1. What was your highest weight?
173.1 kilos (380.82 pounds)

2. Why did you decide to try and lose weight?
In mid 2006 I had bronchitis and was off work, unpaid for 7 weeks - during this time I started to realise if I didn't lose weight I would end up confined to my home on a pension - which is something I didn't want and actually terrified me and still the thought of that terrifies me.

3. What were your initial goals?
Initially I simply wanted to "get my life back". Whilst weight watchers had set a goal to get into the healthy weight range initially I wasn't too concerned with this. My other main goal was just to "stick with it" .... I just wanted to get past the eight week mark.

3. Do you plan on getting a job in the fitness industry or study nutrition? Where to now when you reach goal? What will you do to continue the hard work and become more lean strong? bodybuilding? gymnastics?

I would love to get some kind of job in the fitness industry. At this stage Fiona and her partner Leigh are working on a website for me - the aim being to try and get my name out there for motivational speaking. The site will incorporate other things tho too such as what I am up too, my journal etc. I have different ideas such as maybe doing online and in real some kind of mentorship/weight loss support, especially with women starting 130 + kilos as I have always felt within the weight loss industry there is nothing really suitable and aimed at this segment of the market. I am still trying to decide about personal training or studying nutrition....whilst I would love to study nutrition for a degree you need to study that full time which at this point isnt doable. I'd like to study personal training but I am well aware most gyms dont offer full time work and a lot is on a casual basis and it would be hard to give up the security of a full time well paying job even tho its not hugely self fulfilling to me for a job that I would prolly love but may end up struggling to pay bills etc.

Once I get to goal I do want to focus a lot more on body shape. Its not that I want to go into body building....but I definitely want to focus on weight work in the hope it will just help me be stronger and more toned. Outside of that I dont at this point have any real goals. I guess at the moment...the future is still unknown to me....the website might turn into something great or it may end up still just as a hobby.

4. How tall r u? Have you had surgery?

I am 5"9 (175 centimetres). I have had absolutely no weight loss surgery or cosmetic surgery. Everything I have gained from going from 170.9 kilos to 79 kilos has been simply from eating right, and exercising. (I infact have no intentions of having any skin surgery)

5. If I was a person about to start a weight loss journey, what advice would you give?

My advice would be...don't compare yourself to others....and to not listen to all the noise around you....you will get every man and their dogs opinions on what you should and shouldnt do....Fiona told me once...build a bubble around yourself and let all the noise bounce of it....and I always remind myself of that. Build a support Network (whether family and friends or online) and make it a priority...dont half do the job...do it 110% and you will get the result. And also start to make decisions that are best for you, as a overweight person I did so much to make others happy. I would go
along with everyone elses wishes cos I didnt want to hurt there feelings disregarding the stress it put myself under, when I stopped doing that and made myself number one the weight loss really started happening.

6. What are your favourite foods at the moment? Any foods that you have learned to love?

I am hugely into tahini at the moment that i dip my banana into (a tip...always get hulled tahini - unhulled tahini has something in the husk which prevents calcium from being absorbed into your body) Since i started the journey some of my favourite foods I didnt eat before is...weetbix, semi dried tomatos, i never buy normal cheese anymore...I always go for bulgarian feta, chick peas (love LOVE!!) I also love all the burgen breads! Oh and the discovery of kangaroo and also barramundi, egg plant, mushrooms, baby spinach and swiss cheese. My biggest weakness is caramello bears tho! oops!!

7. What do you think led you to get to your maximum weight? Was there ever a number in your head that you would never get to? For example mine was 110 and I got to 118 after pregnancy and that was my wake up call.

I didnt have a "number" as when I was gaining the weight I didnt own scales, I really didnt care enough about myself to care about my weight...so no there was never a number. I gained the weight due to a number of reasons....I had some stuff happen when i was younger when my dad died that started my cycle of comfort eating. As a adult (and being a lesbian) i struggled with coming out...and i had depression when going thru this which led me to "hermit" myself and avoid the world. I am really bad for wanting to "hermit" myself....even now i could easily just lock myself away from the world....its something I have to be very conscious off and ensure I get out and am doing things....which is partly why the gym and having a personal trainer has been so good for me. Of course its nowhere like it was before....but certainly if I have a down day...i wanna go to bed and ignore the world. The wake up call for me....was that I was constantly sick. Nothing real bad...combination of minor ailments...migrains, kidney infections, virus's, flu's etc. I was at the doctors most weeks. Then in May 2006 I got bronchitis and was off work sick for 7 weeks. Most of it unpaid. It made me realise if I didnt change I would end up confined to my home on a pension....being that person on the news they need a fire brigade to get out of my house. That thought terrifies me...still does....and I have always convinced myself if I dont get in the healthy weight range then I will end up back over 170

8. I want to know what a standard week of exercise looks like for you

As my shifts do alter week to week i dont do exactly the same thing every week (which I now think is a blessing in disguise)this is the routine i generally follow when everything is on track :)

monday - 2 x 30 minute boxing classes or body combat with either body jam or a 30 minute ab class
tuesday - Workout with Fiona - we workout for about a hour, we usually do some cardio first so some running. stair climbing and will follow that up with some resistance stuff...so tricep dips, pushups, walking lunges etc
wednesday - if i can make it on time a hour boxing class....and then a 45 minute cycling class
thursday - PT with Nora + 30 minutes cardio (usually cross trainer)
friday - body pump
saturday - (i work 2 out of 5 saturdays those saturdays i dont workout as a general rule) if I am off tho and can have everything perfectly aligned lol I will do a hour with Fiona...again the same things....we usually go outside running and some stair climbing followed by some resistance stuff we can do outdoors or at my house like tricep dips, pushups, pullups, work with fitball etc

Generally as a rule i will try and climb 14-21 flights of stairs before each class just to get my heart rate up...especially for classes like pump and balance so I end up burning more calories. :)

9. What did a weeks exercise look like when you first started?

When I started at the gym I was 150 kilos....I had hired a trainer (Fiona) and I trained with her once a week. At this point I had had a previous trainer that it didnt work well with and i really sore exercise and the gym as a chore. The very first time I talked to Fiona one of the things we decided to focus on was just getting me to not hate the gym lol....so I did my 30 minute session with her each week and that was it. Several months down the track I started to come in a extra day...I never did (and really still dont) any weight or resistance work when Fiona wasnt there....I would only ride the bike or walk on the treadmill. Over the next 3-4 months or so I then increased my PT sessions to 3 sessions a week. So i would go into
the gym do 10 minutes on the cycle and then 30 minutes with Fiona. When we started the 3 PT sessions per week we alternated...one session boxing...the next session resistance....then boxing again etc etc. So as you see in the beginning was never huge amounts of time at the gym....3 times a week...for about 40 minutes.

10. How often did you slip up? How often did you indulge in the naughty foods? Did you feel like it was harder to get back into the whole weight loss thing once you'd had a few bad slips?

Especially in the beginning I slipped up a lot. Prolly at least once a month. I have found at times while I still do slip up I can go months and months with perfect eating before I do slip up. I think as time goes on we simply get better at this...your body gets more use to the clean eating and doesnt crave as much. If I slip up...I try and get back on track the very next day. If it goes to two or three days I find getting back on track a lot harder...I mean I always do get back on track....but I find if its lasted for several days I have probably got back into a habit of having something daily and I need to break that habit. When I first started my journey I read AJ Rochesters book "Confessions of a reformed dieter" and while I think the woman is a wacko lol the one thing I did get from her book was she got to goal losing 30 kilos but she wasnt always perfect....one part of the book she goes off track and goes to the fish and chip shop (eats a potato fritter/scallop from memory)but still got to goal....that made me realise my stuff ups doesnt mean the whole journey has been stuffed up. When I do slip up too I get on the scales first thing the next morning. I need to know what I am dealing with and if I get back on track and eat well that day I am guaranteed the next morning the scales will be down...this will be only a fluid
loss....but in my head it makes me realise I havent completely stuffed up and that I am back on track :)

11. I'd like to know how you battle the inner fatgirl and get your head around your new shape. I still see myself as a fat girl. I've gone from 108kg to 74kg during 2011 but still see myself as fat, while the number has shrunk and the clothes have shrunk, I still feel like a fatty. I saw how you said you tried to block out other peoples views by imagining yourself in a bubble, but how do you deal with things if its from inside the bubble?

Hard question! I think part of the answer is time. I can look at myself now and think I look good or slimmer. But i did (unintentionally) sit at around 83 kilos for about 6 months and whilst it wasnt in the plan I think it did allow me to get used to where I was at. I have a very bad habit of putting myself down verbally especially in relation to my body size before anyone else can, it is like I think everyone is thinking how fat I am and before
someone else says it I will control the scenario and put it out there myself. I still do that but certainly not to the degree I did 3 years ago. Capability wise I still often see myself as the "fat girl" the number of times Fiona suggests I do something and she will demonstrate it and I just think to myself this woman is crazy....and then I try it and maybe not on the first go but by the second, third or fourth go I am managing to do it. I have a big issue with "bending my knees" any exercise that involves me bending my knees I dont like to do, Fiona says its psychological but in my head I am still convinced if i bend them too much they are going to break or collapse....so I do still see myself as the fat girl in some ways.

I think also we have a bad habit of looking at our worse bits. When I look in the mirror or a photo my eyes go straight to my hips/thighs instead of look at a picture and thinking look how small my waist is I am thinking look how fat my hips look. So despite this ramble I do just think it is time, I am certainly not in a place yet where I have fully shedded the "fat girl image" in my head. What we need to remember is we were bigger for a certain period of time....for me i was bigger for 25-30 years of my life...basically two thirds of my life....I can't expect to shed that overnight...but I think as we discover new clothes....new styles....as we do things we couldnt do or we do things easier....slowly and slowly unconsciously it sinks into our minds.

12. I just wanted to know how the journey was initially at the beginning for you psychologically? Did you ever self sabotage?

I was very focused in the beginning. I joined weight watchers August 6 and set a goal of losing 20 kilos by xmas. So between then and xmas I was very focused. Over the xmas period tho I went off track and gained 5 kilos. I then struggled for the next 20 months or so....I would be good for a week then go off track for a week. I never regained any weight but I struggled to lose more. It was only once I started training with Fiona that I really got
things moving again. (I actually was only 20 kilos down after 2 years) Also in the beginning I purposely focused on not allowing negative thoughts in my brain. Anytime I started to thing negatively I would force myself to focus on something else, once a lil negative thought creeps in if we dont control it I found it can blow out of control and thats what leads me to the local KFC lol

I did self sabotage a lot! I still do at times. Its amazing the number of times I get near a big goal (like getting under 100 kilos) and suddenly I am at the bakery buying a meat pie and a donut. I do think the longer you stick at this the better you get at coping with it. I think you start to learn what sets these things off. I certainly don't do it as often as I use too, and I do try to think it thru before I do it...but I am not perfect and
accept it will happen and most likely will again :) I think if any time you do "self sabotage" if you choose to look at it as a learning process it helps. For every weight loss attempt I have had in my life has helped me to learn and to make this weight loss a success.

13. What shocked you about former foods that you once loved now that you have the knowledge of what you do now? Is there any foods you NEVER touch anymore or even superfoods that you think eeky or gross? Any new ingredients you wish to try?

I think the most shocking thing I discovered was about processed foods as a whole. I read the book "the end of over eating" by David Kessler - realising that the additives they put in these foods is addictive and it wasnt a failing on my side that I continually wanted KFC it was different additives they put in there to keep you coming back for the same foods again and again. Also I was a carboholic...my mum always got on my case about the amount of cheese I ate...and I did eat too much cheese....but the bigger issue was all the white carbs I ate....white bread, pasta, crumpets, fruit bread, pastries, etc. I thought most of those foods (not the pastries tho) was good for me...I believed the theory "pasta is fine its what you put on it" which is true but not when you are eating pasta and white bread with every meal! LOL I rarely cook pasta at home these days and avoid any type of carbs in my dinners. But i do eat weetbix for breakfast, and burgen bread for lunch so im not a "no carb" person but i do eat good carbs and am conscious enough to not overeat carbs.

Whilst I wont say there is any foods i NEVER touch (never say never) its interesting how your tastes and desires change. Over christmas i went to hungry jacks ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries which I used to love. The fries were dry and they slathered that burger with some sauce and I just didnt enjoy it. I didnt finish the meal and I remember sitting there thinking "why on earth did i spend $8 on THAT???" There are certain things I just dont buy. I never buy normal cheese anymore. I generally dont eat "low fat cheeses" - i will eat bulgarian feta cheese. In xmas 2010 I threw out my microwave and have not owned one since. The advantage of this is I just cannot cook frozen meals, I cant cook any of these "2 minute" foods (like 90 second rice etc) everything i cook is cooked using a oven just like our grandmas did.

The only superfood I am hugely not a fan of is green tea. Most other superfoods I will try. I have had things like kelp noodles, manuka honey, tahini, cacao.

14. Are there any books you recommend?

Yes! I'm a huge believer in empowering yourself with knowledge. My favourite books have been:

"Winning by Losing" - by Jillian Michaels
"Master Your Metabolism" - by Jillian Michaels
"The end of overeating" - by David Kessler

Here are some documentaries I really recommend too:

"Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead"
"Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days"
"Food Matters"
"Forks over Knives"
"Food Inc"

I also highly recommend Jillian Michaels podcast which can be downloaded via itunes. It is free and there is a new one each week


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