Client Success Story: Lynn Owen

My name is Lynn and I want to tell you my life-long diet story and I hope it helps to inspire you…

Come back with me to New Year 2015… I’m making a resolution to lose weight and get fit – it’s the same resolution I’ve been making for almost 40 years. Making and failing to achieve. I am a qualified yo-yo dieter! Like all seasoned dieters - I’ve tried everything from Weight Watchers to the Cambridge Diet (living on ‘milkshakes’), from counting calories to Rosemary Conley low-fat eating. I’ve starved myself. And I’ve spent all this time hating my body and, to a degree, myself. Trapped in this negative cycle, I would have periods of over-eating interspersed with diets. My self-esteem was low and I used cigarettes and alcohol to relieve stress and boost confidence. I hated exercise because it made me feel so embarrassed. Here’s the evidence!

A Chubby Baby
A Chubby Toddler
Aged 16 - Slimmer
Aged 21
Heaviest - 13.5 stone
Slimmer Again
Back to 12.5 Stone
Slimmer Again

You get the picture?! On all of my diets, solitary or group based, I never reached my goal weight and as you can see, I didn’t keep the weight off either.

When I was forty I left my job of over 20 years and went to University to get a degree and become a primary school teacher! I got a first class honours degree and began teaching but even a satisfying job didn’t help me to achieve a healthier lifestyle. A year into this, my partner, Jeff, was diagnosed with cancer. In 2010, the cancer returned and our only hope was a stem cell transport. During the chemo, Jeff suffered a massive stroke and lost his language ability and some mobility on his right side. A year later, when he was stronger, he underwent the treatment again. It was only partially successful and caused damage to his heart. Eventually in 2013 I gave up work to make sure he had the best quality of life possible. This didn’t help on the diet and exercise front. My world became a lot smaller.

Anyway… back to 2016. I’d started the year off trying to lose weight as usual but wasn’t doing very well. I was worried that middle-age spread and the menopause would mean I’d be overweight forever. I was also seriously lacking any ‘me’ time. So after much research I decided to try a personal trainer. I chose JB Personal Training because JB are my partner’s initials, it was close to home and women only. My first session with Shona was on the 29th March. I joined saying that I wanted to lose a few pounds and get a bit fitter! I went home feeling like I’d been hit by a tornado!!! Shona carried out a fitness assessment and gave me some healthy eating guidelines. Each week, one session focused on exercise and the other on my food diary and lifestyle. Every aspect of my daily life was examined – there are no half measures at JB and no room for excuses.

I set a target of 10 stone and completely changed my diet and lifestyle. Over a period of 9 months, I lost an average of ½ lb a week and got stronger and fitter. Shona challenged me to do things I thought impossible and made my muscles ache more than I thought possible! Weekly weigh-ins helped to keep me on track. I injured my back in 1999 and had spinal surgery in 2001 so I had been very cautious about putting too much strain on my back which restricted the exercise I did. Shona recommended JB Pilates classes and I haven’t had any back problems since joining. Next I started Metafit classes and began running (I know! My friends don’t believe it either!).

By my birthday in October I had reached my target weight (Another proud moment!). Here are my before and after pictures and me in the same doorway – twenty years later!! I started 2017 with a new resolution – to maintain my weight and fitness. You can’t imagine how good it felt not to be making the same old resolution and to be buying size 8/10 clothes.
Me Now In 2017
Before and After JB

This year I have joined JB as a Platinum member. I’ve chosen to have a monthly weigh-in. I have kept within 2lb of my target for almost a year. I’m not the most socially confident soul (unless I’ve had copious amounts of alcohol – but those days are behind me!!) yet I always find JB classes friendly and upbeat. I have completed a Couch to 5k course and I am now a member of the running club (I’m the one at the back but just love being there). I met Ella on the Couch course and she’s now my regular running buddy. We’re training for a 10k next!! (Now that is brave!) Joining JB has been the answer for me – in more ways than I ever expected! I love that I can dig the garden, I love that I can squat down when gardening and stay there for more than a minute, I love that I have more strength in my arms and, I love that I can run for a bus, I love surprising myself with what I can do!

Here are the ten things that helped me the most:

  1. Have a vision – where do you want to be? What do you want to weigh/measure? e.g. Weigh 10 stone. What do you want to be able to do/feel like? e.g. run 5k, do 3 press-ups, feel more confident.
  2. Drink 2 litres of water every day.
  3. 4 hour rule – Eat something every four hours to keep your blood sugar level. In turn this will help to keep your energy and mood level. However, avoid eating within two hours of bedtime when trying to lose weight.
  4. Portion sizes – learn and stick to healthy portion sizes and healthy combinations of food groups. A fist size portion of carbs and palm size of protein.
  5. Don’t double up on carbs – e.g. don’t have mash potato and baked beans (both carbs), don’t have cereals and banana (both carbs).
  6. Cut out as much processed food as possible: e.g. white bread, rice and pasta, ready meals, low fat products, anything with additives (salt, sugar, trans fats etc). Much of this is low in nutrition too. This means you can eat butter, cheese and nuts (in moderation of course).
  7. Eat the rainbow – this applies to fruit and veg. Try to eat as many different coloured things as possible every day. This way you’ll get lots of different nutrients. Your 5+ a day should all be different colours – 2 portions of carrots don’t count as 2 of your 5!
  8. Choose low GI foods (Glycaemic Index) – these are foods that take longer to break down and help you to feel fuller for longer. Examples include vegetables, nuts, oats, milk, berries, natural yogurt. White carbs (bread. pasta. potatoes, rice) are high GI.
  9. The 80/20 rule – try to eat healthily for 80% of the time but allow yourself a little of what you fancy.
  10. Try to eat fish twice a week, including at least one portion of oily fish like salmon (ok, I struggle with this one!).
  11. The body responds to change – vary your exercise for best results. Find a friend to exercise with, get workout clothes you feel good in. Remember exercise enhances mood, reduces stress and builds confidence. In no time, you’ll be able to do so much more and have more energy.

Finally, a massive thank you to JB Fitness & Wellbeing for letting me ‘publish’ my story, oh and of course, for changing my life!!!!

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