My wellness journey...
We all have a story......
I grew up in a household where fitness and exercise were always enjoyed. My mum was a PE teacher and as a family we enjoyed many active holidays, spent plenty of time outside on our bikes and enjoying sports like tennis. My brother was football mad and I enjoyed recreational gymnastics, disco dancing, swimming and playing netball. As I got older I continued my love of sport and played county netball for South Bucks, but as I got older my shape was changing and as a self concious teenager I was aware that I was a lot taller and in my eyes 'bigger' than all my school friends.
From those teenage years onwards I began 'dieting' always worrying about what I was eating, skipping meals, or trying lots of different fads to keep my weight down (soup diet, shakes, cereal diet, skipping meals, calorie restriction etc..).
My weight really increased when I was 19 and stopped regular exercise. My life had gotten busier with work and socialising (and drinking) with friends and exercise became the last thing on my mind. Over the next few years I put on 3 stone. I made occasional trips to the gym but never really stuck to anything. In 2002 I met my now husband Mark and we started to get back into some fun exercise habits. We went jogging and walking together, played tennis and racket ball and my love of exercise began to return. In 2003 I lost 3 stone by restricting my diet and my confidence improved, but I was always concerned about what I was eating. Mark and I got engaged and our wedding was set for June 2006.
In the run up to the wedding I worked out like a demon, running sometimes twice a day, during the week I heavily restricted my diet so I was living on soups and salads. On our wedding day I was the lightest I'd been in years, but my body was not healthy and there was no shape or tone.
Following the birth of my first child in 2007, my weight increased again. I went up to my heaviest weight AFTER I had my daughter. I ate everything in sight as I was tired with a newborn and I was breastfeeding. But my breastfeeding wasn't working well and the weight piled on. There are not many pictures of me during this time as I hated having my picture taken. I was not comfortable in my body and buying clothes became a tearful and frustrating experience. After a while I gradually managed to lose some of my 'baby' weight. I reduced my calorie intake and did occasional exercise. I had returned to netball but didn't manage to fit in much other exercise.
I had my second baby in 2010 and I made a promise to myself that I would get back to feeling good about myself. I had two beautiful children, and now it was time to get myself back in the happy zone. I wanted to return to work, and had a burning desire that I wanted to retrain as a fitness instructor. As a newbie I had no idea how I would do this, but I was determined and focused. Through a combination of healthier eating and lots of exercise (running, netball, home workout dvds) I managed to lose the excess weight and get to a healthy weight where I felt comfortable. At this point I found Jazzercise and decided to train as an instructor. I trained for 6 months and qualified in March 2013.
Through Jazzercise I had increased my exercise levels working out 5 times a week, but I still felt that I was always 'dieting'. I always ate low fat foods, used sweetner instead of sugar and thought that I could just exercise away any bad food choices!
In 2014 I trained as a Pilates instructor and launched my own business Achieva Pilates. Since then I have further developed my fitness qualifications and the classes that I teach - but I still felt that my diet could improve. I had been following Rachel Holmes the creator of Kick Start online for nearly 2 years. I found her social media posts really inspiring. I began to research 'clean eating' and after much research I began to realise that all the things I thought were good for me, were actually not that good at all. I'd been following the advice of low-fat, lots of fruit and veg, diet drinks with no added sugar (but contained sweeteners) for nearly 20 years! I began to realise that the nutritional science had changed and updated. Fat was no longer the enemy but sugar was! It was such an eye opener.
I went on to obtain my Level 2 Nutritional qualification and taught nutrition and fitness together when Achieva expanded to emcompass many different formats including my own branded Dance Fit and HiiT. I took a break from my nutritional work at the end of 2016, whilst I focused on other areas of my business and also going back to University to study a Masters in Sports and Exercise Psychology.
So moving into 2020 I'm back helping and supporting women to be the best version of themselves. Through support, education and accountability we can all make changes and I hope to help as many people as I can to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
Liz Lane, 38, Maidenhead.