Fitness for the mind and the body

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As we start to realise that mental fitness is as important as physical fitness . Catherine Scott meets a woman helping wellbeing

It was after a rather drawn out divorce that Cathy Thomas realised she needed to get her life back in order.

“I had been living on a diet of wine, crisps and chocolate while I was going through the divorce,” explains mum of three Cathy who lives in Harrogate .

“I was out shopping with one of my daughters and I was in a changing room. I could barely recognise the person or the body in the reflection in the mirror. Out of shape, I was heavier than I had ever been; I looked tired, drained and most of all, unhappy. This was my moment. I decided I had to take control and make myself the best possible ‘me’.”

A biochemist by training Cathy had given up work to bring up her three daughters, two of which were talented tennis players.

Her youngest Sophie now 19 and in her second year university in America, played tennis at national level and was coached five days a week at the former Leeds Metropolitan University, now Leeds Beckett.

It meant as well as a lot of financial investment, Cathy spent a lot of time ferrying her daughter around the country learning a lot about nutrition and fitness.

“You don’t spend all that time around elite athletes and their coaches without some of it rubbing off,” says Cathy, who is originally from Scotland and also has daughters Juliet, 25, and Emily, 23.

“After the divorce I realised not only did I have to get myself sorted out but I needed to work. I have been out of the workplace for quite a long time and so the likelihood of me getting a decent fulfilling job was pretty unlikely.

“I’d always had an interest in hypnotherapy and had started a course previously but not finished it, so I decided to get qualified. I also had an interest in personal fitness and became a qualified personal instructor. I didn’t really know exactly where I wanted my business to go. I knew I wanted to help people and felt I was in a good position to do that as I’d be there done that. I have had to become an emotionally very strong person with what I have been through and I feel that allows me to help other people.

“I thought I’d have some clients who would benefit from the hypnotherapy and others who would want the personal training.”

But that’s not what ended up happening.

“I found that people actually wanted help with both emotional and physical issues.”

She added nutrition to her long list of qualifications so that she could offer an holistic approach to people’s well being,

And in January Cathy launched her new business , Inspire Mind and Body Fitness, from her home in Harrogate.

“I had run some classes from various gyms and I do go to people’s homes but I found that people really liked coming here. They lie on the sofa for hypnotherapy and then work on the TRX and kettle bells in my sitting room. It works really well.”

Cathy’s clients have a range of issues for which they come to her for emotional, physical and nutritional support.

There is Vanessa, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when her baby was just 11 months old.

The cancer treatment left her in a pretty bad state both physically and mentally.

“The problem was the medication made me feel like I was the walking dead. I had lost Vanessa now and it felt like nothing could bring her back,” says Vanessa.

“I spoke to Cathy and that was hard but she got me straight away it was fantastic, she didn’t say poor you. In fact she said you can do this - get stronger, feel better about yourself and Vanessa will return.

“I feel so much stronger and fitter even though there is still work to be done. There has been a lot of tears and upset over the last four years, on so many different levels - never give up and believe yourself better.”

She also helps athletes achieve their full potential and people with weight issues.

“It’s not just about weight loss. Some people need help with nutrition and diet. Often when people go to the GP they want tablets, but that doesn’t deal with the root cause of their problems.

“We are becoming increasingly aware that the mind is as important as the body. To me it is all about balance.”

She also works with couples.

“I have always been interested in psychology as well as nutrition. What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on our mood. My friends are fed up with how much I go on about spinach.”

Cathy says she doesn’t just talk the talk and looking at her I can believe it.

“Don’t get me wrong I still like a glass of prosecco and I have a weakness for cheese,” she admits.

“Life isn’t easy, but if we are strong, positive and balanced everything is just a bit easier and better.

“Positive actions such as looking after our bodies by eating well to give it the nourishment it needs, and being physically fit is a wonderfully addictive phenomenon.

“To feel energised, happy, positive and dynamic compared to where I was is the most wonderful, complete transformation. But what gives me the greatest pleasure is to see the change in the people who come to me. To see their confidence increase is amazing.”

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