Sarah Liveing shares her experience, as she changed her life dramatically as she approached her 50s by losing 8 stone through walking!
What was life like for you pre the weight loss?
My life prior to weight loss was not a good place to be. I was angry mostly with myself but projected it out to others and I felt disgusted with who I was. I had no confidence and very low self-esteem. I was very unhappy and blamed everyone else for the way I felt. It was my mother’s fault for taking me to a diet club when I was 11 and not overweight, it was also my mum who took me to dieticians, hypnotherapists, a health farm etc. and every time I got the message that I wasn’t good enough. Through this journey I realise that I must take responsibility for how I feel as an adult today. Do I want to cling to those old crushing beliefs or do I want to rid myself of them and move forward free from the ball and chain?
What motivated you to lose the weight?
Several things. The first was a holiday where I had to climb up a steep hill which caused me to ache, sweat profusely and have sores in places I shouldn’t have. The second was that I got a part-time job after 14 years out of work being a Mum and the third was signing up to do a charity walk through the night in my bra!
What was the hardest part about losing the weight?
The hardest part is keeping it off. Our fat cells have memory just as our muscles do and they don’t know that you don’t want to be the size you were so they will try and convince otherwise. I have had to learn to have a new relationship with food. Before it was my “frenemy”, I loved it but I hated it and now I have a healthy respect for it. I have chosen to give up wheat and processed sugar as I know these foods can be highly addictive and if I ate them now, my brain would convince me that I’d want more and more so I avoid them. Life is about choices and this is what works for me.
What difference has it made to your life?
I’ve learned to like who I am both physically and emotionally and to have freedom from constantly wanting to eat has been a blessing. My confidence has soared and I am not the angry person I was. My husband had suggested I attend an anger management course when I was big but now he can’t understand why!
What 3 tips would you give other women over 50?
Be determined. Make a lifestyle change rather than go on a ‘diet’. If you want sustained weight loss you have to view it as a way of life. Don’t tell others of your plans – there are saboteurs at every turn and they have their own agenda for keeping you just the way you are.
Inspirational, Dynamic, Passionate.
Do you ever slip up?
The last time I had a piece of cake was at my daughter’s 21st three months ago. I eat well, I eat the things I like but slip ups are a thing of the past for me.
What did your family think when you lost all the weight?
The best moment was when my son put his arms round me to give me a hug and was amazed that his hands met for the first time! He was ecstatic and so was I. My family have been hugely supportive and have appreciated the change in me enormously.
Do you think women in their 50s plus generally have a good body image?
I’ve recently carried out a small survey for my company Walking Works and although the age of the respondents was predominantly 40s and 50s the majority have very poor body image. Many women are not satisfied with what they have and turn to food, wine, the latest outfit, handbag, car (if they can afford it), piece of jewellery etc thinking that will bring them happiness. The reality is that none of those things will fill the void. You have to learn to like yourself completely and you will find the happiness you seek.
How did you feel when you turned 50?
I had wanted to be slim when I was 40 but I was a size 22 and very unhappy so it was a huge relief that when I hit 50 I was a size 12 and I felt amazing. The food was the symptom for me and I have spent lots of time and effort working out what the causes were so that I could move on and find my happiness.
How would you describe your style?
I love colour so my style is always vibrant. I have orange in my logo and similarly I have lots of orange in my wardrobe. I’m not a frilly, patterned person so I wear blocks of colour and my look is gamine.
How would you describe your hopes for the future?
I’d love to steal a line from a famous company and say “My future’s bright, my future’s….. but I’m not allowed to say that so I’ll say instead that I will continue to spread my message about sustained weight loss and the huge health benefits of walking wherever I can.
Sarah Liveing (53) is the founder and owner of Walking Works – which aims to help businesses by teaching them the health benefits of walking, including aiding weight-loss and improving concentration. She herself lost eight stone through walking and now also offers a one to one personal service leading individuals on a journey of weight loss with her company Walking for Weight Loss.