A Preston mum has turned her life around after a photo of her shared on Facebook triggered a drive to get fit - and to help others do the same.
Kirsty Quigley, from Ingol, lost over 3st in six months after “something clicked” and she took up weight training and running.
She now leads a popular running club for other mums and their youngsters in Preston.
The mum of three says picking up her pace has been a game-changer making her happier as a person and a better mum.
She said: “It’s changed my mindset. I’ve gone from somebody who would always say no to things to someone who says yes.
“I’ve become a lot more relaxed with everything.
“I used to care what people thought about me and now I don’t care what anybody thinks about me.
“I’m just enjoying life.”
It was a photo a friend had taken of Kirsty with her family, her partner Damian and their three sons Alfie, 10, Frankie, seven, and Jessie, four, that was the turning point.
The 37-year-old said: “I used to be fit when I was younger then I had three children and I just let it go a bit.
“It was early last year and we’d gone out for a family meal and I was saying I will take a picture. I had a bit of a thing about it. But then a friend said they’d take the photo.
“Initially when I saw it I thought it was OK but then when she posted it on Facebook and I looked at it I was a bit distraught.
“I thought I need to do something about it. Something just clicked in my head.
“Before that I kept getting to Monday and thinking let’s start the diet today.”
Jumping right in Kirsty joined Slimming World and started going to the gym.
Buckshaw residents ask: "Why are we bothering to pay for green waste collections?"
WATCH: Preston strongman breaks world record for Dinnie Stones lift
Fresh proposals for sports hall to make way for nine storey build
She said: “It just seemed to fall into place and I was just enjoying it for a change instead of it being a chore.
“It’s helped that I found an exercise that I enjoy. It’s weights that I enjoy.
“I have a personal trainer in a group.
“I used to hate those classes like Zumba where you have to jump about.
“I’ve realised that I enjoy weights so much more and my fitness has improved so much.”
Then one day Kirsty decided to head out for a run and what started as a simple idea has now built up into a popular running club for mums and their children.
“There was one night at around September time and I thought I’m just going to go out and try and run five miles and I just did. That came from building my fitness up,” said Kirsty, who works at Rock FM as an administrator.
“Then I started taking Alfie out with me. He was nine at the time. I just thought it’s quite nice for us to do something together on a Friday night.
“We just did one a week and I was enjoying it. Then a friend wanted to start getting her fitness up and bit and she and her little boy came running with us.
“I posted it on Facebook - a beginners running club - and it just built up from there. The point of that is just to get the mums down. The kids absolutely love it. Me and a friend run ahead with kids so the mums can get a run or walk in.”
Kirsty says mums often put their children, work and partners first and can sometimes forget themselves but taking time out for herself has ultimately been a great move.
She said: “My mum was always fantastic with childcare when I was working but you don’t like to ask otherwise.
“We have got to be a little bit selfish sometimes.
“It makes me feel like a better person because I can be better with my children.
“I go to the park and run around with them and at the trampoline park I’m on the trampolines with them.”
Kirsty now has a number of fitness challenges in the pipeline. She’s taking part in the Pretty Mudder in June for Cancer Research UK and walked up the Big One in Blackpool on Friday night for Rock FM’s Cash for Kids charity.
She’s also planning an endurance walk from Fleetwood to Wigan with a few friends in Autumn and has even signed up for the London Marathon.
Amidst her fitness drive Kirsty was diagnosed with a blood clot.
“I just had a pain in my calf,” she said. “I thought I’d pulled it in the gym. It was just getting worse and worse.
“Someone said I was going to have it seen so I went to the pharmacy and she took one look at it and she said I think its a blood clot.
“They had me on blood thinners. It was a bit of a shock.
“It’s been put down to the contraception I was on of all things.
“But in terms of my recover it was great. Within four weeks I was back up and running again.”