A Wellness Journey

If someone had told me 15 months ago that I would be exercising with a personal trainer two to three times a week, attending group HIIT bootcamps and enjoying it, I would have literally laughed out loud! Actually when I stop and take the time to consider it, it still makes me laugh; yet here I am!

For as long as I can remember I continued the steady climb up the scales, resulting in a steady decline in my feelings of self-worth, my confidence levels, and my happiness in general. Succumbing to the fact that this is who I was, this is how it is, and this is how it would always be. Yes, there were times when I had a moment of stronger will, where I would start something, maybe a new diet or a new exercise routine, but the fact is that I am a quitter. I am the queen of excuses. If there is a way out of doing something, I’ll find it, oh and I am ridiculously lazy.  So you see I never got far, always putting it off until that ever elusive tomorrow.

 Fast-forward to August 2014 and you have a 34 year old, 119kg, stay at home mum. My husband, my then three-year-old twin girls and I, had just returned to Singapore after a two-year stint living in Shanghai. My hubby was busy with work, my girls were settled into a fab little nursery school and I found myself with time on my hands (trust me, after having twins, living in a foreign country, away from friends and family, no helper, no car, I wasn’t sure that ‘me time’ would ever exist again!). And I found myself asking, why not now? And so I began researching and contacting personal trainers. Why a personal trainer? Because I was smart enough to know that I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed someone to help make me accountable, I needed someone that could push me, and motivate me where I couldn’t motivate myself. Strangely enough, I needed someone that I couldn’t let down, because let’s face it after 34 year I’d become a little immune to letting myself down. I was very honest in my enquiring email to prospective PTs, upfront about my weight and my fitness levels and of all the replies that I got, only one really responded. She didn’t just reply with a “yes, I can work with you, here are my fees”, she took the time to acknowledge what I was and where I was at and asked if she could meet with me to chat some more. So we planned a meeting. At this point I can honestly say that in my heart I knew that it would never happen, that my insecurities, my fears, my doubts and my love of quitting would win out and I wouldn’t have the courage to go and meet with her. In the end, it took me nearly 4 weeks to finally push all of that aside and have that meeting – one of the scariest, and one of the greatest things that I have ever done, and for so many different reasons!

 And so I started working out twice a week with a personal trainer. I was honest with her from the beginning, I told her that I was a quitter, that I’d find a reason to cancel my sessions, and in doing that I took away my ability to be able to cancel. I couldn’t, I mean how could I? I had just told her my secret! My PT asked me to make a vision board, something that I could have in my house to remind me of why I was doing this, what I had to gain by doing this and how my life could change for the better by doing this. So I filled a board full of photos, quotes, poems, and pictures – anything that would inspire me, keep me focused. Hanging just under my vision board is a plaque that my PT gave me, that reads, Believe you can and you are halfway there. So true, when the hardest part of the journey isn’t always the physical aspect, but the mental and emotional ones!

 At first I didn’t change my eating habits too drastically, I thought that the exercise that I was doing was a big enough change for the weight to come off. Yes...and no. The weight did start to drop, but I was in need of a major overhaul on the food front too. It wasn’t just about how much I put in my mouth, but also about what I put in my mouth, so my PT referred me to a nutritionist who put me on a much healthier food path, which in turn aided in my weight loss.

 Fast-forward to February 2015. I had lost 18kgs and was heading back to Australia for a fleeting visit. This was one of the very first times that the realisation of just how much I had lost hit me. I had gone from a size AUS 20/22 to a 16 in six months. When I boarded the plane and walked down the narrow aisle, with bags, passports and kids in tow, I didn’t need to shuffle sideways, I could walk normally. When I finally sat down and went to put on my seatbelt I became aware that my butt and thighs didn’t touch the sides of the chair, I had room to move and I could cross my legs! It was here; squashed into economy, on a plane bound for Adelaide, that it all hit me. Slap across the face realisation. I cried!

 Fast-forward to August 2015, to a 35 year old, 87kg me! I hit my second major goal and a total loss of 32kgs. It was tough, it hurt, it wasn’t easy and I complained a lot, (actually it’s still tough, I still hurt, it’s still not easy, and I still complain a lot!). There were times when I just wanted it to stop; I was done mentally and physically. Times when I’d get so discouraged in myself, so stressed and disappointed at the scales when they didn’t drop as quickly as I wanted them to, and so hurt and angry with myself for eating things that I shouldn’t have. One of the hardest things in this whole journey has been dealing with the emotional battles and the self-damaging thoughts. Even though the weight has disappeared it has taken so much longer for me to stop thinking like an overweight person than it did for me to stop feeling like one – a battle that I still face every day.

 I don’t have an end goal just yet; I have small stepping stone goals that I am working on right now. I’m in the middle of, what feels like a never-ending plateau; I’ve made some bad decisions, drunk too many champagnes and relaxed a little more than I should have. But with guidance I am slowly getting back on track and refocusing.

I could never have done this on my own, and without some pretty amazing people rooting for me I’d still be 119kgs! I would not be where I am, without having one of the most amazing PTs on my team. She’s never once made me feel like it wouldn’t work and has been ridiculously supportive, encouraging, focused and as invested in my health and happiness as I am.  She was the first person that I met, that made me think that maybe this was possible; that being overweight wasn't my only option that I could be the person, physically and emotionally, that I thought was gone forever. She has celebrated with me through the highs, wallowed a little with me during the lows, and then promptly worked on getting me back on being focused, positive and ready to move forward again.  It’s been as much of an emotional roller-coaster ride for her as it has been for me, and she still keeps coming back!

 This is the first thing that I actually feel like I haven't failed at… that I haven't let myself or anyone else down by quitting, or finding excuses. When I really stop and think about it, I think that I am proud of myself for the first time in longer than I can remember!