Ness Marshall has recently qualified as a fitness instructor (Aug 2021) and joined the Get Fit Today team having been a member for some time.
Ness not only has a unique perspective on outdoor fitness having been a member prior to becoming an instructor but also has an interesting back-story to her health & fitness history.
Here is her story.....
Some time ago a friend made a comment "it's easy for you" when I was (as usual) shouting the praises of health & fitness.
That comment stopped me in my tracks and here's why. I had only known this friend for a few years so she didn't know my back story.
I haven't always run or enjoyed health & fitness, I was an overweight child, teenager and adult. I didn't play sports in school, hated PE and would do almost anything to avoid doing it. As I got older this way of life continued and I also started smoking, I did little to no exercise and my eating habits left a lot to be desired.
At 23 years old I had my daughter, My little girl was born early weighing only 3lb 2oz, but she was a fighter and after a shaky start and some worrying times she flourished. This made me see things differently. I realised I wanted to be around to see this little girl grow up, I wanted her to be as proud of me as I was of her. We had a history of coronary heart disease in my close family, my dad had passed away far too young from a heart attack, so I knew I had to take some responsibility for my health.
I knew absolutely nothing about healthy eating and exercise, so I asked my mum and a close friend to help me, they were both wonderful and supportive, they never once criticised me. We had a start weigh day, I weighed 17stone 2lbs, I was shocked, I couldn't recall ever weighing myself prior to this, I'd always avoided the scales.
It took me just over 18 months to lose 6 1/2 stone. This was done by making healthier choices with my food and moving more. I did lots of home workouts (the Jane Fonda type videos, now there's a blast from the past 😃) and walking.
I was too embarrassed at first to go to a gym or do a group class, because I thought people would judge me and when I did finally go, I would always stand at the back hoping no one would notice me - I've since realised that if you find the right group of people, they will support you, they will encourage you and want you to do well.
It took me a lot longer to give up smoking, which seems crazy now, but in 2013 I felt it was my last hurdle to overcome and along with a friend we bought lots of nicotine patches and downloaded Couch to 5k. I still remember that first run, it was 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking, watching that timer count down I thought I was possibly going to pass out! After nearly 25 years of smoking, it was no mean feat to run for 60 seconds. But with the support of my friend I did it and I was proud of myself. I now love running, I've done lots of 5k's, 10k's, half marathons and an ultra marathon. I love group activities and strength training, I love being in nature and walking my dog, My only regret is I didn't figure all of this out earlier!
I suppose really my friend was right when she said "it's easy for you" because I do enjoy exercise, but it hasn't always been that way, it's taken a long time and a lot of changes, with lots of support from some great friends and groups along the way.
I will never profess to knowing all the answers to losing weight or being fit & healthy, but the things I have personally taken from the last 20 years are:
Small lifestyle changes are easier to maintain than big all or nothing changes.
Fuel your body to be strong and healthy, not just to be a number on a scale.
Do an activity that makes you smile and you enjoy, as you are more likely to stick with it.
Be proud you are making changes to improve yourself regardless of your starting point.
Just because something is hard now, doesn't mean it always will be.
Surround yourself with positive like minded people and accept help.
Never quit, you only ever fail anything if you stop trying.
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What a great story - we're really grateful to Ness for sharing this with us as we know what she has been through will really touch home for a lot of you reading this right now. If you would like some support in losing weight, please get in touch.
You don't have to jump straight into hours of vigorous fitness every week and only eat salad to lose weight. As Ness says, small lifestyle changes are the best way to achieve sustainable weight loss.
We have a fantastic food tracking App which, combined with our fitness App will give you everything you need to exercise, stay healthy and eat well. Contact us if you would like any help with this and if you would like to meet Ness - pop along to the park 😃