It hap­pened to me

When Ros­alynn Bartlett dis­cov­ered she’d got too big to do any of the ex­er­cise she had pre­vi­ously en­joyed, she knew it was time for a ma­jor lifestyle change…

Woman (UK) - - Inside this Issue! -

I’m half the woman I was

Pound­ing the pave­ments or tak­ing to the pool, there’s not a day that goes by when I’m not ex­er­cis­ing. with my ac­tive lifestyle it’s no surprise that I’m a toned and slen­der size 12. But what might be a lit­tle harder to be­lieve is that just three years ago I was more than dou­ble my size.

When I was work­ing as an ac­coun­tant in my early 20s, I went to the gym al­most every day. Run­ning on the tread­mill and tak­ing part in ex­er­cise classes was a wel­come break away from my desk.

I was 11st and a size 14 but that all changed in 2005 when, aged 28, I bought my first house in Buck­ing­hamshire. With all my money go­ing on the mort­gage I could no longer af­ford my gym mem­ber­ship and didn’t ex­er­cise as much.

As the years passed the pounds started to creep on to my 5ft 8in frame. I was sin­gle and couldn’t be both­ered cook­ing for one. In­stead I’d come home from work and slump on the sofa as I reached for the phone to dial for a takeaway – fish and chips and pizza were my favourite. And I’d al­ways pol­ish off a few glasses of red wine at the week­end too.

By the time I was 32 I was 20st and a size 22. I knew I was big and al­though I tried join­ing lo­cal slim­ming clubs – I just didn’t have the mo­ti­va­tion – or willpower to stick to any plans. Un­able to re­sist temp­ta­tion, if ever I lost weight I’d only pile it back on – and more. But the truth was, my size didn’t bother me. I could still shop in most high street stores – al­beit I was at the up­per size limit – and my friends and fam­ily

‘my size didn’t bother me’

never men­tioned my weight. So I tried to ig­nore it. Stand­ing on the train on my hour com­mute to work each day, my an­kles swelled and my back and knees were in agony. Still, that didn’t stop me from call­ing for a curry on the jour­ney home, so it would ar­rive when I got in. Some­times I’d even stop off at the shops and buy cheese and bags of crisps to snack on through­out the night in­stead of hav­ing a proper meal.

By 2014 I was 24st 4lb and a size 26-28. Shop­ping be­came so much harder and if I was go­ing out with friends I couldn’t find any­thing nice to wear. In­stead I’d cover up in baggy tops and stretchy tent-like dresses to fit over my bulging tummy.

Re­al­ity check

Get­ting ready in the morn­ings, I was start­ing to dis­like the round face and flabby arms star­ing back at me in the mir­ror. So that May I de­cided to go on a spa and well­ness hol­i­day on my own to St Lu­cia. I rea­soned that my body needed a break and I hoped I’d feel bet­ter about my­self too.

Only when I got there, I re­alised just how much I’d let my­self go. I knew I was un­fit – I got out of breath just walk­ing up the stairs. And even tak­ing part in a stretch­ing class was too much for me to han­dle. I couldn’t reach my an­kles over my wob­bly tummy, and whereas in my 20s I used to run six times a week, now even walk­ing felt like stren­u­ous ex­er­cise.

What had I done to my­self? I was ter­ri­fied of be­com­ing even worse and vowed that I would get in bet­ter shape. When I got back home the thought kept play­ing on my mind.

As Christ­mas ap­proached, I rea­soned if I started then I was des­tined to fail. So I de­cided I’d en­joy my­self one last time. And as the fes­tiv­i­ties ended and peo­ple around me started mak­ing their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions, I de­cided I’d do the same. I was go­ing to turn my health around. Know­ing I had a lot to lose I didn’t want faddy di­ets. The only way would be to make small changes that I’d be able to stick to.

So in Jan­uary 2015 I down­loaded the calo­rie-count­ing app My­fit­ness­pal, and cal­cu­lated that I needed to cut down to 1,650 calo­ries a day to start shift­ing the pounds. In­stead of or­der­ing take­aways I be­gan cook­ing from scratch, prep­ping my meals for the week ahead so there would be no ex­cuse to stray.

I swapped white pasta for whole­meal and my red wine for gin and slim­line tonic. I also de­cided that noth­ing was off lim­its. If I wanted a treat I could have one, I just needed to take into ac­count that it would be us­ing up a big part of my daily calo­rie al­lowance.

By Fe­bru­ary 2015, I’d lost 1st 7lb, which only spurred me on even more. I started Zumba classes with a friend. And as the pounds con­tin­ued to fall away, I ad­justed my calo­rie in­take on the app.

I didn’t even find it dif­fi­cult as I could eat what­ever I wanted within my calo­rie limit. By Au­gust 2016, I was down to 17st 4lb and took up run­ning and weight train­ing in the evenings to tone up. By the end of the year I’d lost 10st and was a size 16.

When I looked in the mir­ror I could fi­nally see my cheek­bones and I loved that I was able to go into a shop know­ing I’d fit into the clothes. When I bumped into peo­ple I hadn’t seen for a while they couldn’t be­lieve it was me. And while I did get more at­ten­tion and went on a few dates, I re­alised I was ac­tu­ally quite happy be­ing on my own.

‘what had i done to my­self?’

Get­ting in­volved

In Jan­uary 2017, I started swim­ming too. And now that I was feel­ing fit­ter than ever, I wanted a new chal­lenge.

After tak­ing part in the Great North Swim in the Lake District in June I de­cided to try a triathlon the fol­low­ing month. Com­plet­ing the sprint dis­tance in 53 min­utes I was so proud, and my friends cheered me on. I’d come so far thanks to all the small and easy changes I’d made and loved my new lifestyle.

And last month I even took part in the Lon­don Royal Parks Half Marathon too – some­thing I’d never imag­ined my­self be­ing able to do be­fore.

Now I’m down to 11st 7lb and a size 12 and feel in­cred­i­ble. My couch potato days are a thing of the past and I’m al­ready fill­ing up my cal­en­dar with fresh chal­lenges for next year.

At her big­gest Ros­alynn weighed more than 24st

Lost 12st 11lb Look­ing fab­u­lous: Now a healthy 11st 7lb Ros­alynn is lov­ing her sports again

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