Still too fat to run?

Zoe Davies.

If you've read our JOG Derbyshire case studies, you'll already know the story of Zoe Davies. She started jogging in 2012 and has taken huge inspiration from the blog The Fat Girls Guide to Running ( as she has fought an ongoing battle with her weight. Since then the qualified fitness instructor has continued a remarkable journey that has seen her complete the great North Run, as she told the Daily Mail in an interview.

Being large was a taboo subject

"I've struggled since I can remember with my weight – being large was a taboo subject when I was young. You were just called 'fat' and left on a shelf.

"The last thing anyone ever expected me to do – least of all me – was exercise. The inference was that plus-sized women were stupid and had no self-control, that we chain-smoked and stuffed cakes in our faces all day.

"My turnaround happened just over three years ago when I was sitting in the pub with friends and decided I was sick of feeling like I couldn't exercise, that I wasn't allowed to enjoy that part of life which other people did.

"I weighed 22 stone then and knew I was too big, but that was only part of the equation – I knew that I wanted to be healthy.

Feeling happier, sleeping better, losing weight

"I asked my husband Ian for personal training classes for Christmas, and I have to say it was hard, but I loved it. I felt happier, I slept better, and of course over time I lost some weight.

"The hardest part for anyone plus-sized is the first step, being brave enough to admit that you want help, feeling like people are going to laugh at you.

"Sometimes when I'd be out running people would say cruel things, but you're always surprised at some reactions – one young lad ran past me when I was out jogging, turned to face me as I was doing a walking section and held out his hands to encourage me to keep going.

"So not everybody wants to see overweight exercisers fail or ridicule them.

The Great North Run.

The Great North Run - such a buzz

"I did the Great North Run this September and have to say the atmosphere there was possibly the best I've ever experienced anywhere in my life, the buzz I got from all the supporters.

"And there was every possible size and shape there, which is how it should be. I've signed up for the next three Great North Runs already!

"I've been down to 18 stone, and I'm now 19 stone and a size 22. Of course I know I could and perhaps should be slimmer, but I eat healthily and I know I'm probably in better shape than those people in the chip shop smoking their fags who jeer at me as I run past, uphill.

"I honestly don't know if I'm going to live longer because of my exercising, but what I can say is the years I have until then will be so much richer and happier because I'm fit. The spill-over benefits of being in shape extend way beyond how long you live."


You can read the full Daily Mail article here.

If you want to check out more about getting active, check out the Active Derbyshire section of the Derbyshire Sport website.