Today’s blog comes to you from my heart and I wanted to bring it to you now as I feel a lot of us get trapped in a difficult mindset over the festive season. As I write this I am immediately brought back to one of my lowest points in my life when it came to my Health and Fitness and this story I share with you is one that although my lowest point was also my turning point and the point where I really started my journey to positive thinking and overall freedom from dieting, self-hate and the world where my self-worth was based on what I weighed.

December 2014 and we were getting ready for both my sister and my sister-in-laws wedding which were coming in a few weeks (7 days apart of each other so I needed to be skinny and fabulous). I was teaching my fitness classes, working full time in my lecturing job and running a few times per week but in I was addicted to what the weighing scales said. I was 8 stone 11lbs on my “good days” and on my “bad days” which was probably every second day I was over that by a lb or two. I had no understanding of the true variables which could affect the weighing scales by lb or two on a daily basis (how much water I drank the day before, how much poo I did, how much or little carbohydrates I ate, the list is endless) but once that number did not say 8 stone 11 or under I was in awful form. That Christmas I had set in my brain that once Christmas day was over I would start really dieting “I mean, really dieting”. I wasn’t going to eat bread, chocolate; actually I need to stop here as my list could go on as I think I had said all food type was gone”. This was my plan and this time I was actually going to pull it off. I mean I couldn’t do it when I was bridesmaid for my sister then I was a complete waste of space.

donna with her husband standing at a christmas tree

I remember buying this loose dress from Dunnes Stores to hide any lumps I had (what was I thinking?)

So with my plan set for after Christmas I was in freefall. In the build up to Christmas I ate like a maniac.  I didn’t just eat one or two roses but I would have the entire tin of roses. My self-hate was in over drive and I just kept going because “once Christmas day was here, that was it”. Nights out where a plenty and even though I did enjoy these the next day I would be the prize champion of eating bad food. Of course, Christmas day came and I did enjoy it, but I loathe myself for all the food I consumed. Stephen’s day came and although I had promised myself I would start today with my diet, I didn’t. I ate all the food around me and just loathe myself even more. The next day came and although I didn’t eat as much junk I was feeling so sad inside (of course on the outside I was smiling, but inside I was dying).  So here came my miracle – two days after Christmas I seen an ad or I can’t remember if I was approached by someone (the facts I can’t remember) to do one of those cleanse diets. OMG I thought – this is it. I thought that this is the answer and the solution I needed to all my problems. I was going to do this 9 day cleanse diet and lose all those lbs I wanted to lose. I was set……………………………………………………….but I wish I knew what I was set for.

I wish I knew that this moment in my life was actually the straw that broke the camel’s back. I wish I knew that this moment could have actually destroyed my life completely forever.  You know the ins and outs of these diets. You don’t eat for 9 days, you have a shake the first day and maybe the second and after that you can have a meal that is less than 600 calories. Day 1 I managed, day 2 I ate something as well as the shake (which I wasn’t suppose to) and I pretended that I was doing fine. I wasn’t – I was starving, feeling low in energy, I had a headache and wanted to cry because every minute I wanted to quit. All the testimonials I read about it everyone said “they felt energised, never better and they felt great”. What was wrong with me? Why the hell couldn’t I just stick to it? I was fitness professional, for god sake, I am a lecturer in Health Sciences and I hadn’t the will power to do it? What was wrong with me? I was desperate and so disappointed with myself.

On day 3 I pretended to the person over the program that my kid got the vomiting bug so I could tell the person that I couldn’t complete the 9 days as life just got in the way. I thanked them for their time and told them the program was super and that I learned loads from it. What I really learned was – I was a complete failure, I had no willpower and I was just fat and useless. My sister’s wedding was fast approaching and I was just going to look awful.  I felt so low and felt I didn’t know what to do. I stayed in this self-hate zone for quite some time (well I was in self-hate zone for a lot longer than December 2014 but this was the worst time). I never forget how desperate I felt. It was awful. It didn’t stop there. I continued on my path of destruction. I would eat and then exercise to run off the junk.  I 100% had a few occasions when I would binge eat junk and then try make myself throw it up. I have to admit I was bloody useless at making myself vomit. I told myself “oh for f**k sake, I can’t even be a proper bulimic”. I never felt happy or content. Of course on the outside I continued to smile and joke with everyone but on the inside I was completely dead.  This is a sad story but every word I write is true.

As sad as it was and how desperate I felt it was also my turning point and this is now why I am so adamant to change the Health, Fitness and Weight loss industry for the better.  This is why I know I have built a program that is real and actually sustainable. It is why I am so adamant that I can’t make people lose weight over night because I won’t use the quick fixes. Of course I could make way more money if I was to use the quick fixes – but I couldn’t live with myself knowing I was tricking people. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing that my unsustainable quick fix program would end up making people feel like I felt on my cleanse diet (by the way, the cleanse diet isn’t the only diet I had done. I had tried fat burners, no carb, atkins diet – actually I’ll once again stop because I had tried them all).

The turning point

It wasn’t a straight turning point and I can’t even pin point what was the moment but my journey changed and I write this to you with not just academic knowledge but life knowledge on how difficult this journey is. I know, I know you will say “sure she is tiny, what would she know?” but you don’t have to be fat to think you are fat.  So with my story on paper let me tell you some truths that you need to know to break the cycle.

  • You are more than a number on a weighing scales or the size of your jeans.
  • You are not useless because you couldn’t stick to the diet plan – most diet plans are unrealistic and unsustainable
  • The best thing you can do in your weight loss journey is throw out yours weighing scales. I don’t agree with diet plans that you weigh for every week. It’s complete bullshit everyone starving themselves or being “really good” the day before weigh. Even if you think about it now how the scales can move so easily because you have one good day. Doh!
  • An all or nothing approach does not and will not work long term.
  • Losing weight isn’t a quick fix program but a process of changing daily habits.
  • You must accept where you are today and learn to say to yourself “I’m not where I want to be but I’m working on it”
  • You must learn that health and fitness isn’t only about what you eat and exercise. Health and fitness involves many things including sleep, slowing down and learning to love yourself.
  • Comparison is the thief of all joy and that if we spend our lives comparing ourselves to others and looking for the opinions of others we are never going to be happy.
  • If you believe that a number on the weighing scales is the source of your happiness then you will never reach your final destination. Ask someone who has reached that goal how happy they feel and how long did that happiness last?
  • Understand that falling off the wagon isn’t failure – it is in fact part of the journey. You aren’t weak because you fell off the wagon. You are normal.
  • The number one skill you need to lose weight and get fit is not something you can buy – it is the skill of being able to reset. Reset and go again.
  • You must learn that no one is free from the consequences of their actions, both good and bad. If I eat badly, then I will feel bad and I will put weight on. If I eat well, then I will feel good and I won’t put weight on. No one is that lucky that they can do whatever they want (including all the insta bloggers who seem to be able to drink and party a few nights a week, you aren’t seeing the full story my friends). Every choice and decision has a consequence.
  • The weight loss industry makes money from your insecurities and vulnerability. The worst you feel about yourself the more likely you are to buy into the quick fixes.
  • There is no such thing as skinny tea, fat burners or slimming shakes. That is the equivalent of thinking yourself skinny (all involve eating less and consequently you lose weight).
  • There is no one diet that is the best. Every diet on the planet involves you eating less and consuming fewer calories. Regardless of what one you do you are actually just eating less so whether you did this with weight watchers, intermittent fasting, the 5:2 or no carb diet you just ate less and so you got skinnier.
  • Understand that no matter how far on the path of destruction you are that you can still turn things around.
  • Understand that you didn’t put on the weight over night so it isn’t going to come off over night.
  • Understand that you and you alone are your problem and also your solution. You have the power within you to take action and make yourself feel amazing. The process isn’t complicated. You simply need to start.

My turning point wasn’t all of a sudden. I didn’t make it by my sisters wedding in March nor did I tell anyone how I felt but I remember vividly this being my lowest point and from here in I started to change. It was slow but now I feel I have turned into a pheonix who is ready to tell the world the truth. I no longer own a weighing scales and I feel completely happy.

Donna Dunne Fitness at her sisters weddign both girls holding a bunch of flowers

My Sister’s Big Day

There you have it – warts n’all. My message is very simple. I am on a mission to change people’s lives and to change the Health, Fitness and Weight loss journey by breaking the norms one step at a time. My motivation to do this is twofold; I don’t want my two beautiful daughters to grow up in a world where this behaviour is normal and their self-worth is determined by what they weigh and how they look. Secondly, this is about my happiness. Personally it is sad to think I have wasted so much of my precious life hating myself and by doing this I feel I can make up for those wasted years. So for anyone who thinks this is about making money – you are greatly mistaken. I come from nothing and I don’t chase money as my measure of success, I chase honesty, integrity and humility. This is about my happiness!