Article by Ceri Wheeldon
When I posted a question in our Fab after Fifty Facebook community , about what epitomised being ‘Fabulous over 50’ there were some truly inspirational responses. One was from Karen Robertson, who at 63, started a fitness regime, and now 65 she has lost nearly 4 stone and gone from a size 22 to a size 12.
This is how Karen responded to the question:
“For me it is being fab after 65 – I was overweight and very unfit all through my 50’s resulting in two hip replacements, type 2 diabetes and HBP. Last Feb when I was 63 I was size 22 and 15.5 Stone I started a fitness programme and now at 65 I am fitter and slimmer than I have been since my early 20’s – size 12 lost nearly 4 stone and full of a desire and determination to try new things and challenge myself “
I chatted to Karen to find out more about her story – and the motivation behind her transformation. I felt Karen’s story could inspire others to do similar.
How Karen lost 4 stone, went from size 22 to 12, and reversed her diabetes
This is what Karen had to say when we chatted:
All my life I had been sedentary. I never liked sports at school -when it came to cross country running I used to catch the bus back! Over the years I have done the odd Zumba or aerobics class, but I have never been into exercise. I used to walk around when I was younger but when I started working and had a child I started driving everywhere.
As I got older I got fatter. That had an effect on my health. In 2010 I had a double hip replacement due to osteo arthritis, and at about the same time I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
I didn’t take my weight or health seriously. In 2016 my best friend was diagnosed with bowel cancer. In 2017 she passed away. At 62 it made me aware of my own mortality.
My husband and I , like many, become relaxed about our diet etc and enjoyed a glass of wine (or two) most evenings. I became more aware of the impact that was having on my weight and my health and made a conscious effort to cut back.
In October of that year we started to have work done to our house, and moved into a flat up the road while it was being done. I started to walk backwards and forwards to check on the work. I was walking on average 8000 steps a day.
Starting my fitness regime
I also started to watch the series Outlander . Sam Heughan the actor to plays Jamie Fraser is very into fitness and runs a programme called ‘My Peak Challenge’ online to help encourage people to take control of their fitness, and raise money for charity ( Bloodwise and Marie Curie). At first I looked at it and thought ‘I can’t do that’. Then I thought perhaps I could. Then I thought it didn’t cost very much so it wouldn’t matter if I signed up and didn’t actually do it. But I did start it, on Feb 5th 2018. I started to do four beginners workouts a week. I also downloaded the NHS 5k app to start jogging. I joined the facebook group for the My Peak Challenge – where there were other women like me who had not exercised before, we encouraged each other. It was an advantage for me that you could do the programme at home.
I have just kept going. It does take hard work and you do have to stay motivated. I don’t follow any particular diet but I do track my protein, fats and carbs. I use Fitness Pal and a Fitbit to help me stay on track. I now go to a personal trainer once a week as well – she has me doing things like ‘chin ups’ which I would never have imagined myself doing!
As an added bonus I have reversed my diabetes. I hadn’t considered the effect on my blood sugar when I started but I am now normal levels.
My husband and son have both been very supportive. My husband is a regular gym goer and my son works out a lot with weights and does strength training. He has shown me how to more exercises using weights. They are both very proud of me.
Now I walk at least 12,000 steps every day. I go for long walk with my husband on weekends – last weekend we went to Cheam, Richmond Park and on to Kingston, we caught the train home after walking 14 kilometres.
More energy and confidence
I have so much more energy and the confidence to do other things. I meet up with other women at get-togethers organised through the peak challenge group, I have one coming up in Bristol and a gala dinner in Scotland.
It really is never too late to make changes. There are still opportunities to do things as we get older. I now say yes to whatever comes up. Physically I can now do so much more than before.It’s never too late.
I hope Karen’s story inspires you to make positive changes in your life. Do you know somebody whose journey would inspre others? Then do get in touch to share 🙂