“At 37 I was determined that I would not hit my forties an unfit, overweight, heavy smoker,” says Gerry.
By this point in her life, her two children were in their teens and she had put so much effort into being a good Mum for so long that she barely recognised herself.
“When I was younger I was a lot more outgoing, more adventurous and happy to just try new things. In my mid-20s I suffered from postnatal depression and it left me a bit unsure of who I was. The happy-go-lucky Gerry I was when I was younger wasn’t there anymore.”
Over the years Gerry’s weight had crept up to 78 kg, she did no exercise, ate badly and smoked heavily. Gerry admits she was ‘terrified’ of the gym and the lycra that she felt inevitably went with it. But as she approached her forties something clicked.
“I definitely didn’t want to start another decade feeling like I had done for the last one. I realised there wasn’t any time left to think or talk about doing it, I just had to get on with doing it.”
She had moved close to Nuffield Health Plymouth and decided to join the fitness and wellbeing centre. For the first month or so, Gerry says, she did little more than splash around in the pool and go on the bikes. But it wasn’t long before another member encouraged her to join the classes.
“From that point I was hooked,” she says. “I was doing three or four classes a week and it was really improving my fitness, but I hadn’t really lost any weight and a lot of that was down to my diet being appalling.
“No amount of classes were going to cancel out the effects of my sweet tooth.”
So Gerry kept up her classes but started seeing Simon, her personal trainer who immediately got her to keep a food diary. In the first week Gerry lost 4 kg. So from that point on she kept it up.
Gerry saw her weight steadily fall off as she maintained a sensible approach of being ‘good’ Monday to Friday and allowing herself treats within reason at the weekend. With her new friendship group she found her weekends were no longer spent ‘lost’ for something to do, but hiking in the moors or participating in races. Being weighed in every week helped her keep track of her progress and regular Health MOTs helped Gerry to see how her overall health was improving through her lifestyle changes.
Now having lost almost 20 kg and gaining new found confidence and strength, Gerry says she wouldn’t look back. She’s rediscovered who she is and has been surprised at how it has changed her life for the better.
“I feel younger in some ways than I did ten years ago. I’ve got new horizons and things I’d like to achieve and I now know I can achieve with a little bit of hard work. And I’ve got more energy with my children. Before they were the ones dragging me around, it’s the other way around now.”
Gerry’s proudest moment to date has been completing Plymouth’s 12km Tough Enuff obstacle race with two of her gym buddies.
“There were times when I thought to myself, I can’t do this, but then the endurance training kicks in and you recover quickly and you’re off again like you just started.
“Being able to pull myself up on that last bit and throw myself over - I was pretty pleased with myself!”
Last updated Tuesday 7 January 2020
First published on Wednesday 19 August 2015