Without beating around the bush, four years ago I was morbidly obese. I would be short of breath by the time I walked to the end of my street. A combination of pregnancy and post –baby belly, daily medication for mental health challenges, a lack of exercise and poor nutrition were all contributing factors. For a while some of them served as great excuses why I couldn’t change as well. I was miserable and tipping the scales over 105kgs at just 165cm tall.
The wallowing misery I felt at that stage of life compounded my myriad woes and was only served by relentless reminders of my enormous literal and figurative weight. This only served to compound a lack of confidence and self-esteem. Social occasions were dreadful and I resented clothes shopping. So many outings were cancelled due to panic or tears that I became a recluse, estranged from friends and a metaphorical prisoner in that horrible exterior shell I wore… or at least the one that wore me.
If you’ve ever felt your own fat rolls of skin on top of one another, rubbing on impact during a blistering hot day, you’ve caught a glimpse into my old world of discomfort. If you have ever tried on the larger of the plus sizes only to have them not do up- you may have felt some of those feels. I found the debilitating nature of obesity and suffering anxiety and depression was a vicious hand to mouth self- perpetuating cycle.
Who exactly wants to exercise or has motivation to go to a gym when their own plus sized clothes are skin tight leggings anyway? Or when active-wear tops make them look like they have ten pigs smuggled into their attire? In terms of flight or fight reactions, I found myself for many years heading to the flight mode at pace. And that flight mode took me all the way to the back of the cupboard and into the Tim tam packet or whatever else I could get my hands on.
Believe me, it’s not as though that I didn’t want to lose weight (oh how I did!), it was more of a case of having tried (and failed) at every fad diet and quick fix known to mankind. This fact cemented in my mind the idea that it was an impossible problem to fix. To be truthful I was investing my time, money and limited pool of energy in all the wrong places. You know you’re living in a dark age when you pay for a personal trainer who’s own motto is “skinny bitches go to bed hungry.”
And on the topic of investing, when it comes to quick fix weight loss products- as a buyer you should beware- as there are people out there who have an investment and agenda in selling you products that may not only cost you financially without yielding long term results but could potentially damage your metabolism in the crazy tablet taking, calorie counting, slim shake drinking all while excessive exercising process. To be frank this may actually be undermining your best efforts at a healthy future.
In desperation the true believers often ask what my ‘secret recipes for weight loss success’ has been. The truth is of course, after trying and failing at every ‘quick fix’ product on the market I have finally opted for this revolutionary concept known as ‘proper nutrition, sleep hygiene and general physical activity.’ I also quit binge drinking which was counterproductive to my mental health anyway. Twenty five kilograms worth of body fat later (and so many life gains) it’s the only sure fire recipe for success I can swear by along with the added support, motivation and inspiration of friends, strangers, beginners fitness classes, running groups and family.
A bonus of this healthy method is that it doesn’t even involve splurging unnecessary cash. Granted, it doesn’t happen overnight which is a drawback for those who have a pool party on tomorrow, but it’s a long-term investment that does pay off- IF you stick with the program and are willing to pursue healthy habits. Change your language for starters. Instead of worrying about “what CAN I eat?” ponder instead, “what SHOULD I eat to nourish my body?”
One happy outcome of a healthy lifestyle for myself was rediscovering and reconnecting with foreign concepts I had once enjoyed like- wait for it- fruit and * gasp* fresh vegetables. Both of these I might add serve as an amazing breakfast in smoothie form. And here’s a tip for nothing; the nutri-ninja or an equivalent slim line blender for your fresh produce should become your new best friend. Save the pennies you’d be spending on junk food at 7/11 and invest in one.
I wanted and needed to change unhealthy habits for my own health, and to be a role model for my young son. I didn’t want to be a “from the sidelines” Mum (the kind who is too embarrassed to pull on bathers on a family holiday and get in the water with my toddler). So being the best Mum I could be proved to be a catalyst of motivation for change.
My journey has involved baby steps and making small adjustments each day and week. Cutting back on soft drinks, sodas or sugar was one thing but I also self-taught on the basics of avoiding emotional eating by finding other ways to occupy my time. I did this because junk food and take away is the kind of short lived McHappy (which eventually leads to regret and McCrappy) I just don’t need in my life.
Self-improvement and care is a slow and steady process of self-love. Throughout the process I rediscovered myself and my own sense of happiness that comes with the confidence to put the bag of chips away and get off the couch among a community, including people who exercise regularly and share a love of running. With reduced weight and exercise has come a significant change in my mental health and confidence as well. I am no longer crippled by anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. I still battle demons today but I am far better equipped to deal with them productively that I was knee deep in sausage roll wrappers.
Today, I can hold my head up when I enter a room and my own mindset is not attracting negativity from others. I’m ‘open for business’ in my personal life, which has carried through to my professional life, not to mention the financial benefits to my small family who no longer eat takeaway. I’ve replaced sugar with natural happy hormones and endorphins and I’ve found for the most part that I’m high on life itself. Completing my first half marathon in October was one of my biggest big ticket items in terms of achievements and personal accomplishments to date.
It’s hard to measure the value that my son now has a Mum who is able to play games without experiencing breathlessness. There’s so much more to a healthy lifestyle journey than scales and measurements. These are mere metrics that do not factor in that I’m now a mummy who goes for runs and bring homes shiny medals that my son can wear and show his friends. I’m a mum that goes to events and grabs his hand so he can run over a finish line with me and share in the excitement. There’s no kind of food that gives you that value. The change to my life is remarkable and happy. And healthy me with a far healthier and more optimistic outlook is making a comeback. Having said all that I feel my journey is far from over if anything it’s a rebirth…. Yep, it’s all a fresh beginning.
If you ask me today I’ll tell you the only limits we really have in life are the ones we put on ourselves. Our bodies are amazing machines and a healthy lifestyle is a priceless investment to maintain them. As well as aiding your body as a vessel, a healthy lifestyle also helps to keep a healthy mind which we require for everyday happiness and fulfilment. I urge you to start today by taking your first baby steps steps towards a brighter future. You never know where you’ll be a few months from now. Oh and if you are still searching for that one person who will change your life, and make your dreams come true… take a look in that bloody mirror. If you want to transform your life with an overhaul like I have you have bloody got this!