I never thought I’d be classed as a “blogger” and I never thought I’d embark on journey that pushed me to my limits (and I’m not talking about a nursing degree).

I always considered myself as “healthy”, but now I realise just how unhealthy I was before – both physically and possibly mentally. In school I loved PE, even the sports I was never good at! I was always doing something. Tennis, hockey, swimming, and I even gave cross country running a go! I did karate for many years, reaching my black belt twice (as a junior and a senior) and then for some reason things. just. stopped.

Please excuse the heavy eyeliner and side fringe that 15 year old me had

I can’t quite pinpoint when things stopped, I think it was a gradual decline of things. I left school which meant I was no longer doing sports. I kept up with karate but I was doing more teaching than training. I turned 18 which meant I was going out and partying more and I started driving. I started a new job that had me working from 6am until 10pm with very little break, which lead me to live on anything that I could get from a drive through.

What I realise now is that I was in denial. I was slim and fit when I was younger I always thought that would be me forever. I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about putting on weight. I often got told that “it would catch up” with me, and I never believed it when actually in fact, it did. As I started becoming more unhealthy I started getting bigger in clothes size, but again I was making excuses for myself. I’m a bit of a heavy chested girl, and often thought that was the main reason why I needed larger sizes. I would squeeze myself into smaller clothes, focusing solely on the size of clothing items. I would avoid certain shops knowing they “don’t cater for people like me”.

Now I realise that as I was getting bigger, my confidence and self esteem was getting lower. Occasionally I would feel good, for example if I was going on a night out with friends. I love getting myself all dressed up and feeling good. I admit that sometimes I WOULD feel good, I didn’t care about my size. I realised that whilst I was in the house I would be confident in myself, but as soon as I would be in the bar/club/pub the confidence disappeared. I would start comparing myself to how my friends and how good other women looked. If I found someone attractive I wouldn’t bother starting a conversation because I didn’t feel that I was worth it, I knew that I wouldn’t be what someone else classed as “beautiful”. I wasn’t the person I portrayed to be.

Lots of people talk about a specific “turning point” in their life that happens for them to make change. Last summer I had a few.

I went to a friends bbq last year and had an amazing time. It was one of the highlights of my summer, but I remember looking at some photos that were taken and being mortified with how big I looked compared to my friends.

I ended up having surgery to have my gallbladder removed last summer. I always thought having gallstones was just “one of those things” but a contributing factor is weight. That was a major eye opener for me.

I decided to try and get myself back in the gym – but I wouldn’t go alone. Going to the gym really intimated me. I would only go with friends and would try to go when there would be less people. I was so self conscious of being stared at, not knowing how to use equipment properly and just making me realise how unfit I had become.

This was one of the very first times that I stepped foot in the gym

I had then started my last 2nd year placement which seemed to have put everything else on hold. Again I found an excuse not to exercise, I was going out partying in my spare time, working lots of hours and eating lots of bad food. I realise now that my default routine is convenience rather than food which is nutritious.

Fast forward to 2020 new year. This is where I (and a lot of others) made the New Years resolution to become healthy. Yes I wanted to lose weight, but I wanted to change my whole mindset when it came to health. I wanted to essentially “re-wire” my thought process so that I would no longer WANT to rely on convenience. I wanted to feel good about myself.

I went to the gym by myself for the first time in Cardiff just before I came back to Leicester. I found a gym where I knew no one, and pushed myself to go and just do a simple workout and I did. I remember feeling so good afterwards too. When I came back to Leicester I decided I was actually going to do this. I decided to take the plunge and get a personal trainer.

I had seen progress photos from different personal trainers but was often too intimidated to enquire. I had this vision that they would laugh at me for my size or for how unfit I was. Another thing that used to put me off were the prices and realised that it was going to be a pretty big investment. It wasn’t until I met with my trainer Sabi Bacso, who told me “think about the money you spend on these takeaways and nights out, they probably cost more than a PT session” and he was 100% right. I’ve realised now that I’m not investing in a personal trainer, but I’m investing in my health.

I’ve been on this journey for approximately five months now. Don’t get me wrong it’s been a challenging five months! I started going to the gym just for my training sessions but that quickly evolved into attending classes with a friend, to then me going by myself which was a major step forward. I was always the person who would hide in the back of the class, but soon after I had started training Sabi would make me come to the front. Shortly after this was a normal part of my routine, I would go to classes 3 days a week, train twice with Sabi and then I found myself going to the gym by myself for some “me” time.

I started to change as a person. Not only was I losing weight, but i was having little victories. I could fit into those jeans more comfortably. My concentration was better. My stress levels were lower. My sleep had improved. I was lifting heavier weights. I became more flexible. I had more confidence. Don’t get me wrong sometimes I still struggle with self-esteem and my confidence but I think realistically It’s going to take me a lot longer to truly love myself after many years of thinking so negatively of myself.

There are times where I have wanted to give up. When my alarm would go off early on a Monday morning to attend a 6:30am gym class – the amount of times I just wanted to turn the alarm off and go back to sleep! There are many times I didn’t feel like training, where I would rather be going to an after uni pint instead of to a spin class. I realised that I now had to make my health a priority. It didn’t mean that I couldn’t have fun, but it just meant that I had to do things in balance. I think now I have been able to appreciate going out socially more (pre-covid).

Having a personal trainer has definitely helped me keep going. There are times where Sabi has really had to motivate me, and I can imagine that it can be quite tiring having to constantly be behind someone to push them. I’ve swore at him, shouted at him, and been called out for being “mardy” on several occasions – but I think without him I wouldn’t have lasted this long. I also believe that having someone to share your successes and setbacks with is key. Having someone see things from a different perspective, and being taught that success isn’t always measured via kitchen scales bought from Argos!

I’m still a work in progress. I’ve not yet reached my weight goal, but regardless I’m pretty darn proud of myself. I still have confidence and self-esteem wobbles, I still go out and enjoy myself with my friends. But I have learnt more about myself and the importance of self-love in the last five months than I have in my entire life.

I am starting to get to know the new version of myself.

If you would like to contact Sabi about training whether you are based in Leicester or not his Instagram page can be found here: https://instagram.com/sabi_bacso?igshid=1ec23gnlioje