A Lincoln woman who has been on an awe-inspiring weight loss journey says her life has gone “crazy”, as she trains for a strongman/woman contest at the end of the month.
Support worker Vikki Mills, 28, has lost an incredible 132 pounds, decreasing her weight from 400 pounds to 268 pounds, since February last year.
Vikki had just come out of a depressive episode and had counselling. She says she was in a bad headspace, with a lifestyle of ordering takeaways and nights out, but has since found a new lease of life.
She told The Lincolnite: “There’s so many things that being a big girl you’re limited to, like going shopping, having a seat extension on an airplane, troubles with seating in a car, but now there’s this big jump – I can go hiking, I’ve been bungee jumping, I can go and see waterfalls and there are so many things in life I can do now.”
To kick off her weight loss voyage, Vikki initially lost a staggering 100 pounds in 5 and a half months: “I literally just woke up one morning and the Prime Life Project was doing a three to five day challenge and I just joined it and on the back end of that I just decided to use their coaching.
“Initially, Daniel James with the online Prime Life Project gave me a food plan, which was very rigid – I didn’t come off it at all. I didn’t have the gym to attend as it was during lockdown, but I had to do 7,500 steps a day. The food was things that you’d want to eat (not chicken and rice every day) – things like chicken wraps and Weetabix in the morning – I’m quite boring I’m happy to eat the same food every day!”
The journey was far from straightforward though, Vikki fell back into old habits intermittently; going out drinking and eating takeaways from time to time. She climbed Ben Nevis, but had an identity crisis. She explains: “The shift in weight released a whole load of childhood traumas as to why I was so big in the first place. I was feeling unsafe, the gym became my home. It was a place where I was focused on the task and not the voice in my head.
“I trained everyday but became very fatigued. Then I had more therapy in that time, and my weight steadied. When I started with Alice Abbott, my new coach with Team Sirius, I began to train five days a week, have balance in my life and have adopted morning and evening routines to maintain that discipline. I kicked myself up the bum and have been getting ready for the truck pull since May this year.”
Vikki explains how she met Dave Johnson, who is behind a Truck-Pull/Push event in Lincoln on July 30: “I met Dave, he was obviously a strongman and had a sort of vibe that showed he wasn’t in the best headspace, and going through this journey you radiate positivity, and he said about doing the strongman competition and I thought it was a bit of fun – I didn’t realise it was a proper competition. I’ve never competed in anything like this, I don’t really do strongman events or anything like this.”
To boot, Vikki is graduating with a Psychology degree in a month’s time and has been accepted onto a Masters.
On how she stays motivated to body build she says: “When I was exercising before and lost weight (nowhere near the degree I have this time) the skin would sag and their were physical parts of me I still didn’t like and I was hung up on. Initially, I found with lifting weights – when you’ve never even see your collar bones or shoulder bones before – seeing yourself build your quad muscles and definition in your body, peaks and motivates you to do that.
Vikki has an Instagram page (@vmills16) where she shares her phenomenal journey and says she is a big believer that everybody has mental health troubles at some time in their life: “On social media people portray their life as this epic amazing thing, when in reality everybody has troubles.
“On my social media I have days where I accept I have good days at the gym training, and bad days when I struggle. I’m human and I think that people need to understand that quite a bit better so they’re not isolated in their feelings.
“Social media, when used correctly, is an amazing tool but I think as a societal construct we’re told, and it’s driven into us, how we should look like and how we should behave, and how we should act. Then on the other hand we’re told to be who we are – we’re told we should embrace who we are and every part of us. There’s this conflict about who we should be and who we are. We have to find the balance, we have to function, we have to get a job and embrace the good parts of life as well.”
Vikki wrote her dissertation on mindfulness interventions and sense of self, using the PLP community to conduct it. The research isn’t published but Vikki said it was enlightening to see how being part of a community of like minded people on a similar journey massively attributed to how someone identifies.
She wanted to spread a final message: “Anything is achievable – it’s difficult living in a world where there’s lots of limiting beliefs around you but with a little bit of hope and drive, anything is possible – take on little step and things just build and then suddenly you’re half the size you were.”