Tuesday 11 February 2014

A journey of inspiration, transformation and self-love

Today I feel so blessed to be able to share the transformational story of one of my amazing clients and friends - Emma. This isn't just about a journey of weight loss. As you will read, it is a total mind and body backflip (or forward flip…). To describe Emma as inspirational is a huge understatement. To be honest, I can't express in words the true beauty of this gorgeous woman. As I write now, trying to think of how to describe her, I am starting to tear up. What I can say is that I am so grateful that Emma came into my life. She says that I changed her life, but the impact that she had on mine is second to none. Thank you for continuing to inspire me and for sharing such a personal, honest and detailed story, you gorgeous soul! You truly are an incredible warrior (and she can push 200+kg on the sled - beat that guys!!)! 

**Emphasis mine (Kate speaking, here). 

Emma's amazing physical transformation
When Kate asked if I would write on her blog I truly felt honoured and then slightly panicked, as I thought if I was going to write about my weight loss journey, I wanted to write the whole truth. I then became a little hesitant, as I have kept a lot of this to myself (or just family and close friends). Over the last few months I have recently started to talked about my past, and what I got from it is a sense of relief. Freedom. The ability to let go and move forward. I have never felt better.

My weight and how I look has completely consumed my life. One would think if you were that obsessed, you would be skinny! When I was a child I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia.  From the day I was diagnosed, to the end of high school, I was weighed and measured every visit to the hospital. Everything was mapped out on medical charts and my parents kept a record of my weight, height and measurements. I could tell you the exact weight I was throughout my entire life.  The doctors would say 'Emma needs to lose some weight' my mother would agree and then continue to feed us Chinese takeaway, pizza etc. Don't get me wrong I love my mother to bits. She just hated spending any time in the kitchen, so we ate out a bit or got takeaway. My grandmother was the same. In fact she resented the fact of being a housewife. The foundation of healthy eating wasn't important to us growing up I guess.

In my last year of high school I put on quite a bit of weight that my skirt button needed to be loosened. To be honest I really can't remember anything happening that year apart from sitting on my arse eating and studying.

Going into my first year of Uni, extremely overweight, depressed, trying to figure out what didn't make me look fat to wear each day was torture. I hated myself. To the point that I no longer wanted to live and attempted suicide. The pain of feeling so overweight and unhappy was too much to handle anymore.  I never got any support from this. My family, once I was discharged from hospital, never talked about it again. The psychiatrist who I was forced to see made me weigh myself in front of him. I remember crying so hard telling him I didn't want to. I still to this day question his way of practice. 

After this, my best friend got me into Weight Watchers, and I started to lose some weight and feel a little better. I started going out with my friends.  This led to me going out every weekend and getting completely wasted taking whatever drugs I could get hold of. I got to a point that if I didn't have any drugs I wouldn't go out. I used to go to work high, and I overdosed one night out. Looking back I knew this was a huge way of escaping and gaining a false sense of confidence. 

In this time I met my boyfriend who was both verbally and mentally abusive. He would say things like 'I'm going home to smash your christmas present you fu$@en fat whale' or 'I'm not attracted to you as when I first met you, as you've let yourself go'. This toxic relationship went on for 7 years. Yep! 7 years! I don't know how I let this go on. In this time I used food for comfort. I was miserable. The photo of me in the pink T shirt was taken by him on holidays at my heaviest - 95kg. My weight yo-yoed the whole time I was with him - until the end of 2009, when I finally called it quits. I was broken exhausted and sick of crying. I lost friends from this relationship. My whole family openly hated him. I had little to no self worth, confidence, or self esteem. 

After breaking up with him I started to hang out with my sister a lot more. She took me to my first Body Attack class and I loved it. I had lost probably 13kg in a period of 2-3 years mainly from just going to Body Attack and running. After a holiday in NZ, I changed gyms to continue training with my sister. It was here that I met my trainer Brad, he helped me to get from 77kg to 69kg, not once but twice! 

A 4 month holiday around the Middle East and Europe, and I had put the weight, plus a few extra kilos, back on. I got home to several people at work telling me I got fat on holidays. Thanks jerks as if I wasn't already aware of this! I was straight back into the gym. At first it was fine I lost weight. However I became fixated on achieving a number on the scales. I would weigh myself several times a day. I got close to my weight loss goal, however nothing mentally had changed. I still looked in the mirror and saw a fat person. I still wasn't happy

At this point I had already met Kate from going to her Body Attack classes. One of her classes she said she was a nutritionist. I thought this would be the answer. If I changed my diet, I would lose more weight and then I would be happy. Changing to a paleo lifestyle was hard. I had to change a lot. I had to learn how to cook. I had to quit Diet Coke, of which I drank easily 9L a week.  My new way of eating came with a lot of backlash from family and friends. I found it very isolating and difficult when it came to going out with friends. I know I sent Kate hundreds of photos of food making sure it was ok as everyone else was telling me it was too fattening, that's why your not losing weight. It was true I wasn't losing weight, but I wasn't gaining any either. I thought that if I train harder, I'll start to loose more weight. So I would train 2-3hrs a day everyday. I sometimes would run 18k after 3hrs sleep then head straight onto a 12hr nightshift. 

I worked permanent nights to fit in with my workout schedule. In fact I put everything in my life to the side to achieve my weight loss goal.  My friends were concerned. My boss said that my outside life was impacting on my work. Brad had threatened to ban me from training. Yet I continued to do this. I was constantly injured with shin splints, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis. I lived off little to no sleep. I knew I needed to cut back. 

Emma (right) has since taken up yoga
to improve her flexibility ;)
Recently, Brad and I worked on slowly starting to cut back the hours of training I would do a week. I've now cut back to working out 5-6 hours a week combining the training I love to do. Cross fit, attack and pump. I learnt a whole new and fun way to train from Kate. I've stopped obsessing about a number on the scales and get up everyday and point out something I love about myself. I also write down something I'm grateful for. Might be something small, like I'm grateful I didn't have to set my alarm for 6am! (Totally love a good sleep in)!! I try and focus on what I can do rather than what I can't. I have also realised that I have spent so much of my life second guessing myself, and hating myself. 

It's time to start loving who I am. 

As Oprah says "this is the body you've been given, love what you got".  Life's pretty amazing when you stop looking at it half empty!  I am so grateful to Kate who, aside from her continuous guidance with nutrition and fitness, has helped me to heal from the inside out and that has been the hardest part of my whole journey. It's something I work on everyday.

At my farewell, with Emma pinky-swearing to visit me in NZ

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