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How I tracked my calories and exercised to lose 5 stone

By taking it slowly and making small changes to my life I managed to lose 5 stone. Now I am hoping to run a 5K.
Sally Jones, before and after losing several stone in weight

After having my son in 2011 I started to pile the weight on. But I wanted to be healthier so I could do more fun things with him and be around for as long as possible.

I decided to follow a calorie control plan, join a gym, aimed to drink 2 litres of water and eat 3 meals per day.

Using the ‘My Fitness Pal’ app I tracked my calories intake. But I made sure that I still had a treat every day such as chocolates or crisps by staying within my calorie allowance. I tried not to use calories that I burned by exercising, so I could keep my calorie deficit as large as possible.

I decided that the best way for me to lose weight was to take it slowly. If I had a meal out or a takeaway I was flexible. I would thoroughly enjoy myself and then get back on track straight after. I did not aim for big weekly losses and if I fancied something off plan – I had it. But then I made sure to get straight back on plan without feeling guilty about it.

As well as changing my diet, I began going to the gym – attending two or three classes per week. I also attended a couple of weekly visits to fitness suites and tried to do a long walk at the weekend.

In July 2019 I decided to work with a Personal Trainer twice a week to focus on strength training. In January of this year, I decided that I wanted to attempt a park run by the end of the year. So, I started the Couch to 5K programme at the gym.

Coronavirus Lockdown

During the lockdown, I knew I’d be working from home the majority of the time. So, I decided that I could either accept that I was going to put weight on (with easy access to the kitchen and the gym now closed) or use the benefit of having more time at home to my advantage.

I had a month of virtual training sessions with my Personal Trainer and also continued my Couch to 5K running. Albeit at 6am in the park when no-one was around! I alternated this with walks of our dog making the most of the outside daily allowance time.

When we could spend more time outside, we went on family bike rides and I started to walk up The Wrekin once a week. I also continued my calorie intake plan.

The weight continued to drop as I focused on my calorie plan and moving as much as possible. I was averaging 150,000 steps per week and meant that I had lost a further two stone. Also, I finished the Couch to 5K programme and by the end of lockdown was jogging 5K at least once a week.

Now I’ve lost five and a half stone in total. I have a goal of losing another half a stone before the end of the year with the target of a further two stone over the next year.

If someone had told me three years ago that I’d lose over five stone and be running regularly I wouldn’t have believed them. I’m now enjoying being back in the gym and looking forward to the park run being back up and running. As soon as it’s safe to do so I want to be able to do an official 5K.

Sally Jones in the gym, one photo at the beginning and another after losing over 5 stone.

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By Sally Jones

Telford and Wrekin resident

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