Annaly Jones from Carmarthen is a busy single Mum. She juggles her job in a shoe shop with raising her sons; Jesse who’s 13, Ruben 11 and Ralph aged 9 oed. If that isn’t enough, this year she’s one of the leaders on S4C’s Ffit Cymru.
I’ve been obsessed with TV series Ffit Cymru since the first series, it’s a brilliant weekly show which follows five individuals or leaders as they take on the weekly challenge to lose weight, get fit and transform their lives for the future. At the beginning of the current series, 38 year old Annaly was 15 stone 8 and admitted to snacking and comfort eating to deal with the trauma of two failed marriages and the loss of her Father.
Having followed Annaly’s journey so far, I’ve been totally inspired by her honesty and determination. I arranged an interview to find out more about this amazing Mam….
First of all a huge congratulations Annaly, you’ve lost 10 pounds in two weeks, how do you feel?
Thanks! The support has been overwhelming and I feel great. I’ve got so much more energy and I feel happier. I never thought that doing exercise would give you more energy but it does! I feel lucky to have this opportunity because so many people apply to take part in Ffit Cymru, the fact that they saw a real need in me to transform my life means a lot, it’s a huge boost.
Have the kids noticed a difference and how do they feel about seeing Mam on the TV?!
I’m three weeks in and they can see that I’ve got so much more energy, I’m happier and I want to do more with them, I’m also far more patient and less snappy! They are typical boys, they aren’t really bothered about the fact that I’m on TV and they aren’t bothered about the camera crew in our house, but they are pleased that I’m doing this for me and for them.
Do the cameras actually follow you everywhere?
Yes! They are with me most days of the week! It was a bit intense on the first week but I’m getting used to it, it’s important that they show every step of my journey on the TV.
Why go on Ffit Cymru to transform yourself in front of the nation?
Like many Mums and women, I’ve tried so many diets. I manage to lose some weight and then celebrate with a take away or bottle of wine! Ffit Cymru is an amazing spring board to start transforming yourself for the long term, you are a leader and doing it in front of the nation gives you a sense of responsibility to stick at it and stop snacking and cheating!
Ffit Cymru also gives you the amazing tool kit of a team of three experts who are at hand 24/7. We’re working with dietitian Sioned Quirke, psychologist Dr Ioan and personal trainer Ray Carpenter, they are fantastic and we FaceTime and chat on a regular basis, it’s priceless. Presenter Lisa Gwilym is also a huge support and so lovely, she came with me and the boys to Folly Farm and we had a great time! It’s like being part of a family and all the leaders support each other. My 30’s have been hard and as I approach my 40’s it was the right time to make these important changes for me, my family will also benefit of course!
How do you manage to complete the food and exercise challenges with your life as a busy single Mum?
My life is busy, but I am managing to fit it in by being more organised. We go to bed later so I can do my exercises and the boys join in! It gets easier and the new cooking and exercise regime is now part of our daily routine, I have to do it to get the results I want for myself. Last week, Ray showed me what 10 pounds of fat looks like, it was disgusting and knowing I was carrying that around and knowing I’m still carrying so much of it is keeping me going!
What’s the end goal?
Ffit Cymru is a 7 week challenge so I want to make the most of it, but I’m in it for the long term and my end goal is being able to walk up Pen y Fan with the boys like we did in 2017. I also want to fit into a size 12 dress! I’m size 16 – 18 now but with this new ‘tool kit’ I know I’ll get into that dress one day.
Mam Cymru has started the #MamFit Challenge this year to encourage myself and other Mums to get fit and healthy and have better balance in our lives. What advice do you have for me and other Mams who want to lose weight and feel better
1 – Keep an exercise and food diary and stick to it! Writing it down makes it possible to fit it into your busy lifestyle
2 – Prepare food from scratch. Snacking is a quick fix and long term it doesn’t do us any good. You and your family will see many benefits from cooking and eating healthy food.
3 – Set a goal. Having a visual goal like my size 12 dress is a great way to keep you motivated.
4 – Small steps. Transformation and weight loss is not a marathon, change your mindset and realise that this change is long term and forever and it will benefit the whole family,
A huge thanks to Annaly for taking time out of her busy routine to talk to Mam Cymru. I will certainly be routing for you and the other leaders every Tuesday night with pom poms in hand! I can’t wait to see you walking up Pen y Fan in that size 12 dress in the near future Annaly! You are a true inspiration and keep going with that #MamPower.
You can follow Annaly and all the other Ffit Cymru leaders on the website and there are plenty of useful tips on there too including a couch to 5km plan and podcast. Don’t forget to tune into the programme every Tuesday at 8pm on S4C or catch up online.
By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.