Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fattest of them all?
Looking to lose weight after the Christmas period, because you stopped smoking, after baby’s birth or with the onset of menopause? Or simply because you are injured and can’t go running? Maybe 5kg, 10kg, or even 15kg? Well imagine losing half your body weight or the equivalent of 6 times what the average woman gains during pregnancy. Imagine losing more than what Paula Radcliff weighs ……
That was the challenge Marie Rousset set herself in 2009 and achieved after 8 months through exercise, running and diet. The only thing I have in common with Marie is her passion for running and fitness apart from the fact that we both completed our first marathon in 4H18. But the comparison stops there. Marie is an incredibly driven, motivated, determined and focused athlete and her story is an inspiration to all female runners struggling with weight issues or eating disorders.
And I forgot another of Marie’s qualities …..she’s also very empathetic and generous and has allowed me to publish her story so that it can inspire other women.
2009. A TV studio. I was invited by my cousin. For the first time in my life I was ashamed of my appearance. I had tried every single diet under the sun …..Weight Watcher’s, high protein diets, crash diets, unaffordable nutritionists in Paris and all to no avail. Without willpower and real motivation it was a lost cause. My weight yo-yoed and the effect on my metabolism was catastrophic – I just gained more weight and had become increasingly demotivated. The slim me was trapped in a horrible waddling blubbery cumbersome body.
It’s in this studio that I realized things had to change and only I could do that. But it would take more will-power and determination I had ever invested in everything. And I had to believe in myself ….
I knew I would need to do some form of cardiovascular sport and so invested in an elliptical bike. I also decided to ask Damien Galtier a nutritionist from the Fleury Mérogis Hospital to help me with making the right nutritional choices. It really wasn’t all that hard …..I initially left out fatty foods. Meals were balanced and uncomplicated …..veggies like asparagus, green beans, fish (not fried), poultry, fruit for dessert.
I started off doing 30 to 45 min of elliptical/day and increased the duration of the sessions. I was losing 2kg/week and 10kg/month. I was motivated to lose weight because people were tracking my progress on the TV program. My objective was to drop to 90kg before my 30th birthday. That meant 30kg in 5 months and my nutritionist was a little skeptical about this.
By this time I was doing 5 hours of sport every day: cycling, swimming, and walking. A total of 30 hours of sport a week. I sometimes spent 3 hours on the elliptical trainer. Because I was working shifts I could fit this around my schedule but it meant training until 2am sometimes.
I had never really liked running so I initially hadn’t given this option any thought. My Dad is a marathon runner so I knew how effective running was in keeping off the pounds. Three months later whilst vacationing in the US I took up running …..it was an eye-opener, a turning-point in the new slimmer, fitter and healthier me. Make no mistake, I was still pretty heavy when I started weighing in at 92kg and with the hot temperatures I was quickly out of breath.
Back home in France I persevered going out for a run as often as possible. I often did 2 sessions a day sometimes getting back as late as 11pm ……I was so motivated and I my endurance and speed both improved. Having done all the cardiovascular training on the elliptical machine stood me in good stead and I was running 30min without stopping.
By July 4th the scales tipped at 71kg ……I had lost 48kg in only 5 months!
October 2009 I registered for my very first race – the iconic ‘20km de Paris’ along the banks of the Seine showing off my new svelte figure as I crossed the finish line at the Eiffel Tower in 1H52!
Objective achieved! I had lost 60kg and gone from a size 28 to a size 8!
I now needed to fix myself a new objective …..so I registered for Chicago Marathon in October 2010 which I completed in 4H18! As I crossed the finish line I swore to myself I would never ever inflict that on myself again but like any other marathon runner knows it is addictive and as soon as I got home I registered for Paris Marathon in April 2011 ….which I completed in 4H07. My PB to date is Paris 2012 in 4H01! I just missed the 4-hour barrier but who knows with Berlin in 2013?
What motivates me today? Having been there and suffered from obesity, I want to show others that you CAN do it! And not through surgery but through pure will-power – you just need to believe in yourself. If I could do it so can YOU! The best diet is exercise. It keeps your metabolism healthy and there’s no yoyo effect. The other advantage is that running tones you so even with all this weight loss I don’t have any unsightly loose skin.
Today 3 years on, I exercise daily: running, swimming and mountain biking.
Combining a weight-loss diet and exercise has meant I could go back to a normal healthy diet without gaining weight.
I also thought I would be a ‘fatty’ for life …..all you need is that trigger ….a person, a meeting, a shock ….something that makes you realize you can’t and won’t remain a ‘fatty’ for life!
I hope my story has helped some fatties and future skinnies out there! Best of luck and remember ‘If I can so can YOU’