Debbie Birks

I grew up wishing I could take part, wishing I was good enough, wishing I was fitter and healthier. Over the years I like most people had tried this diet and that diet paid hundreds out in gym memberships and promised myself that this time I will stick to it …….. I did well, a few times! because I always lost my way.

I never got far enough to even contemplate running! me run, me who walks from the door to the car and grumbled when couldn’t park right outside the shop doorway, and thought that drive through was fab! no chance. 2 years ago I reached the worst time, I couldn’t walk upstairs because of the pain in my knees and ankles, I was prescribed pain killers morning and night just so I could get through the day. I was also diagnosed with Coeliac disease which has helped me to loose some weight by changing my diet. Then last summer I met a friend of my daughters Frank! This was when things really started to change for me.

I started by walking the dog in the park at the same time the group was meeting, he says I was checking them out, maybe I was and just didn’t realise it at the time lol anyway I talked a friend of mine into coming along with me and we would just go for a walk at the same time as the group met, one thing lead to another and a week before I turned 47 I ran for the first time! it was prob less than 100 yards but Frank was there every out of breath step of the way. We ran, we walked, we talked and everyone else supported and encouraged too and before I knew it I was hooked! I am not the fastest and for a long time went out before the group as I didn’t want to hold them up but as I got to know more of them I understood that they enjoyed supporting and coming back for me.

3 months later I was going out running with the group on a Mon and Weds and then started circuits on a Friday. I look forward to each session, I went through a tough time Nov / Dec last year and missed a few sessions but both Frank and Gregg were very supportive and encouraged me to come back to the group, this along with the support from the other group members and my very good friend Liz who has been fab since day one got me back out there and I love every session that we do.

I have lost 78lbs in the last 2 years some before the group and some with, I am now the lightest I have been for almost 30 years when my daughter was born, however I am a dress size smaller than I have ever been so its not all about the numbers on the scale. Anyone who knows me knows I can chat for England but there are not enough words to describe what the Stoke FIT family means to me, if I had to try to sum it up I would say ……. you are not too old, to heavy, or too slow, you would be supported, encouraged and valued, you are good enough and best of all you will feel fantastic being part of this group. This is going to be the year that I succeed and become better than I am today because I am already better than I was and thought I could ever be and I love it.

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