“I have confidence in springtime, I have confidence in me..”

One of the first things I remember about walking into the gym in the first couple of weeks was how amazing the bodies of the person trainers were. Now, normally this wouldn’t have made me too bat-crazy, until I remembered that I had signed up for personal training in my gym contract. The thought of someone watching and judging my every move from  a mere meter away was nerve wrenching. I mean, sure, that’s their job but still. Their perfect bodies in their lycra without any noticeable bumps and lumps on their thighs watching me who.. well, let’s just say lycra pants wouldn’t be an option for another couple of years. If ever.

I have to say, these thoughts flew out of my head the moment I met who would be training me. Oddly enough, I’m quite good friends with my past two trainers and both of them know the ins and outs of my life, including body issues.

One of them is Tash. The moment I met Tash, I was greeted with a warm smile and bubbly personality.  Of course, the same feelings about being embarrassed to be judged by her came back. I didn’t tell her about this until about two months later when I found out, via the gym’s Facebook page, that Tash used to be obese. I immediately flagged her down the next day at gym and asked her all about it. The more I spoke to Tash, the more I realised you simply can not judge someone by their body shape. The most important thing to be in the gym is confident. There is no point being scared and intimated by what the girl on the treadmill next to you looks like. She, like millions of people around the world, has a different body shape to the next girl and the next girl. Working with what you have is the most important thing in the world and confidence will help bring that out.

Below is my interview with Tash.

When did you first start to notice that you were putting on weight? Did it begin in your childhood?
If you look at my physique, it is not hard to see that i naturally have a solid foundation. I have built shoulders, a curvy structure and a booty (always have). Ever since I could remember, I was always a part of the boys group. Girls seemed to avoid playing with me in the school yard and I could never work out why until adolescence. In answer to your question, there was never really a ‘time’ when I started to notice I was bigger.  I always was and to a point always will be.

At your heaviest weight, can you recall the feelings you were having at that time?
I was 24 and weighed in at 104kg. This was my all time low. Confidence no longer was a part of my vocabulary and eventually I learnt that the only way to ‘deal’ was to put up the wall. The wall of ‘its OK, I’ve got a great corporate job, no one will judge me and I will be accepted for who I am, not what I look like’. Unfortunately in my world this was NOT the case. Trying to convince myself that it was okay was a way to block it out with a marker or hide the facts away. And then the next day, the same horrible feeling would come back; day in and day out.

During this period of your life, did you try any “fad diets”? If so, did you have any success with them?
I tried them all. Weight loss pills, no carbohydrates, dukan diet. I had success with them, however it was very short lived. The weight dropped off, HOWEVER within 6 months the weight crept back on. The issue you may ask? EDUCATION and lack of it.The secret to weight loss and managing weight loss in my view is LEARNING. Knowing what is going into your body, when it needs to go into your body and what is actually happening to your body when such food is consumed. I always say to my clients, ‘sometimes I wish the inside of our body could act as the outside of our body, just to see the impact good and bad foods can affect us both physically and mentally’ – 1 out of every 5 of my clients replies with ‘wow, I never really looked at it that way.’

What was the “turning point” in your life that made you decide to lose weight for good?
After much contemplation and fearing the unknown, something clicked (how cliché does that sound). That’s the honest truth. I’d literally forgotten who I actually was and I was so consumed by my job that things started taking a personal toll on my life and my relationships; one morning, I woke up and that was it. I handed in my resignation and 2 weeks later, I was on my way to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

How did you start your “journey?” Did you join a gym, for example?
Fortunately, I was financially in a position to take some well earnt time off from EVERYTHING, but primarily work. After being in the corporate sector for 10 years it was time to focus on me. My brother is a qualified trainer, so as funny as this sounds I always sort of had a base knowledge of what exercises was. I did join a gym (Fernwood Epping) and that was my life. Sleep, eat, train, REPEAT.

Were family and friends supportive of your lifestyle change?
Absolutely; in every way imaginable. Regardless if they were or were not, it was not going to change my mind set.

Continue to part 2

Beginnings

It’s almost unheard of to hit rock bottom in your teenage years but for me, I sunk hard. When I was 18, I weighed over close to 145 kilos and was a size 26 (I had jeans that were a size 30). So while my clothing size was hitting a huge high my self esteem and confidence was at an all time low.  I barely went out, refusing to go to clubs with my friends.

My lightbulb moment came to me in a Marketing class at University. While ignoring the lecturer, I was flicking through CLEO magazine and came across an article about “gym etiquette.” While I had never set foot in a gym before in my life, I read on with interest, trying to picture all the scenarios readers had sent in to the magazine. Then I thought about it, surely a gym couldn’t be that scary? They all did it on the Biggest Loser (awful, I know) and if they could do it, surely, I could. So I did. I signed up at Fernwood Fitness in 2007 and started to finally love my body. Within years I had lost weight and finally fit into “normal clothing stores” at a size 16.

So welcome to my blog, Fitness and Twenties. The name is pretty much self explanatory, I’ll be blogging about all things fitness related as I continue into my mid to late twenties. Whether this be my anger at fad diets that are taking the world by storm, awesome gym clothes that I (and my readers, I’m sure..) must get and also just plain old stories about the gym. Stay with me for the read and happy reading.