Lucy Stedman, 28, from West London, lost over three stones by joining the gym and learning about food.
I was a size 14-16. I’d come out of university and was living in London when, in 2012, I met my partner Daniel through my job as a civil servant.
At 5 feet 8 inches tall, I’d always been bigger than my peers, and my family were all big so I’d resigned myself to the fact that that was how I would always be.
Daniel, on the other hand, had recently lost four stones and was very much into the gym.
Fit, active and really into exercise, he was health-conscious and knowledgeable on food too. To be honest I didn’t really listen as it didn’t interest me that much.
And, as soon as we got into a relationship, that fell by the wayside a bit as we started going out for meals together most nights, tucking into big plates of burger and chips at the Harvester. Not thinking twice about having the same portion size as him, I suppose I got comfortable. Sometimes he would try to tell me about healthy food but I would ignore it.
Occasionally I went along to the gym with him but totally uninspired, I would stick to the running machine for the short time I was there. We moved in together in the summer of 2014 and in September we flew to Provence, France, for our friend’s wedding. We had a great time when we were there, and I smiled for photos with the other girls.
It was only when I got back and saw the photos the following month that I was in for a shock. I was horrified about how much bigger I was than all the other women. It really bothered me. I thought about not eating, or going on an extreme diet.
Miserable and disappointed, the pictures made me feel guilty for letting the bride and groom down by making their wedding pictures look bad.
Deep down I knew that a quick-fix wasn’t the answer so, on 1st January 2015 I made it my New Year’s Resolution to join a gym. That day I went along to my local Virgin Active and signed up to a different fitness class every day of the week, including Boxercise, Spinning, Body Attack and Body Pump.
Weighing about 14 stones and a size 20, I made a promise to myself to go to the gym at least four days a week, every week. To try and make myself more accountable, I started an Instagram account too, called Loving Life Lucy, and posted a picture of my gym pass. I figured that if I had people following my progress, I would be more likely to stick at it.
Three months after joining the gym I had more energy than before, but my body wasn’t changing as much as I had hoped. I decided to look at my diet and put some of the knowledge that I’d read about into practice. I realised that I was eating lots of white carbohydrates, and not enough protein.
Instagram was great because I started following lots of different health and fitness bloggers and people like me who were just interested in it. If I ran out of inspiration for healthy meal ideas I would turn to them for inspiration.
Within a couple of months of changing my diet, this, combined with the exercise meant that I noticed my clothes getting baggier. One day I was leaning against the pole on the tube when I felt something digging into my arm. I had the shock of my life when I realised it was my own arm muscle! I’d never had muscles before.
Swimming had always terrified me because I had a phobia of putting my face in the water, but I faced my fear and learnt to swim too. I added swimming to my exercise plan and loved the variety. Eight months after embarking on my fitness resolution, in August 2015, I went to Las Vegas on holiday and was brave enough to buy my first bikini since I was a child.
I was over the moon that I only needed a size 14. By the end of the first year I had lost two stones and my wobbly bits had turned to muscle. Proud of myself for sticking to my resolution, it had become a whole lifestyle.
Now, I weigh 10.5 stones and wear a size 10 clothes. I work out six days a week and love feeling so fit and healthy.