So I will start at the beginning....in 2006 I weighed in excess of 170 kilos. Back then I was always sick. Whether a virus, kidney infections, chest infections, flu or whatever....ALWAYS sick (bit sad when the receptionists at the medical clinic know you by name because you are there so regularly!) Anyway in May of 2006 I caught bronchitis. I was off work for 7 weeks (most of this unpaid) and I didn’t even have the energy to take a deep breath to cough. Anyway I lived alone, and it gave me a LOT of time to think. I was barely able to care for myself, local family support was limited and financially it was a real drain. It gave me plenty of time to think and I realised if something didn’t change I would going to end up confined to my home on a pension. Besides the bronchitis, life was obviously hard in lots of different ways. I had very severe fluid retention in my feet and calves, I fell over a lot, walking was a struggle, climbing stairs was ridiculously hard...life in general was just that.....HARD.
I decided as soon as I was well enough I would join weight watchers. I signed up on August 6, 2006 to weight watchers and weighed in at 170.9 kilos. I slowly started to follow the weight watchers plan. By December 23, 2006 I had already lost 20 kilos. I was ecstatic. In February 2007, I joined curves. I attended Curves for 10 weeks. In that entire time I was following the plan and working out three times a week and managed to lose a whole 700 grams!! I eventually ended up with a slight neck injury from their equipment, when I explained the injury they made no effort to check my form so I quit.
For a little over a year I really accomplished not much. My weight stayed around the 150-155 kilos mark. I didn’t feel I had the answer and I felt I was in the “too hard” basket. In early 2008 I joined Fernwood Womens Gym, but I wasn’t in the right head space. I had a trainer I didn’t click with and she wanted me at the gym 6 days a week. It felt like a job I just didn’t want to do. It didn’t take long and I was avoiding the gym, avoiding her calls and by the end of May 2008 I had cancelled the gym and paid out my membership. Over the next few months the same thing happened, my weight fluctuated and I knew if I didn’t do something I was going to end up back over 170 kilos again.
I had always felt I needed a “personal” approach and knew exercise was going to be key to this. I had two options (As far as I could see). There was a local contours I could join which was a 5 minute walk away from my house or I could rejoin Fernwood which was in the city and not local to work or my house. So I wrote a email to Fernwood and spoke to Contours. I changed my mind so many times over the next few weeks. It changed on practically a 20 minute regular time frame. One minute Contours and the next minute Fernwood. I was leaning towards Fernwood as I knew I needed a “personal” approach but Contours was local. Eventually Fernwood wrote back to me and offered me 1 free food coaching session per week for a year. So I went in and saw their Membership Consultant. I explained I felt the pervious trainer was too hard core for me and that I felt I was in the “too hard basket”. She felt I would work well with Fiona a trainer there and the next thing you know I was signed up and committed!!! I went home and made some decisions. Firstly I was going to commit myself 100%. I was only not going to attend my PT session if I was on deaths doorstep and I was not going to say “no” or “I can’t” in a session. I also decided I would give up complete control, if my trainer wanted me to do something I would put enough trust into her to simply do it.
My first session with Fiona was on August 18, 2008. At the very first session Fiona came and got me. I was on the cycle and as I got off I stumbled, she asked me if I do that often – which back then I did. And she basically told me straight away that my balance was something we would work on. We then chatted and I explained that the gym felt like a “chore”. So one of the initial focuses was just to get me not to “hate” the gym. I had committed to one PT session per week and in the beginning that was the only time I attended the gym. Just once a week I came in did my PT session and went home. I enjoyed the sessions, I liked having that 30 minutes a week spent with someone who was on my side and where the focus was me and my journey. Slowly over time I increased my time at the gym. Initially I did a longer warm up. Then I started to come a extra day per week.Before I knew it I was going to the gym three times a week. I wasn’t doing fitness classes but I was managing 30 minutes on the bike and treadmill. Slowly I started to increase my PT sessions, by mid 2009 I was doing 3 sessions per week and loving it. My sessions were a mixture of boxing and weights. By this point I had lost another 20 kilos and was at around 130 kilos. And in the midst of what turned out to be a SEVEN month plateau. Complete self doubt that I could get lower than 130 kilos had overtaken me. I truly didn’t think I could lose any more. I was eating well and doing 3 PT sessions per week – it made no sense. In around June of 2009 I decided that “something was missing” – I had no idea what was missing but I felt like I was missing part of the puzzle to obtain the weight loss. At that stage I decided I was going to make this “my passion”. I signed up for google alerts, reading books, journals, weight loss forums....absolutely anything I could get my hands on – and what I found was that I was absolutely interested in nutrition, exercise, healthy living, organic foods. I still was on my plateau, but I was enjoying the healthy lifestyle. December 2009 Jillian Michaels (who to say is my idol is the understatement of the year!) released a new book. Being a gal who has PCOS this book was all on how our hormones are our metabolism and if we balance out the hormones then the losses would happen. The ultimate theory to it all was to eat unprocessed foods. My trainer, Fiona also lent me “inner beauty, outer health” by Joanna McMillan and I was hooked. I realised for me I needed to go back to how things were in the 1950’s. No microwave, no fangdangled processed meals and treats – just going back to eat things and cooking things my Grandma would have made.
So out went the microwave oven (I still don’t own one!) and I started to cook and eat towards a more organic lifestyle. At the start of 2010 i weighed 135.8 kilos – by Christmas 2010 I was under 105 kilos! I was ecstatic. Thirty kilos in a year seemed more then enough. Over that I really enjoyed the weight loss process and even the gym. I always had a goal to do fitness classes. By the end of 2010 I was pretty much doing all classes except body attack and body step. I was not only doing them I was doing them back to back or doing a class followed by a PT session – yes ME!
In October 2010 I even had Jillian Michaels comment on my photo on facebook. 2010 had been a great year. And some of the biggest accomplishments happened at Christmas time last year. Firstly I flew on a plane! I had not been on a plane for 8 years. My sister lives a 6 hour drive from me and I had always caught the bus to her place because I thought the plane wasn’t do-able. Anyway so I decided to tempt fate and fly over and TA-DA I easily fitted in the seat and needed to TIGHTEN the seat belt – no seat belt extensions for this chickadee. Then my sister told me Christmas Afternoon would be at the beach – normally this would be a EEK situation! But I was prepared – board shorts and a bathing top with a tank top. For the first time in well over 10 years I went swimming! No sitting on the sidelines of life this Christmas Day. I was in the water for well over a hour and even went back another couple of times before coming home.
2010 really put the stepping stones into place for what a great year 2011 was going to be. Mid February of this year I was heading off in a plane again! This time to Sydney where I met up with my trainer and her best friend. On the Saturday night we went out to dinner and then CLIMBED the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Once again the fears set in, would I fit in the outfit you have to wear, would I manage the climb okay. The outfit fitted! I didn’t have a heart attack climbing the bridge! I climbed it and enjoyed it, spectacular views with lots of laughs – it was definitely a highlight.
In March of this year, I was told I was PT Client of the Month at the gym (only the second person to get that ) and to top of the month I finally went under 100 kilos! Suddenly I was a double digit girl. WOW. Several years earlier my doctor had told me the most I could hope for was to get down to 100 kilos but I had beaten that! I was getting close to normal. I seriously couldn’t believe it!
Not too long ago, I got a email from Lorna Jane (the fitness wear company – I had submitted my before and after pics as part of a competition). Lorna Jane is writing a book and they want to include my story in it. ME! In a book! Seriously things like this don’t happen to me. To see I was dumb struck to be asked is the understatement of the year. I have slowly moved from the girl watching on the sidelines to the girl things happen too.
Last weekend, it was 5 years since I started this journey. I organised a dinner (all but one person I had met during the last 5 years which shows you how much more sociable I have become), I had 17 friends attend, I wore a gorgeous long and low cut dress (which in itself got lots of comments!). A number of friends (who I hadn’t seen for a few months) said they didn’t recognise me and I was like a butterfly emerging. I was told I was beautiful and gorgeous. Me the girl who once weighed 170 kilos who was once ashamed of herself – was now looking and feeling pretty.
I have kept chipping away at the weight loss. Its not easy. So often I want to throw it all away and go eat KFC and not exercise. But the happiness I get on a daily basis cannot compare to the feeling KFC gives me. I now weight 87.6 kilos. My ultimate goal weight is 70 kilos (but I will be happy with anything between 70-77 kilos). My goals for the rest of the year is to get to 77 kilos by Christmas and with luck 70 kilos by next June. But I am not in a rush. I don’t mind only losing 400-500 grams per week. Excess skin will be a issue for me, which is partly why I am not in a rush. But I will get there...simply by not giving up.
I am a big believer in giving back. When I commenced my weight loss for the majority of that time I didn’t have a reference point, I didn’t know anyone who had lost 80 or 100 kilos. I would have loved someone who I could ask for advice and their experience who had lost similar numbers that I had to lose. So getting my story out there and being a support in the weight loss community is a important goal for me long term. Thanks for reading!