• Jenny McNamara

Who am I, and why did I start "Give Me Strength"?

Updated: May 27

So I'd better say that I don't intend for all my blog posts to be really deep and meaningful. For this first one though I want to explain how I arrived at this point in my life, creating Give Me Strength... and that means being honest about a few things. I'm comfortable to share this as I know I am not alone in the struggles I have had, and the whole point of Give Me Strength is to support and empower people to be happy in their own skin.

The story of my life in three pictures

People who see me toeing the line for Parkrun or local races, getting pretty good times for a lady approaching 40 (how did that happen?!), often make comments that I must always have been fit and lean, run for my school, must be somehow naturally gifted. Nothing could be further from the truth!

As you can see from the pictures, I've been a lot of things over the years, but now I approach 40 years old I am the strongest, happiest and most confident I have ever been. It's been a long process. There were deep-seated issues from being bullied as a young girl for being overweight, which led to anxiety, depression, low self esteem, heavy drinking and a lifetime of disordered eating.

If only 13-year-old me could see me now!

I was incredibly fortunate to have some amazing people come into my life at different points who (whether they intended to or not) helped me grow and become a much happier and healthier person ( the long-suffering Mr M being the first). Joining Cheddar Running Club and having a wise and patient coach helped me enormously (in so many more ways than just running), but I still hadn't found a good balance with food. I started strength training two and a half years ago, which was the final piece of the puzzle. I knew I had to change my eating habits if I wanted to be a strong and healthy vegan role model.

Gratuitous gun shot. Well, lots of work went into those!

I wanted to be happy and not worry constantly if I had run enough miles to eat something. I wanted to enjoy life more. I wanted to respect my body- love it for what it can do, rather than what it looks like. Having great guns is of course a welcome bonus!

My journey to this happy place involved a lot of wonderful, understanding and knowledgeable people- people who inspired me to help others to find contentment in their own skin. I decided to go part time at work, and used my day off for "me time". This led me to think a lot about what I was doing in life, what was important to me, and I decided to undertake a personal training qualification with a view to helping others.

It has been an incredible journey, and one I could not have done without the amazing support of friends and colleagues. The testimonials I have on the website were humbling to receive, and let me see that I have already made a difference in people's lives.

The ethos of Give Me Strength is body positive training to empower, develop, thrive...cutting ourselves some slack for not being aesthetically perfect, celebrating what our bodies can do, and building each other up to be strong, confident and happy.

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