I started my fitness journey in September 2016, 18 months after emergency stoma surgery for fulminated colitis. I gained weight since my surgery and it was effecting my self-esteem, I had been taking anti-depressants and I knew I had to do something to turn my life around so I started back at the gym.

I tried to go back as soon as it was safe but looking back now I can see how unwell and weak I was, I struggled to do 5 to 10 minutes in the beginning which was so disheartening at times.

After a few months and putting on even more weight I met with a personal trainer. I joined a gym around the corner from my work and started doing 2 sessions with him and 2 on my own every week. This gave me the push I needed and eventually I started going to my local gym and even doing the odd spin class with a friend.

I went from doing one spin class a week to two I then went on to doing a Vibe class which is great for building up strength and toning using a studio barbell. I built a great relationship with Vicky the instructor and it wasn’t long before I asked her to give me personal training. This turned out to be a great decision, since then I’ve progressed lots; I’ve increased my strength and most importantly built my confidence to workout on my own – I even completed a 3-hour charity spinathon.

A big part that’s helped in my progress is reintroducing foods and logging it with the Myfitnesspal app, this has provided me with a better understanding of food nutrients. I meal prep my foods for 3 to 4 days in advance as this helps keeps me on track. Vicky also gave me a plan that gave me greater understanding of what type of foods I need per meal to reach my macronutrients goals.

Another great app I use is Instagram. I’ve used this in several ways, the first was I could interact with other ostomates that were into fitness which made me realise I wasn’t alone. I also found it useful for finding the best support belts for me to wear at the gym. After chatting with others I found the HiLine breathable stretch ostomy belts are brilliant, these are good because they are firm but not restricting. I often get messages from other ostomates as I post a lot of my food prep and meals on Instagram, often it is ostomates asking me how can I eat the foods I eat being an ostomate myself and my answer is everyone is different. I’ve never been afraid to introduce the foods I need but have been mindful of what I’m eating may need extra cooking or chewing.

What’s next? I’ve lost a total of two and a half stone in weight and I continue to see body changes. I don’t want to lose anymore weight but I want to concentrate on building my core strength and fitness levels. I am going to continue doing all my classes and I plan to do my first Cardiff Half Marathon in October.

I’m no expert but I love working out and cooking nutritious meals. If you want to get in touch or follow my fitness journey then follow me on Instagram @RyanEatsUK

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