Reader Success Story: How I ‘Re-Started’ My Healthy Lifestyle
We get so many inspiring emails from readers, and today we’re sharing another reader success story with you! Read on for Jenn Coppacks’ inspiring story on finding balance and enjoying a healthy lifestyle as a 28-year-old Aussie living in London. And feel free to share yours, too!
My name is Jenn and I “re-started” my healthy lifestyle back in March 2011. I say “re-started,” as previous to 2007, my life had been fairly healthy. I was an overly active teen at school, playing every sport there was, and then progressed to elite fitness and kickboxing in my 20s. However, a few major changes occurred in my life, and I slipped into the habit of not caring about myself—smoking, drinking and basically not providing my body with the right fuel or energy to have one day without feeling tired or lethargic.
I packed my bags and moved from Sydney to London in May 2010. I worked in a pub as well as my 9-to-5 job. This caused me to gain a lot of weight, as I was drinking cider after every shift while socializing and trying to make friends in a new country.
I soon realized that this was not the life I wanted to be living. I never had before, so why should I start doing this to myself now? I quit smoking in October 2010 and haven’t looked back. It took a few more months to get myself settled into a healthier routine, but once I was in a happier place, I knew it was time to work on changing my body to being better than what it was before.
March 5, 2011, is when I took my first progress picture. I was disgusted with what I had let myself become and, in all honesty, that was enough motivation for me to sort myself out. I bought a runner’s backpack and gave myself a challenge of being able to jog the route home from Camden to Shoreditch, which is about 3.5 miles. I also signed up for MyFitnessPal so that I could see what nutrients I was putting into my body and educate myself as to what was good and what wasn’t.
Okay, I won’t lie; the first day jogging I felt like someone had a harness attached to me, holding me back. I couldn’t hop gracefully from the road to the footpath when needed, and I had to stop frequently to walk and catch my breath. However, before this first attempt was even half over, I was determined to kick my goal’s a**!
After three attempts, I was able to jog the entire length of the hill up Pentonville Road from Kings Cross to Angel. Believe me, the smile on my face when I ran to the top was huge! Of course, because I had run the whole hill without stopping, I couldn’t let it beat me again. Each time I ran, the hill was mine. Before I knew it, I had shaved 6 minutes off my trip home.
Because I have a very active sweet tooth, I also had to make some pretty severe changes to my diet. I stopped buying anything sugary. I saw it as a bad habit—like smoking—that needed to be kicked cold turkey. I limited drinking alcohol for a while, knowing that my weakness for bourbon and Coke was doing nothing for my sugar intake. I do enjoy a vodka, fresh lime and soda though!
Each week I continued to take progress pictures. I felt the difference in my body, but I couldn’t see it for some time. But you know what, over time, my clothes started to get baggy on me. I tried on some old skinny jeans that I had only ever fit into once in Australia, and they fit me perfectly.
I hopped on the scale on June 9 and saw that I had lost close to 20 pounds. I had done it!
I have maintained my current weight of 127.8 pounds for the last three months. I exercise five to six times per week. I eat five times per day. I have kept up with running and ran my first Race for Life 10K in 47 minutes and 20 seconds. I am stronger than I have ever been before, and I feel fantastic. My life has started again, and I feel I have been given a second chance.
I would like to give some advice to those of you who are just starting out on your healthy lifestyle journeys…