It all came to a head one day around my 40th birthday when I saw a photograph of myself. The person in the picture looked happy but I knew that wasn't true. I took a good hard look at my picture and thought – is this who I want to be for the rest of my life? Is this the role model I want my children to aspire to? Is this the best me I can be?
I was a normal, working mum, running a growing garden business and a busy household with a young family. Juggling workloads, chores, two small children, a husband and three dogs, with not much, if any, time for myself. Always exhausted, rarely feeling valued, comfort eating, lacking in confidence and self-esteem. In my younger years, I'd had a successful career in personal & business development, I'd been motivated with a zest for life – what had happened to me? Where had I gone?
I took it upon myself to turn my life around. I wanted to be healthier, have more vitality, energy and strength. I wanted long-term benefits, not a short-term band aid.
This wasn’t going to be a quick fix - I was in it for the long run.
I wanted to LIVE!
I didn't want to be told what I "should" do. That their way was the "Right Way". I knew this wouldn't last in the long term.
I’m stubborn. I wanted to live but I wanted to do it my way. I didn’t want a personal trainer, a life coach or counsellor. I wanted someone who would listen to me, guide and support me along the path I chose and help me do it my way.
I couldn’t find that person so I decided to go it alone.
Through hard work, self-motivation and commitment, I became stronger and fitter. It was tough going it alone but the results began to show. I had more energy, more motivation and, eventually, more self-confidence. Best of all, it gave me a whole new perspective on my life. Those around me noticed the new happier, healthier me. I discovered that I liked myself! I wasn't normal. I was my own unique awesome me.
I started at the beginning. Adjusting and getting my body and mind used to this new routine, these new movements, building my strength and my confidence in my ability. I spent time learning to exercise well and safely and gradually pushing the limits of what I thought I could do.
After a year or so of this I was ready to explore new ways of exercising and using my fitness to challenge myself more. I made it to a gym. Terrified, I asked for help and was fortunate to find it. I slowly learned about weight training. A revelation! I didn’t have to spend hours on cardio machines or in classes! It was at this point I was introduced to CrossFit. From the minute I began I felt I had found my passion, competing in local and national competitions both as an individual and as part of a team. I loved the community, the shared experiences, the heavy lifting.
However, I was less in love with the running! I’m not a fan and many more competitions were introducing longer runs meaning that I stopped enjoying it as much. So I took a break - some time to think and explore what else I could try.
What else could be fun?
I was then thrown a life curve ball. A steadily worsening back resulted in the discovery of a Morig Vertebrae (non exercise related!)
After only one Powerlifting competition I was forced to stop my new passion. Gradually even walking 100 metres caused such pain that I made he decision to have Spinal Fusion surgery. Luckily, because I was fit & healthy and prepared myself physically & mentally I was able to recover quickly from this major surgery. 12 months on I am back to strength training and aiming to complete my next 'new' challenge in May - a combo of exercises and running.
My health journey led me to my big realisation: that I was now in the position of being the person I had been searching for at the start of this whole process. Using a combination of my previous skills as a coach and trainer, alongside my newly gained health & fitness knowledge, I could help others find their way through the minefield. I had found my purpose in life. Within 24 hours I had set up The Southey Way.
It was around this time I had "The Moment"
Enter Powerlifting! A combination of 3 of my favourite lifts: squat, bench and deadlifts. I am learning about these lifts and hope to compete in some competitions in the near future. Playing to my strengths, quite literally! And learning something new which makes life so exciting.
The Southey Way is YOUR way! A place where you can discover yourself, explore your dreams, and create and action your own plan with me to help, guide, support and cheerlead you along your journey to living life to the full.
I know how hard committing to a new fitness regime can be. Trust me, I've been there. I've learnt much on my journey and I am still learning and adapting.
You too can do it your way. I will share my advice and support with you, to help you become your happier & best version of yourself.
I did it my way and my purpose is to help you do it your way! Any best laid plans are subject to change, and the beauty of learning to be responsible for my health and do it my way has been the ability and resilience to adapt and change when real life challenges us. From retiring from CrossFit I was left with a hole in my life.
Why would this interest you?
You made it through a big chunk of my life story - congratulations!
Why is my story important to you?
Because it’s my reason for The Southey Way.
Because I don’t want anyone having to go it alone to make their life better.
Because a journey is much more enjoyable if you have company along the way.
Because sometimes a gentle prod, a listening ear, a hug, can make the hard bits of life a bit more manageable.
Because our health & wellbeing is more than just physical.
Because this is our life.
We are the centre of our lives.
We are not quick fixes.
We deserve to care for and nurture ourselves so we can help others.
We are human beings that change and evolve and grow.
We are worth spending time on and with.