SMALL changes can make a big difference according to one inspirational woman who has lost over five stone since the start of the Covid pandemic.
While constant challenges and disruptions to daily routines caused many of us to gain weight over the course of lockdown, Jackie Rooney from Brookeborough instead spent her time wisely in order to achieve one of her biggest accomplishments yet.
“I started my weightloss journey about a year ago. The weight had just piled on over about four years and I just thought, right, I need to get myself in gear.”
Jackie who describes herself as a “new woman” has said that while she understands how a lot of people went in the opposite direction, lockdown gave her the “perfect opportunity” to kick-start her weightloss plan.
“There wasn’t an actual defining moment that made me take the decision to lose weight, it was mainly for my own health.
“When we’d go to the park with our son I would say to my husband to go on the slide with him, when playing outside together I would have sat down instead because I physically felt that I wasn’t fit enough to do it.
“Even looking at photographs from family events, I thought to myself – Oh my God, how have I got here? I didn’t even recognise myself.
“I would of always been a confident person when I was younger and I just lost all that, I wasn’t myself.
“The weight gain wasn’t in my nature, my background is actually PE teaching and I have a degree in sports studies. I was supposed to be a healthy role model for people, that was my niche.”
Speaking on the difficulties she faced when making that first step, Jackie opened up and said, “I was at a point where no matter what I tried, it just felt like I had so much more to do than anyone else. It seemed like too big of a climb and I questioned if I was ever going to get back to where I was.
“But it’s just about taking responsibility and accepting the situation. People do blame other factors, but at the end of the day it is no excuse.
“Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day, and it’s up to you what way you use them. No matter who I got to help me last year or what program I was one, everything out there is proven to work, whether it be slimming world, or a PT session, but only you can do it.
“I started with an online coach last May and I made slow and steady changes to my diet, lifestyle, mindset and it really worked.
“It was a slow process but it was having the patience to stick with it and a year later I’m reaping the benefits now. It’s great, I’m like a new woman compared to what I was like last year.”
Over the last 12 months, Jackie has gone from strength to strength after reaching nearly 2,000 followers since the new year with her popular weightloss and well-being Instagram page ‘Jackie’s Journey’.
“I thought that I’d start sharing my weightloss journey to inspire others. It’s very raw, real and honest. When I post food ideas or new mindset tips, I always think of what advice I needed this time last year but didn’t have.
“Majority of what you see on Instagram is women with six packs, who have their meal prep done Monday to Friday, but realistically that is not real, life gets in the way and that’s ok.
“For me this time it wasn’t a strict regime, it was flexible and that’s why it’s been so successful.
“If I ate broccoli and chicken for six months, yes, I would of been leaner a lot quicker but I wouldn’t of had the enjoyment of life that we all need.
“I want people to know that it’s not all about starving yourself, it’s about the whole journey of changing your mindset, habits, lifestyle, and picking up one bar instead of two.”
Jackie added, “For anyone wanting to start their weightloss journey, I would simply say – make a start.
“Get out of this old diet mentality that it’s all or nothing. It’s about making small changes slowly and accepting that it will take patience to change your lifestyle and habits.
“If you start small you will get there, it might not be as quick as you’d want it but the small changes will eventually make big changes.
“I get messages from people all over the world and it’s lovely meeting people who are on the same road as you and share the same struggles.
It’s important for people to see the whole journey, not just a before and after shot that’s posted on social media.”
Jackie’s top 5 tips to get started!
1. Have patience! This process will not happen overnight!
2. Make small sustainable changes, they will all add up in the end.
3. Don’t cut out the foods you enjoy! Still have them in moderation
4. Stay consistent! If you have a bad week leave it behind and get back at it!
5. Invest time in yourself whether it be for mental heath, exercise or nutrition.
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