Leila Yadalee-brom­field, 33, an ac­count man­ager from London, dis­cov­ered a passion for yoga af­ter a fam­ily in­ter­ven­tion

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS -

How one reader cured her anx­i­ety with ex­er­cise


Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was pre­par­ing for my first term at uni when a fam­ily mem­ber men­tioned that they were con­cerned about my weight. I was shocked, but not re­ally sur­prised. Bul­lied at school, I ate for com­fort. I thought it was nor­mal to eat two bagels, a few pack­ets of crisps and a choco­late bar for lunch. As a veg­e­tar­ian, my meals were 80% carbs: think chips, pasta and jacket pota­toes. My dad is from Mau­ri­tius, where be­ing big­ger is a mark of hap­pi­ness, but at 14st 3lbs and 5ft 4in, my health and re­la­tion­ships were start­ing to suf­fer.


I joined the gym in fresh­ers’ week and be­gan do­ing three car­dio ses­sions a week. I walked ev­ery day, and veg­eta­bles and pulses be­came my sta­ple foods. In three months, I lost nearly 3st. My weight loss slowed over the next few years but I per­sisted, and by the age of 25 I’d reached 9st 5lbs. Then one day in 2013, I ac­ci­den­tally walked into a yoga class in­stead of the body com­bat ses­sion I’d signed up for. Too awk­ward to leave, I did the class, and loved it. So I upped my work­outs and started do­ing yoga five times a week. Six months later, I no­ticed how toned I looked and how calm I felt. I’d al­ways suf­fered with anx­i­ety and yoga proved a great cure – it even helped me lose an­other stone.


Wanting to share my passion, I trained as a yoga teacher in 2015. But in May 2017, I in­jured my neck while on hol­i­day and now I can’t lift more than 1kg. Be­ing off work and un­able to move was so frus­trat­ing, but I try to see the pos­i­tives. I’ve dis­cov­ered bal­let barre and Pi­lates, which help to pro­tect my joints. Do­ing a com­bi­na­tion of these and yoga, I can still work out five times a week and main­tain my weight and mus­cle tone. Be­fore ex­er­cise, I hadn’t found any­thing I re­ally loved. Now it’s a key part of my life – and I’ve never felt bet­ter.

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