How one woman's road to fitness started with a 30-day challenge



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When it comes to weight loss, half the battle is getting started and sticking with a routine through the ups and downs. And there will be ups and downs. To help keep you motivated, we found real people who are in the process of accomplishing their fitness goals.

Drop 10 pounds in three days! Burn 500 calories in 10 minutes! All these promises to carve our bodies into those of perfectly toned athletic gods in just a tiny scrap of time can be tantalizing. They get us to click.

But then we see what's in it for us: workouts that are designed for people who are already fit. That's why we've been sharing with you the stories of real people who have lost weight by listening to their bodies and being realistic.

Take Den Forster, for example. She's wanted to lose weight for ages. Despite knowing that fad diets simply don't work, she kept holding out for the magic solution: Anything that would let her lose weight as quickly as possible. 

Ready for winter: Photo courtesy of Den Forster

It took her sister setting a 30-day challenge for Den to see this was her chance to get active, adopt healthier habits and accept that losing weight can take a long time. She's also realized that the benefits are worth the long-term effort.

Den's story has just begun, and she's already started to drop weight. More importantly, she feels better. And that's what it's all about. See how her journey can help you stay on track with your fitness goals. You can do it.


What prompted you to start walking?

I started walking with purpose on the August 3 when my sister Caroline set a 30-day challenge on Map My Walk. I'd wanted to "do something" for ages and this was the catalyst. Ideally, I need to lose around 48 pounds and have been so sick of fad dieting that I wanted something more attainable and long-term — rather Photo courtesy of Den Forsterthan dump a ton of weight only to put double back on. You know the story! Also, I am fed up with hoping there for some magic way to be my perfect size and shape in no time flat. Again, we all know there is only one way to do it and that is to expend more energy than one consumes. I am in it for the long haul.


You have a pretty busy schedule. When are you able to make time to walk?

I have to make time to get out and about — a brisk lunchtime walk from the office into York and back takes about 45 minutes and covers about 2.5 miles. I also try to walk each evening after dinner for at least an hour at a decent pace (15 minutes a mile or thereabouts). On a weekend I like to get in longer treks. I've walked from home to our nearest town, which is a 14-mile roundtrip or walk to villages that are even further away. I'm lucky to live in a rural area with access to lots of lovely paths straight from my back door.


Are you using any apps to track your steps?

I started Caroline's challenge completely tech-ed up to the eyeballs: Map My Walk on my phone, a pedometer in my pocket and a Misfit Shine on my wrist. I have now ditched the pedometer and Map My Walk and keep a spreadsheet (omg!) of my stats from my Misfit.


What must you have with you on these long walks?

My Skechers Shape Ups! There were a trial to start with, but they are so comfy now and have Photo courtesy of Den Forsternever given me a blister. Then there's my water bottle (most important part of any kit!), my ancient iPod shuffle and a hat. I tell you, I look like Robocop in trainers!


It's still fairly early days. Have you lost any weight and, if so, how much?

Since starting I've lost 8 pounds, but I figure that I put it on slowly so it'll come off slowly, hopefully to stay off and let me build up good habits. According to my calculations and continued focus I should hit goal somewhere around April 2016! Now there's a target!


Besides weight-loss, have you reaped any other benefits since embarking on a walking routine?

I am happier with the actual physical results such as the changing shape and tone of my body. Lumpy bumpy cellulite seems to be much reduced and swollen ankles are not as bad as they have been in the past. My belly is also starting to slowly move back to where it should be! Also, my stamina is building up, my joints don't ache in the same way and I feel mentally more alert.