Jess’s client story; an act of self-love and not of self-hate

It would be hard to write a client story without starting at the very beginning. As a child I was always the ‘big one’. Food has been used as a sign of love and celebration for as long as I can remember. Fitness often took a back seat. Fitness was always seen as a remedy for health rather than something that went alongside a healthy lifestyle.

The way I looked was never something I worried about until my early teens. I moved to the UK at the age of ten, this was a huge change of lifestyle for me and my family at the time. Back then, I was not only one of the few foreign children at school, but I was also one of the only children of colour. I began to use food as a way of comforting myself. It took me back to times of celebration and happiness. To me, food was an act of self-love, however often blurred into an act of self-loathing. As I got older, more self-conscious and more aware of how different I was from my peers; so did my desire to change my appearance. I tried everything from detox teas and slimming groups to rigorous workout regimes. Nothing worked. Why? 1. I was doing it to conform to social norms instead of doing it for my own happiness 2.  Because I was doing these things as acts of self-punishment.

I continued to try and blend into the background and tried to ‘fit in’. What also continued were my unhealthy coping mechanisms. Fast forward to 2020, I was the biggest I had EVER been in my life. I was unhappy with the way I felt, unhappy with how little I was now able to do physically and unhappy with how much I had settled for this way of living.

In March of 2020, I started to seriously think about my health and subsequently my huge weight gain. When I stepped on the scales for the first time in years, my heart dropped. I had ignored my health and had been neglecting myself. Until that moment, I had been making excuses, but a 5 stone gain was no coincidence. It was the kick up the backside I needed to really take some responsibility for my life. It was no longer about how I looked or felt. It was about the fact that if I carried on the way I had been going, I would of very likely reduced my life expectancy and quality.

The amazing Erin (fellow ambassador) was my initial motivation. I came across her fitness page on Instagram and was amazed by her journey. After much consideration (probably because I thought NRF was just going to be ‘another diet I would fail’), I did it. I messaged Nicole and became one of the first members of NRF. When I say the last 12 months have changed my life, I honestly mean it!

For the past year, I have worked HARD. I can actually write this and feel proud, it’s been a long time since I was last proud of myself; despite any achievements in my private and/or work life. I have worked hard on transforming my relationship with myself, food and my health. Nicole started by training me via a zoom PT once a week and giving me another two workouts to do independently. I went from holding onto the banister to do a lunge to now doing weighted deficit reverse lunges. I went from being super strict with food and being an ‘all or nothing’ person to now being able to enjoy food without any secondary emotions dictating me. I have lost 4 stone 10 lbs and almost 70 inches but that does not even begin to address the number of things I have achieved. I have found Jess. The Jess that can say no. The Jess that knows her limits. The Jess that makes choices for herself. The Jess that isn’t a people pleaser. The Jess that has boundaries. The Jess that puts herself first. That’s the girl I was looking for. She was in there somewhere and NRF dug her out from this huge hole she was in.

The biggest lesson I have learnt is that my health and fitness are vital to my wellbeing; both mental and physical. Looking after myself is now an act of self-love and not self-hate. I have also learnt that this journey takes time and it is not linear but what is important, is that I remember why I started. What is equally as important is that I don’t give up. My goals are no longer solely about weight loss. They are now about continuing to work on pushing myself, they are about me continuing to look after myself. It’s about supporting Jess to not fall back in that hole.

NRF and the amazing ladies I have had the pleasure of getting to know, will never truly know the impact they have had on my life. I cannot wait to watch us all grow on our own individual journeys. Here’s to more self-care and self-love.

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