Sunday, January 30, 2011

Excuses.. Part 2

Let's get busy....!
Well it was MAN vs WILD over here today...

Ok, maybe not quite that dramatic...  How about AMY vs THE GARDEN!   .... and no need to eat bark for survival, haha!

... and this was a 'modest' shot!

 As a spur of the moment thing, I decided to tackle the garden today. With my trusty secateurs in one hand, rake in the other and some steely determination, I set out to do a little bit of pruning to find what lay beneath the ivy that was trying to take over the backyard...

You should never underestimate the fury of the garden!!! Nearly two hours later... blistered hands, aching calves, sweat and dirt covered brow... and one VERY full bin (and over 900cals burnt = BONUS!) I finally found some pavers!!

Hey look, I found the chair!!
But it wasn't all "happy happy joy joy" - I started deliberating on what it was that actually drove me out there in the first place...  given how UN-garden oriented I truly am, and I had only planned on mowing the lawns....

Then it dawned on me...   I was "meant" to be working on my 'Excuses' homework. 

Hmmm..... Excuses homework. 


Despite the fact I made a segue to come and sit still for a while and actually DO my homework...  I found myself back outside in the afternoon heat for ANOTHER sweat session - half hour on the crossy for another 900cals burnt (YAY).   A cold shower and some fluids later....   time to sit down and do some work?!  ... ah yes, but first I have to watch the new season premier of Biggest Loser!!!    (PS: AWESOME!!!!)


So, you see where I'm going with this....!   It certainly proved to be no issue for me to list over 100 'excuses' when I sat down and started confessing a few days ago (what can I say, I'm honest?!).   But coming up with the other half of this task - the SOLUTIONS - is proving to be really hard!  ... and I've been avoiding it since! 
"Toot, toot!  ... Now arriving, Procrastination Central!"

Knowing that for three years I've been working on my discipline and commitment to my mission - it's been a really big eye opener to realise just how many excuses I'm still throwing around.   MOST of the time, I don't pay heed to them - I get out there and do my exercise anyway, and I still eat well (within reason!)...  so WHY am I so stuck on finding solutions to these piddly excuses that are still getting in my way?!

To 'self-analyse' here, I'm not really surprised that I have these barriers.  Reading through this list, there's alot of the usual excuses: I'm too tired after work; I'm already sore from yesterday's session; I'm too scared to try that.... blah, blah, blah!  (*yawn*)

... but then there's some really harsh, deep ones too like... no-one will want me even if I'm thin because they don't want me now... and I don't know if I deserve to be happy anyway....     Yeah.  The big ones.   ... and probably the one's I'm avoiding?!

A friend of mine on the forums mentioned how she'll be working on hers as she goes through the 12WBT challenge - and it dawned on me that perhaps I'm approaching this in the wrong way.  YES, I've been working hard for three years at making sustained changes, but the excuses that USED to get in my way have also changed. 

This list I've just drawn up are all CURRENT excuses - and all shaped by the behaviours that I've already formed, after fighting for three years!  They've morphed to parallel who I am NOW - are only sub-standard excuses (at that) - and will probably change in the course of the next year anyway as I continue to develop.  The point I missed in the very beginning of why this task is so important - is that these excuses are ongoing - they'll always change, and it's about developing "infrastructure" in the head to get past them!!  

Amen to that!
Watching the Biggest Loser on TV tonight, it was the sexy Commando who said exactly what I needed to hear after mulling on this all day....  


.... and he's right!   So it's back to pen and paper, time to scrutinise and justify - and create some more awesome behavioural changes to see me through the next chapter of my mission - another step forward in my transition!

OH - and this one's for my awesome support network - our new singlet mantra!!  Thank you girls for the support and encouragement that you throw around so generously - NEVER GIVE UP!   ...I know I won't be!!  (you wouldn't bloody let me even if I wanted to.. hahaha!)
xx  :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Donate blood - save lives!

Donate blood - be awesome!!
Just a little public service announcement today - all about blood donation!

I went in today to donate my second batch of healthy red blood cells - something I'm really proud of doing!  It was late last year that I'd gone in for the first time, anxious and unsure, when the newspaper that I work for threw out a community challenge to get behind the opening of a new 'Blood Bank' in Orange.  Never having done anything like that before, I was full of trepidation ("needles and pain and ewwww!") - but I was quickly proven wrong!!

Today's effort took little over 6 minutes to finish - SUPER easy!  The paperwork prior takes longer than that, but it's the awesome milkshake, chocolate, cheese and crackers after that made it all the more worthwhile!!!   (not to mention the legitimate excuse to put off training for one afternoon - for real!!!)

But let's not bypass the real reason I was there...  Blood donation is a critical service.  I'm sure there's many of us who know someone whose needed a transfusion in their time (if not ourselves) - and it's those generous donors that step up, lay down, and pump out this precious commodity that grant them that privilege!

Given that one donation can save three lives (THREE people who need your help!) - it's no wonder that you walk out of there feeling mighty proud of yourself, and have an immediate need to announce to the world that you've just risen up another notch in your quest for Sainthood! (hahaha)

I urge everyone - who can - to take the challenge and become a regular blood donor!  I went in today with three of my work colleagues, and we've already pre-booked our next session in 12 weeks time... Throw the challenge out to YOUR workplace and get others involved too - makes it even more fun! The rewards far outweigh the small outlay of time, and your contribution is just amazing! 

For more information or to find your nearest outlet visit

Be awesome, always! 


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ditch the excuses

Spur of the moment decision - after enviously watching my Facebook friends talk excitedly about joining the Michelle Bridges 12 week Body Transformation challenge - I bit the bullet and signed up today!   Enter really nervous excitement here!!!

I don't know what was holding me back - maybe it's the thought of stepping out of my comfort zone again, or thinking "after three years, I really shouldn't need this type of challenge"...  (piffle to that -  challenges rock!!), or perhaps it was simply stepping into a new 'social' circle of other 12WBTers, where I'd have to re-introduce myself and fight those old habitual fears of meeting new people?!    Couldn't quite put my finger on it... whatever my excuse was for procrastinating against signing up was laughable when I read our first lot homework...

One of our first pre-season tasks is to write out our list of EXCUSES.  To admit to all the ridiculous, mundane, insane excuses that we throw out to the universe about why we can't exercise or eat well for a healthy lifestyle - and then contemplate solutions for them.  Considering I'd been procrastinating over signing up for a couple of weeks for no apparent reason, I found that ironic!

Add to the fact that when I initially read the task, I thought to myself "surely after three years of doing this, I don't really let excuses get in my way?"   HA!   Come on now, Little Miss Lazy - there's your first excuse right there!  Complacency - and the number one reason I joined!!!

So now doing my homework, unleashing all the horrible excuses from past and present - it's already testing this psyche of mine!   I'm already up to 50 excuses - ranging from "I can't buy gym clothes that fit" right through to "the batteries have run out of my MP3 player"...  ohhhh yep, I've used them all!   50 and counting... !!!

Oh yeah, this is definitely going to test me in the next few weeks...   Bring it on!!!!  

xxx   :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Loneliness Factor

Struggling to be my usual 'perky' self at the moment, and the brain is on overdrive with a bundle of crazy emotions, but that's "real life" for you, and this isn't a fairytale.... (otherwise, I've been ripped off one Prince Charming, a castle and a bunch of dwarfs...)

Been a few rollercoaster 'dramas' lately - which all take their toll eventually - and this morning's announcement was just the icing on the cake. The big fat dirty cake I didn't want to have to contend with...


It's something I've struggled with pretty much my entire life - being shy and introverted, then adding a horrendous weight problem on top of that pretty much outcasts you from the general public anyway...  but when you run out of energy trying to counteract it, that's a whole other story.   Let me explain...

I've always been a loner - it comes with the territory of being the "fat kid".  I've learnt to be self-sufficient and independent out of necessity.  I've grown up watching people interact with others in ways I can only dream about - friendships, relationships, colleagues, even passing by acquaintances!  Have always felt like the outsider looking in, and never quite feeling like I was acceptible or worthwhile enough to form part of that bond.  So I stay away, stay isolated, stay quiet and stay alone.

As I've touched on it before, bulk of my 20s were spent on my own - brutally alone - in a hermit-like state.  I did that of my own accord (blissfully ignorant to the damage it causes), where I didn't realise I'd literally taken myself out of society and into the void of 'nothingness' just because it was easier than dealing with the embarassment I was always feeling in people's company.

But things change....  *I've* changed... and being alone isn't something I can handle anymore.  ... but the cycle, ungraciously, continues. 

I work for myself here at home - my "work colleagues" are few and far between - which, for the most part, is fine - I've learnt to deal with that.    My social circle is limited - the close friends I do have already have their own families - so not wanting to be intrusive, I don't push....    I don't like to intrude on their time when it's more importantly spent on the people they care most about.

And ofcourse, living alone just means you always come home to an empty house...

'Most' of the time I'm OK - I'm quite happy to go about doing my own thing, looking after the jobs I need to do, working on projects, chasing my tail on errands, etc - during the day...   But nearly every night I get hit with the wave of emptiness.   I'm always empty...  

This morning's 'announcement' comes in the form of me losing one of my closest 'friends' - whose decided to move away.   Being asked to respect their decision and be supportive is a really hard thing to do when you're hurting so much inside.   Knowing full well I lose one of my biggest allies in the fight against pure loneliness, I'm absolutely heartbroken.   I'm scared of the impact it'll have on my progress... losing them as an 'activity partner' means I've run out of options for people to do things with...  losing them as a support network means I've got to find enough strength inside to pull me through when I'm not so ok... 

This whole weightloss business is isolating at the best of times - more so when you're facing a mission the size of mine - and I've done it on my own the entire way through...   but losing just one element of the mix when you need every little speck, I'm scared and I'm hurt.

I don't fear change the way I used to, but god I hope I have the strength to endure what I know will happen....   As self-sufficient as I am, I don't want to go back to being isolated... 

I'm more scared of being lonely forever than I am of anything else... 

So yeah, real life strikes again.   It's not all super perky smiles, funny stories and uber-motivation for me since losing the weight.   This is the down side....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One foot in front of the other...

Let's walk!
Hi, my name's Amy.... and I'm addicted to exercise...   

Yes really!!

This week alone, I've already put in five sessions - and not little ones either!   Two river circuits, two 1-hour cross trainer sessions and a grueling zumba class - and my poor legs are definitely feeling it tonight!   In fact, this whole month it's been like this!   WHERE has this crazy energy come from?!

Yep... I'm definitely addicted!!   There was a thread going on our little weightloss group's wall recently about exercising - those who love it, LOVE IT - and those who hate it, well....  they still hate it.  Then there's those who just do it because they know they have to...  

I used to LOATHE exercise - the thought of it made me cranky and melodramatic!  I HATED the idea of sweating (I was dead set against it) - least of all being seen in public strutting my [revolting] stuff.   It was my own shame that was the brutal force against it though, not the activity!    .... but I struggled through the first initial stages, and just "did what I had to do" because I knew it was a necessity.

On the road again...
I've touched on it before, but it took a long time for me to brave any form of exercise in public - walking was the first activity that I incorporated into the routine where I couldn't hide from the world...

I used to walk in a t-shirt and skirt (used to be too ashamed to wear tracky pants in public because of my shape - skirt and joggers it was!), and full makeup - and used to get funny looks from people because I looked so out of place.

I could barely make it just one lap around the 3kms river circuit (after I pushed further than around the corner of my house) - I'd be huffing and puffing, excruciatingly embarrassed, so fatigued I feared I'd never make it home, and it'd take me at least 45 minutes...   and ohhhhh the pain!!!

NOW I'm bounding out my back gate in my tight tracky pants and singlet top, three circuits and 9.5kms later and back home again in just over an hour! (next goal is to push for four!)

Bridges and all!
I am SO in love with my river walk! It's one of my 'guilty pleasures' - and how could I NOT enjoy it?!  I find it relaxing (albeit hot and sweaty), and slightly challenging - check out the hill I have to walk up at the END of each circuit, and the killer incline just to hit the road at the very top on my way home - OUCH after 9kms!  Let's me get out there and enjoy the sunshine without getting run over, with a pretty little scenic view!  

One of the most beautiful parts of my walk, however, has nothing to do with the scenery, challenge or endorphins....  more to do with the people.  There's some gorgeous 'regulars' that I see quite often on the track - the one's who take the moment to look up and smile or gesture and make you feel good!

There's a few of them that I pass quite often (I always seem to be going in the other direction!) and I'll affectionately refer to them as: the old white-bearded guy with the dog; the older couple with the really old dog that carries his ball in his mouth the whole way around (he shuffles along, he's so cute!); the tiny Asian couple that always smile and say hello; the mum and her young bub in the carrier on her back; the lady with the wonky hips (I think she's just fabulous!)... and so many others!

It makes me feel good seeing so many people out enjoying the park too - but also makes me feel like I belong - like I'm just as worthy of walking around that track as anyone else...  I feel like I've finally earnt my place - a really huge revelation for me! 

The killer hill at the end!
.... and it all just started with one foot in front of the other...  Amazing how something so simple can completely change your life!   When the "experts" all carry on about just starting small - walking to your mailbox, walking around the block, parking your car a little further away....  I thought it was all hogwash and would never actually make a difference.   I stand up today and acknowledge that I was wrong....

I still have days where I'm extremely body-conscious and want to run back inside and hide, but I crank up my tunes, throw the sunnies on and everything "outside" becomes obsolete!  .... just one foot in front of the other!

It took me a really long time to appreciate what this body is capable of - and the more I drop in size, the easier it gets and the more grateful I am to be able to use it!  I LOVE my training sessions now - and I'm SO grumpy without it!  Never thought in a million years that I'd ever get to this point, but this addiction of mine is definitely one of my better ones!!!

So I'm very proud to say now that I LOVE EXERCISE!  It's done so much more for me than just help with the weightloss - it's unleashed the power within and I'm extremely grateful to be capable of moving in ways I never thought I could....   I thank my frequent walks around the river for inspiring the love and giving me the confidence to extend to other activities - it surprises me every time I try something new just how different my attitude towards this has become!  

Exercise truly is a privilege, and I'm SO grateful for the second chance to appreciate it!

H20hhhhhhhh yeah!
1. Find somewhere enjoyable to walk - it makes it that much better! (or just do it anyway... no excuses!!!)
2. Music makes you walk faster - works for me?!  Anyone who tries to keep up with me complains.. haha!
3. Sunscreen, hats and sunnies are your FRIEND!  Who wants to look like a prune?!
4. Good shoes and socks are a MUST. If you're prone to toe blisters, strap up in fabric bandaids before they develop - it'll become your new training routine that you'll swear by!
5. Don't be scared of breaking into a jog...  you KNOW you want to!!!!   ;)

PS:  Don't forget your water - rehydrate, rehydrate, rehydrate!!!

SO what are you waiting for?!   Get out there and MOVE!  

:)   xx

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The curse of the cookie jar

"Cookies are a SOMETIMES food!"
Oh cookie jar, why do you mock me so?!   Why do you whisper your sweet crumbly nothings across the hallway...   You know my resistance is futile.... how can you be so cruel?!

SO, today it was just "one of those days".

I think it all started to fester when I woke up - unusually early for me (I'm a night girl!), I lay there thinking I "should" get up early, go for a walk, try something different!  Standing up briefly, and the stiff and sore legs from the night before's class left me staggering up the hallway and in two minds whether I'd actually make it to the end of the room, least of all the 5kms circuit I had in mind!  Back to bed for an hour or so....

Alarm bells going off in my head, and I realise I've slept longer than I should have.  PANIC!  Mad rush to get ready, throw my protein shake in the blender, shovel it down.. run out the door!  Off to work I go, my salmon and salad lunch and healthy snacks at the ready, no intention of undoing the last two days of heavy training. "Prepare, prepare, prepare" I say... because I KNOW that's what I have to do.

Off to the office I go, and as soon as I put my lunch goodies in the fridge, I get hit with the urge - a jolt to the system as though there's been a tremor in the room - as soon as I spy the cookie jar...   Oh god, not the bloody cookie jar!!!   Why isn't it empty already?!   "Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it..."   I walk away.   Phew.

Hello lunchtime! Off to the fridge I trot, make my fresh salad - all healthy and happy... and then find myself one hand in the cookie jar...   a few times over...  :/

After three years at this, do I STILL have no restraint?!!   .......  clearly not.  :|

SO, here it is in black and white! Confession time! Not only did I indulge in the cookies, but it was followed with butterscotch lollies and cashews... Feeling the wrath of remorse by the time I got home, irrespective of the stiff and sore bod, there was hell to pay... and pay I did!  I thought I'd try for a half hour on the crossy - given it's a 'low energy day' and my muscle fatigue - but that simply wouldn't cut it.  "You play, you pay Amy!"...  ok.  Point taken.    Just five minutes at a time...  WHY does five minutes take so long when you're so sore?!!

An hour later, another grueling 21kms cross trainer session (2nd in three days) and 1550 cals burnt - and I'm totally spent.  "Do the crime, do the time".

..... and then it hit me....

I've hit the SABOTAGE CYCLE - it happens every time I near the next milestone number, which for me has been every 5-kilo mark since my "30 kilos lost" wayyyyy back a couple years ago.  This cycle and I are like old enemies - I know it intimately - and I know how much work it takes to break past it.

There's only 2.7 kilos to go until my next 5-kilo mark - and despite all my hard work on the exercise front the past fortnight, the scales aren't stepping up to play.  My eating has been really off (particularly the past week), I'm indulging in things I don't even care to eat, eating more than I should, the processed foods I generally avoid have squeezed their way back into my mouth, and I'm cranky about food (food is NOT the enemy.. I know better!). It's the Sabotage Cycle well and truly at play, and it's time to give it a run for its money...

Sitting here sweaty but subdued... it's time to get my head around the blockage, and gear myself to work past the issue. I've done it before, I'll break it again... 

So the moral of the story tonight, kids, is that cookies really ARE a "sometimes food" - and sometimes they're simply sabotaging!!!!

Eat well - move more - have fun!

:)    xx

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Meet the team!

Let's get sweaty!!
I had such an overwhelming response from the last blog entry that I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all the gorgeous people who offered such beautiful sentiments and support!  I'm truly humbled, and very grateful for all the posted messages and emails I've received - it means a great deal to know people care so much out there, and hearing it had an impact on helping others look at some of their own issues that are holding them back - that's just incredible and exactly what I wanted!

SO, I thought I'd bring the tone of the blog up a little today and introduce you to my fabulous TEAM!  For the last three years, I've been working on this weightloss business pretty secretively (aside from the forums) - shame and fear driving that one - but there's been a TEAM right here with me the entire way, keeping me on track, and making me no end of sweaty!!!  I'm so proud of them, I really want you to meet them!!   :)

Semi-retired machines!
Initially, I was too ashamed to be seen in public moving this body - so I hid in the backyard!  I invested in a few keys pieces of equipment, namely an exercise bike - which became my BFF for the first year of my mission!  I have really bad knees - to the point where I can't bend them properly least of all kneel on them - and the bike was a fabulous way for me to take the pressure off those joints, let the bike bear some of the excess weight while I huffed and puffed, and meant I could jump on at any time of the day without fear of being seen! 

It's taken pride of place in both my backyard and then my back studio (in winter, perched in front of a TV & DVD player) and many kilometres and hours later, it's definitely been one of my ultimate tools!  She's semi-retired at the moment, now that I'm fitter and more agile - but never too far away when I want to mix it up a little!  She currently lives next to my weights machine (I LOVE weights!) and my bouncey swiss ball - all of which are just bystanders at the moment as I've taken preference elsewhere...

Beloved tready
Despite having mastered the art of walking at an early age (haha), it took me a good while before I was brave enough to start walking in public.  When I first started on my mission, I was so big that walking just a few steps would bring on instantaneous sweating, puffing and much embarrassment... so doing that publicly was a huge NO-NO in my head!  The first attempt at walking in public was a complete disaster - under the cover of darkness...  It was just to try and make it around the block, but I think I was so anxious about the whole thing, when a car came past, I turned around and went home as fast as my chubby legs would take me - barely made it to the end of the road before my fear and tears caught up with me!  Definitely NOT the start to public exercise I was looking for!   I ended up with a treadmill, so I could hit the kms in the privacy (and comfort) of home. She's also semi-retired at the moment, hidden in my back room out of the elements....  Many kms later, and in need of a dire service - she's one for the cold Bathurst winters when I need to train indoors!   Definitely one of my favs, and never too far off the agenda!   She's been replaced with regular walks around the river near my house instead - yes, outdoor walks with sunshine, bugs, air and PEOPLE!!   I've slowly built up my half a block to being able to hit a triple-lap of my river circuit - averaging 9.5kms a hit!  I'll be looking at a fourth lap in the near future, just to keep my thighs guessing, haha!

The Devil
Then there's THE DEVIL!!  My cross trainer - and one piece of equipment I'm absolutely LOVING stupid!!!  I've had it for about 6 months now, and it manages to kick my bum on every session!   Tonight it was a grueling hour (21kms) - but in the beginning, I could barely muster five minutes without thinking my legs were about to fall off and my heart and lungs collapse in a fit of extreme aggravation!!!  This baby is my pride and joy (aside from my business and cat!), and sits right in the middle of my covered pergola, pride of place!

Crossy, you kick my bum every time
- and by god I love you for it!!
After my month away in Sydney during December, coming home to this monster was pure agonising joy!!   First session, I could barely muster 10 minutes, but these muscles of mine were just screaming for the challenge, and we've been butting heads (or legs!) ever since!  Love the burn, love the sweat and LOVE the challenge that this gorgeous piece of equipment brings out! 

Other members of my TEAM include:

- My trusty heart rate monitor - it's like my "must have" dictator trainer who pushes me no end!  Makes me push harder when I want to see those "cals burnt" reading something worthwhile - and yes! Nearly 1700cals burnt on The Devil today, woohoo!

- My Adidas runners - fourth generation now, and RED (so they go faster, haha!) - comfy shoes are a must have!!   Fail to fit your feet out correctly, and you end up with more issues than it's worth!  Having worked in a footwear store and seeing the hideous feet of people not wearing correctly fitted shoes, it's scarred me for life!  Do yourself the huge favour of having your feet fitted correctly, in a shoe that accommodates your activities - and avoid fatigue, injuries and pain. SO worth it!

- MUSIC or MP3 player for my walks - also a necessity - can't function without them!!  I get caught up in the beats and end up walking or moving faster, simply because my mind has ceased to worry about what it is I'm actually doing, whose watching or just how long it's taking - and I just keep on moving!!

- My free weights - or my "other best friends"!!!   LOVE these babies sooooo much.  Never underestimate the power of some awesome free weights!  I've slowly progressed up from "girly" weights to these 5kilo a piece babies that like to tell me whose boss!  Recently upgraded to bars where I can add weights accordingly, but they're kicking my bum no end - so it's a slow and steady increase on the weights for a while!   Gimme guns baby!!!!

For a girl who could barely move in the beginning, I'm pretty happy with the progress of my fitness in just three years!  I get asked quite often what sort of exercise I actually do - particularly as it's been a crucial part of my progress (and people want in on ALL the secrets!!!) - but I change things up often, and have only ever done things within my ability.  There's HEAPS of room for improvement in the future, and lots of other things I'm yet to even try!   So excited by all the possibilities out there now, and love when I find something new that I just "click" with - like my Zumba classes (but I'll leave that for another blog..!!)

Sweaty much?!!
OH... and what does an hour on the cross trainer look like?! .........................................................

Oh yeah, there's the stunning glamour shot right there!!!!  Hahahaha....

Til next time, GET SWEATY!!    It does a body good!!! 


Friday, January 14, 2011

The weight of it all...

When you're nearly 200 kilos, it's more than just carrying the burden of an "extra person" that weighs you down….  It's the emotional baggage that drags you further, that never seems to lift - making ordinary tasks seemingly impossible.

“Three years later”, and approaching the final phase of my mission, I get asked NOW how things ended up so out of control, how I could let myself fall into that pit, and what this change means to me… but, I’m still somewhat at a loss to explain it.  

Will I ever fit into my gold bikini again?!
Those that already know me, know that I'm a pretty jovial person - I have a great sense of humour and am a bit of a giggler - don't mind taking the mickey out of myself, and can generally go about life with a cheeky resolve...  I do that because I choose to be that person (NOW) - but let's put the jokes aside for a moment, and get real...  

In retrospect, yes, there were times when I let myself down through self-neglect, but there were also a lot of influences outside of my control that shaped me into the self-destructive person I used to be…

Chubby 4-year old me
I remember way back in primary school, when I was about 6 years old, that first push over the edge that I was ‘different’. I can’t quite remember how it came about that the kids were teasing, but I copped it – the chubby kid in the class, quiet, unassuming and didn’t fight back - I may as well have been wearing a bright red target on my back, because the teasing never did go away. It’s funny how vividly you can remember an emotion or feeling – and I remember that first feeling of embarrassment, trying not to cry because I was the brunt of the laughter - but not understanding why…  

Dear Santa, please make me skinny...
I was designated the nickname “Fat Amy” in primary school by kids who thought it was somehow incredibly hilarious to associate my weight with laughter – and the name never did go away, nor did the humiliation. The word ‘fat’ is so derogatory to me because of this - I refused to key the term in ANY context, until recently, because it stung so viciously in my ears…  

Fast forward a few years into high school, and a string of failed ‘diets’ through the back end of primary school was only leading me into even worse habits and more hatred about my body later…  High school – the breeding ground of insecurity - and I was already predestined to suffer.

Men's shirts and home-made skirts
were all that would fit...
By now I was the fattest girl in the class, extremely shy, introverted and most days, hoped I’d somehow just blend into the background and not be noticed at all. Every morning I was anxious about walking through the school gates – so much so that I couldn’t stomach breakfast (enter foul eating habits here) and suffered anxiety attacks, which I didn't understand at the time (it's more publicly understood these days). My chest would feel like it was caving in, I could barely breathe, I’d be in so much pain that I’d want to cry – if I wasn’t already wanting to cry from the sheer torture of having to go to school anyway – and I was late.  Always late. By the end of high school, it was the running joke that I was never on time for school. I don’t know what people assumed, but whatever it was, it would have been wrong…  I was a good student, did my work, kept my nose clean, never wagged or caused issues – but I was always late, and I was laughed at for it.

The ‘fat girl’ that I was, I was too embarrassed to eat my lunch during school hours, so I simply didn’t…  I couldn't bring myself to eat in public - ever - was far too ashamed, and had it in my head that people were always watching, judging, laughing... oh there's that fat girl, she's such a pig, she never stops eating...  - so I didn't eat. No breakfast, then no lunch meant by the time I came home from school, I was so ravenous that if it wasn’t nailed down, I’d eat it. Food at home was “family food” – and I acknowledge now that in taking what wasn’t mine deemed me as selfish – a stigma that’s carried through since.  There were threats of having the fridge and cupboards padlocked, and “stealing food” labeled me a thief - the retribution for the crime was carrying the shame of the title. I was the family embarrassment, and labeled a poor excuse of a 'role model' for my siblings.

Home-made Yr12 formal
dress, covered from neck
to floor in the middle
of summer...
I was so ashamed of my body, that I’d wear my school jumper over my uniform, even in the middle of summer in our blistering 35-40 degree heat, people repeatedly telling me to take it off before I passed out – but I’d refuse, and pretend I was fine… thank god for air conditioning! 

I avoided sports – the “fat girl” couldn’t keep up. I wasn’t agile and was far too uncoordinated, and always picked last for teams – humiliating for anyone, but always a reminder that I wasn’t worthwhile for anything. I found solace in music, and let that be the voice that I didn’t have. It became the only thing I enjoyed during school and the passion that kept me walking through those gates when I’d rather have stayed home and stayed invisible.  

By the end of my HSC and Year 12, I was well and truly head-first into the decline. I now saw myself as mute, battered and bruised, self-loathing, humiliated and lost.

Being prodded by your peers that you’re somehow a ‘misfit’ is one thing, but being told your weight would mean you’d never have friends, a job or a boyfriend (because you’re too much of an embarrassment to be seen with) is an entirely different thing. A failed statement that was probably made as an unconditional love “reverse psychology” scare tactic at the time to try and encourage weightloss and avoid all the hurt of being overweight growing up…  it still rings in my ears today. It became the measure that I’d self-judge from there on in, and ofcourse self-loathe when my weight obviously meant I wasn’t fit for any of the three categories.   

Add now friendless, lonely, unemployable and not worthy of being loved.

The photo that haunts me - could I
look any more miserable?
First year at Uni, living on my own
at the ripe old age of 17.
… then I went to Uni.  I was 17, brutally shy, had never been away from the family before and ended up nearly 7 hours from my hometown. For lack of accommodation on campus, I ended up living on my own – in hindsight, a really bad move.

By the end of my second year, I was well and truly into the downward spiral. I was a loner, too shy to interact with people at uni and living off-campus (and besides, I was too much of an embarrassment for them to want to befriend, right?!) - it was far too easy to became a hermit. 

Without a job (because I was unemployable right?!), my funds were scarce – so I was a burden on my family, didn’t have the money to socialize, no transport (and being as big as I was and humiliated in public, preferred taxis than walking to and from uni) and my groceries were dismal and poor.  My eating habits ranged from boredom through to stress eating, and everything in between. It became an ‘effort’ to go to classes, I couldn’t face being seen in public, and hid myself away behind a computer in the corner of my house instead. Again, I found solace in something that let me have a voice without needing to speak – talking behind a computer to a world that wouldn’t pre-judge me and “friends” that treated me as an equal (despite them not seeing my face) when there was noone else.

A slow, painful decline – I’d cry myself to sleep every night, breakdown at the thought of having to leave the house for a lecture, and then the “bad thoughts” started to infiltrate…

Surely if God was good and cared so much, he’d just let me go away… he’d find a way to stop me hurting so much, take the pain away.  A fatal lightening bolt perhaps?  Or maybe a bus would hit me?  What about if I just fell off the edge of a mountain somewhere, where noone would have to find my revolting body?  Anything, as long as someone else didn’t get hurt in the process…  Suicidal thoughts are one thing, but finding yourself standing at the kitchen sink with a knife in your hand is a whole other matter…  The only block between thought and action was knowing how much shame and upset I’d bring my family - I was already the family embarrassment because of my size, did I really need to cement it in history?!… so I suffered on in silence.

My 21st birthday in 2000 - my family
and neighbours were the only people
who bothered to attend...
Over the next few years, I failed subjects, repeated subjects, always under the pretence that everything was ok…   I tried. I always tried… but I knew I was failing…

Add now failure, useless, worthless, burden, selfish, cowardly and revolting.

2002 Uni grad - finally
felt like I'd achieved
After uni, I managed to land a job – which proved beneficial in helping create some semblance of self-worth in a business environment, and as it turns out, was the catalyst for unearthing my passion for graphic design – I found a new ‘voice’. I didn’t know I was a designer or photographer until I was given a rare opportunity to redesign the company brochure – and the rest flowed on from there…

However, despite working and finding a sense of worth in that - over the course of the next few years, the story just repeated itself – and quite frankly, there’s actually very few memories I can recall, it’s just like one big blur, as though my memory shut itself down in self-preservation mode??  

One of the most brutal experiences in this bracket, however, was an “internet relationship” which went horribly wrong. Given my size and my assumption that I was simply too revolting for any guy to be interested in me – no surprises that it was easy to fall for the attention of an internet admirer. When you’re a girl whose been told you’re not worth being loved, and there’s a guy who treats you like you’re the best thing since sliced bread – it’s not hard to see why the blinkers were up to all the lies and deception. I’d have believed anything for just that one minute of feeling like I meant something to somebody….  except it was the beginning of something brutal...  not beautiful. 

It was one lie after another, one excuse after the other – couldn’t phone him but sms was ok; no address to send letters to but he had both my home and work contacts, etc – and I let them all slide just to feel wanted. When I questioned him, I’d be verbally abused – I’d be told he’d tried to harm himself because of my inability to trust him – repeatedly – a bullet, an overdose, slashed wrists, drunken abuse, you name it….

As someone who struggled with suicidal thoughts myself, I felt instantaneous remorse for inflicting that on someone else – I’d blame myself for his cruel actions – the guilt would break my heart and make me beg for forgiveness.  It was a foul cycle that lasted 18 months – with all the hurt, pain and emotional baggage that goes with a “real” abusive relationship, and not one speck of reality to it.

During the middle of all this, my Nana died – the only person I believed loved me “just as I was” was taken away from me. When the family traveled down for the funeral, all I wanted was a hug from my ‘guy’, but instead was told that in trying to get to me, he’d been physically beaten by his father for taking his car, and hospitalized instead, and that it was my fault…   It wasn’t enough that I was grieving for the loss of my Nana, but now I was shattered guilty that I’d caused that too…

Add now cruel, intolerable, harmful and evil.   

Cycling on, it was when he “cheated” on me and ended up getting the girl pregnant, then not allowing me to be part of their life… and me questioning the validity of any of it at the baby's birth (yes, I'd waited through that too) – and then being told he’d shot himself at the thought of me leaving him when the baby was born, and I wasn’t to make contact anymore because *I'd* caused too many problems…   NOW it was time to call it quits. Enough…

He didn’t exist, never met him and yet I bear the brunt of his cruelty every day – the scars on my body and mind are a constant reminder of the useless patch of my history that I’ll always regret.  It hurt less to carve into my skin than the pain that was shattering my heart inside….    I let someone abuse my trust, all because of my inability to love myself – trying to seek some semblance of self-worth in a source that wasn’t even real.  The scars on my body became the reminder that I wasn’t worth loving “in the real”, that my body was revolting and unwanted, and the heart within didn’t deserve anything but this pain...   I was obviously not worth loving - I wasn't worth reality - and I clearly wasn't worth the truth. 

Add now rejected, remorseful, ashamed, heart broken, damaged and exhausted.

Christmas 2005 - had I really
become this person?
One of my defining moments was the night before my 26th birthday. I’d simply had enough…  I’d put my emotions and my body through enough torture, and I wanted out.  If not out, then I needed to shut up, step up and get over it…  They were my only options.  Finish it, or finish it.

It broke my heart, the prospect of upsetting my family because of my selfishness in suicide – and is probably the only reason why I didn’t go through with it that night.  I had a birthday party with my ‘friends’ (some work colleagues, who I gratefully acknowledge made the effort to celebrate with me) – that was my final fan-fare. Ofcourse, they didn’t know it at the time, and luckily, it wasn’t the end of the story….I cried myself to sleep and woke up the next day.

I chose to “live”…  but I barely made it through day by day. It’s all I could handle, one day at a time. In my mind, I had no future - I had no thoughts of weddings or babies, lovers or career progression, no holidays or celebrations…  nothing.  No week ahead, least of all a year or decade ahead!  I was simply walking and breathing.  Still here, because I simply couldn’t go through with the alternative.. but not living.  Every day was just another day with nothing and noone in it…

Well before I'd
hit my largest -
but well and truly
on my way there..
So I guess that's when I started to really unconsciously eat my way into the grave…  Didn’t care what I put in my mouth – was addicted to fast food (easy, cheap and nasty and VERY addictive) – and my laziness reigned supreme.   In hindsight, I guess that was my way of doing what I couldn’t do by my own hand – an easy out, an easy excuse…  and on went the kilos. One after the other after the other…on top of my, already, huge body...

Add now enormous, lazy, glutonous, detached and spiraling.

Skip ahead to 2008 – the day I truly decided to live.

Enough was enough. I’d had enough. I was enormous – my body was NOT something I could live in.  I was repulsed by my own skin, wouldn’t let anyone touch me for fear of repulsing them equally as much. I literally had it in my head that touching my skin made people physically ill, so would baulk if anyone ever tried to hug me, or even at the smallest gesture of a hand on my shoulder... I very much regret this now - basic human contact is a necessity and something I'm still trying to overcome. 

I was ashamed of everything – the shame written all over my fat face. The constant ache of craving all the beautiful things that I was so enviously watching everyone else experience was too much… I had no self-respect, was consumed with self-loathing, couldn’t breathe for the hatred and envy, and so gutt-wrenchingly broken and desperate for ANYTHING that would free me from this hell I’d put myself in. Anything…

I hear people talk about their “lightbulb” moment often on the weightloss forums, and always ponder the thought…  I didn’t think I had any lightbulbs go off at the time – all I had was sheer repulsion for what I’d made myself into… (but perhaps that WAS the lightbulb talking?!).

I didn’t know it at the time, but the choice I made in starting my new ‘lifestyle’ was “THE MOMENT” that would shape the rest of my life…  My sheer terror in a future fueled by hate and a broken heart was enough momentum to force the changes, but I would have put money down that I’d have failed within the first few days, and I never once believed I actually deserved it…   and I still question myself NOW whether I’m capable of pulling this off (old habits die hard!!).

Starting at nearly 200 kilos (my first official weigh-in was 188, but that was after I’d already started, and had to wait to find scales that weighed high enough accurately)…  It was the most daunting task imaginable.  Completely overwhelming… I would sit and cry tears of sheer terror and pain at the prospect of trying to piece my worthless life back together.

How do you slim down an elephant?!   ............. One freaking day at a time, that’s how!

There’s so many other aspects to my story that I haven’t even touched on here – things that I’ll probably ponder on “later” in other blogs, or as I recount different experiences parallel to new ones along the way.

I don’t put this out there to pull sympathy cards – but more for empathetic appeal to those who may be going through something similar.  I UNDERSTAND the hurt and stigma that comes with being as large as I used to be.  It’s taken me three years to drop down in size, yes, but it’s taken me those same three years to rebuild myself from the inside out, too.  I don’t propose that I’m “rebuilt” just yet – I still have a long way to go both on the mission and on the healing… but I’m still going, and I don’t plan on undoing all this hard work!

Add now: strong, driven, motivated, positive, resourceful, sympathetic, empathetic, excited - and the big ones…   I have hope and WANT for the future!   

It hurts that I’ve lost the last ten years through all this… I lament losing my 20s buried in so much crap, when others seem to have been off on adventures, learning curves and established their lives (oh how envious I am of them!)...  but I believe that I’m a better person for it NOW than I ever would have been without it.  I question my ability to see this mammoth mission through – but there’s definitely no signs of giving up anytime soon – and my will for a future dictates that I’m not allowed to! 

What is done is done and we can only learn from our mistakes. They shape us into who we are, and if we let them, help us rebuild into something even better and more sympathetic to those who are blind to their own life-lessons…  

So, I guess the next time someone asks me how I let myself get to that state, and just what it means to me now to have changed it, I guess they’re in for a really long novel-style read…!!   It was never as easy as “oh I just stuffed my face and sat on my arse all day…” – which is what the ignorant would have us believe!

Nov 2010
Writing this has been a cathartic experience in releasing the haunts that I’ve spent so long hiding behind (because they’re predictable)…  I’m giving myself permission to embrace the person I’ve become and learn that I actually DO deserve all the beautiful things that life has to offer too – whatever and whenever they decide to appear in my future.... and if nothing else, the photos of me NOW show a different person on the inside than the ones from before. The smiles are actually real now, because the heart's smiling too, and I need to acknowledge that change, in the very least!

Seriousness aside, I reckon that the final ten kilos of my mission will undoubtedly be ten kilos of emotional baggage that I’ve been carrying around with me my entire life!  Try to shove that on an airplane and I'd be done for 'excess baggage' - SO, it's time to release it!!    Get rid of the unnecessary baggage, find my wings and fly! 

Right.  Pity-party over.  Back to work, these kilos won’t lose themselves…. !!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Take that Christmas Pudding!

So it wasn't really a shock to the system when I came home from a month out of my usual routine to find a gain of 3.5 kilos on the scales...  It wasn't a great 'welcome home' either, mind you!

I guess eating dad's pre-packaged hospital sandwiches (revolting as they were) but leaving the crusts wasn't exactly the strategy that was going to keep those kilos at bay - despite my best justification that there's less calories if it's someone else's leftovers and you only eat the middle?!  

... or the processed turkey and ham smothered in gravy that the hospital served up for "Christmas lunch" with a side of lollies (the lunch lady had decided - in her wisdom - that the patient who'd been released for the day's meal should become mine...  Grateful as I was, I think the patient got the better end of the deal!)

.... and let's not even mention the Christmas puddings with custard that kept calling my name from the fridge... just because they were free didn't mean I needed to eat them!!!   Oh who am I kidding, ofcourse it did...  :/

Knew I was in for a rude awakening when I got home, despite my sporadic efforts at exercising (or exorcising?!) these food demons away - and that 3.5 kilos starring back at me only confirmed what I already knew! 

Welcome home Amy!  Glad to see you and your spare tyre home again!! 

So it was back to it thereafter. Back to the dedicated 'breakfast, lunch and dinner' routine, with a side of butt-kicking exercise - and purging the poor (overloaded) system of processed carbs "cold turkey" - without gravy!

Within the week, I'd dropped those 3.5 kilos on their head!  Miraculous really.  Maybe this was my belated Christmas miracle?!  By official weigh-in, I'd hit 3.8 kilos gone - and joyously riding the lowest number I've seen on the scales to date!

Prior to heading off to Sydney early December, battling a ridiculously stubborn plateau, I KNEW how hard it was going to be to stay on par without my trusty routine in place - so I'd armed myself with a hefty dose of reality that I'd probably come back needing to start the process all over again, and not let one number on the scales be my undoing...    Mission accomplished!

So what's the pay-out for an awesome WIN like that?!    .... A stomach bug that's decided to make mince-meat out of my insides for the past 24 hours...   Oh please!   You know I'll only use that to my advantage... !!!!   ;)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Aim to Change

So despite being the private girl that I am, I've decided that I actually DO have alot to say - albeit straight from the fingertips to the screen - and have initiated this Blog to keep me in check for the year ahead!

Starting weight:
188kgs Jan 2008
I've been on the mission of my life... literally.  Sitting at nearly 190kgs at my absolute heaviest just three years ago (Jan 2008) with no will to live or self-respect left, I somehow found it in me to give it one more shot to change - to find something (anything) that would break the downward spiral I seemed destined for, and let me breathe again... 

So much has changed in the three years following that sometimes I forget that it's ME whose taken back the control and changed the direction of my future entirely.  

It's not enough to go about my challenges on a day to day basis anymore (which it very much used to be - all I could do was one day at a time, one foot in front of the other) - now it's time to self-acknowledge what it is I've done, and gear myself up for the final phase of the mission - and all the crazy changes that lie thereafter! 

I started off the year with a 'recap' (below) that I posted on the weightloss forums that I'm part of (the tool that's supported me the way through this mission of mine) - to help me focus on my next set of goals, and somehow push it into my head just what I've overcome in a year (the previous two years were equally as powerful) - and in the process, it's given me the courage to bring this a little more public - as I've always been too ashamed to talk about my weight issues so 'publicly' outside of a dedicated (and safe) weightloss arena - and dispel some of the fear I've held onto for far too long. In doing that, it helps me continue to forge ahead, but may also give someone else the courage to face their own weightloss and life demons (which are still raw in my own head).

So, welcome to Aim to Change!  Here's to yet another amazing year of changes, and all the benefits and possibilities that lie beyond!  No hiding anymore... let's see what the universe has in store for me this year!!

-- Amy   xx   :)


Reflecting on 2010...

2010 has been a really trying year for me, but I thought I’d note down a bit of a ‘recap’ for myself, so I could acknowledge the things I HAVE achieved throughout it - then realised it was actually quite a victorious year after all!

There's lots of us out there that forget what we've done over the course of the year, or what obstacles we've actually overcome... sometimes taking a moment to reflect and acknowledge can actually be the catalyst for more motivation!  It's certainly reignited my drive to make this coming year equally as productive - so thought I'd share it with you, for those that need a bit of insight into their own!
Jan 2011 - 77 kilos lighter!

In total, off came another 22.1 kilos, bringing me to a closing total of 77kilos lost over the last three years, equalling 40% of my original bodyweight GONE!  NEVER thought in my wildest dreams I’d ever be able to report having lost the weight of the average female!!

I’m also celebrating 156 weeks of NO junky fast food takeaway at the close of my third year, and something I’m not at all interested in breaking anytime soon!   Even with the lack of structure with my last few weeks in Sydney with dad in hospital, and the takeaways being an ‘easy option’, I’d still find something more beneficial than a hit of Maccas or a side of KFC…!  

2010 has also been a really big year of change for me.  It’s taken a LONG time for me to be comfortable in my own skin, enough to brave ‘public’ exercise – but 2010 proved to be a big year for pushing those boundaries even further.  Walking in public in a singlet top – baring my arms to the world for the first time since I was a kid – HUGE moment of transition!  That’s now just part and parcel of my routine – singlet top exercise wear – and just last week, I bought a stack of new bright pink and blue ones in a size 16!!   (never did colour before neither… always black – the “hiding colour”). My normal clothes are now a size 16 top (with colour!) and a size 18-20 skirt (though, I'm finding that too big now too...!).  Yes, the body is out of proportion, but I couldn't care less - I'm still transitioning!!

2010 I discovered ZUMBA – where I bounce and jiggle and carry on with all the other crazy flailing arms and legs – and I’m totally hooked! NEVER been brave enough for a group class before in my life – always far too ashamed of my size – but it’s become such a joy to do, I’m kicking myself I didn’t do it sooner!!

I’ve also started running in public – RUNNING!  Well, it’s probably more of a slow paced waddly jog at the moment, but it’s something I’m working on!  The knees and I have come to an understanding that I’ll be doing these things irrespective of whether they like it or not, so if they play nice, I play nice too!!   Here’s to picking up the pace and going harder, faster and stronger in the near future!

This year also gave me a huge jolt to the health of my system – literally.  I went through a ‘toxic’ phase – which my naturopath put down to my extensive weight loss and the burden of toxins released from the fat cells.  (*may or may not be super accurate, so don’t take it as gospel or medicated advice!!).  My body was suffering major fatigue, dramatic hair loss, crazy dizzy spells and just an overall feeling of decline…    The hairloss and my increasing vanity sparked action on this one – and after working closely with my Naturopath, worked at overcoming these yucky health issues over the course of a few weeks.   Then I hit ANOTHER dreaded plateau….   (the third in three years)


I don’t have it documented, but all up I think I lost about 5 months from when my weird health issues started right through to about mid November when I seemed to have broken the up and down yo-yo of Plateau-land.  The final 3 months of that, I’d worked really hard with my Naturopath on all manner of things to break the bloody thing – but my plateau was proving to be as stubborn as me!!!!   Eventually had a breakthrough and a few consistent losses thereafter, and was really pleased to see my body and I were back on the same page again!

THEN December hit – and it was off to Sydney with my dad for his neurosurgery  (another hospital stint this year, has been a huge 12 months for him and a lot of stress for us…)  - and all the rigid structure of my previous few months of plateau-busting went right out the window….   I thought all my healthy eating and dedicated fitness routines might as well have counted for nothing - but ohhhh how wrong I was!!!   That structure has kept me pretty much on par - despite the blowouts over Christmas and not having access to better food choices all the time - opting for sporadic innovative exercise sessions when I could (like taking the stairs at the hospital, doing laps of the oval nearby, utilising the kids playground at the nearby school!)...  the small gain I clocked in this morning has got NOTHING on a month's worth of crazy - and I gratefully acknowledge my awesome established behaviours for that!!!

HOWEVER, the story doesn’t totally unravel at the end…!!! 

Look at me paddling!!

 A couple of weeks ago, in the thick of my hospital stay with dad, a gorgeous friend of mine whisked me off on the adventure of my life – an unexpected trip to Port Stephens for a few days before Christmas.   Broke through A LOT of my demons this few days – produced a whirlwind of changes for me!

Can she snorkel? Yes she can!!

 I went for a massive beach walk, kayaking, tobogganing, snorkelling and swimming in the ocean  - all these amazing PHYSICAL things I’d have NEVER done in my life ‘before’ my weightloss…  and all took me very much by surprise that I was capable of doing them!   (once I got over the initial fear..!!)

Added to that was the attention from this male friend of mine (who seemed to have no issue with my size or my warped body!) – which was a total shock to the system and totally unexpected…  and I seem to have walked away from this a totally different person.   Maybe living in this body isn't such a bad thing after all?!!! 

Was one of the most profound moments of my life – a huge transition year that was capped off with things that showed me I AM capable and deserving of all these awesome changes – and by god, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this person that I’m growing (yet shrinking) into!

SO having noted down all these amazing changes in 2010 – I’m starting 2011 in a VERY good mindset, ready to tackle the final phases of my mission.

Aiming for a solid 15 kilos loss by mid this year – and then I’m heading into the final chapter thereafter…   Looking at upping all my activities, joining a gym/getting a PT to really rev it up - and getting brutal on the food front.  I've always been pretty flexy with this whole thing - but this year, it's time to unleash the beast..!   Scary prospect, but I’ve overcome all my other hurdles this far, I’m armed and dangerous for whatever wants to get in my way now!  

Bring it on 2011 – I dare you!!!

Before and current progress shots - just so you can see what it is I've been doing for the past three years!!