Words By: Hayley Tutton, YMF Trainer
When I first moved in with my boyfriend, now husband, I started to eat the same amount of food as him (and let me tell you, he can put food away! But he has the metabolism for it). I went to the gym, well went through motions of going that is, but I didn’t really put effort in and I would reward myself with food for going. We’d actually get chicken and sausages from the chip shop on the way home thinking it’s ok as we skipped the carbs (remember the low carb craze?). I soon gained weight and in a space of a year jumped two dress sizes. I was in denial big time, the clothes shops seriously needed to sort their sizing out – because it was the manufacturing of the clothes, not my chilli and chips I consumed at lunch, or the vodka and colas – no way was my expanding waistline anything to do with my 250g serves of creamy pasta and my penchant for eating a whole bag of honey roasted cashews (nuts are healthy, right?).
In 2003, I arrived in Australia as a backpacker (originally from Wales). I was getting some photos developed (yes actual film), and as I was looking through the photos I was literally crying. I was so unhappy with the image that stared back at me. That wasn’t me. The weight had aged me and it just didn’t feel like me, the person I felt inside. All my confidence just evaporated. As cheesy as it sounds, that moment I decided to make a change. It really was a lightbulb moment for me. It wasn’t just my appearance either, it was how I felt physically – I used to get puffed walking up stairs and my strength was dismal. I reached a point where I’d make up any excuse not to exercise, I knew that had to change. So I wrote a food diary and I found healthier alternatives. In my view, I never really “dieted” as I wanted it to be a realistic change. I still wanted to eat out and have drinks with my friends. I made small changes that were maintainable. I reduced portion sizes, I chose healthier alternatives, I said no to that second helping, and I waved junk food goodbye. I then enlisted a personal trainer so I was accountable for my exercise. We booked a trip back to visit our families in the U.K. and that for me was my goal – to not be that girl that left 2 years prior. I think we all like compliments and when everyone reacted positively to the new me, it just spurred me on.
When I became a mum in 2010, I wanted to show my boys that being active and eating healthy is a way of life. It’s not something we just do to lose weight or to train for an event. It’s not a short-term thing. I joined Yummy Mummy Fitness after having my second son, and stepped it up a notch with my fitness and nutrition. So much so that I studied to become a trainer. It’s a huge part of my life now, with two very active boys – I’m glad I have the energy to run around with them. I’m worlds away from the girl that first came to Australia. I train because I want to, and I eat well because it benefits my body and compliments my training.
When I don’t exercise I actually get really grumpy – exercise is my drug. I still have treats and I love a couple of glasses of red on the weekend, I think everyone needs balance (which is something I don’t have any of after a few glasses of wine!). I think everyone needs to find the right balance and it’s not just about how great you look in a pair of shorts, it’s how you feel on the inside too. If you’re active and eat right most of the time, then you’re half way there. We lead by example and I know the type of example I want for my children – that food shouldn’t control you, exercise should be fun, and if you’re not comfortable in your own skin then you won’t enjoy this wonderful thing called life!
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