The deal is sealed – I will *never* be that person in the before photo again. Ever.
In mid January 2012 an issue of Woman’s Day was published featuring Michelle Bridges talking about the 12 Week Body Transformation challenge and I was humbled, nervous and excited to be asked if my 12WBT transformation could be included in it.
Originally when I posted this before photo in the 12WBT forums and Mish’s facebook page well over a year ago I did it to help compel me never to go back to that and to keep moving forward as at that stage I still had a large amount of weight to lose. I shared that before photo in the 12WBT community because it was (is) evidence of more than just the severe obesity that you can easily see. The photo is evidence of what I look like when I am stressed and burnt out with a blood pressure of 214/152, on the verge of either a physical or psychological breakdown. It really was becoming a race to see whether my mind or body gave out first – my body was winning when that before pic was taken. We were talking hospitalistion and the imminent threat of a heart attack or stroke at age 35.
Fast forward over a year and I was approached by Mish’s team to have my 12WBT adventure and transformation featured in this article, alongside the amazing and most recent 12WBT 1st Place Winner, Lisa R (what a champ!!). I hesitated for a moment and then thought ’No, I have to do this. The photos have been on facebook and this blog for a while, plenty of people have already seen them. What the hell, Woman’s Day here I come!‘. I realised that people I work with, acquaintances I have not seen in years and many others outside of the 12WBT & weight loss blog community would see it. That made me pause a moment and deliberate. I decided I had to do it to further compel me never to go back to and to show others what really is possible.
When I took that before pic in June 2010 I cried for a week. I was devastated when I faced reality. Disappointed in myself, angry, resentful for the time I has wasted on other things instead of looking after myself, sad about opportunities missed, frustrated and anxious because I was not living life as I desired or planned. I was scared that I may have already done too much damage to my body. I intended to eventually delete the photo after my first round of 12WBT and allow no one other than my partner (and Mish’s team) to view it.
That before photo is evidence of what happens when I am not putting my needs first, when I am not assertive, when I am not living up to my potential and being the best version of me. It is evidence of what happens when I hold back and live life on the sidelines feeling like I don’t deserve to look after myself and feeling too guilty to step forward and shine.
Now I realise there is no getting away from that before photo. I do not want to get away from it. It’s going to be hanging around forever – and instead of haunting me, it helps me.
I also had an unexpected outcome from agreeing to have the photos Woman’s Day magazine – it helped my brain to catch up to where my body is at just that bit more. That can be one of the most difficult things as you lose weight and increase your fitness. Sometimes our brains do not always catch on that fast…. we pick up that size 20 shirt on a sale rack… or if you are like me, some days I pull my tiniest pair of jeans out of the washing and look at them in horror thinking “OMG! They will not fit!“. Or ordering clothing online and when it arrives not wanting to try it on because it looks too small (yet you *know* that you measured yourself & selected the appropriate size) and you do not want to face that ever familiar and disheartening episode of trying on something that you cannot get past your neck or knees!!
Furthermore, sharing my 12WBT adventure and that before photo so widely is a really loud, firm and confident statement: “This Is Who I Am!”. I am who I am *because* of everything that has happened in my life to date and I would not change a damn thing. Yes, daunted at first to agree to the photos being published but ultimately I am glad I gulped down my hesitation and said “Why the hell not!“.
What started as a reluctant 12 week commitment to weight loss and blood pressure reduction that I didn’t believe I would succeed at initially has turned into a whole other crazy adventure! As I typed that last sentence I had one of those moments of feeling so totally mind boggled that I laughed out loud. You just never know what adventures and opportunities are around the corner when you get into this mindset that Mish teaches of “being the best version of you”!
Thank you Mish, Amelia, Gabi and all the 12WBT team and community. Words are not enough to capture all the feelings I have. I aim to thank you all each day by walking my talk, by continuing to be the best version of me and encouraging others to do the same.
Many of my overseas friends have been asking to see the article. Apologies for taking weeks to upload, clearly I needed a bit of JFDI to get scanning! Here you go!!
Let the adventure continue!!