TRISHA Lewis knows whatever pain she might feel during The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon, it will be nothing compared to the suffering of the young girl who is inspiring her to cross the finish line.
Trisha, who is this year’s event brand ambassador, is raising funds and awareness for Debra Ireland, who support those with the rare genetic skin blistering condition EB.
As part of her campaign, she recently met with a four-year-old Cork girl who lives with the painful condition and said it focused her to run the 6k on September 22 and raise at least €6,000.
The head chef at Jacobs on the Mall has charted her incredible weight loss journey, including all its ups and downs, tears and tantrums, on her Instagram page. Trisha’s Transformation now boasts almost 77,000 followers.
After meeting the young EB sufferer, she wrote on her page: “I’ve no idea why I got so lucky to get a platform like I did, but what I do know is that I’m going to use it to help her and her companions.
“I’ve a battle on my hands and thankfully weight is one I can beat. Her battle has no cure.”
Trisha’s weight loss journey began when she joined a gym in February, 2018. It had taken the young woman from Kilbehenny years and a lot of misery to get there, with a starting weight of 26 stone and one pound.
Her ambition was to lose 13 stone and one pound — half her body weight — and she’s halfway there.
And while she’s not fixated on the scales, she’s started dropping pounds after a five month plateau since she began running for the mini marathon.
“I’m chasing happiness, not chasing a number on the scales but I’ve lost 6lbs in two weeks since starting running. I’m still doing my three sessions in the gym like always, three runs and then one big walk a week and I’m loving it.
“Each run is like a celebration — it’s not easy but the rewards are amazing and to feel comfortable in myself for 23 and a half hours a day, it’s worth feeling uncomfortable for half an hour,” said the 31-year-old.
Since Trisha was announced as brand ambassador, she’s hit a few ‘wobbles’, including her sister moving to Australia.
Trisha is one of nine girls (six older and two younger), and they’re a tight bunch.
When ‘baby’ of the family, Juliet moved to Oz during the summer, Trisha said she defaulted to all her old ways.
“It really frightened me — I started being lazy, not taking care of myself, that kind of thing.
“But Juliet rang me and said she wanted to see me in a bikini on Bondi Beach and my other sisters were on top of me like wildfire. But it just shows that everyone is weak at some stage. It also shows that I was never addicted to food but that I couldn’t deal with negativity and that I have an emotional eating disorder.”
A trip to Rome also set her back a bit, not just on the scales, but emotionally. Trisha shared on Instagram how she noticed a man at the airport on her return home taking a picture of her. But instead of just ignoring it she went over to him and said if he had a picture of her, she’d need one of him, and took a selfie of them both.
Naturally the encounter hurt her.
“It really knocked me as I thought that part of my life was over. But the amount of support I got was insane – I must have got around 600 messages from girls and boys in the same scenario, who were being mocked, and it made me realise that I’m not alone. It’s a case of ‘hurt people, hurt people’ so move on.”
Trisha feels it’s a huge responsibility to be our brand ambassador and after Rome she re-examined her priorities to focus on her goals.
“I had a ticket to Electric Picnic but I didn’t go — I knew that it would set me back. If something doesn’t justify my end goal now I think twice about it — it’s a case of whatever you focus on will expand.”
She recently wore a blazer for the first time and said it felt fantastic, and wears a size 16 pants.
“I wake up now and feel like a new human. It’s lovely to feel like a woman again,” she said.
She has tried CBT to and while she didn’t stick with it, she might in the future.
“I want to figure out how I got where I am; and the more tools I have in my toolbox, the safer I feel from morbid obesity.”
One thing she is getting better at doing is saying ‘no’.
“Things start going wrong for me when I get overwhelmed, busy or overbooked, so it’s about being a bit selfish.”
On mini marathon day Trisha will run with her sister Annie by her side: “That’s where she’s been since the very beginning,” said Trisha.
It was when she accompanied Annie to a baby scan appointment that Trisha had her ‘trigger’ moment and started her journey.
“Another sister will be running seriously and three more will be waiting at the finishing line for me. I’m hugely competitive so, bingo wings and all, I’ll be flying across that line.
“And to everyone on the day, my message is to run, walk or crawl but come and give me a hug at the end. Let’s push ourselves to the limit and beat the bulge!”