There’s nothing more rewarding than setting yourself a goal, and smashing it! Give yourself a reason and achieve your best year yet with one of the UKs most scenic and beautiful runs.
Has exercise and the Admiral Swansea Bay 10k helped you in more ways than one? Well it has for Sam from Tredegar, we caught up with her and had a chat about her experience to date.
We hope you enjoy her story, and find it motivational to help you further your own fitness and health goals.
- At what point did you think, I want to get fit and healthy?
In 2012 I decided I wanted to start kayaking again (I did a lot in my late teens) and also fancied trying SUP Boarding. By the end of that summer I realised I was spending more time loading & unloading kit than I was spending time on the water because I was so unfit. I was also tired all the time and got out of breath walking up the stairs. I decided things needed to change as I wanted to be fitter and feel healthier. The best way for me to be able to exercise properly to get fitter was to lose weight. So the driver has been health & fitness rather than weight loss or image.
- To date, how much weight have you lost?
As at start Jun-14 I have lost 8st (112lbs, approx. 51kg) since I started at the end of Mar-13 and am losing an average of 1-1.5lbs a week.
- What has been your biggest struggle during the course of your weight loss story?
After deciding I wanted to get fitter I realised that I needed to understand how I’d let myself get so out of shape and morbidly obese. I needed to understand the emotional relationship I had with food so I could understand what my triggers would be. This is why I didn’t start my new eating & exercise regime until Mar-13. I also did a lot of research into how many calories I could eat and what I could eat. I knew fad diets wouldn’t work for me – I needed a lifestyle change and not a temporary fix and then back to old habits. I also needed to find a way that meant I wasn’t hungry and didn’t feel deprived of things. Once I’d worked that all out and started implementing my plans I can honestly say I haven’t found it a struggle.
I don’t deprive myself, I factor in a little of what I want into my calorie allowance. Christmas & my Birthday I ate what I wanted on the day but was back on track the next day . On holiday I ate & drank what I fancied but tried to make sensible choices eg cereal most days instead of a fry-up. I also still exercised (running some days, kayaing most days, walking etc). It’s not the few days a year off plan that does the damage; it’s not getting back on plan afterwards or using the break as an excuse to binge.
- What good things have come about because of your changes?
Almost too many to list! I’ve gone from gasping walking up stairs to running 25miles a week and joining my local running club. I can shop where I want for clothes as I’m not ‘over-size’ any more. My chronic insomnia has gone, my almost constant heartburn/ indigestion has disappeared. Needing to nap for most of the weekend afternoons has gone (although a short nap after my long run is always welcome!). I expected many of these, the positive changes I hadn’t expected have also taken some getting used to: I’ve been called inspirational by a lot of people, some of whom I hardly know (to me I’ve been correcting past mistakes so didn’t expect other people to be impressed). A few people I know have lost weight/ started exercising regularly because of what they’ve seen me achieve. I raised over £1300 for charity through doing a 30k run on the anniversary of me starting this lifestyle. I feel very privileged to have so many supportive family, friends and colleagues around me who didn’t judge me when I huge but support and cheer for me now.
- What are your favorite health and fitness blogs, books, or magazines you read?
I use Fitbit to track my daily activity and that has been invaluable (probably one of the best gadgets I’ve ever bought and I’m a gadget freak so there’s been a few!). The website I couldn’t live without in www.myfitnesspal.com where I log all my food. The Forums have also been useful (but you do sometimes need to sort through science & fact from bro-science, fad diets and hearsay!). I also subscribe to Runner’s World magazine as I am now addicted to running!
- What is your favorite healthy food to eat? What is the recipe?
Roast veg! I can have a huge plate of colourful veg that’s tasty & filling without too many calories. Usually I’ll chop into similar size pieces – Butternut Squash, Parsnip, Carrot, Leek/ Red Onion, Courgette, Mushroom and then seasonal veg like Asparagus or Celeriac. I spray a roasting tin with Fry Light put the mixed veg in, spray it over the top with Fry Light, season with Salt, Pepper and sometimes Chilli Seeds & Cumin Seeds. Roast in the oven until tender and serve with fish, lean chicken or turkey steaks.
- What is your favorite cheat meal?
My local Pub’s (The Mountain Air in Tredegar) Sizzler Rump Steak & Chips with Honeycomb Dream ice cream dessert washed down with a pint of San Miguel.
- Do you take any supplements?
I swallow a couple of Glucosamine with MSM tablets daily to help my knees when I’m running.
- When it comes to eating well what are your top 3 recommendations?
Everything in moderation!
You don’t need to starve to lose weight (1200cals is a not required unless you’re tiny and inactive! I eat 1900 cals a day)
Eat in the way you want to eat forever (eg are you really always going to eat low carb? If not then you’re heading for yo-yo dieting if not careful). Make it a sustainable lifestyle change and not a diet (diets follow trends – High Fibre, Atkins, Paeleo etc there’s a new one every year!).
- What is your favorite form of exercise to do and why?
Running. I started running with C25K as it burned calories so I could eat more. Midway through the programme I realised I really enjoyed it and am now totally hooked. I also cross train (swimming, elliptical, rowing machine etc) and also lift weights a couple of times a week (to help maintain muscle mass whilst dieting).
- Have you had to deal with any injuries along the way?
Fingers crossed nothing serious – the odd twinge in various muscles which rest and regular stretching sorts usually.
- What motivates you to keep going?
I still want to drop another couple of clothes sizes but my main motivation is my running. I want to see my times improving over distances from 5k to Half marathon, I’d like to do a marathon, I even have given more than a fleeting though to one day doing an Ultra. There are so many things I’ve not been able to do for so long through my own inaction that I want to make up for lost time.
- Things they don’t tell you
The number of times I’ve heard “it must be great to go shopping for new clothes”. Whilst in one way yes it is but it’s also expensive! I’ve dropped 6-7 dress sizes so far, so new clothes don’t last long. It’ll be great when I get to target but for now its in equal parts frustrating, exciting and costly. You can get away with baggy clothes only for so long before people start commenting. I knew it was time for new trousers when I stood up from my desk, put my mobile in my pocket and had to grab my trousers to stop them falling down in the middle of the office! There is one other item that you can’t skimp on – sports bras! When you’re a little top heavy and want to run or do similar physical activity then you can’t really do without supportive underwear and it doesn’t come cheap. In one way they are nice problems to have though.
A huge congratulations goes out to Sam’s efforts to date, and we wish her the best of luck for the rest of her journey. Keep up the great work Sam 🙂