INSPIRATIONAL STORIES BY EVERYDAY PEOPLE
“Walking For Weight Loss”, by Elaine
“Before I reached my 50’s I could always manage my weight, but as the years crept past my weight slowly increased. When my eldest daughter set the date for her wedding (for August 2012), I realised I had 11 months to do something about it if I wanted to feel good in my mother of the bride outfit. I joined a gym and cut down on snacks. Gradually the weight started to come off and I managed to lose 1 stone and tone up. During this time my youngest daughter got engaged and the date for her wedding was set for May 2013, just 9 months after her sister!
I managed to maintain my weight loss until after the second wedding but then even though I was still going to the gym the weight started going back on and it wasn’t just the original stone!! By December 2013 I felt fat and frumpy, I hated looking in the mirror or buying clothes. I started to have one minor illness after another and finally I went to the doctor in January 2014. I was horrified to be told that my blood pressure was high and would need to be monitored. I knew that my weight was partly to blame. I left the doctors surgery at 3.45pm and by 4pm I was signing up for Weight Watchers. I was told that I would need to lose two stone to reach a healthy weight for my height.
I embraced the Weight Watchers lifestyle as I was still able to have meals out and enjoy a glass or two of wine. I renewed my efforts at the gym and as the weight started to come off and my blood pressure returned to normal, I rediscovered my passion for walking. I started to walk to and from work whenever I could and then gradually built up to longer walks through the beautiful countryside nearby. I was delighted that only six months after joining Weight Watchers I reached my goal weight! I had gone from a size 16 to a size 12 and was determined that I would not slip back. Eating healthily, going to the gym and walking were now firmly established as part of my lifestyle, there was no going back!
I felt so much healthier. I was able to walk longer distances and people were complementing me on my appearance. I decided that I wanted to lose a few more pounds so that I would have a cushion for holidays etc. Over the next 18 months I managed to lose another 11 pounds and another dress size. In January 2016 my daughter Gillian announced that she had set herself a challenge to complete 100 walks before the end of the year. I joined her as often as I could and the weight stayed off. I was delighted to be part of the group who was with Gillian when she completed her challenge with a walk on the Isle of Cumbrae during December 2016.
In 2017 I decided to join Gillian with her new challenge to walk 1000 miles in the year. I was doing great and by September I had exceeded the challenge and completed 1750 miles.
Then on October 12th 2017 disaster struck! I fell down a flight of outside stairs and fractured my knee in two places. I needed surgery to insert a plate and screws to hold the bones in place. This changed my life completely. I was fitted with a leg brace and banned from putting any weight on my injured leg for seven weeks.
Hopping around using crutches was very difficult due to the pain so I spent most of the time sitting about. I was totally dependent on my husband for almost everything. I would get really upset every time the weather was good and I couldn’t get out. I started to resent people posting their walks on Facebook.
How could a second’s lack of concentration have such massive consequences?
The week before Christmas I was able to get my leg brace off and start weight-bearing by putting 50% of my weight down. With the help of the physiotherapist I managed to gradually increase this to full weight-bearing 13 weeks after my accident. I was told that it would be a gradual process over the next few months to build up the strength in my leg and increase the range of movement in my knee.
I went back to Weight Watchers mid January 2018 when I was able to stand on the scales. I had gained 9 pounds because of my inactivity and all the extra snacks I had eaten when I had visitors or was feeling sorry for myself. This was putting extra pressure on my knee so I was determined to work extra hard to get it back off.
Soon I could manage very short walks which was a great boost to my morale. The experience had made me realise that walking is not only good for my physical health, it’s good for my mental health as well. I was looking forward to the spring when I hoped to be able to join Gillian on her shorter group walks and enjoy the great outdoors once again.
Five years on (March 2023), and my weight has fluctuated by going up and down by 7 pounds or so (lockdown didn’t help). I keep a check on it and if ever I can’t manage to keep it under control on my own I’ll head straight back to Weight Watchers.
I am walking further than ever and have been on a couple of walking holidays with Gillian and my other daughter Louise. I have continued to take part in the Walk 1000 Miles challenge and managed 3488 miles last year!
As soon as I was fit I started joining Kilmarnock Active Travel Hub’s Monday Health Walk. I enjoyed the walks and meeting new people so jumped at the chance of training to be a volunteer walk leader. Most Mondays I can now be found leading a group around the East Ayrshire countryside paths and sharing my love of walking with them.
My leg will always give me a bit of bother but as long as I am careful where I go and don’t overdo it I manage to walk every day no matter what the weather.
I love joining Gillian on her adventures and look forward to continuing doing so for many years to come”