Since it was ‘National fitness day’ this week,. I am bit late telling you my fitness and diet journey. I am going to tell you my weight loss and fitness journey. It’s been quite a long journey over the years.

I was very underweight 10-11 in 2009-2010. so much I was under an eating disorder team for a while. I was very underweight. I didn’t eat a thing and just had diet fizzy drinks or squash.

I got better with my eating, but my mental health deteriorated rapidly with my mood and self- harm, so I was admitted as an inpatient in a young person’s unit for learning disability and mental health for 18 whole months which I found challenging.

In those 18 months, I gained a lot of weight. I was no longer healthy I was overweight on the border of being in the obese category. I snacked and ate unhealthy food in hospital. I ate a lot of pasta, creamy pasta sauces, fried foods, things in batter/breadcrumbs, chips, cheese, chocolates, sugary sweets, milkshakes, nuts covered in yoghurt, crisps, crumpets, fry ups most Saturdays, hot chocolate most evenings, pizza, or another takeaway every Friday, cereal bars, biscuits including breakfast biscuits, yoghurt muller corners for breakfast and fizzy drinks such as tango and Pepsi max.

These things were not low fat, reduced sugar items or healthy in anyway.

I got bigger and bigger. I was size 10 possibly smaller, when I went into hospital and left at a size 16-18 or possibly bigger. I had to buy new clothes. I must have gained at least 4 stone and probably more. It was quite a fast way of my weight increasing.

When I came into supported living after six months, after I settled in. I joined a weight loss group called Slimming World it ran a group near to me in Solihull it was walking distance, me and another lady went together for a short while she left before me. I did lose half a stone, but I gave up. I must have tried Slimming World 10 times over 5 years or possibly more and I didn’t get very far. I joined and left t o many times. I went through phases of wanting to lose weight and after a month I would give up, that went on for a long time.

I tried slim fast and shake the weight shakes for a while too which made me feel faint and lightheaded. It was a meal replacement shake for breakfast and lunch and a balanced meal on the evening and they recommended you drink plain water which I found hard I dislike plain water especially at that time.

I also went through phases of joining gyms I would go for a week and then give up and be stuck in a membership for one year they were not 30-day memberships back then. I bought a fitness watch a Fitbit to help me but that didn’t even help me.

I did race for life 5k race hoping that would help me kickstart being healthy, but it didn’t work and i did it again 2 years later and i was in the same position. I did one in Sutton Coldfield and one in Solihull.

In 2016/2017 I had a member of staff who had done Weight Watchers herself when she was 19 when Weight Watchers was pro points, she was in her 30s back in 2016/2017, and was into fitness classes and exercise. I thought joining Weight Watchers was a good idea for me to lose my weight like my support worker she was keen to help me with my weight loss. I lost just over one stone from June-November. Weight Watchers changed the plan changing this made me want to give up I struggled to lose any weight on this weight watchers freestyle plan. I did so well on the old plan. I gave up by Christmas. I even went to step aerobics class, yoga, legs bums, and tums, tai chi, and body balance with my support worker. My support worker left to have a baby and never returned so I did struggle for a long time with dieting.

By February – March of the following year I had completely given up on Weight Watchers and weight loss. I was back to my old ways of binging on chocolate, crisps, and sweets. I also gave up on cooking I would just cook pasta meals or microwave. I did get very lazy.

I would binge for maybe half hour or an hour each day and not feel full and would do it a lot more than four times a week and would secretly eat too at times. I feel I had signs of binge eating disorder. It was sweets and chocolate; sometimes crisps I would binge eat on and eat lots of pasta meals sometimes plain pasta.

In the years that followed I did many diets such as just eating a balanced breakfast; lunch and evening dinner and fruit as snacks, calorie counting using books or apps, meal replacement shakes, Weight Watchers online and groups, Slimming world group, Noom app and using my fitness pal app. I had a dietician I saw maybe a couple of times, but she didn’t help as I knew what I was doing I just couldn’t do it physically, I would get bored of eating healthily.

I never lost more than one stone I got bored and gave up, or I felt too hungry to keep going and missed sugary items even though I was getting bigger. I was a nightmare I was such a yo-yo dieter. I had spent so much money on weight loss items such as exercise equipment such as weights, resistance bands, Fitbit watch and hula hoop for example, memberships, to weight loss groups, gym memberships and exercise classes. I even tried learning to swim at one stage which I gave up I couldn’t get it. I always found learning to swim hard even at the age I was then.

Fast forward to Christmas 2020. I was and I have to say it, I was obese and very big. It was a weight which I cannot get out of my head I can still see the number on the scale staring back at me. I never saw it to be a real issue but there were signs that I needed to do something, but I ignored it and carried on binge eating and being unhealthy.

I had severe back pain it was a slipped/bulging disc, but I now feel it was down to my weight, I couldn’t walk far, and I was out of breath walking a mile down the road for example. It is a lot better these days.

During 2020 we had a pandemic the coronavirus pandemic and the whole world went into lockdown the UK went into lockdown by middle of March 2020, which made things with my diet get a lot worse. I was good at first then it spiralled downhill. At first, I did YouTube exercise videos, I gave up within a month. I could hardly walk because of back pain which made things feel worse and didn’t feel like carrying on with weight loss and exercise.

On 3rd January I decided I would weigh myself first time since August time 2020. I was shocked and I knew it was correct, so I don’t know why I was shocked. I had never been that heavy ever in my life and I didn’t want to be that weight. I joined Weight Watchers online by lunchtime that day and decided I needed to lose weight for me, my family and friends, my back pain and for my health.

By my 2nd week I had lost over half a stone. I was pleased and within a month I had lost one stone I was happy and had no words to explain how happy I was. I could do it, I thought.

I have kept going and haven’t given up. I have lost weight every single week or maintained which some people say that’s very unusual to hear of. It’s the end of September and have kept going all year. I have joined a gym locally and even had a personal trainer for a while which helped me hugely. I go to the gym three times a week and I walk lots more too. I had a personal trainer for a while too which helped me learn new machines in the gym and learnt how to lose weight and learning what to eat for my meals and snacks.

I aim for around 6-7,000 steps a day which is so much better than I did one year ago.

I tried an app called iTrackbites it is like Weight Watchers for 3-4 weeks, but it wasn’t working and reverted to Weight Watchers. I lost nothing using that specific app.

I watch people on YouTube and tik-tok also follow people who have done incredibly well it does help me

I have lost weight and gone down 2 dress sizes I am over the moon with the achievements I have made in 2021 losing weight, becoming healthy and exercising.

Lucy xo

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Updated: Sep 4

Me and my friend Fatemah got talking about doing a video about Coronavirus with my experience of how I felt about the Coronavirus pandemic. I thought i'd do a blog with some of those questions and answers in it that may help some people in some way.

I have mild Autism, Dyspraxia, mild learning disability, anxiety, sensory processing disorder and Bipolar disorder, it is a lot of different conditions but I accept thats how I am. When things change especially unexpected change, I get a lot of anxiety and recently since March 2020 a lot has changed in the entire world as every place in the world has had coronavirus cases. When I get very anxious I feel feelings of unreality which makes my moods go very depressive but I have coped well during the pandemic.

How did I feel when I heard Coronavirus on the news?

I didn't realise how serious it was. I never took notice for a while I had heard of it in other countries - I had heard it on the news and on the internet news apps. When I heard their were cases in this country I felt high anxiety. I was worried what would happen and what I would do also how would I cope and was worried about if the UK went into a lockdown how I would manage not seeing my family.

When did I hear about Coronavirus?

I had heard of Coronavirus during the early parts of 2020 on the news on television, radio, internet, newspapers, magazines and out in public . I was more focused on other news a lot of the time such as storms of the UK and Caroline Flacks suicide.

How did I feel when the United Kingdom went into a national lockdown?

Scared, worried, shocked and many other strong emotions. I felt I would find it hard not going out places (it wasn't as bad as I thought). I didn't know what to expect from one day to the next. Myself and my support worker put a routine together for the majority of every day a strict routine and it helped get through the first few weeks. It was too strict and wasn't relaxed in any way.

What did I miss about normal life when the UK went into lockdown?

I missed seeing my family who I see on a Sunday every week since I went into hospital. I missed an art group I went to every week in Erdington called 'The Cube' and I missed just going to shops and not worrying about the virus and social distancing or queueing to go into a shop for essentials. We were told by the UK government to stay home and only go out for medical, essentials or one daily walk a day. A lot of people who had health conditions or were elderly had to shield for many months.

Clap for carers began which was such a good thing to clap as a nation for those who are working through the pandemic.

What did I do to cope during the lockdown?

I did a lot of artwork I did something everyday from drawing, painting, diamond art to painting by numbers for adults, reading so much reading and reviewing books, cleaning, tidying up, cooking, baking which I don't even like doing, exercise videos via Youtube, Face-time calls, phone calls, Playing games on my Nintendo Switch such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Writing stories, Watching many many hours of series on Netflix/Amazon/BBC/ITV.. I watched Call the midwife, The Crown, Glee, Emily in Paris, Bridgerton and many other shows also I did blogging on here, Tik-Tok videos watching and posting videos. I decorated my whole flat by end of May 2020 with the help of a support worker. I did keep busy a lot of the time. I did have low days and got bored easily.

I did postcards for an elderly dementia home locally which I did a postcard each for the residents there. I got a lovely letter back off the manager of the home and a postcard. I felt positive that I did something small for the elderly who couldn't leave where they lived for months and months, nor see their loved ones.

What have I learnt about myself since the pandemic?

I can stay at home, I can keep busy at home and that I don't need to go out every single day for hours and hours roaming the streets and shops spending money I haven't got. I can be at home and do things that I like and its free at home.

I also learnt to speak on the phone to two close friends (I avoided using the phone I had anxiety about it but it took a while) It took many years and I did it. I speak to them a lot now on FaceTime and on the phone each day sometimes.

I joined Weight Watchers (WW) I was at my biggest ever weight I was in denial in a way. I put off weighing myself for many months but I joined after Dad mentioning I need to lose weight at Christmas 2020, I also had a back problem I was in agony I was such a lot of pain killer medication but nothing was touching the pain. I joined WW in January 2021. I never thought I would stick at it and I was a yoyo dieter but I did it i've now lost nearly 4 stone.

How did I keep in touch with friends and family?

I spoke on the phone, Face time, HouseParty, Zoom and then Fatemah my friend mentioned FocusMate a website to work on something to do something productive its nearly an hour sessions so we did that and it worked so well during lockdown. We have carried on doing it as when we haven't done it i've found myself not doing anything productive and Fatemah has found the sessions have helped her too and to help her concentrate.

I was so happy when I could see my family again, I never saw my friend Luke for over 12 months due to the pandemic and cases being higher in Birmingham before that. I saw Fatemah the first time since March 2020 just before the pandemic in July/August 2020 and then we saw each other 11 months later due to restrictions/lockdown.

What was the UK like when the world went into a lockdown?

It was strange very strange like a ghost town it was so so quiet!!. Roads were quiet and the streets. Queueing to enter a shop. Distancing yourself from other people whilst at a checkout. Buses were running a limited timetable. You could only enter a shop one person from a household at a time. Bulk buying happened on certain items such as toilet rolls so shops had to limit what you bought. Only essential stores were open.

My support workers had to work 7 days with me and have 2 weeks at home afterwards which was very difficult for them and it was hard to adjust to having one support staff for 7 days instead of a change every 24 hours.

Television soaps such as Emmerdale, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Eastenders had problems filming some soaps were taken off air for a while and daytime shows such as This Morning the presenters had to stand 2m from each other and repeated parts of the shows with things they have used before.

Did I watch the news regularly during the pandemic?

Yes it caused me to get some anxiety I was watching every daily briefing on BBC in the afternoon/evening. I never missed one I was getting obsessive about it especially wanting to know the Covid19 cases every day. I then watched the news at lunch, evening and night.

Did I think I would get Coronavirus?

No, I felt I was healthy mostly apart from being overweight and back pain and not very old for example over 70s. I thought because of those reasons I thought it would be hard to catch. I also was very aware of the virus and always had hand sanitiser on me and washed my hands when I got home. Everywhere was clean thoroughly the majority of the time.

How did I feel when I got Coronavirus and what symptoms did I have?

I was diagnosed with Coronavirus at end of January and self isolated for 10 days into February. I felt scared I thought it was going to get worse my symptoms. I thought I just had a head cold but was told to get tested and it came back as a positive test. On television and the media portrays as most people are in hospital on breathing machines and thats what I thought may happen to me. I was wrong I had mild symptoms, I never felt unwell like you would have thought I would. I had a slight cough which went after a couple of days and I had 2 days of feeling exhausted. I was very tired. I never lost my taste or smell, I never had a high temperature infact I had a low temperature and my chest was fine once my cough went. I felt my self isolating went very long and slow as I felt not unwell. I kept busy doing things as I am under a care provider I had to wear a face mask to keep my support workers safe. I had phone calls every morning off test and trace and one of Solihull council making sure I have got everything I need.

Did I have the Covid 19 vaccine/s and when did you have it?

Yes I had the vaccine after 28 days after I had coronavirus as thats the amount of time you should wait before having the vaccine once you have self isolated from having covid. I had my first one at beginning March and my 2nd one in May. I had the AstraZeneca vaccine. I had no side effects not even a sore arm.

How many people do I know that have had coronavirus?

My friend Fatemah was the first person I knew who had Covid at the end of 2020/beginning of 2021 I think it was. The entire office apart from a small amount of staff in my care provider had it. I then found out Max my brother and his fiancee Emma had tested positive. After myself their were 2 support staff that were possibly infected by myself who had to self isolate.

Did I think there would be more than 1 lockdown?

I didn't at first....I then felt knowing how many infections and deaths that were increasing that possibly their would be several more lockdowns and restrictions. I didn't like the tier lockdowns I felt it was confusing knowing what you could and couldn't do.

What changed after lockdown 1 when places reopened?

Their were a lot of restrictions in every place you went. Hairdressers, beauty, pubs, restaurants, eat in places, shops, gyms, community centres, libraries and education. Theatres were shut through all lockdowns and have only recently opened the last couple of months. It was very difficult to wear a face mask whilst having your hair done and nails or beauty treatments such as eyebrows. Transport was limited but more frequent than it had been during lockdown and there was limited capacity and you had to wear a face mask. There were people who were exempt with disability or health conditions they could wear the sunflower lanyard showing a card that said exempt from wearing a face mask.

Is this the hardest thing that I have dealt with?

No. I feel I have coped well better than everyone thought I woudl, and others have told me that too. I felt its because I had to. I normally find new and unexpected things hard to adjust to and get anxiety and feelings of depression and want to do negative things, but I haven't done that. I feel being in hospital all those years ago for my mental health was harder, at least I was in a place I know and have my belongings and everything around me.

How did I feel wearing face coverings/masks?

I didn't like it. I found it hard to breathe and felt panicky wearing one. I knew why the government put it in place to keep others safe, but I struggled with it. I am glad I don't have to wear one whenever I go into a shop anymore. I accept I will have to for hospital appointments or doctors, and anything medical.

Whats a positive that has come out of all the lockdowns?

I have lost nearly 4 stone which is an amazing achievement for me. I normally give up and blame everything but myself for giving up.

Another positive is coping during the lockdown and learning to stay at home.

Was you worried about coming out of the last lockdown?

A little. I was worried with the crowds that could form and getting the virus again. I have overcome the doubts in my head and the crowds haven't been massive. I think I was just getting doubts and thinking negative because of how many lockdowns there has been.

Lucy xo

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Tuesday 28th August 2012 I came out of hospital and went straight into supported living in Solihull. I was in hospital for 18 months.

I was one of the patients who had the smallest amount of time in hospital most of the patients on my unit had been in there for 5 years or more and in and out of hospital to several times over several years.

It had been decided I would move into supported living when the doctors decided I was to be up for discharge. It was a joint decision. My parents agreed it was the best decision. I on the hand was not best pleased but I accepted it, I had no choice but to accept the decision.

Over the time in hospital I had psychology, occupational therapists and psychiatrist doctors, mental health nurses and other hospital staff working close to me. I also had my community nurse working with me and a social worker. I learnt coping skills to cope with self harming and my depressive and high moods. I had been put on quite a lot of medication to help me be able to cope with the symptoms of the diagnoses i had which are Bipolar Disorder and anxiety.

I was sectioned under the mental health act in hospital so I left hospital on an after care package which is reviewed by the community team regularly.

I had ups and downs when I came into supported living. I liked the 1:1 between me and one member of staff, I had three staff working with me to begin with.

When I came into supported living I was in agreement I would share a house with one female who my current community nurse at that time, knew and I was told she was like myself she even told my parents that.

When that female came she was not like me at all. She was the opposite to myself and very disruptive to my mental health. I was on a downward spiral living with her, my parents got me moved out of that house after a meeting with the care provider.

I then shared with another female in a bungalow. I knew her but not as well as I thought. We clashed a lot. I shared with her for around 1 year 6 months. She moved out of the care provider then.

I moved into my flat in October 2015 which I rent from a private landlord. I still live in the same flat now.

I have 1 staff every 24 hours and 3 members of staff in my core staff team.

I have learnt so much about myself and got myself very independent since then.

- Confidence has grown

- I cook for myself and choose what to eat. Do my own food shopping.

- I can clean my flat.

- I manage my own laundry

- I speak on the phone to more friends.

- I manage my bills/money.

- I can make decisions

- Most of the time I know what makes my mood low/triggered my mood.

- I have tried art groups, creative writing groups and exercise groups.

- I meet up with friends and speak to them regularly.

- I keep busy and occupied.

- Self harming is MUCH less than ever.

- I am not down all the time. I used to be low for days.

- I have tried weight loss groups several times.

- I have a strict routine which works for me.

- I manage my own appointments.

- I even go to the gym now independently.

- I have nearly lost 4 stone and trying to lose most of my weight i put on in hospital/and after.

- I go on buses and trains to many places such as London, Manchester and theatres.

- I have got back into art and have improved a lot.

- I have wrote a book about my life experience with Autism and mental health.

- I do a newsletter for my care provider and Christmas cards.

- I try new things sometimes on the spur of the moment.

- I have overcome difficulties.

- I have tried volunteering in several places, which has helped my confidence/independence and work skills.

I sometimes still find expressing myself difficult but its getting there.

I feel I have improved in 9 years!

Lucy xx

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