Occupation: Sports massage therapist
Starting weight: 156kg
Current weight: 88kg
What prompted you to start your weight loss journey?
This all started when I couldn't find anything off the rack in Big W and Kmart. Of all places I was at a department store, and couldn't find anything stylish to fit me. Big W actually caters to a size 28. I was shocked, angry and looking for someone to blame. There was no one to blame. Something slowly started to click in the back of my mind.
The date I started was 1/10/2015. I was so overweight and absolutely blinded by how bad it was. I actually set a goal of 5 kilos before my birthday on the 19th. And I thought that's going to be a good difference… It wasn't.
But with each gram of weight my confidence grew and grew. I reached out to everyone. I shared every single step because I needed the support. My husband is and always will be my absolute rock. But even he has his limits. I'd worn everyone out around me with worry and it was time to get serious.
What was the first change you made to your lifestyle?
The first change I made was in my head. For about a month I just repeated in my head daily that I was going to have a better body in my 40s than i ever had in my 20s. I visualized it, I kept one photo from seven years ago and the skirt I had on in that photo and I didn't lose sight.
The next significant change was quitting Pepsi Max cold turkey. From a two-litre per day habit to nil in less than two weeks. It was horrendous. But I didn't cave in. I was only addicted for about 18 months.
What other changes did you initially make to your eating habits?
Eating habits were off the charts. I ate enough food to satisfy three people. I started eating off a bread and butter plate and cut out sugars as much as I could without crashing and binge eating. I consumed a lot of pastries [so] I simply stopped buying them. I started to mentally see it all as the enemy. Then it became easier to choose food that I knew was good.
What other changes did you initially make to your exercise habits?
I didn't embark on anything really until after one whole year and I had slowly lost about 25 kilos and life was improving. My depression was easing. I unfortunately had an emergency hysterectomy after my second son due to a severe case of placenta increta. I lost my whole blood volume and required a full transfusion. With a rare blood type to boot. That is what lead to my depression and ultimately poor dietary choices which lead to a sugar addiction.
What changes made the most difference?
Eliminating processed sugar. Not eating white refined food. Bread and heavy creamy or fatty dishes.
How did your weight loss progress?
Weight loss progression was great in the first year as I had so much to lose. 25 to 30kg. The second year I got very serious and changed my diet more. I incorporated intermittent fasting and portion control. Watching what food groups I ate in the morning, etc.
How did you feel during the process?
How did I feel... At first I was suicidal. I wanted to die every single minute of the day. But with every tiny goal reached that I'd set, my mind was relaxing and going with it. Instead of fighting it. I was so wound up from hormones I was living on my nerves. A baby that barely slept because his mummy barely slept. I started to feel more energetic... And when you get to the stage where your friends are mentioning they can notice, it helps. It spurs you on to work a little bit harder each week. Then I started feeling faster on my feet and that feeling of my youth started to creep back in. Being able to spring out of a chair or off the floor. Then it just snowballs. Happiness is what i feel now... Relief.
During the process I have gone through an incredible personal growth. I have begun to love the person I see in the mirror instead of being fixated on what was wrong, I now focus on my strengths. If I had to say the key to it all is think "fit" or whatever it is you want. Tell yourself you are already there. Visualise the end result.
How did you find sticking to your goals?
I found it hard in the beginning because I had a physical dependency on soft drink. A few weeks of really beating myself up mentally to not cave in to the cravings was torture. I still don't know how my husband didn't leave me through all of it all. Once the worst is over just reinforcing the end result into your mind. And don't talk about it. Just do it.
What helped to keep you motivated?
That was easy, I am selfish, selfish in the fact that I love me too. I love my husband and children with every fibre of my being, but I realised I stopped loving myself. I was more determined than ever to get "myself" back as well as my health.
Do you have any favourite motivational quotes?
"Do what you have always done and you will get what you have always got."
I was obsessed with transformation feeds on Instagram too. Every single person I read about and memorised their pictures. I saw it as a personal victory. "That will be me soon."
Swap bad products for good... that was a mantra. NOTHING OUT OF A PACKET – that's another one.
What are your current short and long term goals?
Short term is to educate myself properly on a completely balanced diet for me. Long term is to win some medals powerlifting.
What would a day on a plate look like for you now?
Breakfast: Oats, strawberries, cinnamon.
Tea: Green or breakfast.
Snacks: Nuts and yoghurt or a sushi roll.
Lunch: Any protein and greens or salad.
Dinner: Small piece of steak or fish and veg.
Plus lots of water and not so much panic over calories and more concern over freshness and quality.
What is your current exercise routine?
Currently I am prepping for a powerlifting comp mid next year. That entails three training sessions a week with my trainer Frank Huskisson Jr. He is incredible. Also two to three days training alone following a heavy lifting program of almost two hours per day in the gym. All weights, resistance, static and strength training.
What advice would you give to others wanting to do the same?
YOU have to want it. No one can want it for you. A light will go on in your head and it will say "this is it".
I have met a few really real and dedicated people who are my little beacons in the dark sometimes. My world at home with my husband and sons is a world away from who I am and what I do for my new sport. I revel in the opportunity to make this work and see big results. I owe it to my sons, to try to be the best woman on earth so they have a good example when choosing a partner. My drive is life.
If I may, I really need to acknowledge the support I have received from a few people. My husband Chris, for never making me question us. My mum Fay, Without her help sometimes I couldn't actually train. My trainer Frank. Whom I just adore. Thalia, If I hadn't met her I wouldn't have met Frank. And my best friend Debbi. Who listens to me when it's all too much sometimes. It takes a village sometimes, and I remarked this to my Facebook community and thanked them for always taking the time to encourage and support me. My own village of friends.
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