JTX Fitness customer, Essie, has lost 20% of her body weight in the last six months. Discovering the buzz that exercise gives her, has motivated her to make sustainable lifestyle changes. Essie has kindly agreed to share her story, to help others who may not see themselves represented by the fitness industry. Read on as she shares her inspiring weight loss journey.
Over the years, Scottish Civil Servant, Essie’s, weight crept up: “I remember looking at the scale in 2002 when I weighed 13 stone and thinking I needed to lose weight. But I didn’t do anything about it.”
In December 2019, things changed for Essie. Her BMI peaked at 55 and she decided enough was enough: “I looked at the scales and I weighed 133.6kg. I just thought, this is crazy — I’m killing myself. If I want to see the next ten, twenty, thirty years, I need to make a change. At the age of 51, I need to take this seriously.”
Essie’s family were supportive when she told them she wanted to address her eating habits and start exercising: “My husband, son and daughter have all been brilliant. My son has a very healthy relationship with food. But he didn’t use to exercise, so we agreed to start exercising together.”
Until recently, Essie felt alienated by the idea of exercise. She didn’t see people of her size in the gym: “I didn’t see people like me exercising, either online or in real life, so I felt like exercise was not for me. I didn’t feel comfortable exercising, and the heavier I got the less comfortable I felt.”
When her son agreed to go to the gym with her, things changed. With him as a gym buddy, Essie had the confidence to work out. Since then, exercise has played a huge part in Essie’s weight loss journey.
When lockdown happened, Essie knew she’d need to find an alternative to the gym. So, she decided to give online workouts a go: “Since lockdown, I’ve been doing Joe Wicks’ P.E. sessions pretty religiously. It’s made a huge difference to how I feel. My fitness fanatic daughter has been encouraging me by joining over FaceTime. She’s been sharing her workout knowledge with me and I’ve been happily taking her advice.”
Essie’s next step will be working out on a machine at home: “I’ve just ordered a cross trainer from JTX Fitness and I’m so excited about using it. The fact that it has a high enough user weight for me to use it was a real selling point. Many brands exclude me from using their products as their user weight is too low. I was delighted when I found that JTX Fitness has machines that cater to my needs.”
Essie set her weight loss goal by looking at her BMI: “To have a healthy BMI, I would need to weigh between 8 and 10 stone. So, I decided to aim for 9 and half stone — half my starting weight.”
To achieve this goal in a healthy and sustainable way, Essie estimates it will take her about two years. She’s committed to the process and has found ways to celebrate her progress: “It’s a long journey, so celebrating milestones along the way is important. I’m proud to say I’ve already lost 20% of my body weight.”
“To measure my progress, I’m taking photos along the way. Recording my progress visually really helps me. It’s not about how I look to other people — it’s about noticing how far I’ve come.”
Now Essie has started exercising, she’s hooked: “Exercising gives me a massive buzz! I’d never made the connection between exercise and mental health before. The buzz really helps you stick to your routine. It keeps you coming back for more.”
What’s more, exercise has boosted Essie’s confidence and empowered her to make healthy choices: “Exercising has increased my confidence and helped me with my diet. Before I started, I felt too heavy to exercise. Now I exercise, I’m much more motivated to eat well.”
Since the start of her weight loss journey, Essie’s relationship with food has completely changed: “I had to be honest with myself. If you’re overweight, either you eat the wrong thing or you eat too much. Or both. There’s no sugar coating it. I decided to own this. I needed to eat healthy stuff and I needed to control my calorie intake.”
“I visited my GP and the hospital to discuss a controlled weight loss plan. We focused on diet to begin with and I’m now on a 1200 calorie limit.”
Now, a typical breakfast for Essie is 40g of wholewheat cereal with 125ml of semi skimmed milk. Sometimes she has yogurt and fruit instead. Or a slice of toast with sliced tomatoes. Essie normally has an apple as a mid morning snack.
For lunch, Essie often has soup and a roll. Or a pita and salad. And for dinner, she tries to stick to a 400-600 calorie meal: “I might have chicken and salad or a homemade cottage pie. If I have pasta, it’s always wholewheat.”
Essie explains that it is important to be realistic with your diet: “When it comes to changing your relationship with food, I think it’s important to find ways to make healthy versions of the food you like. For me, that meant finding a healthier way to make a low fat cottage pie. If you try to make changes that are too dramatic, like only eating salad, you are setting yourself up to fail.”
“Portion control is important too. I make sure my portions are small now. And if I need to fill up, I fill up on low calorie, high fibre snacks, like cherry tomatoes.”
Losing weight has improved life for Essie in many ways: “I haven’t reached my end goal yet but losing 20% of my body weight has already changed my life. I used to be on high blood pressure tablets. I was able to come off these after a month of my new diet and exercise regime. My resting heart rate used to be 99 and now it’s down to 72.”
“There are so many other small changes too. It’s simple stuff but it makes a huge difference — things that people of a healthy weight wouldn’t even consider. For example, I used to park as close to where I was going as possible. I’m getting fitter and have more stamina. Now I can park where I want and walk much more easily.”
“I used to feel trussed up when I wore a coat. It was so hot and claustrophobic. Now I can wear what I want. Clothes fit so much better. I can buy things I like rather than being limited to whatever fits.”