This is Jodie’s story…
Since the age of twenty-four I have struggled with my weight. When I was younger I was extremely active and enjoyed sports, being captain of most of the teams. In fact most of my friends remember me from school as being ‘the competitive one that was good at every sport.’ I was able eat what I wanted when I wanted and I also got nick named ‘the bin’ because I would eat any food any of them were offering. I was tiny in my frame. But…as you know age creeps in and whilst I’m not considered as ‘old’, my metabolism wasn’t what it used to be and I became less active as I began university and my career in teaching.
I was always finding excuses that I never had time because I had marking and often, genuinely, I couldn’t be bothered. I would rather have sat in all day and watched a series of criminal minds than be an ‘active’ person or participate in any form of physical activity, a complete change in attitude since by school days. Similarly my bad food habits continued. I used to dance in England and my best friend had her own dance school but when I watch back videos of shows we have done, I am embarrassed at how much bigger I am than the other students. It was only when I moved to Dubai in September 2014 that I realised I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt horrible when I went out and was exhausted and demotivated all the time. I would also have bouts of depression, where I felt the entire world was against me. Its not easy when you are surrounded by people that ‘look good’ and even though you are who you are, you cannot help but compare and judge yourself based on the stereotypical expectation of a Dubai girl. I also missed the feeling of accomplishment when I had completed an active task and how good I felt after a good work out. With the temptation of weekly brunches and the excitement of meeting new people, I put on two stone and this is when I knew I had to do something about it. In a place where you are surrounded by people completing weekly triathlons and fitness being a big part of people’s lives, I decided I wanted to be one of those people.
Left image is Jodie September 2015 at the start of her health journey.
I met Heidi through my friend Gina, who I watched grow and become one of those people. I was surprised that one of my best friends, who I knew could not even ride a bike when she started her program, was about to compete in her first triathlon. I also saw how happy she was with her achievements and how her health had changed and her body looked great. Meeting Heidi and having a health coach was more than I had ever expected and my life has changed in both my physical health, as well as, unexpectedly my mental health. I was able to come out of the vicious circle of fad diets and understand my body, myself and what I truly needed to make me happy.
At the beginning of my programme I was falling just short of 90kg, which for me was the biggest I had ever been. I enjoyed the convenience of having an app on my phone which meant with one click I could have any takeaway meal at my doorstep. I always had an excuse as to why I wasn’t able to do exercise, or why I didn’t have time to cook which meant I quickly piled on the pounds. I felt that living alone cooking for one was pointless and time consuming. Having met with Heidi I began to realise that I do have time for these things and that the most important thing in life is focusing on me, that work would have to come second to me and my lifestyle. I set myself a goal to lose weight in the first few months. I wanted to lose my belly by my 28th birthday on June 24th 2016. With guidance, I was able to develop an understanding of the types of foods I should or in some case shouldn’t be eating. The biggest thing I gained was knowledge that greens make everything better and that a green juice a day made me energetic and feel fresh. So I began to implement greens and slowly the protein, then the fats and eventually by Christmas I had dropped 3 kg. I had gradually improved my culinary skills and was cooking with fresh organic food every night and mentally, this was making me feel more motivated and happier as a person. I would make sure that I had me time every night where I would either do some weights at the gym, or even have a bath and listen to a health podcast to give me some inspirational motivation and continue on my path to success.
When I returned in January after the indulgence of the Christmas holiday, I decided I wanted to do something more. My previous success with my weight loss showed me I could do anything I wanted to do. So this is when I started to implement a more vigorous exercise routine. I began running and entered myself into a 10k race. Running was something I found difficult at first. I felt that I couldn’t do it and wasn’t improving. However, eventually I started to notice I could run longer without stopping and my distances were getting further and further without me having to stop for breath. I realised, despite my earlier negativity, that this was a possibility for me. I ran my first 5km with Heidi and the gang and we treated ourselves to a wanabanana as a reward. I thank them all, especially Heidi and Gina for keeping me going despite me thinking I was going to die; ever the dramatic one. I did the 10k race 3 months after starting and managed to complete 6.5km of it with a lap time of 6.38/km. Although I never completed it this was a massive personal accomplishment for me. When I started I could not run 2.5 without stopping and crying in pain. I now have set myself a new goal to complete the full 10km in October this year.
Jodie running her first 5k, Jumeirah beach running track, 2016
I began to not only focus on my physical health too and started doing things I knew would make me happy in myself. I had a brace fitted, something that I had wanted since I was 18 and broke the habit of thumb sucking, something I was guilty of for 25 years. I felt that I was mentally in a place where I could tackle this habit. I also made time to read. I always wanted to read more books and so I made a conscious effort to read for ten minutes before bed. Heidi also taught me to be more positive in my outlook. Even by using more positive vocabulary to describe things. I’m not a ‘big’ girl, I am ‘voluptuous’. Even in my personal relationships with men and friends, I decided I would not settle for anything less than positive behaviours, whereas before I would often let myself get treated badly or fall into a pit of unhappiness. I cared less for those who said I couldn’t do it and surrounded myself with people who encouraged me. My new found confidence liberated me, learning new habits and changing old ones. Heidi recommended that I started a journal, of which I laughed and said no that’s silly, but more recently after a particularly hard day at work I have done this, and it actually has really helped me to understand how to cope with a stressful day or situation and reflect upon things I am grateful for instead of complaining about everything.
At the end of this six month process I am now a healthy 80kg and the thing I have been most happy with is that it has been a gradual process, which has meant I have kept the weight off and will continue to do so. I am still slowly losing the weight and have noticed my body shape is much better. I realised that it is a lifestyle change and that only I have control over what happens with my body. I still have to work on my willpower when it comes to things like drinking alcohol but this has reduced significantly since starting the program and one thing Heidi has taught me is it is not about giving up on things you enjoy but doing it in moderation and asking yourself, ‘do I really need that?’.
My next step is to continue with the weight loss and continue to focus on a work life balance. I intend to maintain the lifestyle Heidi has helped me to create as it has taught me to love myself enough to take care of my body. In return my mind is developing into a positive and confident mentality where anything is possible. I would recommend coaching to anyone who feels uninspired and demotivated. Whilst I am still on my journey, I am on a slow, steady and healthy path to achieving all of my goals in life and I am now in a positive position to say ‘yes I can’ and know I am able to achieve anything I set my mind to. I can truly say I have never been in a happier place in my life.
Are you inspired by Jodie’s success story? Take the next step and get in touch by emailing me at email@example.com I would love to hear from you.
Click to view Heidi's published articles