I have been overweight and struggled with my weight for the majority of my adult life.
For the most part of my early adulthood and into my 20s, I was always the biggest out of all my friends. I was a shell - I just existed, and the sad part was that I actually started to believe that my life wasn't capable of getting any better.
By 23, I was over 110kgs, I hated myself. I avoided mirrors, I cut off size tags from all my clothing so I didn't have to see that I was a young girl wearing size 22 tops. My life was miserable. I masked my unhappiness with humour and alcohol. I took on the role as 'the funny chubby girl'. I would make fun of myself and my size to act like I didn't care, but really deep down inside I was dying.
I had no respect for myself or my body. I had convinced myself that it was all fine. I can admit now that I was delusional - delusional about the size I had become and delusional about my satisfaction with life.
At the middle of 2015, I was the biggest I had ever been - I was over 115kgs. I had always had troublesome breasts; they were a size 20E and incredibly uneven. I found a number of 'suspicious lumps' and given that my aunty had breast cancer, it was concerning, so I was told I should consider a breast reduction.
I remember going to see the plastic surgeon, excited at the thought of having 'normal-sized breasts'. Mum and I went together, and when I met with him he told me I needed reconstructive surgery and that he couldn't operate on me. The tears welled up in my eyes as he went on to tell me that I was 'morbidly obese', an 'unfit candidate', and that the surgery would be 'far too risky due to my size'. He told me to lose at least 20 kgs, then come back to him and even whispered to his nurse at the time: 'She won't be back'.
At first I hated him, thinking 'how dare he speak to me like this!'. I made it my mission to lose that weight, because I wanted that surgery and didn't want to be 'that morbidly obese person' any longer. I walked out of the clinic that day and scheduled the surgery for 7 months time.
Fast forward to the end of 2015, I was 20kg lighter and had the surgery. I was by no means at a healthy weight at this stage but I was motivated and I wanted to keep going.
In February of 2016, I saw the promotion for 28 by Sam Wood - an online program. I had started my journey alone, using Google to make a meal plan and I went for half hour walks to exercise.
The 28 program was described as a 'supportive online program', and support was just what I needed at that stage. I knew I had much more weight to lose, and I was motivated but had no faith that I could keep at it on my own. I joined the program and haven't looked back - 12 months in I have lost another 25kg, taking my total weight loss to 45kgs.
This program is so interactive, I actually feel like I see Sam regularly. The support is second to none, and even though there are lots of members, I feel like I'm Sam's only client. If I had a question, bam! It's answered in a few hours. Need additional support? Bam! It's there.
I was no longer navigating this crazy weight-loss journey alone, I knew I had a whole community riding the waves with me. 12 months on, it blows my mind just how supportive and evolving it is. The food is constantly changing, the workouts are always developing and challenging me. I cannot speak highly enough of Sam and his crew and the wonderful program of 28 and its members.
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE
The mental mind game was most challenging for me, and learning to believe in myself.
I compared myself to everyone in every aspect - "That girl is losing weight quicker than me", "I look bigger than that girl", "That girl is running further than I can".
The more you compare yourself to others, the more the self doubt creeps in. I now believe in myself and know this is my own race and my own journey - it's different from anyone else's. Losing weight is by far the hardest, most gruelling thing I have ever done. Usually I am someone that thinks 'I can't' before 'I can', so changing my mindset has been the most challenging aspect by far.
MY NUMBER ONE TIP
Monthly goal setting. Since day dot, I have set myself small goals each month. I write them down, I don't put massive pressure on myself, and I don't make unrealistic goals.
It's crazy to see just how much my goals have evolved and become more challenging in the 12 months that I have been on 28. At the beginning my goal was to complete the 28 workout 80% of the time. I now have goals that include extra workouts or challenges on top of the 28 by Sam wood program, not because it's needed, but because I'm constantly wanting to challenge and shock my body.
I also began working out in the early mornings each day before work. For me, starting the day with a good workout sets me up for a positive day.
I am finally living a life. For years, I was a shell just existing in the world, but now I am actually living the life that I was meant be.
I am healthier and happier than I have ever been. The program has taught me the skills I need to live a healthy and active life, and it's taught me to respect my body.
I still have my bad days, but for the most part, Im proud to say that I wake up happy and motivated to tackle life most mornings. I am productive at work and at home, I'm social, and I'm active, experiencing things for the first time.
I'm 30 years old and dating for the first time! It blows my mind - for years I was disrespected by men, I was made fun of and set up to think guys were interested and they never were. Now I'm confident to tackle new challenges like dating, meeting new people, and trying new activities.
I'm no longer scared of life - I'm excited for it.