Drom native Catherine Connors pictured in her adopted home of Normandy
A Tipperary woman who shed nine stone during the pandemic lockdown is hoping to inspire others with her health journey.
In May 2020, Drom native Catherine Connors decided to change her lifestyle once and for all after feeling breathless while out walking her dog in her adopted home in Normandy, France.
Like many, Catherine, who is an experienced diver and underwater photographer, had turned to home baking and comfort eating during the initial stages of the pandemic tipping her weight to the heaviest she’s ever been at 22 stone 3lbs.
“It was as if someone reached inside me and flicked a switch, a light-bulb moment I guess you could call it, but I came home, closed the front door and said to myself "that's it now Catherine, you can't continue like this, you need to make permanent changes", and I started from that moment on,” she tells the Tipperary Star.
Cutting out all junk food, fizzy drinks and alcohol (bar the odd glass of bubbles on a special occasion), Catherine embarked on a keto diet and began introducing exercise into her daily routine. While she has since ditched the keto plan, the Tipp native now focuses on ‘mindful eating.’
“I don't believe personally that diets can be sustained long term into the future, so I would say I'm all about mindful eating now, I eat well but at set meal times. I recognize that the changes I've made will have to last for a lifetime and so I've built my healthy eating around that idea.”
Taking advantage of the open country air, she started her fitness plan by walking 3km trials and has since built that distance to 25km hikes and 30km bike rides, even adding in yoga and weight training classes via online tutorials. She also set herself goals of taking part in virtual fitness challenges as motivation and recently completed her first ever half marathon.
Catherine’s fitness journey has also inspired other family members back home in Ireland to dust off their running shoes. At the start of the year, the extended Connors family (virtually) completed the Camino de Santiago walk, covering 773.9kms in 27 days.
“We have taken a year which has been negative in so many ways and made it positive, we may be in different countries and we may not see each other physically but we are connected every day, and we are all there for each other to push each other on.”
As well as overhauling her health and fitness, Catherine recently decided to open her own business selling and revamping vintage finds.
“It's important for me to have a project I can be busy with, and like a rolling stone this little business is building momentum as the months have progressed,” she says proudly.
Similar to Ireland, mask wearing and hand sanitiser in Catherine’s adopted hometown in Normady is the norm however most businesses, with the exception of bars and restaurants, were opened earlier this month.
With the vaccine rollout underway, Catherine is hopeful she will receive her first dose by mid-June and can look forward to planning a trip home later in the year to see her 82 year old dad when it is safe to do so.
“I miss all my family desperately, this pandemic has highlighted what's really important, that's family and health,” she says.
To follow Catherine’s health journey transformation check out 'Bothar to Health' on Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Catherine’s vintage store The Dusty Mermaid is available on Facebook, Instagram and Etsy.