‘ TAKE THINGS ONE DAY AT A TIME’
RUTH HOWIE, 52 Crieff, Perthshire Weight before 20st Weight now 10st Weight lost 10st Kept it off for 3 years
HOW I LOST IT
‘In August 2013 I decided to lose 10 stone, for health reasons – I was a heart attack waiting to happen. It took me 11 months.
Losing weight can be lonely, it can take up your life. Fortunately my family – husband Gavin and children Sophie Mae and Zak – were behind me.
Joining a running club and getting their support was also key. I started running in week two and soon felt confident enough to join Zak’s club. My new friends at the club gave me so much encouragement.’ HOW I’VE KEPT IT OFF ‘ When I’d reached my goal I promised myself I’d never regain more than a stone. I knew running was the key and by that time I’d fallen in love with endurance events and taken up ultra running. In April 2015 I finished a race as first female over 50. I couldn’t believe it; I’d never won anything in my life! Then I ran the 53-mile Highland Fling.
Appearing in RW was an amazing motivator, too. Several people sent me lovely messages via social media, congratulating me and saying I’d inspired them. We’ve kept in contact and become friends and I’ve helped them with their weight loss. I tell people to take things one day at a time. You can’t look 10 stone ahead, you have to work in small increments.
Another big lesson I’ve learned is not to rely too much on one thing to keep your weight in check. I learned the hard way when I pulled my calf muscle and should have taken some time off running. I didn’t, ended up tearing the muscle and had to take five weeks off.
When I returned to running I’d lost pace and didn’t feel great. My life revolves around running and it’s vital for my mental wellbeing so I hated taking time off. Also, I continued to eat like an ultra runner, and the weight started to creep back on. When you’re running 80 miles a week you can eat a lot! So I had to get disciplined with myself and go back to a stricter diet.
The support of the running community really kicked in. They encouraged me to keep in contact socially and to feel connected by volunteering at events. I’d recommend doing the same if you’re injured or unwell – stay involved. And do what you can do. Maybe you can’t run but you can still get out for walks. I started cycling, which gave me the endorphins and fresh air I’d been missing.
There will be times when you can’t run, so make a plan for what you’ll do in that event. Get stricter with your food intake, stay involved in the running community and try cross-training. Above all, respect your injury or illness and don’t rush back without making a full recovery. Patience paid off for me. I’ve entered the Highland Fling for this year and I am determined to beat my time.’