Your weight is your choice. Jo’s Story.

joanneJoanne Dowds


Joanne is a chartered physiotherapist with an MSc in exercise physiology, yoga teacher and has certification in strength and conditioning with the NSCA.


It’s that time of year when many seek to adapt healthier lifestyles, drop a few pounds and embark on a new fitness regime. Many resolutions have been made and possibly a few already broken, perhaps this will help you re-energise.  This maybe controversial but I am strongly of the opinion that your weight is your choice (yes there are a tiny number of exceptions to this, I know, but it’s a tiny percentage). I believe that what you weight is a direct result of what you put in your mouth and how much energy you use during your day, therefore it is under your control. Calories in, calories out. Simple. To break this down if you are overweight it is because you are choosing to be so, either actively or passively. I don’t think many actively make that choice, so it’s a passive choice for most, we are overweight because it’s easier; easier to eat fast foods, easier to stay on the couch, easier to make excuses. My question to you then  is, when are you going to take the harder road, to take responsibility for your weight or more importantly your health?

Well, I feel like a bit of a wagon writing that but it’s what I believe. And the reason I can rationalise posting with only a small amount of fear, is this dear reader, I used to be fat. Not just a few extra pounds of pudge but proper fat need to get an extension seatbelt on an airplane fat or to use the medical term super morbidly obese, sounds so attractive doesn’t it!

So the facts, I did once weigh ALOT, just under 25 stone to be precise and a size 30 (see pic below, as an aside, your fashion choices are severally limited when your that big). A few years ago I had a moment of realisation, it was my fault, it wasn’t anyone else, I was fat, I was responsible, and if I wanted to, I could choose to be fitter, healthier and feel better.

So I did. I took control of my choices.

That makes it sound easy but it took time, effort, persistence and resilience. I deliberately haven’t put up what I weigh now, as a number it’s not important to me, and it doesn’t matter if you need to lose 1 or 10 stone.  I am not thin but I never wanted to be, I’m strong and healthy as a horse, I exercise most days, I eat well, I started running last year, I can do a headstand. I am good with all of those things and my wardrobe has improved dramatically!  I am not putting myself up on a pedestal but if I can, you can. I didn’t have or use anything that you can’t access too. Essentially eat better, move more.

Lifestyle changes are incremental, each day we make 100’s of decisions which can in microcosmic ways affect your overall health, (stairs versus lift, latte versus Americano) each time just pause and ask yourself ‘is this really a good choice for me?’.

There are support structures out there to help. But none of it will do the work for you. You need to take responsibility, make the choice, stick with it, it is hard but it will be worth it. You don’t have control over much in your life but you can control and change what you weigh.

jo post run

I am in remission from obesity.  I recovered with only a few minor self esteem issues, will you be so lucky? Take the reins on your weight, make the choice for your health, take responsibility for yourself.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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