Spotlight Sunday – Melody Clarke! “I’m now back to the weight I was on my wedding day, except now I’m a lot more toned!”

We’ve all heard it as mothers to be or new mums, it takes nine months to put the weight on and nine months to get the weight off. The trouble was that in January of this year, my daughter was nearing 7 months old and I was weighing 5lbs heavier than the week we’d returned from hospital.

Throughout my pregnancy I had been quite good, I’d tried hard not to eat for 2 as the thought of having to lose the baby weight was bad enough without adding to it by over eating. I’d never been any good at diets, I usually gave up after 2 weeks maximum and never had the discipline to turn up to the gym or an exercise class 2 or 3 times a week. Plus I cancelled my gym membership when I found out I was expecting and to be honest I was glad of the excuse not to go!

Throughout my late teens and my 20’s I was a slim thing and I quite enjoyed working out but as I got older, got my own house (and the responsibilities that come with it) and had a job with over an hours commute each way, the gym was more of a chore than a pleasure and bad eating habits crept in. I’d talk myself out of going to the gym on the drive home or I’d get back too late to make any of the classes I liked, and so the weight piled on. I knew it was happening and I hated it but I wasn’t disciplined enough to do anything about it, my life was too busy to fit in exercise. Slowly I had gone from a trim size 8 to an unflattering size 12-14 by the summer of 2012.

wedding photoI was due to get married in April 2013 on a beach in Mexico. I managed to lose 11lbs for my wedding but it took me 6 months and I was nowhere near as toned as I would have liked. I’ve always loved the sun and having a suntan and I was going to wear a bikini no matter what, so I spent a lot of the holiday breathing in when all our friends and family were around!

It wasn’t ideal and looking back I was disappointed in myself for not trying harder for my big day.

My daughter was born in June 2014 and since then I had been eating what I liked when I liked telling myself that it was OK to eat cakes and biscuits everyday, have a quick and unhealthy lunch or evening meal as I was usually eating on the go and to drink a glass of wine, or 3, at the end of a tough day with the little one as a reward for getting through it. I wasn’t happy having to choose loose fitting clothes or breathe in all the time. I wasn’t happy looking at photos of myself with a double chin or looking twice the size of all my friends but most of all I wasn’t happy with the example I was setting my daughter.

In December an NCT friend asked if I wanted to do a 28 day bootcamp challenge with her in January, at the fitness studio she worked out at, so we could both start to shift our baby weight. At first I wasn’t too keen as I knew it would be hard work and I didn’t know if I could stick to it for a whole 28 days. I’m a results driven person and if I don’t see results or a change on the scales then I give up. Plus I had a house to run, a small baby to look after and very little spare time to fit in work out sessions. I knew my weight and appearance was depressing me but I justified it with the excuse that I’d just had a baby so it was ok to be carrying extra weight and have a wobbly tummy.

toadstoolsBut she was getting older and that excuse was wearing thin!

When I stepped on the scales just after Christmas, the number displayed made up my mind that I needed to do the bootcamp challenge and stop being in denial that I was happy with how I looked, baby or no baby.

I won’t lie, it was tough! My daughter had just started on solids, I was cooking one meal for me, one meal for my husband and something different again for her. But as the days went on I got into my stride and learnt what were good and bad food choices by following the meal planners and guidance that was provided. As I started to see the numbers getting lower on the scales, it made me even more determined to do well. I learnt a lot about my attitude towards food and that I was actually quite lazy when it came to meal planning and cooking, relying on pasta dishes or ready meals as I didn’t have the time or energy to cook when actually it doesn’t take much to poach some chicken or fish and steam a few vegetables.

I don’t have a support network around me who can look after my daughter whilst I work out, which was another excuse I had been dining out on for the previous 7 months, so it was invaluable to me and a huge part of my success that she was able to come with me to the bootcamp sessions.

Melody and her training buddy Nic being watched over by her daughter Millicent and Nic's son Max!
Melody and her training buddy Nic being watched over by her daughter Millicent and Nic’s son Max!

By the end of the 28 days I had lost 11lbs, the same amount it had taken me almost 6 months to lose for my wedding!

We went on our first family holiday in March and this time I wore my bikini feeling proud of the fact that I had a 9 month old baby and had done something about getting the baby weight off and getting myself back into good enough shape to start to feel confident about my body. But it didn’t stop there and I have just completed another 6 week sexy summer challenge, where I lost a further 12lbs and I’m now back to the weight I was on my wedding day, except now I’m a lot more toned!

The new food and exercise regime in our house has also had a great effect on my husband who, in support of my latest challenge, completely changed his eating habits to eat what I was eating and he has seen a pretty substantial weight loss too! Now I feel like we’re both setting our daughter a really good example and she has developed a much wider pallet by often eating the food off our plates! Plus she really enjoys coming to the work out sessions and all the attention she gets!

I don’t always make the workout sessions I plan to and it’s not always easy to get out the house in the morning to get there but it’s worth the effort to have my body and my confidence back but even more than that, I feel proud of what I’ve achieved.

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