Hanging tough: Teena Gates on the challenges of getting fit and healthy – and staying that way

Hanging tough: Teena Gates on the challenges of getting fit and healthy – and staying that way

Words:

Helen Vaughan

Photos:

James Shelley

Tags:

Centra, "getting fit", health, healthy, "how to get fit", strength, "strength exercises"

Many of you will be familiar with the dulcet tones of radio and TV presenter Teena Gates. And you might even know the tale of her incredible weight loss journey from 23 stone to a healthy size 12. Read her story of how strength training & other fitness is helping her keep her weight in check, as part of the Centra Restart 21-day Challenge series. #LiveWell




The road to becoming healthy can be a bumpy one that requires both physical activity and strength, as well as real mental resilience. Here, Teena tells Helen Vaughan about her lifelong challenge to #LiveWell and what she has learned along the way. This content is brought to you in association with the Centra Restart 21-day strength challenge to help you get active. Share your Centra 21-day challenge progress using #livewell to be in with a chance to win a health and fitness prize. 

 

“I remember in January I couldn’t balance in my kayak because of all the weight I had put on over Christmas. I couldn’t paddle because my belly was getting in the way. It was a really emotional moment, but a switch clicked in my head and I just thought, ‘I’m not going back to that person. I could just roll over and give in to it, but I won’t’.”

 

Teena Gates thought she had won her battle with her body five years ago when she lost half her body weight by becoming active and eating better. At her heaviest, she was 23 stone and didn’t have the energy to walk to her car. But a life-changing moment came when a doctor told her he couldn’t operate on her because she was too fat.

 

“He said they didn’t have surgical instruments that were long enough to cut through my fat. It was the first time I had a visual understanding of what I was wrapping my body in. That what was underneath the skin was not a curve. It was a lump of fat. I could see it in my mind’s eye for the first time.

 

“But a switch clicked in my head and I thought, ‘I have a choice here. My life is on the line if I don’t get this surgery, but the only thing in my way was myself. Other people have diagnoses they can’t do anything about, but I can fix this. It was black and white. I had no choice but to motivate myself.’”

 

So she did. Teena got physically active and became really careful about what she ate. She has since hiked up Kilimanjaro, to Everest Base Camp, abseiled off Island Peak in Nepal and still does sea swimming, kayaking, running and triathlons. She lost 12 stone and was a size 12, and wrote a book named titled after her favourite mantra, ‘One foot in front of the other’. 

 

But fast forward to January this year, and another switch clicked in Teena’s head when she couldn’t fit into her kayak properly. She explains that her weight has yo-yoed a bit in recent years and she figured out during 2016 that despite being more active, she constantly needs to remain really vigilant about food.
 

Join Centra's Restart 21-day strength challenge here. #LiveWell

 

During 2016, Teena raced 10 triathlons with a team of 10, raising money for 10 charities. As her training increased, she relaxed some of her strict rules around eating. Her working routine also changed back to shift work, making it harder to prepare meals and eat well. And the kilos started to creep back on.

 

“I told myself that because I was training so hard, I could eat what I wanted but that’s not true for me. You can’t out train a bad diet. When you’re carrying body fat, you can’t eat extra. With my make-up, there’s no slack. I can’t come off a diet. I will need to eat in a certain way for the rest of my life.”

 

The big thing for Teena is not eating any processed food at all. “The key is food preparation. It’s deciding in advance what I’m eating. There’s so much processed muck available, and if you’re deciding what to eat when you’re already hungry, you’ve lost the battle. We all have busy lives, but I have to be selfish and single minded in my determination for a healthy diet.”

 

Now in 2017, Teena is also back in the Crossfit Powerful Gym in Blanchardstown, Dublin, three times a week. She says she loves the strength training using weights and find it works really well for her to lose weight and tone up. The crossfit classes also combine cardio and she finds her gym is like a family community, where everyone supports each other. Teena also does a Park Run every Saturday, swims with a club once or twice a week and plans to start cycling to work instead of driving.

 

Getting stronger and the benefits of strength training is the focus of Centra’s current Restart 21-day challenge to making us all fitter, healthier and happier. Check out the strength exercises that can get you on your way. The 21-day challenge also includes a range of healthy recipes that you can use to keep up your nutrition.

 

“I’ve really learnt the lesson not to give up despite putting some weight back on. Weight loss is all about doing things little and often, starting with baby steps, and just getting out there and doing something. I’ve learnt that I don’t have to be the perfect weight to start getting physical. 

 

“If you can walk, you can start working towards a 5km Park Run. People won’t judge you if you’re wearing lycra with extra bits hanging around, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed.

 

“I remember the first time I walked into the gym when I was 23 stone, with all my lumps and bumps. I was terrified that people would look at me and think ‘Look at the size of her. What is she doing here?’ But actually everyone else was too busy with their own routines. Anyone who did notice me gave me a thumbs up. 

 

Join Centra's Restart 21-day strength challenge here. #LiveWell
 

“It was the same with triathlons. I’d be racing on the same run course with these really fit guys and girls in their lycra, and despite gasping for breath, many of them were shouting encouragement to me. It was really emotional. I felt so supported and encouraged.”

 

After the kayaking incident in January, Teena has thrown herself back into healthy eating and has already lost a stone in 2017. She’s sticking to three meals a day, with nothing processed, and is drinking loads of water. She’s also cut out dairy and bread for now. 

 

“I know I had dramatic weight loss in the first few weeks this year, but I needed it. Emotionally and psychologically, that’s been good for me. Just to prove that I can lose weight and give me the inspiration to keep going. I can do it.”


 

Feeling inspired? Choose from our list of 10 brilliant events to get you into the outdoors in the spring - no better motivator than a start line!!



blog comments powered by Disqus

Most Read

Hanging tough: Teena Gates on the challenges of getting fit and healthy – and staying that way

Many of you will be familiar with the dulcet tones of radio and TV presenter Teena Gates. And you might even know the tale of her incredible weight loss journey from 23 stone to a healthy size 12. Read her story of how strength training & other fitness is helping her keep her weight in check, as part of the Centra Restart 21-day Challenge series. #LiveWell

Read More...

SHOW SIDEBAR

HIDE SIDEBAR