I never step on the sad step. Ever since I ‘retired’ as a slimming club leader and handed back my two sets of perfectly calibrated, fear-inducing, sets of scales, and took up running one month later, I’ve never looked back.I’ve never been really overweight (maybe a little plump around the middle) but I have always struggled to maintain a healthy attitude towards my weight. I was always the ‘Fat Kid’ at school. I had the nickname Hulk for goodness sake because I was also tall. Kids can be so cruel. And that kind of torment stays with you. It’s always in the back of your head, whispering, you’re too fat, you’re ugly, you’re worthless. 

I’m ashamed to say that stuck with me well into adulthood. I spent a bit of time living abroad where my weight yo-yo’d. On a student budget in Spain I dropped right down to a size 8. Salad and shots. A tanned skin and bones. In Italy I expanded to a size 14, plump on pasta and pizza and vino. Then I joined a slimming club when I returned to the UK and my obsession with calories and saturated fat began. Within a few months I was back to a size 8. But I still didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. Then an engagement and marriage, and contentment sets in. Back to a size 14. Classic yo-yo dieter. And I was selling this lifestyle as a leader; how ironic that I struggled to maintain my own weight or keep active. I didn’t believe the words I was telling my members. So I quit. Because you have to truly live a lifestyle you sell, and I wasn’t. I felt empty and hollow. 

Quitting that twisted obsession I had developed with weight and BMI and calories and fat gave me a chance to try something new. I went out for a run and within 5 weeks I had dropped a dress size. And why had nobody ever told me about the endorphins?! I hold these post-run endorphins solely responsible for what happened next …

A idea emerged, a running group, that’s what I needed. So with no experience, no qualifications, a group of four friends high on running endorphins created an ideology for a group where people could run for fun and fitness, and where nobody would ever get left behind. 

Today I am a runner. A chairperson. A coach. A leader. I work in health and wellbeing. I lead a fitness lifestyle. I eat healthily. I never weigh myself. Until today … 

Today I stepped on the scales at the gym and was surprised to see I was at my original ‘goal weight’ from all those years ago when I struggled with weighing and measuring every morsel of food to ensure I wasn’t eating too many calories. From a time I was unhappy with myself. Today, I smiled at that number and thought it really doesn’t matter. I am strong. I am fit. I am happy. I love myself. And everything has clicked into place. Finally.  


11 thoughts on “A cautionary tale about how to learn to love yourself. True story. 

  1. Awesome work Shell, too many people obsess about gaining/losing pounds. Be active, eat sensibly (most of the time) and be happy with your body!

    1. Thanks Emma, the ironic thing is that when I stopped focusing on weight loss and instead just adopted a healthy active lifestyle, that’s where the magic happened.

  2. A great Blog , not knowing you personally I have already admired what you have done and now I know a little more my admiration grows. My wife struggles , but always feel she could not run because of her knees. She has done ok recently but slips back. too easily .it will be interesting what she thinks , keep running I made a mistake and stopped its hard to get back into it.

    1. Thank you Mike. I think we all have our own internal struggles, whatever they may be. Usually I’m a very private person, I don’t like to share too many of those dark thoughts as I prefer to project a positive image out, but needed to express myself today. Overwhelmed at all the lovely comments I’ve received.

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