Thanks to my wonderful cousin Jill, I’ve now got my next Physical Challenge decided, booked and paid for!  I’m going to do the Peak District 6-Dales hike with Pure Challenge on Sat 24th June 2017.  I’ll be fundraising too! More of that later.

I wanted a challenge that would stretch me – this certainly ticks that box!!  It’s a timed 27-mile (43km) hike – that’s longer than a marathon – with 1000m ascent, on a variety of terrain.  Some people even run it… I’ll be walking it (and probably limping some of it!).  We have a maximum of 14hrs to complete the route – starting at 8am.

You can read a description of the route here.

The furthest I’ve walked at any one time is 12 miles. That was a couple of years ago, and in the flat Essex countryside!Pen Y Fan summit 2012 It took me about 6hrs.  The longest hike I’ve done with ascent / descent was in Dec 2012 when I did the 8-mile horseshoe route up to Pen-Y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons.  That was tough. Very tough. We had every imaginable type of weather thrown at us.  Several times I cried, wanting to give up.  And as you can see, the view from the summit… was white!! (I’ve since been back to the summit another three times, and when the weather is good the scenery is stunning beyond words).

However, the feeling afterwards, when safely back to the car, was incredible and well worth the pain and struggle (Strangely enough, that Challenge was with my cousin Jill too).

At the end of Dec 2016 a friend suggested I start a 100-Day Challenge to get my levels of fitness and well-being back on track after a tough year.  I spent the next four weeks (Days 1 – 28) doing a short daily routine of press ups, sits ups and a half-hearted attempt at some chin ups (or just hanging from the chin-up bar in my case!).

Xand HTLLW acknowledges meTwo weeks ago I started my training in earnest by addressing my food issues, diet & weight – based on the excellent and recently published book ‘How To Lose Weight Well‘ by Dr Xand van Tulleken.

I want to lose 2st by the time I stand on that start line in June.  I have previously lost 10st (over 2yrs), and kept most of it off for four years now – hence the acknowledgement from Xand!  However, the weight started creeping on two years ago when my thyroid decided to stop working.  I also have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), so weight gain is very easy and losing it… is somewhat harder.  BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

As a Specialist Personal Trainer working with people with long-term medical conditions, I feel very passionate about helping people to get fitter, healthier and enjoy life to the fullest possible amount.  I’ve proved it can, against the odds, be done.  I’ve come off of four different blood pressure tablets, statins, anti-depressants, hormone tablets, and tablets for insulin resistance.  My blood pressure, hormone levels, cholesterol and blood glucose levels are now at the lower end of normal. I have regular periods and am no longer a borderline Type 2 Diabetic. I still have occasional bouts of ‘low mood’ but have learnt strategies to help me deal with and get through them.

I also now do things which I could never dream of doing at 23.5st.  My career has taken a huge turn for the better, and I feel honoured and privileged to work with and meet some amazing people.

Over the past two weeks I’ve lost 9lbs. It’s a very encouraging start, but I’m also very aware that weight loss won’t continue at this rate.  As my physical training increases, my muscle mass will increase, and it then becomes even more important to track my progress in other ways as well as weight: photos, body measurements, and data from my various training sessions will all be carefully logged.

I’ll be sharing my progress with you all here as the weeks go on and the 24th June gets closer.  It won’t all be positive – life isn’t like that – but I aim to be as encouraging and honest with you along the journey as possible.

I hope you’ll join me.