Tara's #GirlGains Story.

Tara's #GirlGains Story - GirlGains Community

Hi everyone! My name is Tara Coltman-Patel and January 2014 I decided to finally stick to the New Years resolution I had made pretty much every single year previously which was to lead a healthy, balanced and happy lifestyle! Since making this decision, I have lost 5 stone, gained so much confidence and happiness and I truly believe that we are capable of anything and everything just as long as we believe in ourselves (super cheesy, sorry guys!)

I decided to change my lifestyle because I was very unhappy. My journey wasn’t just a physical one, it also involved adapting the way I saw myself and (again sorry for the cheesiness) I had to learn to love myself. Back in the day I almost exclusively only wore dark colours, I avoided mirrors like the plague and I felt self-conscious all the time. In addition to this I also felt like my weight was really holding me back in life. I was so scared to be seen and heard, I would try and be noticed as little as possible and I was incredibly quiet in front of people I wasn’t comfortable around. I had very low self-esteem, was totally ambitionless and I didn’t live life to the fullest. I was sick of feeling like this and decided that something needed to change.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a sucker for a colour coded to do list. This obsession of mine started with one particular list that I made 2 years ago which changed my entire life. This list was called ‘Life Goals’. I found this list a few months ago and I am so proud to say that I have done and have immediate plans to do every single thing on it! I have actually made a new list now and I can’t wait to get started on achieving everything on that too! Back to the original list though, I wanted to share a photo of it but I was going through a phase where I was super into Justin Bieber (please don’t judge me, baby is a catchy song!). So technically there is one thing on the list that I haven’t done but I feel like because I no longer want to do it, it doesn’t count right? Please tell me it doesn’t count...

Okay so the list:

  1. Get internet banking (something I had been putting off for months so I decided to shove it on the list ... I did this the next day!)
  2. Get over my addiction to KitKat’s (I gave Monica from friends a run for her money!)
  3. Lose weight
  4. One day have a tidy bedroom
  5. Stop watching as much T.V and read a book so that I can actually be smart
  6. Channel my inner Leo and speak up
  7. Travel to as many places as possible
  8. Work in another country for a year
  9. See a shark in person (Quick fun fact about me, I LOVE sharks, they are my favourite animal, they’re so incredible, interesting and fantastic and the fact that there is no shark emoji makes me very sad)
  10. Roll down a hill as an adult
  11. Jump out of a plane
  12. Drive a quadbike
  13. Not care what people think
  14. Be happy

I started with the smaller issues on the list like getting internet banking the next day and throwing my drawer full ... yes drawer full of KitKats in the bin. By changing my eating habits and forcing myself to do things outside of my comfort zone, the way I viewed myself and life in general began to change. I had forgotten what it felt like to be happy and this lifestyle shift really did make me happy. It took me a little while to find my footing in terms of my eating habits. I went through a short phase of trying meal replacement shakes and low carb diets. I found that being really restrictive made me too obsessive, just as unhappy as being overweight made me and actually wasn’t heathy at all. I decided that counting calories and carbs etc wasn’t working for me. That’s why I started my Instagram account. Initially it was just supposed to be a way for me to track what I was eating without all the counting - like a virtual food diary. I immediately fell in love with the insta fit fam and connecting with other like-minded people from all over the world has been incredible. I don’t take pictures of everything that I eat but on the whole I eat foods that I know are nutritious like lots of fruit and veggies, chicken, fish, brown rice, beans, pulses and I love a good quality falafel. I also treat myself once a week ... sometimes twice to something totally full of fat and sugar, it’s usually some sort of cake. This approach really works for me, it’s so important to find a method that suits you because everyone is different and some things which work for some people will not work for you. In addition to this I exercise 5-6 times a week doing a mixture of cardio and weights. I have really grown to love the gym. I have just completed a Masters degree and throughout the process, whenever I was feeling stressed (which was a lot) I would go to the gym, completely zone out and feel ten million times better afterwards!

There are so many benefits to this lifestyle. Physically and mentally I am in a much better place than I was 2 years ago. Plus I used to have terrible skin which was riddled with blemishes and now it is pretty much completely cleared. I also have a beast of an immune system. On the very rare occasion that I get a cold, it could be described as a small sniffle at best and it only lasts about 2 days.

2 years ago I was quiet, unhealthy, unmotivated and miserable. Now you can’t shut me up, I lead a healthy lifestyle, I am driven, I was awarded a distinction in my Masters degree and even won an award for outstanding achievement, but most importantly I am happy.