So tomorrow I embark on Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12WBT). Michelle is the red team’s trainer on the Australian Biggest Loser tv show. She has an online program that provides menus, exercise plans and mindset lessons that run for 12 weeks. I’ve been pouring over the blogs, Youtube videos and Facebook pages being inspired by the huge numbers and massive lifestyle changes that the participants have made and have been hugely inspired. I’ve also been listening to some self-sabotage hypnosis (because I am the world’s BIGGEST self sabotager!), listened to Anthony Robbin’s “Awaken the Giant Within” and read Jon Gabriel’s autobiography on the Jon Gabriel Method and listened to his “Evening Visualistion” because I know for me, after years of self development, dieting, alternative healing and trying every single diet on the planet for 30+ years, I know I am my own worst enemy. I am highly intelligent and know intellectually what I need to do and what I need to eat but I just seem to stop myself every single time.
Since reading Jon Gabriel’s Method I had a few “aha” moments. Including that I’m the only one who can save myself. All my life, (coming from a violent, addiction riddled home and then a home on my mother’s remarriage where I felt out of place and affection and being lifted up where absent) I’ve been waiting for someone or something to come along and save me. After reading Jon’s book I realised only I could save myself and that I wasn’t helpless or hopeless and unworthy. A couple of his quotes including “if we’re angry with or don’t like ourselves, being fat is a punishment” and “when you’re upset emotionallly your body thinks you’re in physical danger (the fight or flight principal except your body doesn’t know the difference between the physical and the emotional danger).
These two quotes struck a HUGE chord within me and let me on a journey of rooting out my “victimhood” and began to lead me to a place of beginning (and I truly mean, beginning..it’s going to be a long journey!) of valuing and accepting myself, faults and all, and begin to save myself because I am worth it.
For a long time I didn’t think I deserved to actually be alive and I was angry at myself for that thought and the crappy way my life was turning out. My biological father left my mother (and therefore me) when I was 3 after a marriage that was fraught with violence and alcohol and gambling addictions. My earliest memories are of violence and broken promises. For probably 6 months to a year after he left he made some effort in seeing me but after that..nada..nothing. So the subconscious punishment began. If the person who was supposed to love me the most in the word left, what did that say about me? Then my mother met another man, who was a good man but quite fearsome and authoritarian. I was scared of him all the time. He wasn’t a very demonstrative man and I was never shown affection. I was never told I was special or I could do anything or I was unique. In fact anything that made me feel unique and special was ridiculed and mocked shutting me down creatively and emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, there was some great times too. We grew up on a farm and my sister and mother were absorbed into this man’s family of two older boys and a younger girl. So we kind of became a Brady Bunch family without the cheese and resolution at the end of each day.
SO I guess I became a child who buried her anger at being abandoned by her father, and being in fear of her new step father and her loss of position of eldest child in the family, and my mother for not being strong enough to make her marriage last, or choosing the wrong man to begin with, to choosing this authoritarian, self controlled, cold man and his children as her new family, without ever asking me.
My anger at my mother still remains today although I have never discussed this with her.
On top of that, a friend of the family molested me when I was 9. It only happened once but I remember feeling angry and terrified. I had developed early and looked like a 16 year old, so my awkward budding woman hood made me feel uncomfortable and gain unwanted attention from boys and men. So again, my helplessness at the situation became buried as anger and as a victim and fear took over my life.
I began my first diet in Year 8 (Form 2 back then!) in high school. Limits Biscuits! You replaced 2 meals with a couple of these biscuits and ate a healthy meal at night. The massive irony was that I wasn’t fat!!! I was lucky to have been a size 10 or 12. I felt my bum was too big and never wore jeans throughout my whole teenage years. I just felt I wasn’t a person who could wear jeans. My mother who has struggled with weight her whole life never stopped me, in fact no one did, which just further added to my poor self image, self esteem and lack of self love and self acceptance.
After that, came every diet and fad that came on the market. The Israeli Army diet, Gloria Marshall, the Beverly Hills diet, Weight Watchers, Calorie Counting etc etc etc ad infinitum. I remember getting up at 6am to do Richard Simmons exercises. Now I look at all of this as self punishment and also as a form of getting acceptance from my still taciturn step father. I was always trying to please him, to prove that I was normal, smart, attractive, creative, clever. He always told me off being a show off, or too loud and telling me I was fat. My childhood nick name was “Fatty Boombah”..and again I wasn’t fat. In fact, a favourite photo of me when I was about 12 was in a red bikini and I looked HOT..and 18 lol. But man, those childhood wounds mess with your head!
So throughout my teens I continued to diet, even though I didn’t need to. I felt ugly and fat and remember looking down at my legs in Year 9 and thinking there were humongous….and of course, they weren’t!
On Year 12 Camp, I somehow snuck up from 65 to 70 kilos in a week..gahhh and felt there was no turning back. Now I was officially F A T! (How I LONG for those 70 kilo days now lol)
I finished Year 12 and went out to work, still thinking I was huge and continued to diet. I moved out of home, then went to Uni at 24, then met the father of my daughter and then got pregnant. I had Gestational Diabetes and got to about 96 kilos at full term and was massive! (Ironically this is what I weigh today!).
I graduate uni as a Drama and English teacher. I split up with my daughter’s father, when she was one, moved to the country and began to teach. I lost heaps of weight getting down to an adult low of 69 kilos in 1992. I can’t even remember how I did it. Lots of walking and eating healthy (who would have thought! lol).
Needless to say that didn’t last long and after a couple of dodgy relationships the weight began to creep back up. I’d lose and gain the same 10-5 kilos over and over. Big occasion? Drastic diet!
I moved to the States and taught over there for a year. I loved it. And managed to lose weight in the home of the free and the junk food (shout out to Alpharetta, GA!)
After years and years and years my metabolism was shot and somehow I ended up gaining weight and got up to 96 kilos..again! I began Body Trim, a high protein low carb diet in November of 2008 and managed to lose 13 kilos and feel mighty good. Then my step dad got very ill (he was now a changed man, very loving, an ideal grandfather to my daughter who was the apple of his eye) and he died in August of that year. Needless to say all the weight I’d lost had gone on and then some. I was abandoned ..AGAIN…and I ate junk food for Australia. I quit my permanent teaching job and moved to the Surf Coast of Victoria. I got to 106 kilos and even though I knew I was fat, and unhealthy I just DID NOT CARE! Food comforted me, it loved me, it was my friend and sole support.
I knew no one in this new town, but just felt I needed a change. I didn’t want to live with regret as my Dad had done. I slowly but surely made new friends, got some work, but nothing permanent, and lost 10 kilos on my own by eating clean.
That was a year ago. Now I am about to embark on the 12WBT with a new focus, changed mindset and a deep belief that I CAN DO THIS and I AM WORTH THIS.
I don’t want to live my life, fat, sad, alone, tired, sick, miserable.
I don’t want to be angry anymore.
I don’t want to be lonely anymore.
I don’t want to be scared of love, relationships, being my best.
I don’t want to let life pass me by.
I don’t want to be my past.
I don’t want fear to rule my life.
I don’t want to feel like I’d be better off dead.
I don’t want to allow myself to be used because I think that’s all I deserve.
I want to embrace each day with energy, enthusiasm and postivity.
I want to be a person who wants to exercise.
I want to be a person who lives on the Surf Coast who surfs! And swims, and kayaks and sails.
I want to be a person with hope and love in their heart.
I want to be a person whose life just gets better and better with each passing day.
I want to be a person whose life starts TODAY!
I’m excited! Bring it on!!!