By Gill Stewart at
Nordic Walking UK Instructor Karen Blanchard from Lincolnshire was struggling with her weight and feeling pretty low when she spotted an advert for our Instructor training courses. Here she outlines the journey that has given her a whole new lease of life and helped her lose nearly 3 stone so far.
“In June 2012, whilst out shopping in Spalding, a magazine caught my eye… Walk Slim…. perhaps that was my answer. After having lived in France for 8 years and piled on the pounds I needed to do something. I have always been able to walk and indeed at the age of 23 spend 3 months in Japan doing just that on the Operation Raleigh expedition and even climbing up Mount Fuji. I came back and them completed the Skegness to Horncastle walking race three months later coming a very credible 3rd lady home.
With the magazine in my hand I read with interest about Nordic Walking, in fact I had a pair of poles in France gathering dust. I went onto the NWUK website and read that I could become an instructor. I thought to myself ” Getting slim AND earning money has to be a winning combination”
I telephoned NWUK and spoke with someone about the possibilities and booked my taster session with the local council for the very next day. A duck to water and I was away, totally hooked! I Enrolled onto the instructor training in Buxton for September after my usual summer in France where I took advantage of the fact that I had a pair of Leki speed pacer poles and six weeks in France to get some practice in.
September came and it was time for the practical element of the instructor course… its very hilly in Buxton and I came back totally exhausted. I Had a great two days with the fabulous NWUK Tutor Nicki Parsons and felt very enthusiastic but then the panic set in with the on line learning and assessment. Yikes. So I then spent several months making excuses to myself as to why I was not losing weight and why I did not have to time to walk, too much to think about to get myself through the CYQ assessment.
I have never been very academic so I was filled with dread. However, I spoke with Linda in the NWUK office and she was very supportive explaining that loads of people just like me had passed the training. She was right, so I spent the next month really getting my head down and studying. It’s actually pretty straightforward and really rewarding to understand the body and what is required in order to make it healthy and fit.
However, by the time I went for my assessment the pounds had piled on even more, well I have had no time to walk have I??( or so I kept telling myself)
By April, I had passed the exams and was now fully qualified and still keen to get started despite being conscious of my weight. OK so what next?, I signed up to the NWUK delivery partner package because I knew it would help with marketing etc. to have extra support and I booked myself on the additional training day which was absolutely fantastic. Having met another local instructor on the course we were able to egg each other on and offer support and cover for one another.
Sitting in the delivery partner training in Hampstead I was pleased to see that not all instructors are thin but enough of the excuses. I was so inspired by the opportunities provided by Nordic Walking and knew that I could help myself and others if I got a grip of the weight. I came home and promptly signed up to the Pete Cohen Nordic Weight Loss plan, because I felt I could not advertise that Nordic Walking is the answer if I could not lead by example. I also wanted to use the plan to help others within my classes.
On 29th April I stopped drinking my daily fix of wine, I followed the plan, ate slowly, drank the water and completely changed the way in which I thought about food. I kept a diary with every morsel firmly written down and the first two weeks were great, 12lb off the first week and 7lb the second crikey, how motivated did I feel now. I was walking every day, all the lower back pain had gone and I was feeling great. No wine at all and I was not even missing it. I avoided all fizzy drinks, diet and otherwise and firmly stuck to my water.
I am now on week 12 of my new life, I have lost 38lb so far, my walking business is just starting to get moving and in fact one of my Ladies is in exactly the same position as me so we are becoming very good diet buddys sharing ideas and recipes. For me now I have a journey to complete of another 2 stone but I am feeling very positive, my food/activity diary is a daily inspiration to me as I can look back to see what worked for me at the start and to check that old habits are not slipping back. My mental health has improved dramatically and I now realise how much I was just kidding myself in the past. I do not feel that I miss anything, I now have a glass of wine or two at the weekend but 7 weeks with nothing just shows how strong I have become. I wear a polar heart rate monitor (as I had one collecting dust in the drawer) which I find very useful and when I felt like I needed another boost I bought a fitbit which records all the steps I do during the day and then puts them onto a graph and sends me a weekly report. You can also record food on this but I find my Pete Cohen diary is the best for this.
Now I am off to France again for the summer feeling much leaner and looking forward to all those miles I will be able to explore in the Normandy countryside. I have had to order some new paws for my Leki poles as they have now worn out so that just shows how much mileage I am getting in.
I simply can’t wait to really kick start the business side of things when I return and know that I will be even slimmer by then because I am really enjoying both the Nordic Walking and the simple, healthy way to lose weight using this plan.
Nordic Walking UK Instructors can help you to lose weight with this amazing plan which combines Nordic walking and membership of the Pete Cohen (known as the weight loss guru and featured on GMTV) programme. Search for your local Instructor here – those that deliver the plan will have a tick by Nordic weight loss.