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Too Fat to Run?

Zoe Davies at the Derby 10k.

Pinxton Plodders and Jog Ripley jogger Zoe Davies started jogging in 2012 and has since given up a 20-a-day smoking habit, lost four stone and dropped three dress sizes.

The 33-year-old has taken huge inspiration from Jog Oakwood's Facebook page and blog The Fat Girls Guide to Running (toofattorun.co.uk.)

Zoe, from Somercotes near Alfreton, took part in the Derby 10k event on Sunday, April 19, completing the circuit in one hour and 27 minutes.

Here, she explains more about her jogging and weight loss journey...

A new challenge

I started with my personal trainer, Dan, just before Christmas 2012 and gave up a 20 a day smoking habit and changed my diet. I wanted a new challenge and Dan suggested I looked up The Fat Girls Guide to Running online.

I wanted to lose weight and turn my life around; without Dan's belief and encouragement I would not be the lady I am today and would not have the extended family I have.

I have since lost four stone, three dress sizes and have a whole new network of gym and running friends - some across the globe who I have never meet but message on a daily basis.

The Fat Girls Guide to Running

I followed Dan's instructions and looked up The Fat Girls Guide to Running (toofattorun.co.uk) on Facebook and I started talking to the ladies already on the page and messaged Julie Creffield [the woman behind the project].

I never expected anything back as I thought she would be very busy but within 12 hours I had a personal message from Julie offering all sorts of advice from bras to mental support.

Julie has proved that larger ladies can do it and I now take pride in helping to spread that message and getting more people out of their comfort zone.

Support and encouragement

Julie has supported me on many occasions when I have had a bad day and don't think I can do it anymore; she has always offered support and encouragement.

I am currently a member of the clubhouse on Facebook, this is a pay monthly area (not a large amount of money) which is full of ladies that want to or are running but want advice and support from like minded women.

I find Julie and the other women in The Fat Girls Guide to Running inspirational and possibly would not be running without them in the background supporting.

Meeting people and gaining confidence

I loved meeting up with people I had spoken to on Facebook but had never met (including the ladies from Jog Oakwood) who again have shown so much support.

When I wanted to pull out the week before, they helped me gain the confidence to get out there and do it. I also made two new friends on the course and loved finding out about them.

The atmosphere was just brilliant; all the support from the crowd was genuine and really helped me along.

Jog Derbyshire backing

I go to the Pinxton Plodders group and the leader there [Steve Whittle] is so supportive and has helped me with my technical side as well as being so supportive of me in everything I do outside of Jog Derbyshire.

I also run with Jog Ripley - the leaders here again never judge and only support and push where needed and wanted. On the day of the 10k, I had a great pep talk before the race as I stood in the Jog Derbyshire room and nearly cried with fear.

Rachel smith, leader of Ripley Absolute Beginners group, got me out to the start line and for that I owe her the best feeling I got as I crossed the line.

It's safe to say Jog Derbyshire has supported me a lot in the last few months.

Getting out there

The hardest step is getting out there; don't go at it alone if you new, Google Jog Derbyshire and contact your local group. You will not regret it! If you can't make a group find a friend and get out there, if you can't jog/run go for a brisk walk and build up. Do not let fear put you off.

I have wasted far too many years sitting at home saying I can't when I could have been out there meeting new people doing new exciting things and I get to shop for new gym/running clothes and the husband does not moan!

Also - don't let size put you off, Jog Derbyshire leaders and joggers do not judge. Look up The Fat Girls Guide to Running and speak to like minded people.

A qualified gym instructor

Since I have been going to Dan's Personal Training fitness classes, I have been back to night school and become a qualified gym instructor and have since qualified as a boxercise teacher and now teach boxercise once a week at Dan PT Fitness.

I want to help prove large people are not lazy and we do exercise and work hard. I have a brilliant class full of all shapes and sizes that all work as hard as each other and some of these ladies have since joined Jog Derbyshire groups and are loving getting out there.

I am also training to do the Great North Run this year!

To find out more about Zoe's class visit: danptfitnessclasses.co.uk

You can also click on the relevant link to find your nearest JOG Derbyshire group or sign up.