Tina Murphy first developed her running programme for a friend, but when she realised how many others wanted a similar course she created an eight-week ‘Running Made Easy’ programme, which soon attracted long waiting lists. Since then she has helped thousands of couch potatoes to become runners and added a range of other programmes to her business. Tina is a qualified personal trainer and continues to study fitness, nutrition and health. She has appeared regularly on RTÉ, Newstalk and Dublin City FM and in various print media to give health and lifestyle advice. And now she’s put all her knowledge into a book Slim with Tina (Mercier Press) – but writing presented a whole new set of issues…We’re all about inspiration this January, so we asked Tina to tell us her story…
“When I was a teenager my dream was a to be a writer. I wanted to live somewhere exotic and write fiction while sipping coconut water under a palm tree. I spent most of my time writing and if I wasn’t writing I was thinking about stories to write. At some point, I grew up and, unfortunately, decided to be realistic, get a business degree and a proper job and I forgot my dream as well as my writing skills.
It was only when I started writing my book last year, after ten years of writing nothing longer than a short blog post, often paying no attention to grammar or punctuation, that I realised what a difficult skill writing is and how you lose it when you don’t use it. I almost felt like I would need to go back to school and I swore from now on, I’d pay better attention to my grammar and would definitely never use text language again.
The reality of writing a book turned out to be far from the dream I had; I’m sure most writers would agree with this! While I was writing this book, with only few months to write it (which naively I thought was plenty, but it turns out I was wrong), I went through a very difficult time in my life. It was a crazy period of time during which I had to learn to defend myself against bullies, learn to stand on my own two feet and be fearless. I also had to learn to take responsibility for my own mistakes and bad decisions and do whatever it takes to correct them, in other words, I really had to grow up!
I had only been a single mother for about 10 months at the time so I was still in the adjustment period where I was finding it hard and lonely, struggling (and often failing) to juggle the demands of running a company and looking after the needs of a very fragile 3 year old with severe anxiety all by myself, day in day out, seven days a week with little or no breaks or help.
During the three months that I wrote the first draft of my book it felt as if every force on earth was trying to stop me. I was dealing with the bitter aftermath of a messy separation, desperately trying to correct some naïve mistakes I had made which nearly cost me my business – and dealing with few other issues and people trying to bring me down for various reasons. To top it all off, two weeks before my deadline I found my aupair taking drugs. Needless to say, I let her go immediately and all of a sudden found myself with no childcare.
At this time, while life was trying to knock me down, writing became an escape. While having a deadline was stressful, I found that as long as I went to a place where there’s no distractions, I could get lost in writing for hours and I enjoyed that time because I didn’t have to think about all the chaos of my life.
I feel that writing my first book during a time when I was fighting hard to let go of the past and find a new path for myself, while it was definitely challenging to say the least, it was also the best thing I could have done at the time – though I only understand this in hindsight. Now I will always remember that dark time in a positive light. I will always remember the triumphant feeling of finishing my book despite everything. Sitting alone in my office, in the middle of the night, I really felt like I had won and I might have even given a big two fingers to everything and everyone who tried to stop me.
Now I like to see my life as before and after my first book. It serves as a nice divider between a very bad time and a very good time in my life. Interestingly enough, after I finished my first draft, everything started calming down, troubles and troublemakers slowly disappeared and slowly my life started getting better and better again.”
(c) Tina Murphy
About Slim with Tina
This book is a complete lifestyle guide by Tina Murphy, founder and creator of the popular ‘Run with Tina’ and ‘Slim with Tina’ programmes that have helped thousands of people to transform their lives.
Tina’s easy-to-follow plan will teach you everything you need to know about nutrition and healthy eating, and show you how to see food and your health in a new way so that you can lose weight easily, without actually needing to go on a diet. Included are 80 sugar-free, simple, tasty recipes, plenty of lifestyle advice, a beginners’ exercise programme and the eating plan itself.
This plan is for real people with real lives, so whether you have family to feed, work long hours or are on a tight budget this programme is suitable for you!
Slim with Tina is in bookshops now or pick up your copy online here!