Never in a million years did I imagine I’d ever be writing a blog about running, but here it is, the first of many.

I suppose I better start with a little bit of information about myself. My name is Aislinn McFadden and I am 23 years old. I am a primary school teacher, currently kept busy by 28 energetic 6-year-olds.

I have struggled with weight for as long as I can remember. I was the chubby child, the fat teenager and the over-weight adult. I have cried more times than not when shopping for clothes. I have looked in the mirror and despised the person staring back at me. I have spent days wishing I was someone else, and I have wanted my whole life to lose weight. In terms of exercise, I always hated it. It was more of a mental hatred than anything else. Exercise made me aware of how my belly jiggled, how red my face turned and how fat I was compared to the other people in the gym/out exercising. It was a constant battle, and was never something I enjoyed.

It got to the stage where my weight consumed me. It became all I thought about. I was constantly comparing myself to others. I didn’t want to meet with friends or family because I was embarrassed and ashamed of my body. My confidence and self-esteem had hit rock bottom, and my weight was causing so much damage to my mental health. It hid my personality and completely stole my happiness.

I decided enough was enough. I finally realized that the only person standing the way of my happiness was me. I began to see that life is too short to spend days wishing you were someone else, or wishing your life was different. So last January I decided to join Slimming World when I was at my heaviest weight of 15 stone 1.5 pounds. Having tried other groups in the past such as Weight Watchers and Unislim, I was doubtful it would work but I can now honestly say it has changed my life. I started to better my eating habits and my weight started to drop slowly week by week. I had good weeks and bad weeks, gains and loses, but I was determined and I stuck to it. One year later and I am still a Slimming World member, with a total weight loss of 3 stone 2 pounds. I now weigh 11 stone 13.5 pounds, but more importantly I have gained my life back. I am still far from where I want to be, but I am getting there. Up until now I have documented my weight loss progress through social media (Instagram: Slimwithme_molly_sw & and I am excited about this opportunity to branch out into the fitness side of things!

Now to get on to the running side of things.. A couple of moths into my weight loss journey I decided that in order to boost my weight loss and improve my overall health I needed to incorporate some exercise into my week. I had always liked the idea of taking part in a 5k but never thought I’d be able and feared being the last one to cross the finish line. I spotted one coming up locally and said I’d give it a go (to see if I’d make it to the end in one piece). I was so pleasantly surprised by the amount of people there with the same fitness level as me. I walked and jogged for the entire distance (as I still do) and have never felt as proud as I did crossing the finish line. I enjoyed it so much that I have competed six more 5ks since then and have managed to finish quicker each time. I still walk and jog, and more often than not I finish in the last handful of runners but I am doing it for myself, not for anyone else.

This year, to keep me motivated, I have signed up for the Leinster Challenge (through GoActiveIreland), where you are required to complete a 5k in each of the 12 counties of Leinster. I hope that through my training I can lessen the amount of walking time, and that one day in the future I might be able to run a 5k in it’s entirety (although right now that seems like wishful thinking). I have also started a circuit training class twice a week to help strengthen my muscles and improve my stamina.

Getting off the couch to go for a run/jog/walk is an achievement in itself. Don’t think you are too heavy, too unfit, too old, too slow – believe me when I say you can do it, and believe in yourself. I spent too long worried about what other people thought and letting my own negativity hold me back. It’s not about anyone else, it’s not about how fast you finish, it honestly doesn’t matter if you’re first or last. What matters is that you are trying.

For me, this journey into weight loss and fitness is about being the best version of me I can be.

I might finish last. I am slow. I sweat. I jiggle. But I run.

Stay Tuned…

Aislinn (SlimWithMeMolly)

PS: This weekend I’m taking part in the Charlie Curran Memorial Run in Carlow @ 10.45! Hope to see some of you there!

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