‘All I did was break the big goal down into day by day and pound by pound’ – former councillor Lisa Marie Sheehy
LISA Marie Sheehy aimed for “progress not perfection” in her weight loss journey and dropped 60lbs (over four stone) in less than a year.
In August 2019, the 26-year-old had had enough. Lisa Marie had enough of the dieting, enough of the bingeing and enough of feeling out of control when it came to food.
“I gradually started to not feel like me anymore. The bright and wacky clothes I used to wear turned to anything black that would cover my body. The girl that was always front and centre started to prefer to blend into the background.
“I felt like I was going through the motions and living on autopilot - watching my life pass by but having no act or part in it. I was always someone who would be ambitious, but when I was starting to settle for things I didn't want, alarm bells started to ring in my head. This was no longer about my appearance but my physical and mental health and my self-talk (internal dialogue) was appalling.”
Lisa Marie weighed 16 stone. The extra pounds weren’t just weighing her down physically - the misery of being on a diet all of her adult life had started to take its toll.
“I realised I had to start taking back control so I contacted Frewens Fitness, a local gym in Glenroe, and they were so accommodating and so helpful and got me started on my journey. I started to open my mind and started to listen to podcasts and read books on self-development and got a deeper understanding of my actions. I started to slowly break old habits and build new ones.”
The youngest ever female county councillor to be elected realised she had a very unhealthy relationship with the weighing scales and food and it wreaked havoc with her emotions.
“I knew I needed more help in this area focusing on my mindset and I reached out to online personal trainer and fat loss expert Paul Dermody who I have worked with for the last year. We talk every day, he gives me guidance and knowledge but most importantly he has given me the ability to question myself and reflect inwards. His principles-based approach to fat loss is liberating and I couldn't recommend him highly enough.
“I truly feel like I have broken the diet cycle. We have all been there, realising we have to lose a few pounds, we wait and wait looking for motivation so that we can drag ourselves onto a yoyo diet of restriction and misery only for it not to be realistic for us to stick to. We inevitably give up, feel even worse and binge harder. Another stone later we are back to where we started.”
Learning patience was a massive thing for Lisa Marie on this journey.
“We are all in a rush to lose weight fast - just look at how many people in the fitness industry advertise, ‘Lose x in y weeks’. No wonder we think it should be faster. If you really think deeply about all the time we have wasted jumping on and off the diet cycle we could have actually made amazing headway compounding small habits over time.”
Which is exactly what she has done.
“I know some people are still thinking those small things are no good. That you need to go hard to make an impact. I thought the same previously. I call it the all or nothing approach. It was something I battled hard with but once I let go and aimed for progress not perfection in the choices I made on the journey it all became easier.
“I knew something was different in my approach this time when nights out and dinners were planned. Instead of saying, ‘I'll start Monday’ I said in my mind, ‘No, this is how you’re going to live now, you're not taking anything off the table, you're still going to live like I did’ but with some small improvements.
“I made sure I had diet mixers when drinking. I wouldn't get the extra side of mash with the burger and chips - just small little changes that didn't affect me enjoying myself.”
Now a smiling Lisa Marie told the Leader, “I genuinely can say I love myself”. In less than a year she lost over four stone. She has been maintaining her current weight of 11 stone 10 pounds for a couple of months.
“I am so happy old Lisa took a leap of faith in trusting the process of small sustainable steps over time because they compound and add up. One less take away in the week, swapping the lift for stairs, getting up that little bit earlier ready to take on the day instead of reacting to what’s in front of you.
“All these little things seem so small and insignificant, but I am telling you those are the things I did time after time after time and in fact it was quite unspectacular.”
People say to Lisa Marie, “Wow you must have been very motivated”.
“But all I did was break the big goal down into day by day and pound by pound instead of being blinded by the big task at hand. I started to move away from the scales and started to look towards off the scales wins. Being able to pin a towel around myself again fully was the first sign that things were going in the right direction.”
To find out more, Lisa documents her journey on her fat loss and mindset podcast called The Lisa Marie Sheehy Podcast and also shares her day to day journey on her Instagram page @Lisamariesheehy
“I started this podcast because I know there are others out there where I was and I want to help them get out of the same rut.”