eating a lot of white carbs like potatoes, pasta, bread and processed food, to a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. I always thought it was okay to eat carbs because I was training and told myself that my body needed it. The impact this change has had on my body is amazing, and the guilt I had always lived with when it came to my appetite, to food, and to my punishing behaviours around food melted away.
Nic gave me exercise programmes that suited me, as I have a bad back. With my training we ‘shocked’ my body and kept changing my training. I did cardio, spinning and weights, and started seeing results – I feel so fit and strong now!
Very slowly and with a lot of help from Nic, the weight came, off my energy skyrocketed, and my long list of physical complaints dwindled. My eyes became bright and sparkly. I became so much more positive and feel the best I have felt in decades, and it is just simply extraordinary!
Nic was, and still is, always at the end of a text if I need any help or guidance with my training or my food. I still continue to see Nic for my training as I always now have goals to work towards.
Being very brave, I entered Andover Leisure Centre’s Spartan competition in April, and have entered the monthly gym challenges. I won twice, and next on my list is a Roughneck race which I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to do. In the long term, I now want to do a triathlon. That’s something to look forward to for next year!
Since making these changes, I’ve learnt that life is a journey – not a destination – and that only I can change it. With the help of Andover Leisure Centre and Nic, I have made it happen. It’s the best thing I have ever done, and now I have a good healthy lifestyle. The possibilities for anyone are absolutely radiant.
My overall weight loss is 6 ½ stone.’
Personal trainer Nic says: ‘When I met Helen she was at the end of her tether with her workouts and diet. She had been over-training, and her body had become too used to what it was doing too often. We mixed up her routines and her diet, which needed some work.
Helen’s diet was typical of a vegetarian in our busy society; she actually ate very few vegetables. She’s now tried experimenting with a raw diet, as the best way to heal the inside is by eating natural fruit and receiving food education.
I think it’s fair to say that she’s in an amazing place now – mentally and physically.’