After suffering a COVID scare and seeing her weight increase to over 27 stone in lockdown, Berthe Walo is on a health journey and inspiring others to join her

The national lockdown and the challenges of 2020 took 49-year-old Berthe Walo to her lowest point. After spending months without leaving her house and feeling trapped due to the pandemic, her health began to suffer before it came to a turning point in July.

During the national lockdown, Berthe was showing symptoms of COVID-19 but was unable to get a test. Experiencing a shortness of breath and having a persistent cough, she stayed in her home and recovered slowly.

Although she couldn’t get confirmation that she had the virus, it represented a significant wake-up call to Berthe.

“I started looking at all the people that were dying because of his horrible virus and I was wondering why I was still here,” said Berthe. “I felt grateful that I was able to recover and that going forward, I needed to change something and not waste my time by staying indoors.”

As June came around and restrictions began to slowly ease, Berthe began to go on walks with her daughter in a local park. Starting slowly, Berthe initially struggled to breathe at times but strived to continue her steady progress.

It all came to a sudden turning point in July. Her daughter took a photo of her on one of their walks and Berthe was shocked at what she saw.

“I couldn’t believe it.” exclaimed Bethe. “I was asking myself why that nobody had told me that I look like this. It didn’t even look like me anymore and that image didn’t leave my head. Before I had kids I was a size 8. It made me think how much longer can I live like this? It can’t be healthy.”

Within hours of seeing the photo, she reached out to a Personal Trainer that she’d known for a few years. He was keen to work with her and after sharing her goals and passion to succeed, he quickly developed a plan for her which included her own workout sessions. When gyms were permitted to reopen, she joined Anytime Fitness Dalston which is within walking distance of her house.

“Reaching out to him was the first step for me,” said Berthe. “I started working with him every other day to start my journey and began to make this much-needed change to my life. I also supplemented my training with my own workouts in the gym. For the first time in nearly thirty years, I was in a state of mind to take this seriously and be focussed enough to achieve my goals.”

The team at Anytime Fitness welcomed her with open arms and quickly noticed her dedication. Wanting to use the gym when it was quiet, Berthe would usually go at 10pm, staying for around two hours before returning home to go to bed. Before the second national lockdown, she had successfully lost two stone and was seeing positive mental changes as well as the physical ones.

Recognising her achievement, Anytime Fitness Dalston shared her progress pictures on their social media which was met with universal praise from fellow members and followers.

“I take regular photos of myself to remind me of how far I’ve come and the progress I’m making,” said Berthe. “Comparing it to when I started, the results have been amazing and I share these photos on Whatsapp groups to help inspire others to see what exercise can do for them. I tell them how amazing it makes me feel and how it can do the same for them.”

“For me, there’s such a clear correlation between physical and mental health. I’m really settled in my routine and now I wake up every morning feeling light and energised. My weight was causing me to suffer from arthritis and I was struggling to walk. I look back to when I couldn’t see myself even leaving the house to get on a bus and it makes me so proud of how far I’ve come.”

“It took that picture to give me the motivation I needed to make a change. I feel so young inside and even though I can still feel the pain in my joints which my weight gain has caused me, I can put it to one side which shows you just how much I’m enjoying it.”