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The worst moment of my life made me realise why I had to lose weight

Prima (UK) logo Prima (UK) 10/11/2017 Olivia Blair

© Provided by Prima UK Around six years ago, I experienced the moment that changed everything. I received a phone call from my Dad. My mother had gone missing.

She said she had popped out to meet a friend but she didn't arrive.

I was working in a city, living about an hour's drive away from my parents. When I arrived, there was a policeman in the living room.

'Has your mother ever gone missing before,' he asked.

'No -', I started before my father interjected. 'Yes.'

In the months leading up to going missing, my Mum had been going through menopause which had triggered severe depression. She became ill to the point where she couldn't even boil an egg.

On that day, Dad told me Mum had once been this unwell before. She had suffered from severe post-natal depression that led to a suicide attempt and hospitalisation when my sister and I were children.

I was shocked when I heard this. At the time I was also suffering quite badly with depression – we have a family history of it – but I'd never seen my Mum suffering and I had not spoken to her about my own struggles.

a man and a woman smiling for the camera © Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK) We started to look for Mum in the woods behind my parent's house. I heard a voice in my head saying to turn right and there she was. She had overdosed and was slumped on a river bank. Luckily, she hadn't fallen in.

I hurriedly called an ambulance and ran off to direct the paramedics to the remote area of the woods while my sister and boyfriend stayed with Mum.

Only, I couldn't run. I could barely run at all; I was bigger back then and a heavy smoker.

Struggling to run at the time I needed to the most was life-altering. Luckily, Mum is with us today and, after thanking the paramedics, I promised to change my ways. It was a major wake-up call.

The first steps

The first thing I looked at was who I was hanging around with. It's the most powerful thing to change your circle.

I was working in a high-pressured job and wasn't very happy. I was binge-drinking. My colleagues went to the pub every day, so I stopped going. I started hanging around with people who didn't drink. I got out of that toxic 'work hard, play hard' environment and formed healthier relationships with outside organisations. I started going to talks, reading more books and investigating my spiritual side.

Drinking less played a massive part in getting healthier. At the time when I living and working in the city, I was drinking three to four times a week, often feeling hungover at work and consequently eating junk food.

© Provided by Prima UK Taking up exercise

I became more conscious of exercise and started working out. Five years later, aged 40, I go to the gym almost every day.

The secret in keeping up my fitness routine going has been making sure I'm only a five-minute drive from the gym. I make it easy for myself in order to incorporate it into my lifestyle. The motivation only lasts so long, so you have to set yourself up for success.

This morning I went to a 7am spin class, but I mainly do weights. It took me a while to learn that weights can be more effective than cardio when it comes to weight loss, but a lot of women fall into the trap of just doing lots of cardio. I do two weight sessions a week and balance it with cardio sessions on other days.

Since moving out of the city, I have also got a dog which has played a big part in staying fit and healthy because I walk him twice a day!

Eating for health

I became more mindful of what I put in my body. I eliminated sugar, which has contributed to my two and a half stone weight loss, although I do fall off the wagon every now and again.

I also stopped eating flour. I found both flour and sugar so addictive – it was easier to cut them both out. That means I try not to eat bread, biscuits or cakes.

I started drinking more water and now, my diet is essentially high-quality protein and loads of vegetables. At my heaviest I was 14 and a half stone, I'm now 12 stone and 5 ft 11.5 in height.

a woman posing for a picture © Provided by National magazine company ltd (Hearst UK) Changing my mentality

I've also really worked on my belief system.

I looked back on some of the beliefs I was carrying at a time when I started to gain weight years before. I had to let go of some of the negative beliefs I had about weight. I thought negatively about myself and had a negative self-talk, I didn't like looking in the mirror.

They say you have to fall in love with yourself first and that's definitely true. When you are in a negative cycle, you just see everything you don't like and it becomes a vicious cycle of reinforcement.

Actually, you need to be nice to yourself and look after yourself. I had to do a lot of work on my self-talk. I became conscious of what I was thinking.

Moving forward

I promised on that terrifying day that I would change and I wouldn't be the same person anymore.

I pledged to do something to help others. I've gone through a big transformation of health myself but now I also share other people's inspirational life stories on the Kitty Talks podcast I set up a year ago, which has been downloaded in 61 countries.

I've learned that you need to examine your way of thinking and how happy you are with your lifestyle. Look at who you're surrounding yourself with and try and find a way to incorporate exercise into your life, so that it is natural and easy. Don't make things difficult for yourself.

Related: How to implement your weight loss goals at the office (Provided by Wochit News)

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