Just over a year ago, Andrea Whiting weighed over 30 stone and struggled to walk, but after deciding to turn her life around through eating healthily and exercising daily, she is now 14 stone lighter and running the Great North Run (GNR) for UK charity HOOP.
A civil servant of Leeds, 45 year old Andrea says life was hard before her impressive weight loss: “I’ve struggled with my weight and self-esteem all my life. Shortly after my dad died, I realised that at an unhealthy 30st 8lb with very limited mobility, I was heading for a short and difficult future. So, in April 2015, I joined HOOP and received outside counselling for my self-esteem issues. With the support of everyone at HOOP along with my family and friends, I embarked on a journey to change my lifestyle and improve my health. I chose to stop merely existing and started to embrace life.”
Andrea didn’t go on a diet but focussed on eating healthy meals and introducing exercise into her day.
She explains: “I had done diets all my life from childhood and although they worked in the short term they weren’t sustainable for me and I would quickly regain the weight and more. Instead, I started off by focussing on eating well and walking a bit. The big turning point was when I went on a Bootcamp in June last year. It taught me that I could get moving despite my weight. I joined a gym and got a personal trainer. At no time did I worry about the number on a scale and my goal wasn’t to be a certain weight or size. By saying yes to every opportunity, I have done some amazing things, have met some awesome people and I’m loving life. As a by-product, I’ve lost over 14 stone so far and yes I have jumped off things, I have run and soon will be running the “Great North Run”, a half marathon.”
With the help of her personal trainer, she started running in January this year and joined her local running club in April. She’s now training hard to prepare for the GNR on September 11th after finding out she was balloted to run.
“It was a friend who suggested I enter the GNR and I entered secretly hoping I wouldn’t get through!” admits Andrea. She continues: “I’m now glad I got through and to be running for HOOP, as there was always someone from the charity there to motivate and support me each day. It’ll be nice to pay it forward by helping to raise vitally needed funds to help other overweight and obese people change their life. It will be a huge challenge but run, walk or crawl I’m determined to do it.”
HOOP founder and director, Lesley McCormack says: “Whether you’re overweight or a healthy BMI, you can’t fail to be inspired by Andrea’s story. She’s inspiring so many of our members to believe they too can change their lifestyle, to lose weight and improve their health. We are delighted she chose to run the GNR to help raise funds for us and wish her every success.”
Andrea has already raised over £1,000 for HOOP, passing her target of £200. Anyone wishing to support Andrea in her run can do so via her justgiving page.
Andrea’s final message is: “For everyone out there who thinks it’s too hard, or you’ve gone past the point of no return, you can do it. You can eat well and no matter your size, you can move and exercise. Take it day by day, believe in yourself and enjoy life.”