Hi everyone, I'm Tracy aka @taggy76 on Instagram and Connect. I'm married to Paul and we have 3 boys: Ryan 24, Dylan 21 and Reece 19.
I've been a member of WW since 2014 and I’ve lost a total of nearly 8st, and got to goal in 2016. I still regularly attend my WW Workshop for guidance and support, particularly because I've not only experienced physical changes on WW but have also discovered a whole new outlook with regards to my mental health and wellbeing.
A traumatic experience led to depression
So a little bit about my life...people would say I've always been a very upbeat, bubbly person and I would agree - I'm always looking for the positives in life.
I've never really felt I would be one to suffer from depression or anxiety, but of course, life has a way of dealing us some bad cards at times.
A couple of years back, we as a family suffered the traumatic experience of one of our boys attempting suicide. This was completely out of the blue and shook our world upside down. Thankfully he pulled through and is here with us today. At the time I became deeply stressed that I couldn’t help him more; that we'd failed as parents. I was anxious about what would happen in the future and in turn, depression started to creep in.
"I had the tools in place to cope"
Through knowledge gathered from being a WW member, I had the tools in place to help me deal with stress.
My newfound zest for exercise kept me from falling fully into the darkness. After losing some weight I began to find that exercise helped me: not only to feel good about myself, but to give me a time-out from all the stresses of the day or week. I would use that time to just concentrate on myself, lose myself in the moment and be free from the niggling thoughts trying to bring me down.
I also started doing the Headspace meditations on my WW app. Headspace gave me some much-needed time out to gather my thoughts, clear my head and help me stay calmer on the tough days.
I was never very good at taking time to myself. I don't think any of us set aside enough 'me' time. Now, though, I make time to enjoy a cuppa and just sit enjoying the peace in the mornings with the dog before the house wake. I also enjoy taking a walk with the hubbaroo (husband!) around the block to disperse the negatives of the working day, or a late night soak in the bath with my favourite products.
"I recognise when I need to put myself first"
Now that I am more in tune with my emotions, I recognise when I need to put myself first, chill out and take care of me. When things start to feel overwhelming, I know I have to take a moment to realign myself.
Sometimes we put other's happiness before our own, and although it's good to help others, it's also important to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority. It's definitely not selfish to take care of yourself in mind, body and soul. My mantra is always "Do what makes you smile" and I try to make sure I do that daily and fit something in for myself and my personal wellbeing.
Of course, it's not all fun and games, I absolutely get days when my emotions take over and I have to have a good cry and let it all out. I’ve also been known to face plant my favourite ice cream (haven’t we all?) but what I don't do now is make myself feel guilty for doing it. It happens - life can be hard - but it's how we move forward and pick ourselves up that matters.
"Don't be afraid to speak up"
By being aware of how you feel and knowing it's okay to not be okay really does help. Sharing with others is important - you never have to feel like you're suffering in silence. Reach out to family or friends and never be afraid to say how you feel. You'd be surprised at how many people could help you!
When I've reached out via the online community the response is amazing and the people are so kind. People who are maybe feeling the same or are going through similar situations can also take comfort in knowing that they're not alone.
I would absolutely recommend reaching out to professionals if you're finding the bad days are taking longer to break out of. There's nothing to be afraid of, and the help is there to keep you safe.
"The WW community is like one massive family"
Try to seek the positives in each day, whilst acknowledging the negatives, but not letting them consume you.
WW has helped me in so many ways. I've changed my whole life, and become healthy in mind and body. There are so many useful tools within the app, and the community is just like one massive family always ready to hold each other's hands and support each other in our day-to-day life. I truly believe if it wasn't for this I wouldn't be the strong, empowered person I am today.
Finally, always remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Both go hand-in-hand and I believe that when you feel good inside, it shines on the outside. Losing weight was part of my journey, but finding myself was so much more.