WomensFitnessHQ: Can you tell us a but about your transformation. Starting out weight, end weight, how long it took, all that good stuff?
Laura Bounden: I am 5ft 1in and my starting weight at the end of May was 131lbs. I had started the C25K (couch 25k) app a couple of months before that but because I hadn’t changed my diet I lost absolutely no weight. I saw a 15 day ‘challenge’ on Facebook which looked at diet and exercise and gave it a go. Exactly 2 months later I had lost 14lbs, my total weight loss after 5 months is 23lbs a loss of bringing me to 108lbs. The weight loss slowed down after I started doing some strength training but my shape has changed even on weeks where I’ve not lost anything.
WFHQ: Tell your story-what happened to make you finally want to make a change?
LB: I had always tried to look after myself with eating well and exercising regularly until September 2013 when I received what at the time was devastating news that I had Multiple Sclerosis. This was made worse by the fact the tests had been done 18 months previous and they got mislaid. The clinical results were posted to me instead of my neurologist so I spent a frightening Friday evening googling medical terms trying to decipher them. My initial shock was replaced by sadness then depression and I turned to food to comfort me. I stopped going to the gym because I’d adopted the attitude ‘what’s the point of keeping fit’. My weight crept up fairly quickly and even though I knew I’d put on lots of weight it wasn’t until I saw a photo of me after running the Race For Life that I realised just how much. I immediately decided that I was going to do everything I could to improve my mood, fitness, health and attitude.
LB: After making the decision to change things I saw a challenge that I thought I’d give a go. I put my all into it and lost weight within the first week so carried on with the exercises and some of the recipes for about a month. I cut out sugar, added in healthy fats, lots of protein and followed a low carb diet and the weight came off at a healthy pace. I continued with running 5k at least 4 times a week and then joined my old gym again.
I used various tricks to help me, here are just a few:
- I printed off a motivational photo of me before and after the weight gain and put it where I could see it every day, I also put it on my social media so I could hold myself accountable for the changes.
- I eat mostly fresh homemade food; stay clear of packaged convenience foods
- I started eating off a smaller plate
- Instead of saying “no thanks, I’m not allowed to eat that” I said “no thanks I choose not to eat…” this shift in mind set really helped me still feel in control.
- I used to ask myself if I want to feel fit and healthy more than I want that chocolate cake etc.
- I would always be prepared with healthy snacks every time I went out so I wouldn’t be tempted to indulge if I got hungry when out.
- I started drinking lots of water, infused with either strawberry, citrus fruits or cucumber.
WFHQ: What about daily life has changed the most since your transformation? What’s better or easier?
LB: Before the transformation I didn’t like what I looked like, hated clothes shopping and lost lots of my confidence. I am now far happier, love my daily gym sessions either at 6.30 am or after work. I have far more energy and more confidence too. I do spin classes 5 times a week, Tabata, trail running with friends and started rowing. Cardio used to be my thing but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and now adding in more weights and strength training.
WFHQ: If you could go back now to before the transformation, is there anything you would change? Example, would you lift weights instead of cardio?
LB: I would have probably added in more HIIT or sprints into my training at the beginning especially because I lost no weight at all when I first started and part of that was my body felt comfortable running for 30 minutes, I wasn’t pushing it. My instructor at the gym has passed on a wealth of knowledge to me about training and especially fat loss so should’ve also spoken to professionals earlier on rather than hoping things would work.
WFHQ: What’s your plan moving forward?
LB: My plan is to be the fittest I have ever been by my 40th birthday in April. I am also hoping to keep my fitness because it has helped with my MS symptoms dramatically. I am in lots less pain, my balance has improved as well as my strength. I used to struggle with holding my hairdryer up at the beginning of the year and now I’m lifting weights.
Thank you so much to Laura for sharing her story with us. We hope she can serve as a real life inspiration for the rest of you. You can follow her on Twutter at @EllexBee.
Do you have your own story of transformation? Tell us!