At 167cm tall and 110 kilos, I was massively overweight. I’d even had to get two hula skirts sewn together to fit me.
Usually, I avoided being in pictures at all costs. On the rare occasion someone did capture me, I’d lie awake at night terrified of where it might pop up.
I just couldn’t stop eating though. For breakfast, I’d go to three different cafes for bacon and egg rolls and meat pies because I was too embarrassed to order so much in one place. Then at lunch I’d tuck into a Chinese takeaway. But dinner was the worst. I’d pretend I was ordering for two people. ‘Two chicken burgers, one cheese burger, chicken nuggets and two large fries,’ I’d say, my mouth watering.
Then I’d devour the whole lot in my car and eat another meal when I got home. In between, I’d snack on chocolate and had four sugars in my coffee. Soon I’d reached 120 kilos and could barely squeeze into size-24 clothing.
So in October last year, I gave myself a good talking to. Standing in front of the mirror in just my underwear, I looked at my body. My tummy hung over my knickers and my thighs rubbed together.
‘Are you happy with yourself?’ I asked aloud. ‘No you’re not.’ ‘Can you lose weight?’ I asked my flabby reflection.
‘Of course you can.’
This time I was determined and hired a personal trainer. Working out three times a week, I felt amazing. So good in fact, that on New Year’s Eve, I sent my trainer a text. How do you feel about a session at 6am tomorrow?
The next day, while most people were nursing hangovers, I was doing pull-ups and shuttle runs in the park. ‘This is brilliant!’ I gushed as my pulse raced and my muscles burned.
Afterwards, I had breakfast, then headed to the car wash. There, I caught sight of my face in the mirror and laughed. I was still bright red! I have to get a selfie of this, I thought. It was so hilarious, I decided to post it on Instagram. I started writing a caption about how good I felt after my work-out.
Then I had an idea.
I could document my journey with scarlet selfies every day for the entire year!
Before I could change my mind, I posted the pic. #threehundredandsixtyfivered faces #dayone, I wrote under it (below).
From then on, I’d post a photo after every work-out, no matter how unflattering. That way, there was no way I could back out. Some days pictures showed me dripping in sweat. Other times I pulled funny faces.
A few weeks in, a friend reminded me 2016 is a leap year so there’s actually 366 days. ‘Looks like I’ll have to work extra hard,’ I laughed.
On day 70 I went out with a friend and forgot my work-out. ‘I’ll have to do it here,’ I giggled outside the pub at midnight. So I did some star jumps and squats until my face flushed before snapping a pic.
On day 104 I posted a red-faced snap next to an old photo of me on a hammock looking huge. Can you believe this was me? I wrote. Now I’m more confident and at a healthy 67 kilos, I can wear size-10 clothes.
I don’t care what I look like in the pics – the sweatier the better! Best of all, my photo diary has inspired others to get red faced too. One lady from Estonia even posted a pic! It’s hard to believe I was once terrified of cameras.
Now I’m proudly putting myself out for the world to see. This is an experience I’m glad I’m capturing forever.