How a 22 stone couch potato weightlifted her way to weight loss


A medical secretary has explained she went from a 22 stone couch potato to a size 14 by lifting weights.

Esther Codrington was given a wake up call when she was told she had high blood pressure.

But instead of her usual yo-yo diets, the 40-year-old combined exercise with balanced nutrition to achieve a seven stone weight loss.

Esther says she was inspired by gym manager Claire Murray, 37, who had also conquered a weight problem.

Esther, of Glasgow, said: “I feel so much happier and healthier now I can wear a size 14 and have made the choice to change my lifestyle.



Esther before

“I’m going to shops I’d never have gone to before and can pick what I want in whatever colour, rather than being shown a plus sized rail with a few baggy, dull items on it.”

Six feet tall Esther was classed as obese before her transformation and had a body mass index (BMI), used to gauge a healthy weight, of 41.7, compared to the NHS recommended range of 18.5 to 24.9 – admitting that her diet had been poor since her late teens.

She said: “It got really bad when I started buying my own food.

“I ate a lot of junk and often had double portions.

“I went out drinking a lot, too, and would finish the night with a kebab, before eating hangover food the next day.”

She continued: “I didn’t have a sweet tooth, it was more savoury stuff like crisps and pizza.”

As her weight started to spiral her self-esteem plummeted and, ironically, it was food that Esther turned to for comfort.

“I was caught in a vicious circle,” she said. “I’d eat, feel bad, eat more and get bigger.”

She continued: “I wore baggy clothes and tracksuit bottoms, all in dark colours, with scarves and shawls to cover myself up.”



Esther before

Also diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome in her teens, a hormonal condition that can cause weight gain, Esther tried different fad diets to reduce her waistline, but soon abandoned them and the pounds piled back on.

“About 12 years ago, I lost about five stone on a liquid diet,  then put it back on – with more,  said Esther, who lives with her merchant seaman boyfriend Graham, 40.”

She continued: “Then, in 2017, I was told the high blood pressure I’d had since I was a teenager was getting worse, which was a bit of a wake-up call, as my weight was affecting my health.”

At the same time, a work colleague gently suggested that joining a gym might help her.

“I knew I wanted to make a lifestyle change and not try another silly diet,” she said. “I wanted something that was sustainable.”

She continued: “My work colleague suggested I try Anytime Fitness in Clarkston, which I liked because I could go late at night or before work when it was a bit quieter.

“She also told me that the gym manager, Claire, had been through a similar journey to me.

“And meeting her was a bit of a lightbulb moment, because she was someone who understood how difficult tackling obesity can be.”



Esther now

Claire helped Esther devise a training and meal plan – which involved ditching  junk food for healthy food such as fish, chicken, vegetables and plenty of wholegrains.

Esther said: “She would encourage me to reach my 10,000 steps a day. I did a few spin classes, but the majority of it was resistance, or weight training, so I could build up muscle.

“The first three or four months were hard,  but after about six months I started to really enjoy it. It became part of my life.”

Visiting the Anytime Fitness gym between four and six times a week for 60 or 90 minute sessions, also helped Esther clear her head after a stressful day at work.

And slowly she started losing weight.

“I enjoyed going. Most of the time I would train by myself, I’d put my headphones on and just unwind,” she said.

She continued: “I really changed my mindset regarding food. I’d think, ‘I could have this slice of pizza or make a whole meal for the same amount of calories’.

“I love cooking as well, so it’s been fun making healthier meals.”

She also allowed herself rewards, as long as she remained disciplined most of the time.

She said: “I’d stick to my regime in the week and then look forward to the weekend, when I knew I was going to go out for a two-course meal and enjoy half a bottle of wine. That helped if I found it hard.”

Now weighing 15 stone, with a toned physique, Esther’s blood pressure has come down and she is enjoying life to the full.

“I always walk up the stairs rather than taking the lift now,” she said.

She continued: “That used to make me breathless, but now I don’t even think about it.

“I’ve also made a great friend of Claire and we were even planning to go on holiday to Greece this month, but have had to cancel it because of Covid-19, so we’re going to enjoy a shopping trip instead.”

Keen for other people with weight  problems to follow her example, she says the key is to avoid “quick fixes.”

“There have been peaks and troughs over the last three years, but it’s not about having a quick fix,” she said.



Esther now

“I’ll admit I’ve cried, I’ve cheated and messed up along the way, but I didn’t revert back, I tried to learn from my mistakes and grow.

“There’s so much pressure on people to lose weight quickly, but that’s not sustainable. It’s about making a lifestyle change.”

She continued: “My advice is not to compare yourself to anyone else, as we all have our own starting points.

“But a lifestyle change like this is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body.”

Anytime Fitness has more than 170 gyms across the UK and has recently partnered with Public Health England’s Better Health campaign to support with improving the health of the nation.



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