At 50 I realised my diet and sleep were terrible and I was in constant pain. I was an overweight middle-aged woman; tired all the time and could not sleep because of shoulder pain. I remember seeing pictures of myself on holidays and was shocked at how overweight and old I looked in the photos. I had a my son’s wedding to go to in 6 months’ time and decided that I did not want to look like this in the photos. I also made the decision that instead of going up a jeans size I was going to go down.
I had always been very fit taking part in sports, going to the gym, exercise classes, biking and walking. Then in 2011 I developed a frozen right shoulder and was in constant agony. I had not injured my shoulder and the pain just came on suddenly one day. I could not sleep comfortably in any position, it hurt to hold a pen, to sit, to stand and to walk. My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories, pain-killers and physiotherapy but nothing helped. My other shoulder became inflamed and I started to self-medicate as well with sleeping tablets and bottles of wine just to get some respite. I had always eaten a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables but I changed and ate anything I could. The weight started to pile on.
An unhealthy diet took its toll on me so I tried every diet going; lost weight and then put it back on again and some more. I was tired all the time and in permanent pain I realised if I did not drastically change things I would be like this forever. My lowest point was trying the intermittent fasting (a low calories day followed by a number of normal days and then a low calorie day) in the December of 2013; 500 calories was not sufficient and did not help the pain, my sleep or my mood. I decided then that I was never going to feel or be like this again.
Turning things around
In 2014 I started to regularly attend a gym and did some research into nutrition and healthy eating. I started once or twice a week doing strength training followed by ten minutes of high interval training mainly using a bike or rowing machine. Gradually over the next six months I started to train an hour a day, six days a week, taking a day off to allow my body to recover.
I used an app to log everything I ate and gradually made changes to my diet increasing the amount of protein I ate to include it with every meal and decreasing the amount of fat and carbohydrates I ate. I started eating more fish, eggs, nuts, fruit and vegetables. I made small changes and gradually introduced new foods and cut back on processed foods and white carbohydrates. I measured my weight and body measurements every month to track my results. In six months I had lost over two stone in weight and I was two dress sizes smaller. In eighteen months I had lost five stone of body fat and gained a stone and a half of muscle. I felt so much better, I was healthier and fitter. My sleep improved and although I still have pain in both shoulders it is manageable without taking any type of medication.