“I’m six stone lighter”

Francesca Bostock lost weight after a well-meaning friend reluctantly told her she was fat. Now, she is addicted to running...

In May 2010 I was in a café in France with a friend. We were talking about fat people and my friend made a comment about someone who was overweight. I responded by saying: ‘I know I am fat, but I intend to do something about it.’ Over the previous eight years airline seats seemed to have got narrower and clothes had definitely got smaller. My friend replied: ‘You are fat, but you always look nice.’I was completely shocked. I really thought she was going to tell me I wasn’t overweight. But she was right.

When I returned home, I stepped onto the scales and to my horror, I was 18st 6lbs. And I was a size 22. I made a conscious decision to eat less, but had no plan of how to do it. That weekend, a friend asked if I would like to take part in a 5K Race for Life. She stressed, rather poignantly, that I could walk it if I liked. I said: ‘Yes, sign me up and I shall be running.’

I am nearly 42, have three children who are aged eight, nine and 12-years-old and have done little or no exercise since I left school in 1991. I was grossly overweight and seriously unfit.

The following week my husband came shopping with me to buy some trainers. I bought a running top, some socks and a pair of XXL black men’s running trousers.

That afternoon, in May 2010, I set off for my first run. I jogged to the bottom of our lane and nearly passed out with the effort. But I kept going; jogging and walking for about two kilometres. When I came home, my husband asked if he should call an ambulance as my face was very purple!

The next day, I signed up to WeightWatchers online and entered a goal weight of 13st 7Ibs. I honestly thought I would never achieve it, but I had to try. A friend recommended I try the C25K running programme. I downloaded the podcast, plugged in my earphones and for the next seven weeks I ran (jogged and walked)

three to four times a week, for about 20-30 minutes each time. I followed my diet to the letter. Over those seven weeks, I lost 1st 10Ibs, and dropped one dress size. Then it was race day. I ran/walked the 5K. I came last, in 42 minutes.

By my birthday in September 2010, I had lost almost four stone and dropped to a size 16. I had become addicted to running and could now run 5K, three times per week, with only a couple of short walk breaks in the middle. I decided to change my goal weight to 12st 6Ibs.

In June 2011, I ran my first 10K race. I completed it in 56:21 and came 89th out of 90. I ran another race in December 2011, this time 5.6km, which I completed in 33:38 and came 91st out of 95. In January 2012 I reached my target weight of 12st 6Ibs.

Now, I run four to five times per week and have joined my local running club; I’m even the club’s secretary. I am not the fastest runner but running is a way of life now. All I really needed was a catalyst to motivate me, and then the willpower, motivation and support to keep going.

Written by Women's Running Magazine | 1461 articles | View profile

Please comment on this article below