Kerry Robertson: Boost your emotional state by losing weight and getting fit

Former Fit Factor contestant Kerry Robertson explains how to boost your emotional state by losing weight and getting fit

Kerry Robertson is put through her paces by instructor David Fairlamb
Kerry Robertson is put through her paces by instructor David Fairlamb

Now nearing the half way point the Fit 7 will be focusing on the final which is at the beginning of June. Like me a year ago, I started thinking about how losing weight would make me feel and how it may help change my life for the better.

The Fit Factors will all be focussing on getting through the coming weeks and for the women of the group, they will be thinking of outfits they would like to wear and what to do with their old clothes. For the men, they may be getting back in to old clothes and thinking about key pieces they would like to purchase.

It can be liberating to empty your wardrobe of ill fitting clothes and give them away, sell them or donate to charity. I sold a lot of clothes on auction sites and gained lots of pounds (British Sterling not fat), I found the process both a release but sometimes upsetting.

Some outfits held special memories, some, not so much. Some items I loved but they were just too big and I had to let them go. Either way the process of clearing out the draws and wardrobe can help a person losing weight let go of the emotional baggage as well as the fat. The only problem is you need to replace the clothes and when you have no money that can be a problem.

I spent best part of three weeks wearing one pair of shorts, whatever the weather as that was the only thing that fit me, until pay day and then I bought a pair of supermarket size 14 jeans, now that was a proud day! Milestones like buying smaller jeans or a significant outfit can be a defining moment, especially for a woman.

Women (and men) are scrutinised in everyday life and mainly in the media for weight issues and from a young age we are told that ‘thin’ is beautiful and ‘fat’ is ugly. Now with social media use at an all time high, there is no escaping what the general public think and feel about fat people.

Even positive posts, depicting a shapely, beautiful young women can bring out the troll in almost everyone, scrolling through the comments, you see women saying ‘she’s beautiful’ and the odd man agreeing but mostly its comments like ‘she’s fat and unhealthy’ or ‘she should go on a diet’ or ‘she’s disgusting’. I find these comments very upsetting and feel that no matter what you do, it will never be good enough for some people.

The human shape as we all know is different for everyone, there are no two bodies the same. Why then, do we all have to subscribe to the idea that we should all look like a super model?

For anyone with a weight problem this can have a massive negative impact on how they feel. Emotional issues associated with being overweight have long been studied. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and a feeling of being less important than others are just some of the emotional issues faced by overweight people.

Larger people tend to put on a front, normally in the guise of a joker or a bubbly, happy-go-lucky type, and some are genuinely like that but I find that often it’s just a cover up of how they really feel.

I’ve always made a joke of my size and I probably always will until the day someone says ‘I don’t get it?’ then I’ll know in the eyes of the general public that I’m ‘normal’ and not fat anymore.

When unkind comments do come your way, friends and family will say ‘ignore them’ or ‘why care what strangers think’ but wounds can be made with harsh words, wounds that don’t heal and can stay with you for a long time.

Around eight years ago I weighed roughly 14 and a half stones (so not my biggest) I went out with my then boyfriend (who is now my husband) and a large group of friends and we all had a fab night.

I felt I looked OK but according to two complete strangers I looked fat. The first instance was in the takeaway shop after leaving the pub, I was following yet another weight loss plan at the time so the pizza wasn’t for me, it was for my svelte boyfriend, as I sat minding my own business on a bench waiting for my boyfriend who was at the counter getting HIS pizza, a complete stranger came up to me and said ‘you shouldn’t be in here’ I looked about thinking he was talking to someone else and realising he was talking to me I said ‘pardon?’ he then proceeded to tell me I was too fat and should be ashamed and that I shouldn’t be in a takeaway shop.

My boyfriend over heard and asked him to leave me alone and that he had no right to talk to me like that, he just declared we should wynd our necks in and got up and left. I was left feeling shock and horror. I was very upset and rather than shouting the odds at him I just got up and left, my boyfriend got his pizza and followed me outside. He comforted me as we walked to a taxi rank and as we walked a young man walked towards us and asked my boyfriend if he could have some of his pizza, my boyfriend replied ‘Sorry mate, this is all mine’ and the kid replied ‘well it’s not like your lass needs any as she’s fat already’.

Boom twice in one night by two separate strangers, needless to say that outfit went in the bin and I spent the next three weeks starving myself and going over in my head what I should have said back.

I do wonder why two complete strangers thought it was OK to comment on my size, to my face and purposely upset someone they didn’t even know? What did they get from it? Did it make them feel better about themselves?

If losing weight and getting fit was so easy we would all be skinny and healthy. Losing weight and getting fit is hard to do and takes dedication and drive. Results can be achieved very quickly with the right kind of help and self determination and poor health can be reversed in a short space of time, I should know.

I went from nearly 18st suffering all kinds of health issues and only being able to run a bath, to losing 5st in six months and running 13.1 miles in 2 hours 26 minutes. Boom ...it can be done!

It’s been life-changing for me, more energy, better outlook on life in general and feeling proud about who I am, I still have a bit to go but I’m determined to get there soon. It’s all about positive thinking and belief in yourself, surround yourself with positive, helpful people and remove anyone who doesn’t support you from your life, you can be done without negative comments.

Following the Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet) can be difficult in everyday life but it’s not impossible. It’s all about mind control and resolve. I’ll admit, like most overweight people I’m an emotional eater, when I get stressed or upset I used to head for the biscuit tin or throw caution to the wind and order a takeaway.

I now have to stop and think about what it is that’s bothering me and deal with it in a way that doesn’t involve bad food. I go for a run, jump in a bubble bath, eat some fruit, drink some water or head to the beach for a DF Fitness Beach Bootcamp session.

We all know that exercise boosts serotonin (the happy chemical, released in your brain) and this in turn can help with your emotional state. Put on some comfy shoes and go for a brisk walk, pack your swim suit and do a good few lengths. Play with your kids or dog in the garden.

It’s a shame that society is blinkered and believes we should all be the same, I like variety and I like being different. I also believe in being healthy and losing weight will not only help with emotional issues but make you feel better too. Everybody has a story to tell, start yours today, the right way.

Kerry’s Foodie Tips

Takeaways can be full of fat, sugar and salt, ditch them in favour of something way more tasty:

Saturday Night Treat

Lamb or Beef (lean cut, remove all fat)

4 Carrots

Broccoli

Bake the carrots in the oven, peel and split long ways, wrap each carrot in foil loosely but sealed, place in a medium oven for an hour, steam or boil the broccoli for 10 minutes while cooking the meat.

Dry fry, grill or use a George Foreman grill to cook your steak to your liking.

The appeal of the takeaway is the quickness, so try this quick tasty alternative to comfort food it only takes 20 minutes to cook:

Chicken and chunky veg (comfort food)

Chopped chicken breast or skinless, boneless thighs (trim all visible fat off)

Peppers

Mushrooms

Red Onions

Courgette

5 spice / mild chilli powder, dried herbs, seasoning.

Use a spritz of oil in a wok or large pan. Heat and add the chopped chicken, keep turning till browned, add all spices, herbs and a splash of water, then add all veg which has been chopped in to medium sized chunks. Keep stirring, 10 – 15 mins until the onions and courgettes are soft. Serve in a large bowl and tuck in.

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