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Why you’ll be seeing less of us after lockdown


Chloe Mullan

Chloe Mullan

Chloe Mullan before and after her weight loss

Chloe Mullan before and after her weight loss

Anton McCabe has dropped 7lbs

Anton McCabe has dropped 7lbs

Anton McCabe before his weight loss

Anton McCabe before his weight loss

Chloe Mullan

Two Northern Ireland people tell Leona O’Neill how they made the most of being at home by getting fit and losing weight.

'Before I might've thought I can't get a good sweat on in the house, but now I know I can'

Ballymoney software consultant Chloe Mullan (23) says she has used the time she would have been usually commuting to work to get fit.

"I have been working from home during lockdown," she says.

"Nothing has really changed for me work-wise, except that instead of going to the office, I'm now doing everything from home.

"I have always been into fitness and exercise but lockdown really gave me an opportunity to focus on it.

"I would travel to Belfast every day for work and now I'm not doing that anymore. That gives me three hours of my day back and I've been using that time when I would ordinarily have been on the train to do workouts.

"I've also been going for long walks with my dad and he's got into doing his 10,000 steps a day, also.

"I think the bars and restaurants being closed also helped. If they had been opened it might have hindered my progress."

She explains: "I'm always very good during the week but come Friday night I always went out for drinks, then had a hangover at the weekend.

"That just meant that I maintained the weight I was so lockdown has been a proper opportunity to make progress.

"I've been following a programme by Anna Henry. She does a home plan for you, with workouts and a meal plan."

Chloe adds: "Thanks to all of that, I've managed to lose a stone in the last two months. I was 10st 8lb at the start of lockdown and I'm now 9st 9lbs."

Chloe says she will keep up her new fitness regime. "I will try to keep it up when I go back to work. I did go to the gym a lot when I was in the office and travelling to work. They were just much longer days.

"I think I will be working from home more now anyway after all of this, but I also think I'll save time going to the gym. I feel much more comfortable getting a good workout in at home.

"Before I might have thought that I can't really get a good sweat on with nothing in the house, that I would need weights and stuff, but now I know that I can do that in my own living room."

‘I’ve walked almost every day, I feel fitter and I sleep better'

Omagh journalist Anton McCabe has used lockdown to walk around his home town, clocking up enough miles to have taken him from Omagh to Cork and all the way back to Dublin again.

"I found lockdown difficult, like a lot of people," the 60-year-old freely admits. "But I decided when it started that I was going to have a serious go at losing weight and getting fit.

"There's been only one day since lockdown started that I haven't walked four miles. So, that means I've walked over 350 miles.

"I've a regular walk which is out of town and a loop back in. I walk in one direction one day and in the other direction the next day."

He began feeling the benefits within days and says: "I feel far fitter and I am half a stone down in weight. There is more to go, but I have noticed I'm fastening my belt in another notch.

"There are also a couple of sharp slopes on the walk and I notice that where two months ago they might have made me struggle, now I am going up them and barely noticing the climb.

"I feel better and I sleep better. It is also helping to give a structure to my days and to keep my head right in lockdown, because it has been tough going and if you don't watch yourself you could lose focus on things," he adds.

When life resumes more normality, Anton wants to maintain his new fitness levels.

"My weight before was just over 14 stone and now it's 13st 7lbs," he says. "I think I will definitely keep up this healthier lifestyle after the lockdown restrictions are completely lifted.

"It's easy because I have done it now. I have hit a certain degree of fitness and that makes it easier to keep fit.

"Even when gardening, I notice that I can lift bags of compost easily now. A couple of months ago, I'd have been struggling to lift them. I'm going to keep up my routine because I can see the benefits in life."

Londonderry youth worker Johnny Scanlon (31) has lost a stone in lockdown.

"I've spent lockdown volunteering with a local charity called Hurt," he says. "I was massively overweight about two years ago so keeping fit has been an ongoing journey for me. But when lockdown happened the gyms closed and I knew that I needed to keep going because I could put on weight quite quickly.

"I set myself a goal of losing over a stone in lockdown and I was quite happy that I managed to do that through walking, eating right and running.

"I used an app and as long as you stay within your calories and you exercise, it's quite easy to do. I do treat myself to a bun or a chicken box every so often but I don't overeat and I think not drinking alcohol helps massively, too."

Johnny was very overweight two years ago and says he didn't want to go back to that unhealthy place.

"In January 2018 I was 19st and 6lbs and now I am 13st 12lbs," he says. "I was obviously trying to lose weight before but I really doubled down on it in lockdown and got that last stone off. I decided to put my all into it, because I wasn't doing much else. So, getting out on my daily walk was important. And I set myself a challenge also by raising money through running, so that also helped me drop a few pounds.

"I will try to keep this regime up when I go back to work, because it's also really good for mental health. When you're out and doing things and have a plan of action for the day, you don't think about stuff as much. And you don't feel so isolated when you are out running and keeping yourself busy."

Belfast Telegraph