Saturday, May 28, 2011

Commando Dinner & the world of TV


One word:  RAROOOWWW!!
The day FINALLY arrived, and that awesome reward for my crazy eight weeks of Commando Challenge (that I very nearly didn't make!!!) was right there at my fingertips!

If you've ever woken up the next day and thought, wow - did that actually really happen?!  ... well, I was having that (in triplicate) this morning!!!

My whirlwind couple of days in Sydney was well and truly mind-boggling.... AGAIN!

Who am I, and what happened to my 'old life'... ?!!

On Wednesday afternoon, I literally threw everything into my car and drove off into the sunset for another mad-capped couple of days - after flying around the house trying to cater for clients, cat and everything else in between!  I head off to stay with my sis in Penrith for the night again (poor girl is like my motel at the moment, haha!) - and slumbered on the city outskirts for the night.


Thursday I was scheduled to be in Sydney by 9.45am at the BLC offices for yet another 'new adventure'...  This one in the form of being taped for a Today Tonight interview!   EEEEK!

Up at 6am to get ready, and out the door for the train by 8...  I was nothing short of NERVOUS when I ventured into the office, with my enormous suitcase trailing behind me!  (haha... STILL incapable of packing light! Four outfit changes, four pair of shoes included, for two days!!!).  A quick costume change, and we were out the door!

Was taken across the road to Fitness First in North Sydney - where the first leg of filming was taking place.... AT THE GYM!  Feeling extremely nervous at this point, but pretty "at home" in my pink trainers and near the machines (how ironic is THAT for a girl who just three months ago was too brutally ashamed to be SEEN exercising in a gym?!)... and the Crew rock up to get started.

Strapping me in with a mic, and setting me up on the cross trainer (in my element!) - lights on, camera on... OH GOD....   Please, please, PLEASE let me talk like a human being!!!   

The journo - Laura - cracks open a few questions while I'm striding away...  questions like "what would the old Amy think of you right now?"...   Ohhhh man....

I could feel the lump form instantaneously in my throat.  The "old Amy" would have been absolutely livid with envy...  green to the gills.  The old me could barely move - didn't dare let anyone see her 'try' and exercise - least of all in hot pink "look at me, look at me" trainers and a fitted singlet top, letting all the wobbly bits... well, wobble?!  She would NOT have had the courage nor the tenacity to even be IN the gym in the first place, least of all the drive to even be on the machine!  Nerves aside, now I was trying not to cry too!!!    

Come on Amy, suck it up!  This isn't just about you....  You can't get your message out to those who need it if you bury your head in the sand!!!  Be professional... 

Having never actually been interviewed like this before - first hit of "lights, camera, action!" were a bit confronting  ... but I pushed on, and tried to maintain my dignity! Can't recall what else I started blubbering about - I think I zoned out slightly - too busy trying to coordinate myself to speak AND move at the same time, hahaha!

Off up the stairs to the weights area - for more filming... and I get positioned right in front of a full length mirror.  Oh god... yeah, as if the camera wasn't confronting enough?!!!     The MIRROR has been an arch-nemesis for years, and something I've avoided very much in the past. Here I was, trying to remain calm, not cry, remember how to breathe and answer questions that didn't sound like gibberish... and now I had to look at myself too?!!!   Ouch... !!!

Just breathe...

Cameraman takes some "fill" of me doing bicep curls / walking in picking up free weights, lying down on the bench to do overhead presses...  and all the while I'm just praying my arm skin doesn't gross everyone out?!!  What WAS I thinking - it was ME who suggested the presses!!!  Argh!!!

Back to the BLC office, for another quick costume change... This time we're off upstairs to the lounge area, and the crux of the interview gets taped.  Wish I could recall some of the content of this part - but it got a little heavy and I think I zoned out "for safety sake" when I was starting to get a little upset.  It's not exactly the easiest thing to admit that your history isn't the nicest - that you were more willing to give up on your life and had literally planted two feet in the grave...

It's the curse of being as honest as I am - it just slips out - and I know it's what sparks interest with people, because of how dramatically I've turned my life around...   BUT, it's raw, and still very confronting and upsetting - and why I don't often 'revisit' it...

Moving outside of that, the questions were more along the lines of nutrition and how I've achieved what I have - and (hopefully) all going well, I actually produced something out of my mouth that was worth listening to!!!   ANOTHER very hard thing to do for a girl that was happier being 'mute' for the better part of half her life - who prefers to talk through her fingers... pushing more boundaries...

Next set change - and we're in the "kitchen" chopping up carrots and celery, composing a salad!  Considering how much I LOVE my food these days, I clearly didn't think through how awkward and frustrating cutting carrots would be 'on cue' when I asked for them to be there for me!  The wretched things would NOT chop easily for me!!!!  Nearly took off a finger at one point, hahaha...  Masterchef I am not...!

So after 6.5 hours of fluffing around and content-taping - all for a few minutes of segment (hahaha) I'm thinking GREAT, all done?!!   Noooooo......

Running off to the motel to get ready for dinner, the Crew have already lined up more footage to be shot of me all dolled up in my new dress.  .... that would be because I'd mentioned I used to be a recluse, never go out, only worn a dress ONCE recently...    Ahhhh, me and my big mouth!  hahahaha!

Meeting up with my bestie at the motel, we glam ourselves up and head off back into the city with our BLC chaperone!  Walking around Circular Quay, "looking at shops", idly chatting about nonsense (which I suck at), talking about getting out for the night and strolling around the gloriousness that is Sydney....  just another old day in the land of Amy?!!    As if?!!! 

Having people stop and stare as you're being filmed walking around in your heels and dress (the one you very nearly chickened out of wearing mind you!)...  wondering who you are and what on earth I'm being taped for....  Ahhhhh?!!!    Excuse me, but the ex-recluse over here needs to go and find a rock to go crawl under - STAT!!!    (breathe.... be professional... you have your best friend with you, it's ok!).

Another half hour (plus) of taping later, having been toured around half of Circular Quay (in our ridiculously sexy, but painful, heels might I add - we had NOT planned for that!!), and we FINALLY head off to Cafe Sydney to meet everyone for dinner!

.... but not without the reminder that the Crew will meet me at Myer in the morning, for MORE footage... !!!!!!!  


'Work' over.... it was time to have some fun!!!!   Heading off to Cafe Sydney - one of the top hot-spots in the city - I get to meet the gorgeous winners who were to dine with us for my celebration dinner!

Maree and Jacqueline - two vivacious, beautiful women - who have been fabulous supporters over the course of my challenge (AND my time with BLC prior to that) - came to dine with me and my bestie  Jacinta, Roula and Julian of the BLC team, and ofcourse, Mister Muscles himself!

These two awesome ladies were picked out of a HUGE number of people who had supported me over the course of my Challenge - and I was super excited to meet them both in the flesh!!   Whilst I'd have loved to celebrate with everyone, you were definitely all there in spirit - and again, I thank you ALL for your encouragement and support to actually get me to that goal and THIS DINNER!!

Jacqueline, Maree, Jacinta and I snuggle up to Mister Hotness for warmth!
(... what?!!... it was cold...!!)

Sitting at the table, we await the arrival of THE MAN... and I confess that when I heard his voice behind me, I do believe I went slightly dizzy.... hahahaha!  (ps: I was Facebook statusing that he'd stood me up at the time... hahahaha!)    I had the privilege of sitting next to him the entire night, desperately trying not to make a fool out of myself.... but knew that was a fight I wasn't going to win!  I'm notoriously hopeless...!

Was a MAGIC dinner - filled with lots of talk about Crossfit, Biggest Loser Club, this years' TV contestants, and lots of general chit-chat. Now, let me tell you, when Steve starts talking about his Crossfit, he gets seriously intense - he's clearly VERY passionate about his training!  Even my bestie said "I just had to look away!" when he'd get fired up talking about functional movement and pushing the body beyond the limits of your mind...   It's hard not to get swept up in his clear love of this style of training - and despite my 18 minutes of training-pain when we first met - I can understand why!   (I did have to confess that I was sore for a good couple of days after... Given the smile on his face, I think he was getting far too much joy out of my pain, hahahaha!)

I'm not a 'celebrity chaser' - never have been - they are (after all) just 'normal people' doing something abnormally public... But having these opportunities to train AND converse with someone who is so (inevitably) followed on such a public scale, it was sheer privilege that I was able to sit there and listen to him talk so passionately about his training. It's his commitment for his work and health that I admire - and a fitness level that I could only aspire to - and what I *swoon* and *convulse* over the most!!!

.... though, admittedly, getting past the *drool*swoon*faint* element of my evening took a little work first.. hahaha!    

A glass of bubbles, and a celebratory toast to my kicking butt in the Challenge later.. and we're off ordering our little hearts away!  Wondering if we're going to be scrutinized on our food choices, Steve was pretty quick to put our mind's to rest... he was not there to judge!!

We weren't 'on show', there was NO brutalising workout to do before or after the meal, and despite my Facebook post (because I can't help myself, haha), there was NO mandatory lettuce leaf on my plate, or excruciatingly shameful pushups in heels required on my part!!!!  (thank goodness, I feared I wouldn't have kept myself in my dress had that been necessary.. hahaha!)

My entree was a gorgeous beetroot tart. Main was baked barramundi with pine nuts and spinach-stuffed ravioli, with apple, walnut and blue cheese side salad.   ..... and then the dessert menu came out!!!

My bestie and I both looked at each other - there clearly was no 'healthy choice winners' on this list - we grimmaced and laughed.... and then ordered the two naughtiest things on the list!  hahahaha!

Steve said we were clearly comfortable in our own skin, and he even made mention that there's nothing worse than someone who puts on 'airs' while they're on show and say "no" to these things... then turn around and stuff their faces at home later!  It was a little kudos for us...  (ps: he ordered dessert too...!!!!)

And ofcourse, no encounter would be complete without the mandatory signing of "the book"....  Considering last time he'd asked me if I've read his book (and sheepishly, I had to admit no - didn't own it, hadn't read it, went home and bought it immediately!!!)...  OF COURSE it was going to happen that I lugged it with me to Sydney.... and OF COURSE I was going to have him sign the very page, of the very excruciating maneuver he had me sweating over when last we'd met!   There's nothing left to 'chance' here, hahaha!

Meals happily gurgling around in our tummies, and it was photos time!  Lots of mandatory posing later, and a minor panic after silly Amy loses her video camera (argh!)... and we head off down stairs. Before I let him run out the door, I pull out the video camera and ask him to give us a quick word of advice...  (and I can't belive I called him Mister Muscles to his face... hahahahaha!!!!).  Poor guy, I really didn't give him much of a heads' up though!!!

OHHHH - and to totally cap off my night - one great big Commando-style bear-hug later... and he's off out the door!   Ahhhhh!!!    Lots of goodbyes to my gorgeous ladies, hugs all round, thank yous and the like.... and I throw off the shoes, get rid of the dress, pop on some jeans and joggers... and Jacinta and I walk back to the motel via the Harbour Bridge!!!

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G night, filled with awesome company, delectable food, spectacular Harbour views and feeling SERIOUSLY fabulous!!   Am I one lucky girl or what?!!!


Up early again on Friday morning, despite the escapades of the night before, I'm in the shower by 7am! Jacinta and I are "booked in" to meet at the front of Myers in Pitt Street at 11.30 - I'm to be filmed "shopping with my bestie".... given I could never actually buy clothes at my largest, and lived in whatever I could find (stretched to the max)... and how 'liberating' it is now to be able to go shopping!   (...all this stemming from having spoken to the journo about how I'd only recently gone on my first shopping spree!)

I went into Myers a little early in prep, and was becoming more and more uncomfortable... walking around and around the aisles realising I still didn't fit into bulk of the clothing. By the time Laura (the journo) rang to tell me the crew wasn't too far away, I was rather distraught and a little upset - I said to her I wasn't having much luck and didn't know how well this whole thing would go... I didn't mean to worry her, but this whole "shopping business" is a new world for me, and I was feeling well and truly out of my comfort zone, not fitting into the Plus Sizes anymore, but still too big for the small designer wear that was ALL through the Myer floors!  She reassured me, said the crew would meet me out front in 10 minutes, and I hung up and stood there like a stunned mullet... gawking up and down the rows, feeling more and more anxious...

Something... anything...  I just needed ONE THING I liked, that I could 'try on' and have them film me flicking around in.  Anything... ?!  Pants are useless - I'm struggling to fit my awkward "in-between" body in those... Can't find a top I like at all... Dresses are either too tiny or too big?!!   Five minutes later, and having gone around the floor once already, on the return trip I found it - RED COAT!  BINGO!!!!   I threw my bag on the floor, took off my jumper and pulled a size 16 red trench coat off the rack.   SCORE!   *phew*  ... ok, I had one thing I could at least look like I was interested in!

As I'd been told, I literally had money to burn at my disposal - I had a $200 budget for anything I wanted - which made walking around Myer looking for ANYTHING I liked even harder - and why I was getting so nervous and upset!  I didn't want to buy just for the sake of buying (and waste their money) - nor miss an opportunity (!!!!) - so when I found the trench coat, I was ecstatic!  It was $129 and something I'd been eying off, but didn't have the means to afford!   I spotted a little white top on a nearby rack that I could use as backup, and *phew* - I'm all set!  ... thank goodness, because the camera guys show up right after my sigh of relief...

We film Jacinta and I "shopping" - walking down the aisle - talking about styles, and how nice it is to be able to buy 'off the rack' (meanwhile, my anxiety levels have slightly dropped as I actually have something to head towards!!!).  "Ohhhhh look at this jacket - what do you think?!  You should try that on!  I think I will!" .... "Ohhh what about this cute little white top. It'll look great underneath!"

Off to the fitting rooms, and I head inside and whip on my two finds...  I step out of the change rooms for the next batch of filming, and get an "Amy?!!"  .... I swing around to this mysterious voice behind a rack of clothes... and it's one of my Aim to Change facebook followers!   Not only that, but this gorgeous woman, Amanda, was my "500 subscribers" random winner just the other day!!!   Serendipitous or what?!

I go over and give her a hug - totally forgetting there was a camera crew right there waiting for me - and my bestie (whose a journalist!) springs some questions on her!  How much has she lost (over 40 kilos!) and how long has it taken her (over a year) and how does she know me (via Facebook)...  meanwhile the camera crew are merrily filming this crazy occurrence - so I explain that I'm filming for Today Tonight!!

We get back to filming me "coming out of the fitting room", proudly producing this find of a red trench coat... and proceed to go to the counter to pay for the purchase.  Meanwhile, I get told that the lady serving my "Facebook Fan" had asked if she was there filming "with the model".... OHHHH MY GOD!  How's THAT for a compliment?!!!    I couldn't help but tell her I loved her, hahaha!!!

Now, it's right about here, that my entire day took a totally different turn - for the better!  Finding that gorgeous trench coat (on my last ditch "please don't cry" effort), then running into Amanda, then the 'model' compliment... it just made my day, entirely!

OH... and PS: the red trench coat.... I had to downsize - it's a freaking SIZE 14!!!!!  AND they were both on sale...  Red trench AND top came to $112!!!  GIRL CAN SHOP!!!!

We film me "paying" for my goods (courtesy of Channel Seven, hahaha) and off we go with my purchases!   The camera crew depart thereafter, and Jacinta and I are due elsewhere for the NEXT filming stint...  Oh yeah, I'm STILL not done!!!

Now talk about ironic - considering we were taping for a weightloss story, being shot eating lunch outside the Lindt cafe was quite bemusing!!

You'll be proud to know - despite much drooling over the lush chocolate - that not one bit passed these lips!!!  (nor went into a bag or came home with me either... though it wasn't for lack of day-dreaming!!!).  Nope, it was a beef panini roll and a sparkling water for me thanks folks!!!

Laura and the camera crew arrived, shot, chatted and ate with us (their office just across the road - THAT was why we were at Lindt, hahaha).  SO MUCH footage for just a small segment!  ... but given our history (Jacinta as a journalist, and me being ex-newspaper) we weren't at all surprised. The world of TV may be slightly different in the gathering, but the messages and content are the same! I thanked the guys for their work - and now we just have to wait and see how the story unfolds...  (I'll be sure to announce the link when it airs and is available online!)

For a girl who had an aversion to cameras (least of all TV versions!!) - I was told I was "great talent" and had a natural ability there, and was very obliging (ie: super patient, haha... though I'm not so crash hot on creating my own 'idle dialogue' - poor Jacinta was leading me on that one!!!)... How funny!!!

Two MANIC days of adventures and new experiences later.... and my poor little head was spinning by the time I came home last night.

I sat here, trying to figure out what to write, but it was so far removed from my 'reality' that it was like a comedy of errors - too surreal for words?!   ... and then waking up this morning, it truly was like a crazy dream?!

What happened to my very private, reclusive, shy, solitary, mundane life?!!  When did the switch flick over to all this "NEW", exciting, 'out of the ordinary' little world that it's been the past few months?!   I've never traveled so much, talked so much, smiled so much....  All these insane experiences the last few months have given me this whole new level of confidence I barely recognise in myself!

If it wasn't for the fact I have a sexy new trench coat sitting right behind me right now, and a bunch of photos on my computer - I'd have thought this entire two days weren't even real!  I don't  know what I've done to deserve all these things...  but I'm SO grateful for them right now! I think I owe the Universe (and everyone under that umbrella that's been part of it) one very big "THANK YOU" right about now...

What could possibly come next?!!   .... just amazing!!!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

All aboard the AIM TRAIN!


NOW BOARDING: The AIM TRAIN - Traveling the track of the Century!

... yes, I truly do mean THE TRACK OF THE CENTURY! Not just any century either might I add... but my 100 KILOS LOST "century"!

That's right folks! I'm now into the final phase of the '100' - and we're bringing this baby home, with a bang... and a few TOOT TOOTs!!!

Starting on Monday 23rd May, the AIM TRAIN departs on yet another crazy Challenge! This time I'm off for 12 weeks - with a goal of reaching that - what I once deemed "ridiculously elusive" - century lost mark! And a monster milestone celebration at the end!

If you want to jump on the AIM TRAIN, just find Aim to Change on Facebook and jump aboard! There'll be much fun and frivolity to be had! Blog and video updates... giveaways... challenges... adventures... I may even let someone else order the "Captain" around!!!

Time to get moving again, and can't wait to run down this track with you guys!!

Amy's Goals, Re-commitment & Challenges
This one will be a bit of a "work in progress" as I go along... but as it stands right now, the goal is:

Starting weight: 95kgs = 7 kilos to go!

  • Recommit to a scheduled eating plan - including menu and shopping preparation
  • Formalise weekly training schedules - including at least one pump and RPM class at gym, a strength/resistance session per week
  • New recipe each week - and to share with the group
  • Recommit to drinking required water intake on a daily basis
  • Recommit to daily diary entry and tracking (need an awesome tool? Biggest Loser Club diary is TOPS!! - Click here!)
  • Regular blog updates and posts in the Aim to Change facebook page and group - the Captain must keep his passengers onboard!!

  • Try two new gym classes - Body Attack & LI X-Trainer - and incorporate into weekly schedules
  • Be able to complete a two minute prone hold by the end of the 12 week challenge (currently at 1:15)
  • Continue to develop jog intervals in walking route
  • Increase muscle composition through weekly weight training
  • Exercise 5-6 days per week - in accordance with body recovery and time schedules - REST DAY IS A MUST!!
  • Add more variety to my exercise schedule - stave off muscle-memory!

  • 7 kilos to lose in 12 weeks - to hit 88kgs on the scales (thus making my entire losses to date 100 kilos!)
  • Prepare for, and compete in the City to Surf 14kms fun run in August
  • Prepare for, and complete Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb in August


I pledge to give this Challenge my all - just as I've done in the past - with renewed vigor and my usual determination!

I shall respect my body and my time, and make realistic, proactive choices that are in keeping with my values and goals.

I commit to eating and exercising like a champion, and (as always) will continue to develop my habits in accordance to my new lifestyle. I will NOT cut corners, fast-track or brutalise this magnificent machine for the sake of a goal - instead, I pledge to listen to the needs of my body and adapt my routines accordingly.

I will celebrate the 'wins' and reward myself for a job well done.

At the completion of my 12 week Challenge, my combined reward AND final challege is a Bridge Climb and participation in the Sydney City to Surf. I commit to achieving my weightloss goal by this August deadline, and shouting out from the top of that bridge that I am now 100 kilos lighter, and NEVER going back. The girl that comes back down, and completes both of these final milestone challenges is the NEW AMY!

No ifs or buts... No excuses.


Friday, May 20, 2011

20,000 thank yous!

WOW, guys, seriously WOW!!!

I didn't even realise until I clocked on here to have a squizzy this morning (curiosity and all) - and 20,000 page views?!!  

Just wanted to say a very humbled, very excited THANK YOU for all your support and interest in my adventures. When I went public a few months ago, I didn't anticipate there'd be so many people interested in my story, let alone my ramblings and insane musings on all manner of things along the way!

I'm so happy to have the opportunity to 'help' (albeit "guide") people find their own inner-courage to step up and make the changes they want to see in their own lives too - and I'm truly humbled by all the letters and messages I receive in support.  It's just so touching to hear that you guys have found a little spark of 'inspiration' here!   BUT, let me tell you, it works both ways!

For a girl who'd have much preferred to stay in hiding, opening my life to the masses was NOT an easy decision!  Nothing like putting your own head on the chopping block hey?!!  haha...  But I LOVE how much my message and my actions can help others - it's just ME doing what I need to do, of course - but it makes me work and try harder too, so I don't let YOU down!

Have lots of 'interesting' challenges and milestones coming up, and can't wait to let you guys in on all that goss as it happens!!   I'll also be writing up some poignant topic responses - based on alot of the questions I've received lately - which may be quite helpful for some of you out there!  (or here's hoping at least.. haha!)

Again, a very heartfelt, very humbled THANK YOU from me for all your support!  If you haven't already, join my Aim to Change page over on Facebook for up to date nonsense, giveaways and all things 'Amy'. 

Will talk to you soon!   xx   :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Up, up and away...

Jotting down in my notepad yesterday morning the list of things I wanted to include in my blog post about the last five days... in dot point...  five pages later, I was beginning to question my ability to write this baby up in any form of succinct capacity!   But oh well, you know me well enough to know novel-style is Amy-style, hahaha...  So grab that cup of tea and prepare yourself...!!  ;)

After two solid months of pushing my own boundaries and working harder than I have on my health than ever - and coming through victorious (hurdles, challenges, issues and all) - I was very much looking forward to some "down time" and a well-earned holiday away!  .... and yet five solid pages later of "itinerary", I'm wondering NOW where exactly I'd actually planned on taking some rest... !!!

You see, when I started the 12WBT (and subsequently forfeited for the Commando Challenge - as per previous blog entry!) with my online network of girls - we knew there was a Finale Party to cap it off at the end. Weeks ago, we put it out there that we needed to start organising this 'event' for ourselves - and as the finale date started to catapult toward us, momentum was definitely gearing up for a weekend above and beyond any of our expectations!

This very unique, very special bond we had together became so much more - these women (as I've mentioned previously) are one of my strongest reasons for making it through my Challenge.  Hand-picked, gorgeous-goodness these women are - pure and simply, they're fabulous! We each bring something "to the table" (so to speak! low cals ofcourse, haha) but take so much more from one another, that our network and bond have become really quite unparalleled!

So, naturally, getting the opportunity to get bulk of us in the room together at once was going to be nothing short of INSANE.... and it certainly was...!!!   Here's my side of the story.... 

Amy's Five-Day INSANE Adventure

If you're anything like me, the prospect of traveling seems to flare up some crazy amounts of fear in my bones - for no other reason than lack of experience and confidence.

A few weeks ago, when my Challenge had started to take over my life and interfere with resources - I was at the point of having to opt-out from heading to Melbourne to "party with my girls".  We had SO much talk about activities and meet ups - and it broke my heart that I was going to have to forfeit because of a funding issue.   (.... not that money was the "only" issue there...?!)

I was told, in no uncertain terms, that I was NOT to miss out - that this celebration was for ALL of us on ALL our challenges and successes.... and with our friendship being as strong as it is, I was given the most beautiful gift ever...

The Pand - our wise and generous one - traded in some of her frequent flyer points - bought my plane tickets, and offered up her spare room - just so that I could be there with the girls to celebrate.  VERY humbled by this amazing gesture, I couldn't say no - despite the fact that I was fighting off a terrible fear of flying and travel!!

Our very wise Pand caught me out on that one - and again, went one notch higher.  She took a flight from Melbourne to Sydney on Thursday night, just to pick me up from the airport and bring me back to Melbourne - so I didn't have to take my first-ever plane ride on my own.... 

I really don't have any words for how truly grateful I am for that - I've never had the confidence / resources / necessity to travel - I've ALWAYS been envious of everyone else who seemed to have no issue with flicking around place to place...  But me, there's always been a hideous amount of fear in the pit of my stomach that I simply wasn't allowed to do it.  Maybe it was my size that skewed my view on that - I always feared the humiliation of having to ask for an extension belt on the seatbelt; or spilling my girth all over the poor person sitting next to me...  I'd have visions of not fitting into the seats properly; and heaven forbid I was simply too heavy that I weighed that plane down!   (mmmm... yep, I truly did believe that too - just like I believed I could break elevator cables, and make step ladders collapse...  you name it, I'd envisaged horror scenes with them all cuz of my weight.  Hence my sheer avoidance.)

Having been rid of excuses not to come - tickets bought and my "chaperone" locked in - I really had no choice in the matter - my girls would NOT let me back out of it!   How could I throw such an amazing gesture back in their face - I'd be ashamed of myself if I did....

SO, it was official!  I was off to Melbourne!!!

Beautiful one day, frozen the next....  wait, and I haven't even left Bathurst yet?!!  WHAT?!!

Ohhhh yeah, absolutely blisteringly cold morning I wake up to on Thursday - including SNOW about 20mins into the first leg of my journey!!!  Driving along to Lithgow, I'm wondering what on earth all that white muck was all over the sides of the road...   Yes, seriously... !

Driving further along, it dawns on me - particularly when it's covering all the freaking mountains ahead of me - and I start to get very, very, very nervous...!!   I was barely into the first leg of my travels, and I was already encountering something NEW! 

I've never actually seen real snow like that before...  (I know..!!!) - and the more of it that was spewed all over the road in front of me, the more nervous I became!  Just breathe... slow down...

Ohhhh yeah, this was just the first of MANY new things, let me tell you!

Get to Penrith (my sis' place) to leave my car there for car-sitting duties - and then have to make my way to Central Station ON MY OWN!  Now, I make no apologies for being quite a "country girl" - and clearly I'm a little naive when it comes to travel - so the prospect of having to hot-shoe it to Central Station for a connecting train to the Domestic airport made me all kinds of queasy...

... and yet I did it!!!!   That was THE stipulation - I had to get myself from Bathurst to the airport - where Pand would meet me and babysit me the rest of the way to Melbourne!  ... and I did it!!   One little win for me!!

Sitting in the airport drinking my hot chocolate and trying to look like I knew what I was doing (hahaha) - Pand flys in after her day's work, finds me, has a chat - then it's "education time"...  Off to the check-in terminals, baggage deposit and security gates... All VERY intimidating for a first time plane-traveler...  But I'm ok, I have backup!   Post-check-in, and a flaunt around the shops in the terminal waiting for our flight out, I'm getting pretty tired by now... It's been a really LONG day!   3hours drive to Penrith (with a snow altercation!!), an hour on the train, waiting it out for the plane... and then we board!

I'd have to say at that point I was a "bit over the whole lot of it" by then, weary traveler and all.... UNTIL....

I sat in my seat, put the seatbelt on...  NO extension necessary!!!  Plenty of leg room!!!!  The tray table goes ALL the way down without issue...  and ohhh my god, I actually FIT IN A REGULAR SEAT!   THESE were my biggest fears about flying - and right then, they all just disappeared!  GONE!   My fear had nothing to do with air travel, heights, costs, safety, turbulence... nothing.  It was all FAT-RELATED!     .... and Wise-Pand knew it I reckon...  (even if I hadn't really admitted it to myself...)

So despite my uber-tiredness at this point, my VICTORY right here was enough to perk me right up... Was feeling mighty chuffed, and then we took off....

.... and flying above the lights of Sydney - looking down at all the "fairy lights" - I was absolutely dumbfounded. I think I spent bulk of the first ten minutes with my nose pressed against the window (Pand had given me the window seat!).... it was truly amazing!    I was FLYING - irrespective of the plane - I was FLYING and my head was spinning (and it wasn't just air pressure related, haha) - my whole world just opened up right then and there!    I can't truly explain it, but it's like someone had just unlocked yet another door I'd literally slammed shut long ago. I have NO restriction with this now...  Can't be green with envy of everyone else with this one now - I have no reasons at all why I can't do the same....   If that's not a truly liberating moment, then I don't know what is?!!   The whole world literally just opened up in front of me!

OHHHH and during the flight, it was Pand that kept pointing out that I was a first-time plane traveler - and scored us a baby bottle of wine each with our dinner!  (I got fed too, woohooo!)... not to mention the Qantas colouring in packs they brought for us - hehehehe - AND the full sized bottle of white I was presented later!!!  Feeling VERY spoilt for my first ever plane flight... and I did blush a little!  The crew were SO nice!

... SO, on landing, we step out and HELLO MELBOURNE!   My first-ever tram ride to Pand's house later, and I'm armed and dangerous for the day ahead!


It'd been "pre-planned" that I was to meet up with three of my gorgeous girls the following morning for some serious shopping!

... but after such a HUGE first day of traveling, admittedly, I was pretty knocked around.  I'd caught a chill and was fighting off a bit of a bug, so was dosed up to my eyeballs in all things echinacea and natural - NO TIME FOR SICKNESS!!!   ... and had a little "slow and steady" start to the day, while Pand hoofed it off to work as normal!

Poor old Melbourne was suffering some crazy weather - and here all I'd packed was skirts!  (argh! ... no pants and serious lack of warm clothing in my wardrobe!).   Lucky for me, Pand to the rescue (again!) - she'd thrown me some jeans that SHE had shrunk out of...  One look at them and I laughed, as if I'd get my butt into those...    Desperate times call for desperate measures - my bones and body were aching with cold and I needed PANTS! ... and the bloody things fit!  Regular 18!!!! 

Meanwhile, during my 'go slow' morning, I'd organised for one of my gorgeous girls to head over my way, and we'd flick over to K-Mart (shopping Mecca for those on a budget like me, hahaha!) - plus I was in search for some serious "suck me in" garments for under my party dress...   I was on a mission!  ;)   (.... and clearly have no shame about telling you guys about that, hehehe!)

Having NO CLUE where I was, I think it was sheer brilliance on Lynda's behalf that SHE managed to find ME at Pand's house - and took over the babysitting duties thereafter!  (hahaha...)     Have never met this girl before either, but it was like we'd been mates from YEARS back - I refer to her as my "Super Twin" (cuz she's freaking awesome, has lost about 60kgs herself and is a MACHINE on the exercise front!)... and she's very much like me!  We're one in the same!!!!  (*poke*)  She's like my soul sister!  (love love!)

Off we trot to K-Mart, just up the road, and go on our little prelude shopping spree!!!  Lots of $5 / $8 / $15 bargains later (transition clothes - don't like spending money on things I have no plan on wearing for too long between sizes!!) - and a few "mission try-ons" later - and we're off out the door, yapping away, heading towards a tram to take us to the City to meet the next bunch!

It was a pre-planned "meet and greet" luncheon this one - somewhere we could all meet each other (for those that hadn't already) and spend time together as a group!   ... and again, it was like we'd all known each other for years!!!    This time I got to meet beautiful Kelly (and hubby!) and gorgeous Annette (and her aunty), Nicole, and Lynda's mum.  Pand and Kate (my beautiful Melbourne girls that came all the way to Sydney for my glamour shoot a couple weeks prior) had dropped in during their lunch break, and our entire table just buzzed with friendship!!   A great big round table, we sat there and stuffed ourselves stupid with freshly made dumplings of all varieties at the Hu Tong Dumpling Bar - and conversed like we were catching up with old mates!   An amazing feeling - that instantaneous connection - yet another NEW moment for me!!  Just beautiful!

Super Twins!
We left on our merry way, and head off in search of more shops! ... we were in Melbourne after all... hahaha!  Bitterly cold out, walking around the streets, I spotted some street art - which the designer in me appreciated more than my poor, cold feet did at the time... (hahaha).

We split up later, when we'd all had enough of the bitter cold and shopping in general, and Lynda and I head off in search of my "magic dress" that I've been eying off for a couple of weeks on the  Dream Diva website...   Having stumbled across the shop (YAY!) we step inside to acclimatise ourselves to dress shopping...

Now, given I only discovered my capacity to wear dresses a couple of weeks ago, "THIS" particular dress was a "must try" - was something I'd found online, but needed to try it before I bought it...   Meanwhile, Lynda found HER choice dress and subsequently purchased it!!!  (WOOHOOO!!).    .... oh, and yes I DID buy the "magic dress"....  it'll appear at a very special, Commando dinner in a couple weeks time!  ;)  Stay tuned for that one!!    BUT again, another gorgeous NEW moment - dress shopping with my Super Twin (just like best mates do!) - never done that before either...  and I hazard a guess that was a first for her too?!  Just a beautiful feeling to know you can be so comfortable and ok with someone... doing something SO unnatural!!!

Off we head thereafter, chuffed with ourselves, to meet up with Pand in the city - for a cupcake and coffee (or a hot choc in my case!).... AND my first cupcake in FOREVER!!!  ... I was on holidays after all yeah?!!   .. ps: ohhh the guilt at the beginning, OUCH!   BUT this is my new lifestyle now - no guilt anymore. One will NOT undo three years of hard work... !!!    Red Velvet cupcake = divine!!!

We drop Lynda off at her stop, and then Pand and I head back to her place...  Meanwhile, the cold and the fatigue have truly kicked in by now, and my head is caving in under the pressure.  I'm FREEZING and I'm in pain - and I had a PT session lined up with Pand when we got home?!!  ARGH!   Nah, I had to forfeit - I was in no state to throw myself around - despite how much I was really looking forward to it.   I'd heard some awesome war-stories about this PT of Pand's, so was itching to get a thrashing, hahaha!   Yes, I truly am sadistic when it comes to exercise...!!!

Instead, I opted for a long hot shower, a cup of tea, and armed myself with more echinacea, fluffy socks and my jammies!!   ... yep, just like I owned the place... while she head off for her session!   It was decided, considering the state of the weather (copious amounts of rain and bitterly cold wind) and my sniffles and lethargy, that Pand and I would forfeit the 12WBT training session the following morning.  As much as it pained me to miss out, I couldn't handle the thought of freezing to the bones and getting myself sicker than necessary... so left the others to their devices with that one!   Maybe next time!  :D


... no rest for the wicked though, Pand and I hit the gym for a Pump class at her gym instead!  And I kicked butt!!  I was all geared up for some sweat, and despite the minimal lurgies, hit some great weights and burnt through a good cals session!    ... and do you know what?!  That's the first time I've ever hit a BIG gym like that - not my little local - a big city gym, with big city grunty boys and skinny girls, and I got in there and didn't even flinch!!!!    Another victory for ME!

Off to a cruisey lunch at home - Pand's homemade 300cal healthy pizzas (divine!!!  Recipe to go up on my webby soon!) - and we unwind a little before heading off to get our Glam on at the hairdressers!

A few of the girls meet up at Pand's place thereafter, all geared up to get ready and head off for our big Finale party!  Talk about funny - Pand referred to it as a bit of a "brothel" in there - clothes, shoes, makeup strung everywhere... and not to mention the "can you just do this for me!" and the makeup lessons, hair advice.... ahhhhh!   Right about here, THIS was yet another FIRST for me - I've never really been part of a group of women I've been SO naturally comfortable with, to do something like that!!   It was awesome!!!!   So much fun and laughter - just like we were a bunch of teenagers!!!   (I missed out on all that growing up... and again, I don't think I'm alone in this experience either?!)

THE dress!
I went and put my makeup on, then helped Lynda put HER makeup on, then it was time to get out THE dress!  (not to be mistaken for the 'magic dress' as purchased earlier - no, THE dress that was bought on my birthday shopping spree a couple weeks ago - the one I've been eluding to ever since!!!). 

It was my first ever dress purchase - a City Chic size XS  (Extra Small - wtf?!!!!!!!!)  - and I couldn't wait to show the girls!  THIS is what they'd helped me achieve in the two months of my Challenge - it was as much my reward as it was theirs... 

Might sound silly - but I wouldn't have made it into that dress without the love, support and belief from these ladies... That dress meant more to me than some superficial party frock - it was like my trophy for a job well done - a great big enormous FIRST!    I stepped out in a store-bought dress, short and sleeveless (both taboo in years gone by) in bright red killer "look at me" heels (another taboo - who wants attention when you hate what you look like?!). 

It had nothing to do with how it looked on, nor the sizing - no, it was ALL about how it made me feel - the person in that dress was confident, sassy and walking around like she deserved to be there....  Stepping out onto the streets of Melbourne in THAT dress, with my black trenchcoat and sexy heels... I caught a glimpse of myself in the tram window reflection and had to look twice...   Who on earth was that person?!   Surely that's not me?!!   The enormous smile on her face said everything - just for a minute I remembered and flinched (old habits die hard).... and then let it fade out equally as fast.  NO - it was the red shoes and THAT dress that were out tonight, and that was final!   ... no ifs or buts...

SO off we go to the party, and hit the other hundreds of frocked-up, glammed-up crazy people at Silk Road!  The place was PACKED - and everyone was buzzing!  Is this what happens when you put a bunch of serious weightloss over-achievers in one jar together?!!  hahaha!     If they were feeling anything like ME at that moment, then there's little wonder the place could barely contain us!!!!

Meeting up with the rest of our posse, and lots of "OHHHH my god you look freaking awesome!"s later (and seriously, they did - my girls have worked VERY hard this round and have all come away winners!) - we all cram in like crazy sardines, and off the celebrations go!

A few of us even ventured so far as to hustle through the crowd and join the queue to have our photos taken with Michelle Bridges - and another three-hour (hahaha.. felt like it!!) return trek later, back to the group of girls!

Much free champers later, and we're all rather merry!  (hahaha) - and as Annette said in a group post afterwards "What goes on tour, stays on tour!"... so there shall be no tainting my awesome girls here on this blog!!!   They all looked stunning, and freaking fabulous!

So up Michelle Bridges pops on stage - and starts her speeches (as she does...).   Don't ask me what happened here - but something clicked, something shifted...   Standing behind all the girls, I lost the plot. All my confidence flew out the soles of my shoes, my "sassy girl" thing went flying out the window, and I was standing there on the verge of tears.... 

One of the girls turns around to ask if I'm ok (it clearly registered on my face - I used to be able to hide these thing so well?!!  OR maybe they just KNOW me so well, yeah... they just KNOW...) - which ofcourse set off the chain of waterworks - and then I just lose the plot entirely thereafter!   I can't really explain it - I don't really know what happened or why the emotions just became so overwhelming...  I'd been quite FINE up until that point, then BAM!

I think it just became too overwhelming... So much NEW all at once - standing there in a dress that I was barely brave enough to wear, with a group of women (who I absolutely love to bits) but a connection I've never truly had with friends like that - feeling so WANTED and a part of this celebration (which has never happened before) - it was just really overwhelming.

I've never been part of anything quite like that - I'd usually avoid EVERYTHING from shame, shyness and being horribly solitary...   And here I was, defying EVERYTHING I'd been living for the past two decades.   It wasn't that I was sad... I think I was just genuinely overwhelming happy... maybe?.... or maybe just outright GRATEFUL is more the word?!  

I was SAFE with my girls, I was wanted and respected, and NOT excluded.... and yet I was falling into the habitual trap of pulling myself away and hiding in the corner - just like I've always done  (out of sight, out of mind - can't "get in the way" with my huge body if I hide)... and I think part of me refused to do that - I was conflicted, because I'm so gutt-wrenchingly sick of being forgotten and worthless - I was having battles with myself, trying to break the old nasty habit that's always seen me miss out...   That's NOT who I am anymore, and me and THAT dress and those red heels refused to go backwards!

.... I have NO idea what was going on "in my moment" there - but my gorgeous girls rallied and fixed me up - they made me ok and put the stupid crazy smile back on my face!  For a girl who prefers subtle so she "blends" better; a girl who can't handle being touched (as mentioned before, seriously did believe I made people physically ill) and being hugged repeatedly by my girls; a girl whose shy and unassuming (you just wouldn't know it here, hahaha) - in a massive crowd, going off with her posse....  I was fighting off wanting to revert and run away from it all - fighting to be this new person that I KNOW I am, but just aren't quite used to yet?!   .... and it's hard!   Very, very hard...

The transition I've been through just lately is HUGE - and I don't often give myself credit for stepping up to these challenges and realising the impact each one of these sorts of things has on me. Every time I push my boundaries, I break through into another level - more confidence, more self-respect, more self-worth... opening avenues I never knew existed to me. I'm so "cruisey" with alot of these things though, I often miss my own signals in the process!  Can't quite explain it - but at that teary moment, I'd well and truly underestimated what that night - what this whole few days - had actually done for me. My life had literally just turned another corner....  (I can only recognise that NOW - it's taken me a few days to process it...).  When people talk about "life changing moments" - that was one of mine!! 

Suze, The Pand and I get our HAPPY on!
.... and after the speeches and awards were presented, and the official parts had concluded... the music started....   And you know what happened then?!   My inner disco-diva took over!  hahaha! No more tears - ALL celebration - time for DANCING!!!  Forgo the killer heels - put on the flats and get my dance on! 

... and ohhhhh was there dancing!  ... yup, all the way through to the wee hours of the morning there was dancing... !!!   Have I not pre-warned everyone enough that when I get that bug, it just keeps going and going?!! hahaha...    Yup, we lost casualties all through the night - one by one they fell by the wayside... and I danced on!

In the end, it was only my Super Twin and Suze that kept up - and major kudos for those girls!  Suze in her heels (feet-killers, haha) - and my gorgeous Lynda who ISN'T a dancer (!!!! - shocked the hell out of me when she said she'd never really danced in public like that before - did I corrupt her into that OR did I just unleash a beast?!!  hahaha!).  It made me realise, then, that I wasn't the only one experiencing such huge transitions and firsts - we were doing this together, and we had each other's back in the process!   

We head off in search of coffees and hot chocolates at 2am!  .... ohhh, and cake!  ...bed by 3am...  cold, exhausted, tired, chocolate and champers infused... but HAPPYYYYYYY!!!  It was very much a VICTORIOUS night - you can't be unhappy when you've just beaten some serious negatives into the ground...  It was just an amazing night all round!!


As promised, I was up at 8am, showered and gym-ready by 9am - and guilted Pand and Suze (passed out on the couch, hahaha) into gearing up for the gym!  After all, we'd already pre-pledged that one - and despite my lack of zzzzz's, I was RARING to go!

Off on the crossy I go for a fabulous 30mins session; followed by a further 15mins on this crazy step/incliney machine which was hammering my glutes!  Freaking fabulous - I want one in my gym!!!  It just felt great after some serious dancing and walking around the city at 3am trying to get a freaking taxi!!!...  (hahaha... she says, with a slight hint of sarcasm!)

Us three crazy people head off for some lunch thereafter - another one of Pand's famous pizzas - and then await the arrival of our visitors for our next scheduled activity!!

Off to hit the notorious 1000 Steps in the Dandenong Ranges - the challenging trail that I hear about ALL the time!  The Melb girls quite often hit the Steps for training sessions together, and I'm always envious of their frequent jaunts.  SO, it was a "must do" on the agenda when we hit Melbourne!!

Off we head - trainers, jackets, heart rate monitors at the ready!  (we're all seasoned pros at this now - we don't just exercise, we TRAIN!) - and off Super Twin Lynda, Muscles Moroney and I head and lead the bunch of misfits!!! 

23mins & 30 secs we did our climb!!!  .. nearly died, but we did it!!!  I can now officially say I've climbed the 1000 Steps with my gorgeous girls (or some of them at least!) - and we did it with a vengeance!!!

Off to the Cafe thereafter for a hot chocolate and a cookie to warm up, but not before I spotted the kids' jungle gym off to the side...  erm... what can I say... I'm a child?!!  bahahahaha...  

BUT where you lead, others will follow - and hey, if *I* am a child... then what's that say about this lot of crazy women?!  Yes, we truly are one in the same, hehehehe!  ... and PS: I DO fit inside a kids' tunnel - woohoooo!!!  (fabulous for the ego... not so great for the knees, hahahaha!)

Home for a hot shower and some serious chillaxing thereafter - my glutes and calves are seriously bitching at me by now!!  I say goodbye to my girls - and it breaks my heart...  Having spoken so often to these women online, it was just SO natural to be together as a group and laugh, joke, talk to them like I'd known them forever...  Broke my heart knowing I'm too far away to see them regularly like this - but I guess that's where the gratitude comes in.  The Net and our ability to communicate every day, it's taken distance and obstruction out of the equation so much - wasn't losing them, was just miffed I wouldn't get to hug them!!!   (yep... that's how much of an impact these ladies have made - they broke my "don't touch me" barrier; I have no fear of talking to them like I do with others; and I feel so absolutely 100% wanted in their presence). 

Back home and I pack my bags - and Pand cooks up a mean steak dinner to cap off my last night there in Melbourne!  (spoilt much?!!)


Up at 6am, and ready to roll before 8... Pand takes me off to the Skybus - a fool-proof way of getting rid of me... err... getting me to the airport!!!! hahahaha!   We say our goodbyes - and I try not to burst into tears again for the most amazing gifts she's given me - she already knows the impact this has made, and will continue to make...

Off on my own, it's all up to me now to get myself back through the airport! Traveling off on the Skybus at the crack of dawn (haha) and I'm pretty bloody tired right about now! Reflecting back on all the activites, the amazing celebrations, the bonds and friendships that are just so second-nature to us... I'm just dumbfounded...  It's all NEW to me, and I've come through it without bruises or pain, no remorse or sorrow (another first!) - I'm truly HAPPY, enlightened and have just come through another challenge with my head held high!!

.... OHHH but there's one more to go... ! Hitting Melbourne airport on my own - I check myself in, load my luggage (20.8kgs of heavy-arse bag, hahaha!), security scan myself and then head off to find a hot chocolate...   Standing in line waiting for the lady to make the thing, they start boarding the plane, and the butterflies in my tummy start jack-knifing!!!  EEEK!  Stay calm... line's long... there's time....   Swig my hot chocolate (was room temp anyway and shouldn't have bothered!!!) - I jump into the queue just as its about to finish, and hop on board!   ON THE PLANE - well done me!!!

Feeling pretty chuffed with myself right about now - we take off and up, up and away... !   ... and as we climb higher, and the ground falls away from us... my heart starts doing leap-frogs, and my breath catches in my throat.  We're above the clouds - and all I can see is white, fluffyness off into the distance....   I've never seen anything like it in my life - it's the most beautiful sight....  It's like we're flying over the Antarctic!  It's just so pure and beautiful.... strip away the shuffling of newspapers behind me and the occasional businessman's hacking cough - and I was literally in heaven!    I'm back to that insane "flying" feeling again, and takes all my energy not to burst into copious amounts of tears....  Now we all know that I'm rather "highly strung" of late with all my emotional change-ups, but in that one moment it really did hit me just how different I am.... 

This adventure was just so much more than just my first plane flight.... It was so much more than just meeting a few friends....  So much more than getting glammed up and having a party....  I'm literally up here on top of the world, and all I wanted to do was jump outside that plane and bounce on those fluffy white clouds in pure happiness!   I have never felt so "free" in my life as I did at that moment...  It was the most amazing wake-up call of all - there's just so much more out there that I haven't seen or experienced yet, and if it's anything as remarkable or beautiful as those fluffy white clouds, and my five day adventure, then by god I'm a lucky girl... !  I truly have been given a second chance at life... No words can express how grateful I am for that...

SO flicking closer to Sydney - and having successfully won the battle of holding in my tears (didn't want to embarrass myself with Mister Business Man sitting next to me!) - it hits me AGAIN when we start moving along the coast line!  THE most spectacular coastline views from my window seat - again, never seen anything like it....  Watching out my window with my mouth open and my nose pressed against the glass again...  I am totally in love with flying!!!!

Perfect landing... and I head out, successfully collect my bags and head to the trains!   I make my way back to Central Station, switch to Penrith, head over to the Plaza and buy myself some yummy fresh sushi!  (... like I know my way around or something, hahaha - yet another indicator that I'm so VERY different!  I'd have avoided this like the plague before)...  and arrive at my sisters' house to pick up the car later... feeling SUPERBLY CHUFFED with myself - VERY superior!!!   I did it - ALL BY MYSELF!!!!   
Katoomba's Three Sisters

Heading off home, I stop off at Katoomba - one of my fav places - and reflect a little on what it is I've  just done...   I'm SO very grateful for this five-day extravaganza of opportunities and adventures - feeling VERY loved, and very privileged.  Enlightened and confident - and very, very appreciative...  

Just as I said my other challenges haven't been wasted on me - neither has this one. Pand, you KNOW what this has done for me already, and I can tell you now, your generosity and support have not been wasted this time either...   I am SO very grateful... 

I'm a 32 year old who has FINALLY been somewhere!!!!  No more hiding, those doors aren't locked to me anymore...

* * * * *

Where on earth do I start to thank these amazing women.... They have had the most profound impact on me, and I am truly blessed and humbled to have their friendship and love.  It's incredibly hard for me to register just what capacity these connections have made for me - it's certainly new and very emotional either way....   and more so, when they'll tell you that YOU are the reason that THEY have achieved so much.    ... I don't think they realise just how much *I* needed THEM. I am so incredibly lucky to have found these amazing women - and so very, very humbled to call them my friends...

Unless someone has lived a life of restriction (courtesy of weight issues, as in my case) - then they would probably think I was a bit of a nufta with all my fears, emotions and dramas here - but my girls understand me and know why it's such a big thing - and having that pure connection and support base has had a huge impact on my ability to reshape my life into something that I'm proud AND amazed by - friendship like this has been monumental, and I'm SO grateful for these beautiful souls.

My five day Melbourne adventure has been nothing short of AMAZING! It is one of the most prolific experiences of my life, and has just opened my eyes to how much I truly have changed.  I've had so many WOW moments in such a short space of time - it's like someone keeps showering me in revelation!!!   

.... and it's seriously only just begun!     This girl's just starting to spread her wings.... !

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

12 weeks = goal SUCCESS!

SO, right now I'm "supposed" to be packing my bags, getting myself ready for my FIRST EVER PLANE RIDE tomorrow (eeeeek!) and heading off to Melbourne for a fun-filled few days of well.... fun... filled with more fun, haha!

.... and then I started thinking!  (oh yes, I call it "thinking" .... not PROCRASTINATING! hehehe)....

Some of you already know, but let me explain!  I'm off this weekend to Melbourne to join all the other 12WBT guys & girls for a training session AND finale party!  I officially had to forfeit the 12WBT program when the Biggest Loser Club threw me the challenge of all challenges (starting just two weeks later) - and I seriously couldn't say no!  I folded my registration and hit the GO button on my Commando Challenge instead....  but I haven't done this alone!

NO - I've had a VERY special bunch of women who have paralleled me the entire way through!  These awesome women are all 12WBTers - we started the program together, and have been motivating, supporting and inspiring each other ever since!  These special ladies "gave me their blessings" to forfeit their "team" (I felt terrible opting out) - but their support and encouragement didn't end there! In fact, we've been paralleling the entire way through!

So much so, that they have all just finalised THEIR 12WBT challenge, with today being the final weigh in (right after mine, last Sunday!) - and this weekend's celebrations cap the entire 12 weeks off!  I'm off to celebrate and meet these amazing women - and anyone else who I happen to run into (hahaha!) - to congratulate them on THEIR amazing achievements and milestones, overcoming all the hurdles and barriers THEY have faced along the last few months too!  In no short terms, these ladies are BEAUTIFUL in every aspect of the word - and I hazard a guess that I would not have come through my own Challenge without these ladies paralleling their challenges right beside me...

Which makes this trip even more exciting for me!  Not only do I get to jump up and down and celebrate our accumulated achievements - but I get to knock some of my other goals off the list now too!  - including my first ever plane ride!!!  (whhheeeeeee - and we can thank Pand for this one - she's even flying up here tomorrow to pick me up so I don't have to travel alone.... how loved am I?!!  I even have personal babysitters, hehehe!!!) - AND I get to face-to-face meet these amazing women!

SO, back to my story....  sitting here tossing up what to throw into the suitcase for this mammoth event - and more importantly, running around in my brand new dress and heels for the party (and thinking I've won the lotto - cuz the dress is even less snug since I bought it the other weekend!)  ....  I realised that today would have officially capped off "my 12 weeks" (if I hadn't have forfeited) - so I went and revisited my paperwork from the beginning of the 12WBT.....

At the beginning, it asked us to put some goals into place - and having just re-read over my one, three, six and twelve month goals I'd set 12 weeks ago.... I can honestly say that I'm gobsmacked. I have tears rolling over my cheeks - cuz I'm just SO SO SO proud of myself right now!  I *knew* there'd been some massive changes lately (the last 2 months with the Commando Challenge have been enormous - HUGE transitions both physically and mentally)... but to see what "previous me" had written for herself, in comparison to my reality....  just WOW.

I wanted to share....

Twelve weeks ago (end of Feb) I started the 12WBT at roughly 109kgs.  In the first two weeks, I lost about 4.5kgs, and then had to forfeit when I officially started the Commando Challenge with BLC.  That huge loss in just two weeks threw a massive spanner in the works - I've never pulled such high numbers before - and they lowered my "goal" down to 95 as a result of it!    I was at 104.2kgs as my official start weight for the 8-week Commando Challenge, and questioned my ability to pull such big numbers for the duration thereafter (given my body doesn't regulate losses like that - let alone in such high numbers!!).   Well, the rest is history (so to speak) and we already know I hit it..!!!    BUT reflecting back on ALL my goals, it really made me realise just how much I've achieved OFF the scales...

These were the goals I'd set at the beginning of the 12WBT - not knowing I was about to embark on even BIGGER challenges ahead!   ....

One month goals:
Lose 2kgs - Join the gym, attend my first group class - Get back in the pool at the gym - work up to swimming 10 laps - Work up to 4x laps of my river circuit walk (12kms - currently at 3laps) - Buy kayak  - Build up running efforts - Try NEW EXERCISES at gym - incorporate more strength training.

Think we can safely say I blew the kilos lost out of the water in the first month!!!   AND I joined the gym - AND attended my first ever group class (my beloved Pump)  - and whilst I didn't make it into the pool until later (as one of my weekly set challenges) - I DID knock this one on the head too as it wasn't just 10 laps, I hit 30!!!      Bought my kayak (dubbed "The Commando" - again, that was BEFORE the arrival of the Commando Challenge!!!  The Universe does throw me some warped things sometimes!!!)... and I NOW RUN intervals!   New exercises at the gym - TICK!   More strength training - TRIPLE TICK!!!  ... oh, and as for those river laps, let's say FIVE laps now!  Oh yeah baby!!!

Three month goals:
Lose 6 kilos - Be attending at least 3 group gym classes per week, and half hour cardio before/after. Pool sessions on a 4th day on its own - build up to 30 laps of pool. - Get on a plane for the first time to go to Melbourne for 12WBT bootcamp and party! Night out with the girls - in a NEW outfit!

Ohhh yeah, knocked that 6kgs goal on the head too!!!!  I'll delve more on that one in a tick...  Three group gym classes a week - CHECK!  Cardio before/after - again check!  Pool sessions - regular - and I'm now up to 50 laps a hit!   PARTY IN MELBOURNE to come on Saturday - and that new outfit, well, I'm wearing it right now in anticipation... hahahaha!!!  My first ever REAL DRESS - another milestone moment!!

Six month goals:
Lose 10kgs - be back in double digits!!! - Katoomba hiking/trail walk - Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge!!! - Do 50 laps of the pool

Again, safe to say that kilo goal is done and dusted - and as for that double digits goal.... BOOOOOYEAHHHHH!!!   That one went off a couple of weeks ago!  NOT IN SIX MONTHS TIME!!!   THAT is the one that really blew my mind when I was reading over it a minute ago - I've literally knocked a few solid months off that baby, and am SO happy!!   50 laps of the pool, DONE!   As for the Harbour Bridge climb - well, you guys already know I have that booked in for August (YAYYYYY!) as one of my goal rewards for the NEXT milestone... More fun to come!

This is when things REALLY start to take some perspective for me - these were REALISTIC, set goals I'd issued myself 12 weeks ago - and to see them come to fruition like this, in such a BIG way, is just boggling my mind right now!

SO much has changed in just two months - the Commando Challenge really threw me into overdrive with my goals.  It pushed me beyond my limits - both physically and emotionally - and made me realise just how much I WANTED this new chapter of my life!  My transition over the past three years has definitely been "slow and steady" - I'm the tortoise!!  I've always been happy to stay in the background, push at it bit by bit... but this year, I was READY TO RUN - it was time to push myself out of the comfort zone and really crack this baby through!

.... and the results speak for themselves!  In the past 12 weeks, I've lost 13.8 kilos!   That's more than double my usual "slow and steady" pace... and yes, I have had to seriously earn it - I've never trained so hard in my life, never been SO disciplined with my food, nor pushed myself out of my comfort zone in a hundred ways the way I have for the past two months!

I have earnt every freaking gram of that loss - but more than just the numbers - I have never been SO proud of myself for beating all the self-doubt, inhibitions and demons along the way. I've never been SO STRONG as I am right now - and you can't measure THAT success on the scales!!!

Reflecting on that, it's taken me three solid years of working on sustainable weightloss, and having knocked 75% of it on the head (alot of tears and tantrums later!) - this year I was truly ready to take it up a notch! Seriously big numbers need some serious time to do it properly - and it's only this year I've felt like I'm in control enough to really push my boundaries - knowing full well all my discipline, structure and healthy lifestyle habits were very solid behind me.  Without those, I would NOT have come through this the way I have... It's the only reason I've survived, hahaha! 

... and here's the last one, my twelve month goal:   (to really put it into perspective)
Lose 22 kilos - be at goal weight 88 kilos!! - Book in for body surgery (January 2012) - Be exercising 6 days a week, and always diligent with food

That's ME - every day - working on the food, working on the health...  That's not 12 months away, that's RIGHT NOW!   Lose 22 kilos - make that 7.2!!!!    7.2 to my next major milestone goal - that elusive 88 - is just 7kilos away!  (she says with tears spurting out her eyeballs!!!) - THAT is the goal that means the world to me, and it's not that far away..!!!    That's my August goal now - what I'm working for now...  THAT is my next challenge - and it's another 12 or so weeks away!  Coincidence?!  I think not....!!!


In three months, my entire little world has changed SO MUCH - those goals were just something to keep me moving forward - but they seem to be literally re-shaping my life!!   I did NOT foresee all the amazing things that would happen in just a few months - forging the friendships and network I have now (to which I'll forever be grateful); the opportunity to extend myself beyond my own imaginings courtesy of the Commando Challenge and its "step it up" mentality; realising I'm no longer burdered or hindered by an enormous body (mental transition here has been insane!); and finding this crazy inner courage, strength and character I hadn't really "let loose" before....  my god....

I am truly grateful right now!    .... and how much am I loving this new me?!!!

The next 12 weeks - my goal is that final 7.2 kilos...  If the last 12 weeks is any indicator, there's going to be some seriously amazing changes to come - so it's definitely time to put some more dreams down on paper....  that'll be my homework when I come home from Melbourne!  BRING IT ON!!

Can't wait to meet my gorgeous posse this weekend - and congratulate ALL the 12WBTers for a job well done!  I truly hope they've all achieved some of their goals too - it's an AMAZING feeling!!!!

Lots of photos and crazy bloggy-goodness about my adventures to come!

Now, back to packing....  What on earth do I put in this suitcase?!    New dress, trainers, undies....  hahaha   (I know... I'm a worry....!)

xx   :D

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week Eight - The results are in!

Well, if you haven't already heard - and I find that astounding cuz I haven't stopped gushing about it since I posted it on Facebook this morning!!! - final weigh-in was a SUCCESS!!! 

After 8 weeks of Commando-style challenges - everything from physical butt-busting workouts, through to intense "forward-thinking" planning - I think it's suffice to say that the last two months have been nothing short of HUGE for me!

But let's cut to the chase, and crunch these numbers first - let's see just what it is I've produced in 8 weeks...!!! 

Started the challenge on Sunday 13th March (my dad's birthday!) - at 104.2. 
Now ending Sunday 8th May (Mother's Day!) at 95.2.

Challenge loss: 9kgs in 8 weeks!  
My overall total loss to date: 92.8kgs!  (49.4% on week 175)

I also recorded another 9cms lost this morning - bringing my total centimetres lost to 225!!   No wonder my clothes are swimming on me, hahaha! I'd been wearing roughly 18-22s in clothing, I'm now buying size 14 tops, and fit a size 16/18 skirt!!! Gobsmacked...!  A HUGE amount of physical change in just two months...!

Considering my average loss for the past three years has been roughly 600grams a week (if I'm lucky!) - setting out to INCREASE that for the duration of this Challenge (to hit the 95 goal) was nothing short of daunting!  I honestly questioned my ability to produce consistent figures that would literally be DOUBLE my usual - and didn't think I'd actually pull it off!    The two weeks prior to Challenge kick-off, I'd dropped 4.5kgs quite out of the blue, which made it even MORE intimidating, given my track-record of up and down losses - it'd always plateau out if I lost too much too quickly!  SO, coming into the back end of the Challenge, I was definitely feeling the pressure... 

.... as you'd have noticed in the previous couple of blog posts!  hahaha....   Yes, the last two weeks have been quite hellish!  After my body literally shut itself down - and my mental-edge jumped out the window right behind it, I was STRUGGLING to keep a hold of what I'd achieved - and that elusive 95 seemed even more out of reach.   My body was literally exhausted - I'd progressively kept building the exercise up and up and up - and I'd even go so far as to say I was becoming hazardously obsessive with it - if I was sitting still, I'd feel like I was failing!!  Even got to the point where I was scared to eat - and you all know how much I love my food - and I was seriously disappointed with myself that I'd let it get to that point... 

The past two weeks I've been literally fighting back - my body was exhausted (my digestive system had shut itself down, my knees were beyond sore, my legs were aching, I even got sick, which is rare...) and the pressure I was feeling really was quite ridiculous - it was all bubbling away ferociously in my head - I wasn't sleeping properly, I was having mini-anxiety attacks, and I felt physically sick with stress... a lot.  I let the scales shake me to the point of breakdown, and I needed a good, solid dose of REALITY to bring me back into line.  

Things had to change - and fast. In fact, instead of "going harder" just to meet a deadline, I actually tapered all my training back instead. Rested when I needed it, and stopped berating myself for only getting through "half" my usual exercise stints.   I stopped playing 'food avoidance' and reaquainted myself with structure again - three solid meals plus snacks. No shortcuts, no ridiculous "can't eat that - need to reach goal!" mentality.  I was really upset the other week when I realised how close to an "eating disorder mentality" I'd reached - I LOVE food, and here I was hating it again = NOT OK!!!   I eat, I train and I proactively live healthy - that's my mantra and motto now - no shortcuts, no fast-tracking, no hurting myself....  I'm NOT that person anymore! 

SO, I put the brakes on the manifesting goal-oriented monster I was becoming, and started nurturing the body and looking after the soul again - after all, SHE deserves much better care and respect than what I was doing....  but kept one eye on the calendar and the other eye on the scales... and rode out the final two weeks of Challenge.... 


Last Saturday I had the opportunity to go and get all glammed up and fabulous with the BLC team for the photoshoot... and as per my previous bloggy, it was an AMAZING experience!  The feedback I had from my gorgeous friends, the BLC team and the stylist went a HUGE way in validating my rationale and choice to LOOK AFTER MY BODY (as priority) in the final week of challenge.  

After all, a number is just a number, and here I was "looking like a winner" anyway (or so I was repeatedly told!).  But it was the pivotal moment when I held up my old pants that really made the biggest impact on me.

Despite how it comes across, I'm not overly "superficial" - yes, I LOVE makeup and I love getting dressed up - always have - but 'before' it was to hide how insecure and self-loathing I was underneath...  NOW it's because I'm confident in who I am and the outside is just reflecting the glowiness from within!   BUT when I stood there holding up my enormous old pair of pants, and then fit into just ONE LEG of those old pants, it broke my heart - and reaffirmed how important this transition truly has been for me.

"That girl" settled for second-best - she had NO self-respect, she abused her body by plying it with copious amounts of junk, and had quite literally dug and sat herself down in a premature grave.

Fast-forward nearly 3.5years later, and I'm just a shadow of that person - and it's no longer acceptable to abuse or disrespect my body or myself like that... not even on a tiny scale!  I will NOT fall prey to that mentality again, and I refuse to belittle all this crazy hard work I've put in!

THAT was the attitude I had coming into my final week - and THAT is why I'm so freaking proud of myself right now...  I've been battling all week with seriously sore joints, and cravings through the roof (I deem them quite "self-sabotagy" and why I kept finding myself with my face in the peanut butter jar - mind games!!!)....  and yes, whilst I wanted to make that goal...  I wasn't prepared to hurt myself again just to crack it on the scales...  I refused - 'she' deserved better.

I toned my workouts down and opted for low-impact activities like my cross trainer and swimming; and ATE ATE ATE - making sure I was fueling AND reviving my poor bruised body!   ... and you know what, it repaid the favour this morning!   My body and I are back on track!!!   I've been at this for long enough to know pushing myself to the extremes does me NO favours - I have ALWAYS had to work twice as hard for the same results of lucky others - and why for the past 3 years I've had "slow and steady" losses (always been super envious of people who could crank out glorious numbers week after week - and I'd have to bust butt to even do half of it!!).   I KNOW there's no short-cuts for me, and as much as I'd love to have had super-charged losses like this earlier on, I'd have never been able to sustain them without complications and repercussions!  My longevity in this mission is fueled by reality!

SO, having finished this Challenge - I'm quite happy to say I'm going "back to basics" again - my body and I are going to take it easy over Winter, and pick at my next goals bit by bit!  I won't push it to the point of breaking again (it doesn't deserve it - it's amazing!!!! Look what it's done so far!) and I won't expect it to compensate for my over-zealous, stubborn expectations again!!

Having said that, though, the bod and I already have our next milestone in mind.... and I'll be announcing and sharing that with you in a couple weeks!  In the meantime, we're "taking a short break" to recuperate, holiday and party with some VERY special people in Melbourne next weekend - and then it's back on deck thereafter for the next round!

... cuz that's what I do!   Always with a goal or a challenge in mind, and always with a bucket-full of heart behind it! I couldn't be more proud of myself right now - my 9kgs truly has nothing on what I've learnt about MYSELF and my body along the way....


Week One: "Dream towards 2012"
BAM! One of my hardest challenges hits me on just week one!!!  As per my blogs (which are all in the archives there for your perusal) - goal-setting and "dreaming toward the future" have never been my strong points!  In fact, quite the opposite - I wouldn't "forward-plan" if I could help it, because (without sounding too negative here) I didn't actually SEE a future for me to bother planning...   SO, having a challenge like that thrown at me very much brought on the emotions and pushed my boundaries.  BUT - as I've experienced A LOT lately - some of those visions I had 8 weeks ago have already started to come into fruition!!

My Harbour Bridge climb is in August - now being organised with a handful of my most beautiful support network - and paid for (via gift certificate) by my AWESOME sister as per my birthday present last weekend!   NEVER would have imagined that would have happened 8 weeks ago, and yet there it is.... already a work in progress! 

AND even reading back over that blog (she says with tears in her eyes!) - I forgot I'd written that I'd like to wear a dress!!!  .... and not only did I wear TWO of them for the photoshoot last week, but I bought my very first dress last Sunday for my party this weekend in Melbourne!  Awwww can't believe I nearly forgot about that one!!!   Can't wait to show you guys piccies of that - all secret-like, not even my party girls know what it looks like yet!!! 

I guess we can say that Week One challenge had a HUGE impact then - not only opening my eyes to the possibilities of what I can be / do / achieve.... but because of its forward-momentum that it has since generated! I've got so many goals and challenges lined up already - I'm SO excited by what the future holds right now - it just keeps getting better and better!!!!  

Week Two: "Eat like it's new"
OHHHHH yes - week two food challenge - and OHHHHH YUMMY!!!!  What a successful week this one was - and what a HUGE eye-opener to how awesome I am in the kitchen, hahahaha!  (oh yeah, modest too!)

No, I'm no Master Chef - don't pretend I am - but this food challenge was a fantastic introduction to variety for me! Three years of chopping and changing routines, structures, food choices, etc - I've always been a foodie, but ate quite habitually...  I came into this year with a different perspective - and was more than willing to start throwing some "NEW" into the mix - given how much of a handle on my weightloss I'd already established... it was time to get a bit "adventurous"!

Hence why I was so excited to take on this challenge.... and it's very much paid off!  LOTS of food choice change-ups with my Challenge - lots of new foods (that I'm proudly still eating - like chickpeas and ricotta) - and so much variety in my menus these days! SUPER proud of myself for this one - and loved that it helped me create so many recipes for my webby to share with you guys too!   AND I'm happy to report that I'm still finding new food combos and taking adventures with new ingredients - if for no other reason, than I freaking LOVE FOOD!!!!  hahaha... 

You can find all my yummy bits and pieces here:

Week Three: "Stop hiding"
Ohhhh yeah, do you guys remember this one?!  Hahaha... I certainly do!!!!  This was the "get Amy out of hiding and make her talk to real people".... and instigated that insane shopping centre stint!

Definitely not an easy challenge for the "shy girl" - but this baby opened up quite the can of worms for me!  ... I didn't realise just how chatty I would become "at the time" - but it's had quite a profound impact on me, my confidence levels, and my ability to now talk to all sorts of people in all sorts of places on all sorts of subjects!!! 

I can definitely report back that this Challenge has had a residual effect too - and I'm very proud of myself for being much more approachable, much more friendly, much more liberal with new people I meet - and it all started with just a very shy, little "Hello... how's your day going?"....  

It showcases when I go out now - when I get on the phone and talk to clients - when I walk up the street - when I go into a shop....  I keep catching myself "chatting it up" and it never ceases to amaze me just how different I am now!   My confidence levels have never been so great!!! 


Week Four: "Take the plunge"
Hahahhaa.... ahhhh yes, "Get back in the pool, fool!"  ... and she did!!!   Despite my lack of confidence baring flesh, this challenge was a great motivator for me to strip that ridiculous barrier away again and get back into the water, and start enjoying that activity again! 

.... and it certainly hasn't been limited to just that week!  I've been in and out of the gym pool regularly since - Aqua classes, and laps (have even been building up on speed and distance) - still don't own real swimmers, but we'll worry about that later...  Just as long as I'm in there (and not naked, hahaha), I don't care!!!    No more excuses or avoidance, I LOVE the water!!!! 

OHHHH this was the week when I finally cracked my DOUBLE DIGITS too - which was amazing and super exciting, and one of my biggest achievements to date!  Seeing that 99 on the scales was such a liberating moment, it really fueled me on to keep it going!! 

Week Five: "Go hard"
... and who could forget THIS Challenge - I literally worked my butt off in week five on a MONSTER scale in prep for my one-on-one session with the Muscle-Man himself... 

.... which was nothing short of INSANE!!!   I'm STILL talking about that session - reliving those grueling squats and being gobsmacked by the Commando's hellish 18minute circuit!!!

It was, quite literally, one of the most intense, crazy things I've done in my life - and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!  

I could have forgone anything else with this challenge just for this opportunity - it was truly one of my most memorable and productive experiences of my life!

... and this very special opportunity certainly has NOT been wasted on me! I've been using the techniques and Commando-style maneuvers ever since - I very much appreciated the insight and tuition - and just as Commando said to me himself, taking me out of my "comfort zone" and throwing me into the pit to contend with his training actually opened my eyes to just how capable I am of so much more!  Both physically AND mentally - I didn't buckle or complain, I just sweated, grunted, hauled arse and pushed beyond my limits...

One word: PRICELESS!!! 

Week Six: "Five Words"
Ahhhhh this was one of the most intense challenges of them all - not on a physical level, but all from within...

My five words: Forgiveness, Courage, Respect, Hope and Gratitude  (all five of these paper cut-outs are literally sticky taped right in front of me - they've been there since I pulled them out of the envelope - and I don't plan on taking them down any time soon!!!)...

These words unleashed a world of emotion for me - every time I'd write up my blog post, it just filled me with such an insight into who I am NOW, and just how much I've changed.  Coming to the end of this week, I was VERY emotionally spent - the psychological aspect of my transition was very much highlighted here - having gone from such a bad place just a few years ago, to realising this person I've been creating is just SO open to all these beautiful possibilities!

Spent bulk of this week in tears - both in reflection and in happiness - knowing full well this was some of my "best work" to date...  and it all lived in my head and heart!

Week Seven: "Out with the old"
One of the most FUN challenges of the lot - literally ransacking the wardrobe of all the old clothes and things I don't plan on EVER returning to!!!

... and GOING SHOPPING!!!!   Yes, the girl who used to LOATHE shopping has now been bitten - a few times over - by the shopping bug!  I used to avoid shopping centres like the plague - hated them with a passion - and here I was just last Sunday with my sis on my birthday shopping spree, flicking between boutiques, thinking all my Christmases had come at once!!

An AMAZING feeling to know you can go and actually buy "real clothes" - not have to hide behind a computer and purchase online and "guestimate" your sizing...  To actually go into a boutique and converse with the sales lady, try on clothes (which I've ALWAYS avoided), and actually purchase!  ... LIBERATING to say the least!!

... and to wrap up the Challenge and showcase "the new me" - can't forget the BLC photoshoot!  Another AMAZING experience - getting styled up and glamorised by professionals, just awesome!!! 

Week Eight: "Crunch time"
..... this one wasn't so much for ME but for you guys - Commando threw YOU a challenge to produce some amazing advice for the contestants coming out of the house - showcasing YOUR insight into how to maintain their weightloss...   OH, and ofcourse, giving you the opportunity to win yourself a seat at the dinner table!!!  (let's not forget that, hahaha)

... and I have to commend you ALL on your amazing submissions - some seriously wise words out there - and I hope you all had a really good read of them too!  Sometimes we get bogged down in what we're doing "along the way", forget to pay homage to just what we have already achieved so far, and sometimes lose focus on the rewards that will come a little further down the track, that we can't quite see just yet...  

Was very impressed and very proud to read all these submissions, and sincerely hope that we ALL can live by these beautiful and motivated sentiments!!  

..... OHHHH and whilst you guys were all "advicing away" here with YOUR challenge this week - I was in "nuture mode" and plugging away at getting that goal of mine in the background....  

And ofcourse, weigh-in this morning just goes to show that looking after your body AND mind will always work in your favour!!!   ;)



Ofcourse, no wrap-up would be complete without a hoard of thank yous at the end, hahaha!   So let's see... 

BLC - A HUGE thank you here to you guys for throwing me this Challenge opportunity in the first place!  You KNOW how skeptical I was at the start, trying to push for a goal I thought well exceeded my ability... and yet here we are?!   No "I told you so's" please, haha!   It has been a pleasure to work with you for the duration of the 8 weeks - and even more so to get to come in and meet so many of you too!  

CITYFIT BATHURST - Monster thank you to the best gym in town!  (yes, I AM biased, hehehe)... but these guys not only sponsored my gym membership, but made me feel more than welcome at their gym. I felt VERY comfortable and safe in their hands - in an environment that was VERY alien to me prior to the Challenge.  It's since become one of my most valuable and loved activities - and in just 8 weeks, has really helped me change both my body AND my results!   Ofcourse, a very heartfelt and huge thank you to my gorgeous PT, Shannon, who helped me learn how to push my knees out when I do a deadlift, and russian twist on a stability ball with a weight without sliding off, hahaha!  Not to mention the constant reminders to breathe - which is essential to living (!!!!) when in prone-hold position - because I seriously forget to do both at once!!!  She also helped me push through in the last couple of weeks when my head needed as much support as the knees!!!

MY POSSE - a dozen of THE most amazing, gorgeous, supportive women I have ever "met" in my entire life... though bulk of you I haven't actually met in person, feel very much like I've known you forever!!  I feel VERY blessed to have such a network of strong women in my corner - you KNOW how much you mean to me - and I thank you for encouraging, supporting, laughing and loving me "just as I am" every single day.  I am extremely grateful for you...   and I can't freaking wait to meet most of you THIS WEEKEND!!!    P-A-R-T-YYYYYYYYY!!!! 

AND ofcourse, my amazing BLC NETWORK and beyond - both on the forums and on Facebook!   YOU GUYS ROCK!!!  You have NO IDEA how humbled or how stupefied I am by the amount of messages, support, following and cheering you lot have been doing for the past 8 weeks!   Least of all the 125kgs (PLUS) that you accumulated in losses together!!!   WOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!  SO very proud of you all - and so very grateful for you stepping up to do this parallel with me!  It rattles my poor little head when I realise just how wide-spread this became - for a "noone" like me, it just blows my mind!!!   ... and I say it again, I'm am truly GRATEFUL for your support and generosity of spirit.  I get lots of messages to say how 'inspiring and helpful' I am - but it goes both ways guys!  I couldn't have done this without YOU to help me through it neither... so what you give, you definitely get in return!   LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! 

.... and phew, the Oscar for the Most Melodramatic Over-Achiever goes to.....  hahahaha! 

THANK YOU AGAIN!!   Truly humbled and SO grateful!

SO, whose up for a new challenge?!!!!   :D :D :D :D

... stay tuned!  ;)