It doesn’t get easier…

Since I retired from playing derby in December last year, I’ve lost about 10kgs and 3-4 inches of size around my hips and waist.

I’ve struggled with my weight my whole adult life. I made some major life changes in the mid- ’00s that led to a 45kg weight-loss, and a new-found appreciation for exercise. It was completely transformational, not just on my body, but in my outlook on life – my belief in myself and what I was capable of.

The combination of earthquakes disrupting my regular exercise routine, a back injury that just won’t go away, and starting roller derby has seen my weight creep up a bit in the past couple of years. I accepted it, but wasn’t happy about it.

The answer was simple, but it involved making a tough choice. So I gave up playing roller derby. It helped my back pain and freed up time so I could go back to the gym every day. And the result was fairly immediate. My weight and size has been steadily tracking downward and is now back to a point that I’m happy with.

It’s funny that hours of roller derby training and other skating did not help me lose weight. I put this down to the fact that I just can’t work at the intensity my body needs to burn fuel when I’m skating. It has to be said that I’m a pretty average skater. Accepting this fact really helped me make the decision to quit. I absolutely love my new role as a roller derby referee. It’s so much more technically interesting – less about the skating and more about how the game is played. And I still get to skate around and admire my favourite skaters up close.

At the moment I’m doing a combination of RPM (interval training on a bike) and Balance (combines tai chi, yoga and Pilates) classes at Les Mills. I love RPM! The first time I did it years ago, I almost died – intense cardio, and it killed my legs. It took me more than a week to be able to walk properly again! Roller derby training must have built the right muscles, because it’s been much easier this time round. It’s just the right amount of cardio and strength training for me.

I still really really (really really really) miss running. My back issues make it too painful, but I’m hopefully that I will be able to run again eventually. With a bit less weight on, and regular stretching and massage, it’s getting better. In the meantime I’m cheering Stephen on from the sidelines (I’m a bit envious, but he’s doing amazing!). I’m looking forward to giving it another go in spring.

Weight loss is easy and hard. Easy because it’s a simple formula – energy in / energy out. Put less in and put more out and you will lose weight, guaranteed. The hard part is the commitment to making it happen. For more than 10 years, I’ve had to make a huge effort to manage energy in / energy out. It has become my life’s work, and it gets hard when life gets busy. I have to make eating well and exercising a priority – sometimes above other things I love. I do it because I know what happens if I don’t. I never want to go back.