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!!!



  1. WOW!!!! What an amazing few days for you ... when I read all your posts I think wow you cant get any better than that BUT you seem to .. you seem to top each one and it just gets better and better for you ... its breath taking to read all your adventures I love living every minute of them with you .. and I hope you turn it into a book one day I really do and it will be a best seller for sure .. thanks for sharing all this journey with us Amy its one hell of a ride .. you are such a beautiful person inside and out xox

  2. You know something kiddo? I'm not in the least bit surprised! I absolutely knew something was in store for you that would put you 'out there'. LOL, I think I may have nagged you about that a few times. You know the best part? YOU did one else but YOU! You may have had advice and you may have had some help in the gym etc and the rest of us may have made sure you stayed on track - but none of this would have happened unless you were willing to give it your all.
    I'm so glad that it's all happening for you. xxx

  3. Wow what a big adventure... you sour have come a long way Amy. I enjoy reading your blog very much... you should write a book!!

  4. What an amazing ride, Amy!! I'm so proud of you (as always) and I'm so happy you got this incredible experience. Can't wait to see you on Today Tonight, I'm sure you would have nailed it, and now your message and inspiration can help and motivate so many people. You continue to amaze me, lovely lady, and this is just the beginning :) x

  5. phew...what a ride...I agree, a book next :)

  6. how exciting! I feel like I WAS there with you!