Facing a fitter, leaner future

Stacey Davies is nearly half the woman she used to be thanks to exercise and healthy eating. Catherine Scott meets her.

Stacey Davies

WHEN Stacey Davies turned 21 she looked in the mirror and realised that something had to change.

Over the years lack of exercise and a terrible diet which mainly consited of junk food had seen Stacey’s weight creep up to more than 17 stone.

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“I used to be very sporty when I was younger, but then I just sort of stopped. I started putting on weight when I was in my teens.

“Before long it got to the stage where I knew I had to make a change before it was too late.”

In that moment of clarity when her clothes no longer fitted she decided to join her local gym and hasn’t looked back.

“Two years ago I was 17st 10lb, a size 18 and unhappy. I wanted to be myself, lead a normal life and wear normal clothes again.”

She has lost nearly half her body weight in two years and wants to show other people how it can be done.

She joined Fitness Unlimited at Hillsborough Leisure Centre where the team gave her a diet and fitness plans. Out went the ready meal and crisps and in came salads and soups and healthy snacks.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

“Three weeks into the exercise programme at Hillsborough I thought I’d had enough because I wasn’t seeing results,” says Stacey, now 23.

“I felt like all my training was going nowhere and I was so close to quitting.

“The fitness instructors at Hillsborough Leisure Centre are the reason I changed my mind.”

After meeting instructors Ashley Dower and Craig Barritt at Hillsborough Leisure Centre, which is operated by Sheffield International Venues (SIV), Stacey found a second wind.

“They both encouraged me to carry on. They said if I persevered I would see results, and that’s exactly what I did. After five weeks on a tailor-made diet and exercise plan I noticed all my clothes were getting too baggy! I’ve stuck at it and I’m not looking back.”

As Stacey’s confidence grew, she was encouraged to try fitness classes twice a week including Spin, Body Pump, Body Attack and Kettlebells, which have been incorporated into her training routine.

“Stacey’s attitude has always been spot on,” says Craig. “She’s taken it in her stride and stormed through. It’s great to see her achieve what she wants and see an increase in her wellbeing and confidence.”

Within two years Stacey has lost eight stone and is now at her target weight of nine stone 10lb. On her 23rd birthday she discovered that a size 10 dress she had hung up for inspiration fitted her perfectly.

“No one can believe how quickly I have lost so much weight, I don’t think anyone, including me, thought I could do it. But I am where I want to be now and I just have to maintain it.

“I don’t buy any junk food now that I know what is in it and I am down the gym six times a week.”

Stacey now wants to help others achieve their goals.

She is currently studying fitness instructing at Norton College and is on track to graduate in May.

“Once I finish my course I want to work as a fitness instructor at Hillsborough, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre or the English Institute of Sport because I know the facilities and the people really well. It’s important to me that I use my own experience to help others who want to lose weight and change their lives.

“I’ve literally lived and breathed the ups and downs involved in the process of losing weight, but I’ve also seen the benefits. I want to show people that it can be done. May is going to be a busy month as I’ll also be taking part in the Sheffield Half Marathon. So I’m training eight hours a week at Hillsborough as well as outside on the roads and hills to make sure I’m prepared for the race.”

When not at the gym or at college, Stacey works behind the bar at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club’s stadium.

“I’m physically and mentally different now. I feel a lot better and I know I can stick at it. If it wasn’t for Craig and Ashley I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“No matter how big or small your goals are, if you put your mind to it, you will see a brighter, healthier and happier future, just like me.”

Growing costs of obesity

Obesity can have a severe impact on people’s health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and heart and liver disease. There is also a significant burden on the NHS – direct costs caused by obesity are now estimated to be £5.1bn per year.

Around 40,000 people die of conditions attributable to being overweight or obese every year.

And the latest figures show that the number of children who are overweight or obese doubles during primary school.

Stacey Davies’ success comes as SIV has invested a six-figure sum to almost double the size of its 
Fitness Unlimited gym 
at Hillsborough and introduce the very latest Technogym kit, which 
was first used in the Olympic village at London 2012.

For more information visit www.hillsboroughlc.co.uk.