Recently I posted about my client Gill, who has achieved an amazing 100lbs weight loss since we started online coaching together.
Gill’s story is so inspiring, I was desperate to interview her on my podcast. She gracefully agreed, and you can find the episode here:
Before we recorded the episode, I sent Gill a list of questions I wanted to ask, and she wrote some notes to remind herself of what she wanted to say. The notes themselves were so good I had to publish them here too.
The rest of this post is Gill’s story in her own words.
At the start of the weight loss journey
In March 2019, I was the heaviest I had ever been after many years of yo-yo dieting.
I had been with Weight Watchers several times, done juice plus and pretty much every fad diet going. I hated the way I looked, had constant back and knee pain, and everyday things were hard work, including walking.
Food and my weight ruled my life.
I was in my late 60’s and didn’t want to get to 70 looking and feeling like an old woman.
Hayley was someone I had been following on social media for a couple of years, and liked her ethos. I knew I couldn’t carry on as I was, so I finally emailed Hayley.
Worries and doubts
Online coaching was all very new to me, and I worried that it all being online wouldn’t work.
I also really didn’t want to take starting photos or measurements!
Then I worried that Hayley was too kind and gentle, not directive. Soon I realised that her approach was just what I needed. It was empowering me to make my own decisions and build confidence in myself that I could do this.
I was also scared to eat what I saw as ‘bad food’. But I decided right from the start to be 100% honest with myself and Hayley and make the journey my main focus.
Changes to food, exercise and mindset
Walking wasn’t easy – I was doing maybe 3000 steps a day. But I very quickly started doing 10,000 a day at Hayley’s suggestion.
This actually made me excited to achieve, and it was nice to have a positive focus that felt good, like an accomplishment.
As part of the coaching process I wrote down everything I ate – this definitely helped and kept me focused. I made a promise to myself at the beginning and didn’t want to let myself down.
A big change for me was seeing food as a nourishing gift to myself.
It became something to fuel my walking, and to give me energy – to enjoy life and improve my health.
I quickly realised that I didn’t just want to lose weight. I wanted to be fitter, stronger and more energetic.
Advice for others who are struggling with weight loss
At the beginning of this journey I would say don’t look at the big picture and think you can’t do it – see it as a journey of small consistent steps.
Don’t allow yourself to treat or speak to yourself harshly. You have to be your best friend not your harshest critic. Keep going whatever happens – with persistence you will get there.
It’s the best thing you will ever do for yourself.
Relationship with the scales, and setting goals
It took me a long time to accept that the number on the scale is only data! And to not let it affect my day.
I still feel a little disappointed when the number doesn’t go down. But I now know there are so many more important ways to see your progress.
It felt like a long time to see things really start to happen. But as I became more able to walk long distances and my clothes became too big, I felt elated, it was so exciting.
I remember one early morning walking in the sun, and I noticed that my shadow had a shape. It went in at the waist – something I hadn’t seen before. That made me cry!
There have been so many moments like that on this journey. All little signs of progress, that gave me a huge boost and motivated me so much.
To begin with I hadn’t set myself any particular targets, but early on I realised I wanted to go for little goals.
Not just weight loss, but things like wanting a new dress to fit by a certain date. Or wanting to walk a set distance in a shorter time.
We worked on setting goals that were achievable, and that gave me motivation to constantly challenge myself.
Keeping going when things get tough
Like everyone I had some tough times emotionally, but I was determined not to use it as an excuse this time.
I had made promises to myself that I couldn’t break.
Something I realised was that I would never break a promise to anyone else… so I had to show myself that I was just as important, and worth the effort.
One of my best tools was a list I had written – of all my reasons for wanting to lose weight. This was Hayley’s suggestion, and it really helped. Every time I felt a little demotivated I would read it again.
Some of the reasons were things I wanted to achieve, and as time went on I realised how many I had ticked off the list. That made me feel really proud, and was another positive spur to keep going.
Wins and positives
My life has changed in so many ways.
I get great joy from very long walks, often 25,000 steps and more now. My back and knees no longer ache.
I can do things I never dreamt I would be able to do, like running up hills, jumping(!), having great adventures doing things I wouldn’t have tried before.
I’m more confident, hardly watch any TV, and have loads of energy.
Clothes are fun – I love that I can shop in normal shops now.
Food is no longer my enemy.
Life is fun, and I can honestly say I enjoy exercise and home workouts.
There is so much I have learnt about myself on this journey. I’m not a failure – I am an achiever! I can keep promises to myself, I love a challenge, l have learnt to ask for help and support at home.
A big revelation – that no food is ‘bad’, and guilt is not only pointless but unnecessary and damaging.
I have learnt good habits like planning my meals early in the week. Batch cooking has been a blessing, so I have something in the freezer for unexpected occasions. Making my meals colourful and attractive on a smaller plate has been really enjoyable – I do that automatically now.
I’ve learnt to cut back on carbs or portion size if I choose to have a higher calorie treat like a scone or ice cream.
Planning helps so much too. I plan ahead for outings or difficult times, and plan my day so I can fit in a Home Workout as often as possible.
Habits and routines have become a very important part of my life, including leaving the house by 6.45 each morning for a long walk, whatever the weather.
I now know that most of my weight issues are overcome with the right mindset.
Learning to love myself enough to make good choices for my future self, that will help move me forward.
I’ve also discovered that my “future self” might just be as short as 10 minutes into the future.
As simple as undoing my trainers properly so future me can put them on easily and quickly a little later!
Those small things make a difference. It’s a sustainable way to continue on for life.
I will never stop being grateful that I began this journey with Hayley. It has been like giving myself the gift of a future, so I can live a healthier fuller life, with so much more to come.
Gill – you are a superstar. Congratulations, a huge well done for you efforts, consistency and what you’ve achieved, and thank you so much for sharing your story.
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