What a pleasure to feature Amy Hopkins Rankin Senior Copy Editor & Food Editor at Women’s Health South Africa on our Catch Me If You Can Inspirational Stories.
1. You have lost lots of weight in the past years. How did you start your transformation and what was your goal?
In December 2011 I was at my heaviest, 70kg (I’m 1.68m tall), which, at the time, I knew was a bit overweight, but I didn’t have anybody issues. I did have physical issues with food though and, after my doctor sent me for an allergy test, I found out I was allergic to wheat and dairy. I cut those out of my diet and over the next couple of months I shed three kilos quite easily. In the beginning fo 2015, I committed to running a 5km every week and started entering the occasional 10km race. Half way through the year I started training at SWEAT1000 (as part of the Women’s health staff challenge) to get toned up and faster and set myself the goal of running a half marathon before the end of 2015. I completed the Gun Run 21km in 2hr06mins and the Soweto Half Marathon in 2hr.15mins. I was ecstatic! And I haven’t looked back! I now weigh 58kg.
2. When did you start running and did you love it right away?
I’ve always thought that running is therapeutic.
3. Did running help you with weight loss or did you add any other type of training?
Running regularly, with the addition of SWEAT1000, helped me lose weight and improve my overall fitness. This year I’ve started added yoga practice once or twice a week to help me with my breathing, focus and loosening those hammies! Yoga and running are very complementary.
4. What was the most difficult part of your transformation?
Staying committed to training when it’s cold and dark outside!
5. How has the experience changed your life?
Being fit is invaluable. Besides the physical benefits (having energy, looking great, being able to climb up five flights of stairs without dying), there are so many mental and emotional benefits. Regular exercise really helps combat stress and anxiety.
6. You look fabulous today, how do you stay motivated?
Thank you! I set myself goals and enter races, so I’m committed to training for them. I set myself time goals too, so that I don’t just plod along. Challenging yourself is important. Also, exercise is addictive (in a good way!). I’m talking about those endorphins! I also have a dedicated running buddy, who motivates me and believes in my ability and that really helps.
7. Which advice would you give women, who want to start losing weight?
Set yourself goals, but understand it won’t happen overnight. For me, weight loss was not my main focus. My main focus was to improve my running and to get fit – losing weight is the amazing bonus. Also, you won’t lose weight immediately. My body started changing shape and firming up before the scale showed a drop in kilos. In fact, throw away the scale and invest in a tape measure. Also, I don’t restrict myself with my diet. If I want a nougat and a third glass of wine, I’ll have it. But strive for balance and run it off the next day. One last thing, be prepared to say goodbye to your boobs.
8. As a Food Editor at Women’s Health Magazine, how do you combine your work with your passion for healthy food and fitness?
I’m extremely lucky in that I’m surrounded by uplifting, informative content all the time at WH. My work allows me to experiment with healthy recipes and alternative ingredients – its fun! I just wish I had more hours in the day to balance work, fitness and social time. The great thing is that everyone at WH is so supportive. If I need to leave work early for a race, it’s not a problem and we celebrate each other’s successes.
9. Your top diet tip?
Instead of looking at a diet in terms of restriction, rather focus on finding amazing healthy ingredients that you love and make healthy dishes with those. Always choose fresh over processed and read the labels – you won’t believe what ‘hidden’ ingredients packaged foods contain.
10. What do you like about ‘Catch Me If You Can’?
It’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded women, to run in a safe environment and to have a community in which to share your fitness passion. See you for the 2Oceans training run!