A little story about my transformation

Those who have known me or have been following this blog for some time will know that over the past two and a half years or so I have changed somewhat physically. Recently one of my colleagues, who has become a bit of a fan of this blog asked me if I would write some of my weight loss tips and share them here to help inspire others. I certainly don’t pretend to be any kind of guru but I have learned some important lessons that I think might be interesting to anyone who is on a similar journey or who want to start one. But before I get onto that (in another post) I wanted to give some context.

In June 2013 I looked like this. I was a UK size 20 and weighed about 100kg (220lbs/15 stone, 10lbs)

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Through some years of not paying much attention to what I was eating and spending the majority of my time enjoying my sofa I gained rather a lot of weight without really noticing. It sounds bonkers but from what I can tell those extra pounds sneak up on quite a few people. I can’t say I was that bothered at the time. I felt comfortable in my skin and I would say I was generally healthy. I did want to get more fit though so Mr O and I started to go running and then when it got cold I started to go to the gym and by the end of the year I had lost about 13kg (28lbs/2 stone) and I looked more like this. I was a UK size 16 and I weighed 87kg (191lbs/13 stone 9lbs):

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I was really quite pleased with how I looked and I was really enjoying exercising, doing mostly cardio. I hadn’t changed my diet, which I thought was a massive bonus and I felt like I had achieved my goal and I managed to more or less maintain this weight for over a year. I changed the way I exercised and started focusing more on weight training and High Intensity Interval Training. I got stronger but I didn’t lose any more weight.

So at the end of May this year I decided it was time to take getting healthy seriously because I was starting to realise that that famous little adage, “you can’t out train your diet” is disappointing but also very true and I decided to make over my whole life and prove to myself that I could reach and maintain a healthy weight. In five months I lost 22kg (48lbs/3.5 stone)

I think people would like to hear that doing this was hard but it wasn’t… not physically anyway. Through this journey I have come to believe that the body will follow the mind wherever it wants to go. Once I had made the decision that I was going to reach this goal and my mind was resolute my body just followed. Of course I had to make changes to what I ate and how I worked out but with my mind in the right place I never felt like I was being punished, deprived or hard done by. Everything I was doing just felt like a step towards my goal and it was easy. Getting my mind to that point was a lot less easy but I think that clarity of purpose comes from agreeing with yourself that you are worth the work. I think attempting to make any kind of physical transformation if your mind isn’t engaged will never work.

If you are ready to start your journey I can also promise you that it will be worth it. While I have had a few emotional wobbles adjusting to my new body I can tell you that I have never felt better. I sleep better, I have boundless energy, my blood pressure dropped, my workouts are more productive, my digestion is better, my allergies improved, my skin cleared up and I regularly get told I look ten years younger. I don’t feel better because my body looks more like the Western media’s very boring and narrow ideal of feminine beauty. I feel better because I am healthier because I have taken strain off my system. This should be the focus of any intention to lose weight… health… not a bikini body.

This is what I look like now. I am a UK size 12 and I weigh 65kg (143lbs/10 stone 3lbs)

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Tomorrow I will talk more about how I got here.

42 Comments

  1. wow! great job Abs!!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks Rob!

  2. wow, impressiv job!
    It’s really true, once you start working out and living healthier you simply feel better, you have more energy. And for me working out is really addictive. Once you get started it somehow becomes a part of you =)

    1. abbiosbiston

      I am definitely a workout addict. I would normally train 5 days a week and I have withdrawal if I don’t go.

    1. abbiosbiston

      You’re very welcome! So glad you enjoyed.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you!

  3. I love how happy you look in all your photos! Great transformation and very inspiring!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I honestly believe that choosing to change your lifestyle comes from a happy place and from loving yourself enough to want to have a healthier body. That’s what people who fat shame don’t get. Self loathing doesn’t make anyone want to take better care of themselves.

      1. I was thinking exactly the same while reading your post. 🙂

        I’m so happy you wrote this. It is inspiring.

        1. abbiosbiston

          Thank you so much! The response to this blog has blown me away.

  4. jmount43

    Somewhere there is a wolf in a leisure suit with his jaw dropped to the ground and his eyes bulging out of his sockets and his heart pounding out of his chest as sirens and klaxons scream and shout. May I speak for that wolf by saying Ahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!? You look awesome, Abbi O!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Oh you do know how to make a lady blush!

  5. You’re a true inspiration Abbi! Thanks for sharing your story with us.😊

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you so much and you’re welcome!

  6. Congratulations! It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to do that. A few years ago I got up to 265! I’m 6’4 so it was super noticeable, or so I thought. My doctor slammed me after my BP was high for the first time in my life. I went on to lose 55 pounds to get back where I needed to be.

    I found it easy once you discipline your body. That was the tough part – pruning the bad eating habits and getting an exercise regiment.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Wow! Well done you! Discipline is essential and once your body has seen how good being healthy feels that’s all it craves!

  7. You look smashing, Abbi. I admire you.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you so much, Cindy!

  8. You look amazing and most importantly, you’re reaping the health benefits. Congrats!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you so much!

  9. What I appreciate most about your journey has been when you’ve written about the emotional wobbles, because intentional weight loss is something rarely painted in a negative light. Major weight loss is a huge change, and like you said, easier on the body than the mind.

    1. abbiosbiston

      There’s this myth (I think largely perpetuated by the weight loss industry) that losing weight will fix everything that ails you and it’s complete nonsense. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight will most certainly improve your physical health but no one thinks about the emotional impact not only of realising that you might have to rediscover who you are but also that other people respond differently to you. It’s intense and very emotional and no one talks about it.

      1. Especially when absolutely everyone goes out of their way to tell you how much better you look–did I look so awful before?

        1. abbiosbiston

          My friend’s boyfriend told me that I’d been wasting a pretty face. That was nice.

          1. Yes. The “such a pretty face” line. Gotta love that one.

  10. I think you look fab regardless but I’m glad you’re feeling fit and healthy. There’s definitely something to be said for being fit and having the energy to keep up with friends and family. I lost quite a bit of weight cutting out carbs but gained a bit back when I fell off the wagon and started eating carbs again, surprisingly I’m much happier now that I’m a bit back up weight-wise than I did when I was at my lowest (I cut out carbs again but I’m not quite as strict). I agree that weight loss and gain can be an emotional journey and also losing weight can cause some people to get obsessive. I’m hoping to not go down that route again, as I find myself enjoying life much more when I’m not thinking too much about stuff. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story.

    1. abbiosbiston

      I think you can feel happy and beautiful at every weight. I was confident at every stage of the journey but I do know that I feel physically more well at this weight than I did when I was bigger.

      Whatever your diet and lifestyle plan is going to be it has to be sustainable and anything that’s so strict that it feels temporary is never going to stick. I’m so glad you’ve found something that works!

  11. […] on from yesterday’s post about my body transformation this post is about the things that worked for me as I lost weight and […]

  12. You look amazing Abbi! But what I love the most is your emphasis on feeling good and healthy. That said, I’m off to go for a run!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you! Hope you enjoyed your run.

  13. You look amazing Abbi, it’s great to hear you’re comfortable and feeling good.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thanks, Vin!

  14. I LOVE that you shared this story on your blog Abbi. I always thought you looked great girl, I love that you are comfortable in your own skin. But there’s nothing like feeling healthy and that is always a good reason for losing weight. You look amazing as always, and you know I’m a big fan of your gorgeous red hair!!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you so much and I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. It’s always been about health not appearance for me. That’s just much more sustainable.

  15. Amazing, you’re an inspiration to me, going through the very same life changes right now!

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you! Just keep believing you can do it and you will!

  16. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you look amazing. I have always thought that though, because you have always looked beautiful, content and happy.

    I like how you have also shared the emotional side with us – people think weight loss is simply that, and it is actually so much more complex.

    My other half and I are in a get fit, get healthy place right now, and a big inspiration for me has been you. So thanks for that 🙂 I will have to let you know how that progresses.

  17. You little gem! That is a huge achievement and can I say you look absolutely fabulous!! Healthy, happy..and fabulous! xxxxx

  18. […] few months ago I wrote a post about my health and weight loss journey that was really popular. What I didn’t mention at the time was that there was a really […]

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