Steph’s commitment and consistency has paid off as she celebrates a six stone weight loss and a complete change of mindset.
“I want to express that since joining Performance Project my life has changed so much … not only am I physically different, I am mentally in the best place I have ever been. Training is a huge part of my life, as is PP, and I absolutely love lifting weights!”
When Steph joined Performance Project back in 2013 she was the heaviest she had ever been. At a petite 5ft 4” in height, 16 stone 4lbs (228lbs) was a lot of weight to carry around and Steph was feeling desperate to shift some of it. She was one step away from gastric band surgery when she met Jerome, who talked her into trying a more gentle approach to fat loss before undertaking something so drastic.
Jerome knew he could help Steph if she followed his plan, so Steph agreed to give his way a go and her amazing transformation journey began.
How were you feeling physically and mentally before starting your journey?
About eight years ago, during her pregnancy with her son, Archie, Steph put on nearly five stone. After Archie was born she struggled to shift the weight again, and resorted to Weight Watchers and then Slimming World, which initially helped her to lose some of the weight she had gained.
“I went up to a fairly hefty weight while pregnant. Archie was huge so I was ginormous!”
But Steph found it hard to stick to any one eating plan and the weight just crept back on. She then made the decision to join a local bootcamp and give exercise a try to lose some of the excess weight she so desperately wanted to shift.
She stuck with the bootcamp for about a year but didn’t see any changes in her weight. She also didn’t enjoy the bootcamp as she didn’t particularly like running around a field outdoors and found the cardio incredibly difficult as she was carrying so much extra weight.
Her mental health was also suffering, as she just wasn’t seeing any results despite all the effort she put in. Steph had been diagnosed with postnatal depression (PND) when Archie was six months old, making her battle with her weight and body image that much harder to manage.
After about 12 months Steph gave up the bootcamp and considered what she could try next as she was feeling more and more desperate. Her whole life was being affected by being overweight and she felt utterly miserable.
As Archie grew and became more and more active, Steph found it increasingly hard to play with him. She found it upsetting that she couldn’t run around and play with him in the way that she wanted to. She even actually avoided going to the park with him as she felt embarrassed that she couldn’t chase after him and worried that he might run off and she wouldn’t be able to catch him.
“My size affected my role as a mum. I used to avoid going to the park with my son because I was too self-conscious and I couldn’t run, and he had so much energy. He was a crazy kid and used to just love running and I worried I couldn’t keep up.”
It was at this point that Steph felt she needed to do something drastic, to make a big change and quickly. In the summer of 2014, just before Archie was about to turn three years old, she made the decision to have gastric band surgery.
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Having looked around locally Steph found that she didn’t meet the criteria for a lot of clinics to perform the surgery so she looked further afield and found a clinic in Birmingham that would. Her mind was made up and Steph booked an appointment for the consultation in Harley Street, before making the arrangements to travel to Birmingham for the procedure.
Knowing how desperate she felt, Steph’s dad had agreed to help her. He could see just how unhappy his daughter was and it was breaking his heart. But just before Steph was due to go for the consultation her Auntie Jacqueline asked her if she would meet with her personal trainer, Jerome, for a chat before making any radical changes to her body through surgery.
For the sake of her family, Steph reluctantly agreed, even though she had secretly already made up her mind to go ahead with the gastric band procedure. When she met Jerome, Steph genuinely believed that nothing else could help her lose the weight and nothing would change her mind about the surgery. How wrong she was!
How did the initial chat with Jerome go?
Jerome explained to Steph that she could achieve her goals without taking such drastic action as gastric band surgery if she listened to his advice and committed to the process.
Steph wasn’t convinced that lifting weights would help her. Like many people, she shared the misconception that it would make her look bulky and bigger, rather than helping her to lose the weight that she desperately wanted to and sculpt the body that she had always dreamed of.
Jerome explained to Steph that she needed to be in a calorie deficit to achieve fat loss and that lifting weights would help build a good physique. To achieve the calorie deficit they agreed on a gentle approach that meant Steph could enjoy food without missing out on all the things she enjoyed, which would make her even more miserable.
The bagel conversation
After her initial chat with Jerome one thing had stuck in Steph’s mind – the conversation about the bagel!
Jerome had said to her that she could diet and still enjoy the foods she liked and that at some point she would be able to eat a bagel! He explained that changing her eating habits may take some time as it was a process that had to be learned, like anything new.
Steph came away from the initial meeting with Jerome partly believing in what he had said but part of her was still doubtful that this approach could work. She went through the motions anyway, to keep her family and those around her happy.
Steph joined Performance Project a week after Archie’s third birthday, doing three private personal training sessions per week for 12 weeks.
After the initial 12 weeks she went down to two sessions a week with Jerome, and continued that for about a year. During this time her weight reduced and she made gradual but consistent progress.
But her journey wasn’t all about loss, as Steph gained something too … a new best friend. Jerome had introduced Steph to another member, Sinead, and the two of them joined forces to share joint personal training sessions twice a week for the next year.
Steph and Sinead are now the best of buddies and do everything together, they even went on holiday together this year. It was a win, win situation!
What results have you seen whilst training at Performance Project?
Just six weeks after starting her sessions with Jerome, Steph had lost 10lbs. At the time, she couldn’t believe it. Especially as the approach to her nutrition was softly softly. Guided by Jerome, she had made subtle changes to her diet, but ones that she would be able to sustain in the long run to get the results she really wanted and then maintain them.
There was no crash dieting, no meal-replacement shakes, no cutting out all of the foods that Steph loved, just a healthy balanced approach to nutrition and careful calorie tracking to make sure she was achieving a calorie deficit.
At the same time, Steph was starting to enjoy her weight training sessions and realised that there was so much more to exercise than just cardio!
After starting at Performance Project in September 2014, Steph even managed to stay pretty much on track with her calories during a trip to Las Vegas in November. She had started seeing results and was now fully committed to the process.
She gained 1lb in Vegas (and still had an amazing time) but when she got back she jumped right back on the weights wagon. And things progressed from there.
When she looks back now, Steph can’t believe she looked the way she did. She feels so much more comfortable in herself as she is now. She looks in the mirror and actually likes what she sees, which she didn’t previously.
“When I started this journey I was miserable, really miserable. I didn’t even like looking at photos of myself.”
When you started what did you want to achieve?
When Steph started her journey at Performance Project her target was to lose 5 stone. Not only has Steph now absolutely smashed that goal but she is well beyond it, having lost 6+ stone.
Her current weight is 9 stone 12 lbs (138 lbs) and we think she looks absolutely incredible. Her new-found confidence shines through and to top it all, she has dropped six dress sizes! She has gone from a dress size 20 to a size 8 – wow!
For a while after the weight started to drop off Steph still picked up the same size clothes in the shops and then remembered that she was smaller. It took her a while to adjust to her new body and as she did her self-confidence slowly grew.
As well as losing fat, Steph started to notice a change in her body shape and she realised that the strength training was helping her to achieve a physique that she’s proud of – one that’s strong and lean.
What other results have you seen whilst training at Performance Project?
Steph now trains at the gym five days a week. She trains on her own, using the knowledge she has learned from Jerome. She has even learned to like cardio. She used to really hate it because she struggled with her fitness due to her size but as her fitness levels have improved she has developed a love-hate relationship with the assault bike!
Her gym routine is now just the norm for Steph. It is not a chore, just part of her daily life. If she doesn’t come in one day she really notices the effect on how she feels and her mental health sometimes suffers. Working out and being active has massively helped Steph with her anxiety.
If she has a bad morning feeling anxious she knows she can come to Performance Project, workout and feel a whole lot better. Her confidence levels in all areas of life have also blossomed.
“I am so much more confident now. I used to come into the gym wearing a hoodie and I wouldn’t take it off, no matter how much I sweated or how hot I felt because I was so self-conscious. One day I just realised that I can’t keep wearing this hoodie so I took it off and now I feel way less self-conscious than I did.”
Steph also feels that she is now a good role model for her son. He sees his mum going to the gym every day and views exercise as a normal part of life. He eats healthily and enjoys food, and now Steph happily runs around and plays football and tennis with him, and does all the other activities that she previously couldn’t take part in due to the physical restrictions of carrying excess weight as well as feeling self-conscious.
Archie has also witnessed first hand the absolute commitment and hard work that Steph has put in to achieve the results that she has. He has learned from her that consistency is key and that if you work hard for something in life it is possible to achieve your goals.
Steph used to find it hard to even look at photos of herself but she has come so far on her journey that she now feels relaxed enough to enjoy a photo shoot with Harry, and this in itself is a massive achievement.
“I feel good inside, I feel comfortable with how I look and I’m pleased that I’ve achieved what is probably the best physique I’ve ever had.”
What factors would you attribute your transformation journey to most?
Steph truly believes that she couldn’t have achieved what she has without Jerome and the Performance Project team but it is clear that the biggest factor in her incredible transformation is her consistency and dedication.
Steph trusted the process and stuck to it. She worked hard to reach her targets and continues to work hard every day to maintain the results – both physical and mental.
Even though she has exceeded her original goal and is now happy with the way she looks and feels, Steph believes there’s always more work to be done and new goals to be set. She continues to work hard to maintain and improve her physique and fitness, and relies on her healthy lifestyle to help maintain her positive mental outlook and wellbeing.
Having suffered with postnatal depression and anxiety, Steph knows how important exercise is to help cope with mental health issues and boost her mood. Being fit and healthy also helps to make her the best mum she can be for Archie.
Steph still loves food, especially Asian cuisine, but she now has a good understanding of nutrition and calories, and has developed a healthy relationship with food. She credits everything she knows about healthy eating to Jerome.
“I couldn’t have done this without Jerome. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did on my own. I wouldn’t have had the motivation I had without Jerome as my personal trainer.”
Is your transformation more than just physical?
“Exercise is so under-rated and yet it is the best thing ever, for our bodies and our minds.”
Some days Steph still suffers with anxiety but these days she knows how to manage it with exercise. She feels so much more confident than when she started. And probably the best results are feeling happy with what she sees in the mirror and feeling like she is a good mum to Archie.
“I can’t pinpoint at what point I became more confident, it just gradually happened over time. I think it’s a natural side-effect of losing the weight and changing my body shape and appearance that I became more confident as I started to like what I saw in the mirror, rather than turning away from it.”
Would you recommend Performance Project to others?
“I would recommend Performance Project without a shadow of a doubt. Coming here is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would not be where I am now without this place.”
Steph has no plans to leave Performance Project as this is her life now and she loves training here. She admits that she would have felt too shy to go to a ‘normal’ gym but she feels comfortable here at PP.
“I’m happy here. I love everything about Performance Project, this is where I feel most comfortable. I just can’t see myself going anywhere else. Prior to coming here I couldn’t even imagine myself in a gym and even though I am way more confident than when I started, I still can’t imagine going to any other gym. PP is just normal, everyday life for me now.”
Steph is proof that consistency is key and we are so happy to see the confidence shining out of her now, as well as looking strong and lean, and absolutely stunning in our eyes.
Due to her commitment and hard work ethic she has completely changed her lifestyle, her physique and her mindset, all for the better.
If Steph’s story has inspired you to start your own fitness journey, contact us here.