A Journey To Self Confidence

by Susan Paton

So, I got given a photoshoot!

This time last year this would have struck absolute dread into me, although if I am honest there was more than a little panic this year too.
Maybe I should give some background…
In January 2021, I was topping the scale at the heaviest I had ever been, I was on 1st name terms with all the local bakeries, my dress size was not available in your average high Street store and intentional exercise wasn’t even on my radar. Follow this with a 2 month cycle of disastrous diet attempts, then consoling myself with whatever calorie I liked and I have never actually met one I didn’t like, I am sure you can guess where I was.

Something had to change!

Having previously had some success with Arbonne’s 30 days to healthy living programme, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try again. Within 3 weeks I felt better, more energy, no longer constantly craving sugar and I might even have been a few pounds lighter. Although I had no plans to use the talking scale at Boots anytime soon, just in case it blurted out “One at a time please.”
Arbonne’s 30 days to healthy living is a weight management programme not a diet, its is about giving your body what it needs rather than depriving you and it was just that small mental shift that really worked for me.

I have lost weight before, but this time I was determined to make the permanent shift to healthy living.  Buoyed by my recent weight loss, however minor, the monumental (at least for me) decision was taken to intentionally exercise. I mean I struggle to spell exercise, let alone participate!

But how to start……?

So, when a fellow Arbonne consultant and friend Elaine Walker suggested Spin, had I tried it before? She would go too (certainly wasn’t going alone) and of course she knew a place. I said yes to going whilst googling what Spin was….

Have you ever been overweight and gone to a gym?  You are generally made to feel as welcome as a Snickers at a Weightwatcher’s convention.

Before I overthought it, I was booked in, bought my 1st pair of leggings in over 20 years and the baggiest t-shirt to be found. The panic levels were off the chart!
Would the welcome be the same?
Would I Bridget Jones off the bike and land in a humiliating heap on the floor?
Armed with a bottle of water, Google maps and a face mask to hide the terror, I set off and over the doorstep into the world of exercise and found myself at Pedalhouse. All the support and encouragement (often quite loud) I needed was there and never was I made to feel I didn’t belong.

It hasn’t been easy, there has been anxiety many mornings, many times I have wanted to quit, classes I genuinely thought I wasn’t going to make it through, contemplating whether faking my own death would actually get me out of that torture, Hugh calls Russian steps.
But I didn’t quit, not even when I broke my arm in September (who left all that pesky fresh air, just lying around for me to fall over), I was reassured you didn’t need two arms to Spin, and they would help adjust the bike. No excuses to hide behind there! 

It is almost a year down, I do the Arbonne’s 30 days to healthy living on alternative months and take an 80/20 approach on the in-betweens.

The difference has been combining with exercise, I started out small with 1 class a week and have gradually built up, all the while with lots of support, loudly and in the form of post spin coffees. I now do 4 early morning Spin and Ride/Row at Pedalhouse. Yes, rowing has made it into the mix, although the inner monologue continues on the rowing machine, “This is it, this is how we die!”

And so at 5 and 1/2 stone lighter I received the Transformation award from Lorraine Weselby – A Photoshoot. In 2021, I would have probably gone into hiding. A Photoshoot! No! No! Absolutely Not!

Having my makeup done along with outfit advice from Lorraine, a pre- shoot chat, and helpful hints to make the most of your photo shoot email from Simone I was prepared to ignore the panic. It was so much easier than I had imagined, masses of encouragement and no pressure to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with, by the 2nd outfit change I was relaxed. I still have more I wish to achieve with the weight loss and fitness, and I am still rocking all that social awkwardness, but this photoshoot was a huge confidence boost and a really amazing way to celebrate how far I have already come.