Back in the early 80’s, I was an obese teenager, weighing in at around 210 lbs (96kg). My early adult life consisted of smoking, drinking and late night takeaways. I hated how I looked and what my life had become.

At around 20, I remember looking in the mirror and being disgusted by what I saw. It was at this point I said to myself, ‘enough is enough’ and began to take steps to change my life.

My lifestyle of drinking and eating out all had to change. This meant that a lot of relationships and friendships were also challenged. As a vegetarian, I was somewhat limited with my diet. I looked at everything I ate, and began making substitutes, for example I changed all of my white foods to brown and opted for low fat/sugar alternatives. It was essential that I ensured I was getting enough protein in my diet, so I ate lots of lentils and high protein foods.

I didn’t have the finances to join a gym or go to any exercise classes, so I examined what resources I had available. Behind my house was the recky (park), and this is where I saw myself training. I had to be realistic with myself, my goals and what I could manage. From being completely inactive, I started with jogging and progressed my training, incorporating new things as my ability increased. I began to feel excitement for the first time; I was taking charge of my life and I was the one making change happen.

Within a month, I felt completely different within myself. My body was able to do things I had never imagined possible and I felt alive again. I realised the potential power my body was capable of harnessing – I will never forget that feeling, for it gave me the drive and determination I needed to succeed.

Although it wasn’t easy, and at times progress seemed slow, I constantly reminded myself that slow progress is still progress. Every time I felt like giving up, I envisioned where I wanted to be six months from then. From being an obese, unhappy teenager, my life has completely changed. I took all the negatives in my life and transformed them to positives. I gained N-SVQ Level 3 in nutrition and trained to become a level 4 fitness and cardiac rehabilitation instructor. As well as this I have successfully worked for the NHS for twelve years and continue to work in partnership with them to improve the wellbeing and health of others.

Throughout my life, I’ve learnt that everyone has the innate ability to motivate themselves, however they sometimes lack the self-belief, courage and willpower that they need to succeed. I have taken this journey myself and I know how hard it can be, I know how it feels to hate yourself, to be embarrassed and to think that your goals are unachievable but I am here to show you that you can succeed! It is never too late to make changes to your lifestyle, and it is upon this principle that Just In Time fitness was born.

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