‘ 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

Runner's World (UK) - - Middle Managers -

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.’

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