Nicola: “I know that for me and some of the other ladies we feel like FIT FANS has given us our life back.

Nicola, by her own admission, was probably at the lowest point in her life both physically and emotionally. She was inspired to begin her Fit Fans journey after seeing her sister succeed on the project. Nicola has put the experience into her own words below. 

“I had just come out of a destructive, abusive relationship where I had taken an emotional battering. I had zero self-worth, confidence, energy or motivation, my mind was a jumble and I felt done. I didn’t know what way to turn.

“Of course, Covid hadn’t helped as I was furloughed so I didn’t have anything to distract me or get me out. I turned into a couch potato, piling on the weight but not caring as there was no point. I didn’t want to go out, do anything with the kids, meet up with family because that would take the little energy I had. I was pretending I was okay, and I wasn’t. I was ashamed I had let myself gain so much weight, and it didn’t help that I’d being suffering with knee pain and joint pain for about 18 months and was unable to see a physio in person. I felt so frustrated as it felt like no one was listening to me. I should have been on anti-depressants, but they made me feel groggy, my head heavy and meant I had even less energy. I was just stuck in a miserable vicious circle.

“Joining Fit Fans was a huge turning point. I don’t even know where to begin or if I’ll be able to put into words what a difference it’s made to me and my children. It sounds melodramatic but it’s changed my life, and theirs.

“Ben and the Derby County Community Trust team are inspiring. There is a lot of information, but they present it in such an easy going, informative way that it kept my attention and I was able to retain it. The encouragement every step of the way that myself and the other ladies in the group were given has been amazing.

“For me it has been about the simple changes and pausing to think about my choices. Anything from parking a bit further away from Asda in the car park to portion size (the information on takeaways shocked me. and that belief from the team and the other ladies on my course that I could take on that first gentle run in three years!

“The balance of food, exercise, and wellbeing for me has been key, not just concentrating on food and calories (like other diets I have attempted). I have lost weight in a healthy, balanced way. I have gone down almost two jean sizes and am starting to fit in my old clothes again. Before I couldn’t even look in a mirror, in fact I only had one in the bathroom, but now I do have one and can look and think yes, you’re getting there, you’re doing okay!

“I have rekindled my love of walking, running, exercise. My cardio has improved massively, and I have just recently been discharged from physio. The more walking and exercises I’ve been able to do has tightened the muscles that were causing the problem with my knees. That along with the weight loss has also helped with my other joint pain.

“My mental health is about 90% there. I still have my odd bad day, but I don’t sit and mope anymore. I get the dog on his lead and walk it off and maybe pop a message in our Fit Fans WhatsApp group. It really is true: healthy body, healthy mind.

“Most importantly though my children have their mum back. The happy, healthier mum that would attempt anything at least once. The one who wants to drag them off their Xbox and get out. They have loved seeing the old me re-emerge and have been actively encouraging me and asking questions about the course and embracing the changes I’ve made. As they say, I have my sparkle back. My big goal is to train and take part in a triathlon which I could never have dreamed of before Fit Fans!

I know that for me and some of the other ladies (all amazing and now good friends!) we feel like it has given us our life back.

Fit Fans is an amazing, inspiring, life-changing experience. I can’t wait to move on to the next stage with Derby County Community Trust to carry on my ‘recovery’ and carry on with the ladies I started it with. I can’t thank Ben and the team enough.”

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