My journey to the 12 week challenge started in January in a Myers change room, tears of frustration and disgust threating to overwhelm me, having spent the day trying to buy a dress to wear to my oldest niece’s wedding. I was 100Kg, shopping in plus size stores and kidding myself for months that I wasn’t that big as I was wearing the small sizes. I was suffering from insomnia, migraines, ate to suppress my emotions, deeply unhappy with what I saw in the mirror, said no to more invitations than yes and felt like my life was out of control. In that change room I vowed to not be in the same situation for my other niece’s September wedding and that I would stop having such disrespect for myself,  but instead of doing something about it I continued to eat and tell myself that I didn’t have a problem.

A few months later I signed up to do a work health check and the results were not pretty. My waist was 100 cm, I was at risk of diabetes and my cholesterol and blood pressure were of concern. At the same time my younger sister called and told me that her 9 year old daughter had told her class that I was the person she most admired in the world. I didn’t feel like I deserved this accolade. Still feeling lost an email arrived in the work inbox for a 16 week walking challenge, so I convinced some co-workers to join me. Buoyed by this sign up I also joined weight watchers (WW) and attended my first KX Pilates class in Richmond. I was on my way!

But I didn’t have a plan or a direction. WW helped me lose the first few kilos but I was focused on the weight loss and had no idea about nutrition. Once again an email arrived to save the day – the KX 12 week challenge. Apprehensively I completed the application and pressed send, then forgot about it for a few weeks. When I got the call to join I was terrified that I would fail.

My first meeting with James was awkward and uncomfortable. Although I’d already lost 15 kilos I was still overweight and unhealthy. I was unsure of myself and found it hard to meet his eye and even harder to admit to what had got me to enrol in the challenge. I hated the number on the scales and hated getting my photo taken even more. I found it difficult to set the 3 goals; I was so focused on getting through that day I found it difficult to see 12 weeks into the future. My week two meeting with Amy was equally terrifying but she was so enthusiastic and caring and had so much knowledge to impart. She was able to tailor something that would work for me and give me options to increase my protein needs (I was severely iron deficient, not eating much meat). She also recommended some great products like riceplus and five grain porridge that now feature in my diet.

The point that I knew that I wasn’t the unconfident mess that started the challenge was week 5 when I  stumbled upon a few emails between two co-workers about my over-enthusiasm for my weight loss and their doubt that it would continue, not very complimentary to say the least, actually they were pretty brutal. A few months ago my reaction would have been to head to the ice cream aisle and eat the pain away, however my first reaction after anger was to prove them wrong, food didn’t even enter my brain.

The 12 week challenge has made me fitter, stronger, healthier, and set me up with some great knowledge to help me ensure that this new me is a permanent fixture. It’s also given me a confidence that I didn’t have before, prior to the challenge I would have taken the easier option, so that I wouldn’t fail, that obviously wasn’t working as I was existing not living, now I pick the harder option.

I’m pleased to report that I achieved 2 of the 3 goals I set during week 1 and having lost 8.8kg during the 12 weeks I’m 1.2Kg away from achieving goal three. Rather than rest, with Amy’s help I’ve set my next goals. I’m looking forward to what the next few months throws at me – to say yes more than no and to embrace my passion for travel with a trip to India.

Looking at pictures of me from earlier this year, I actually feel like I’m looking at another person.