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'I Ran Off 3st And Dropped A Decade!'

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When constant snacking pushed Anna Maw, 38, from Brighton, towards a size 20, she slipped on her trainers and transformed more than just her weight

My challenge

‘I was already big – a size 18 at just 5ft 4in – when I stopped smoking but it was ditching the cigarettes which really tipped the scales. I started snacking to cope with the cravings and, just three weeks after quitting, I was two sizes bigger. Horrified, I realised I had to ditch the weight along with the cigarettes.’

Description: Anna Maw - Then

Anna Maw – before

How I changed

‘It was actually my smoking counselor who suggested I should take up running. At first I thought I’d never have the times as I’m a full-time mum, plus I was desperately unfit. But then I found a free online programme that promised to transform a couch potato into a 5K runner in just 12 weeks, and decided I had nothing to lose.

‘In my first session, I ran for just a minute on Brighton beach and thought my heart was going to explode. But by the time I’d finished that first half hour of gentle interval training –walking interspersed with 60-second bursts of running – I was really proud of myself. And the results were astonishing, I could feel and see my body changing after just a week.

‘Over the next three months, I increased my running time during each session and overhauled my diet. Instead of eating two big meals, I had small, regular meals throughout the day to maintain my energy for running and swapped sweet snacks for fruit and yogurt. The first time I ran a full 5K – only 12 weeks later – I felt on top of the world. Buoyed by my paid progress, I joined my local Sweatshop Running Community.

‘Exercising in a group is such fun and so motivating. We run 5km every Monday night – on my first visit I came in at 43 minutes; now my time is under half an hour. Just seven months after joining the club I ran my first half marathon – a goal I never thought I’d be capable of achieving. Plus, I was three and a half stone lighter – and all from doing an exercise I’d fallen in love with.’

The new me

Description: Anna Maw – Now

Anna Maw – Now

‘My body has completely changed. I’ve gone from overweight and flabby to toned from top to toe. I feel healthier and more energetic than ever before and I’ve discovered a real passion – I run three times a week now, whatever the weather. And, to top it all off, everyone says that I look ten years younger – I’m not going to argue with a compliment like that!’

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