Saturday, 3 January 2015

Treading a Better Path - Day 35

Day 35 (4th January 2015)

Today is my "silver plate" wedding anniversary - we had a wonderful winter wedding in the Temple Church, London - a beautiful building, created by the Knights Templar in the 12th century (you might have seen it in Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code).

35 years, if we had been married that long, would be my "coral" wedding anniversary
This stunning macro photography shows dragon-eye zoanthid coral.
Reef making corals use up 2.5 times more energy per hour than a resting human

The popular Gemma Reucroft is responsible for today's post. Gemma, an HR Director within the healthcare sector, writer and speaker, is a much loved personality within the HR social media community - encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable. A great person to contact for advice or suggestions. She writes a couple of  a well followed blogs - and She lives and works in Yorkshire. On Twitter she is aptly known as @HR_Gem.


When I saw that the theme for this year’s advent blog was Paths and Perspectives, there was really only one thing that I could write about.  I have written about it before, for my first contribution to an advent blog, but it feels like it is time to revisit those thoughts. 

Three years ago, I was morbidly obese. 

When you are overweight, the perspectives come built in and held fast.  And every single one  of them starts with the words ‘I can’t’.  I can’t lose weight.  I can’t stick to a diet.  I can’t do any exercise.  I can’t find time to go to the gym. 

But can’t is only a perspective, no matter how tightly held. 

I’d walked the path to obesity very slowly.  Taking such small steps that I barely noticed it. Being overweight takes a lot from you, big things and small.  But like the fabled boiling frog, so incrementally as not to alarm.  Being able to wear high heels.  Being able to walk up a flight of stairs without pausing for breath.  Being able to find pleasure in shopping for clothes.  And then one day comes a realisation.  This path is leading to no place good.  This path leads to the sofa.  To spending more time with my special friends Ben and Jerry.  To ill health and sadness. 
Aptly named!
So I changed my perspective and got the hell off it.  Weight loss and fitness doesn’t start in the gym.  They don’t start in the kitchen.  It starts inside your own head. 

As I stand on my path today, I can turn and look back over the last three years.  Behind me I can see every milestone. One stone, two stone, three stone, four.  The piles of discarded clothes.  The bins stuffed full off food that I used to love but was doing me harm.  The first 5K that I ran with my team, that I didn’t think I could do but instead beat the time that I had secretly set for myself.  But I turn back around, because I am not going that way.   In front of me on my chosen path is the next milestone to stomp all over.  The big one.  Target Weight.  Not to mention running the 10K that I promised myself I would get fit enough for.
Yorkshire milestone
I have learned much walking this path over the last three years.  That I am capable of more than I thought I was.  That there are some people who will cheer you on every step of the way, and some who will not. That you can fall off the path or temporarily get diverted, but find your way again just the same.  I have learned that there will be plenty of people with an opinion they are happy to impart, but what matters most is your own opinion and feelings about what is right for you. 

When celebrating a recent milestone, someone asked me ‘when are you going to stop?’

For me, there is no stop.  I am walking a path to better health, to fitness, to strength.  This path is my life.

Whilst we cannot choose everything that happens to us or the path that life takes us on, I firmly believe that you are entirely in control of your perspective.  And to anyone who is thinking about making a change like this in their life I will say only this.  If I can do it, anyone can. 
Gemma - fit and fabulous
You Can Get it if You Really Want by Jimmy Cliff
The Harder they Come, Island Records, 1972


  1. A heartwarming tale of personal transformation Gemma. I must say I had no idea of the back story - just goes to show how little 140 characters tells us about our character ! ;-) Inspired by your story. Best wishes for 2015 Peter