My Weight Loss Journey: from patient to team member

My journey through weightloss surgery hasn't exactly been an easy one and I guess when I embarked on it and initially lost the weight, I thought it was going to be.

My whole life I have been big and that was so defining for me. Fat was a label put on me at a very early age and it stuck. Oh how it stuck; just as every pie I ate seemed to stick somewhere around my midriff.  It was this limiting belief that became so absolute in my mind, I couldn't see anything else. It seemed my choices in life were all connected to how I defined myself and how worthy I felt.

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Life snowballed and I went from one binge eating fest to another. Fast forward into my 30s and I was still doing it. Getting larger and larger. I became diabetic and had trouble fighting infections in my body. While I was relatively fit from working in a gym, it seemed that only gave me an excuse to eat what and how much I wanted.

I reached crisis point and knew surgery was the only answer. It would be a tool that could save my life. And it did. For a time. I thought I was invincible; walk on water type stuff. You can imagine, this was short lived. I refused to look deep into myself and figure out why I had become so big in the first place. As a result it only took a couple years before I started regaining weight. I went from an 85kg loss to an 80 to a 75 and so on until I had regained over 25 kg.

Feelings of failure began engulfing my consciousness which in turn made me want to eat more. Prior vices and addictions started to resurface and I felt out of control. I started seeing a psychologist and slowly but surely I began to see patterns in my behaviour. I started to understand who I was by delving into my story without judgement. Three years later I still see my psychologist every few weeks and we unpick the huge tapestry of my life. It's been painful, uncomfortable and necessary. The regain didn't come off overnight but it didn't appear overnight either. 1 kg led to 2 etc until I had lost it all again. I was thrilled.

It was during a visit to Andrea and David and discussing my therapy; what I have learnt which led me to going to The Foundations of Healthy Living Retreat. It was both awe inspiring and life changing. Listening to other people's stories acted as a way of getting to know my story more. Their pain was my pain. We shared that in common. After the retreat I continued on this journey of knowing myself; never forgetting the tools and strategies I had learnt while there.

When Andrea asked me to join the team, I was over the moon. I believe wholeheartedly in the program we have created and see the fantastic transformations that occur with the participants. We joke that I am the poster child for what NOT to do post surgery and in many ways I am. I am also living proof that we have the power to turn that around. At any time we have the choice to change. I love my role. I get to facilitate the program, make connections with participants, teach and share my story. Every month I get another opportunity to help others which in turn helps my own mental and physical health. It helps me stay on track. I have the privilege to work with the most amazing team and they help me a lot in my journey. I am so grateful for the role that I have and I often leave wanting to pinch myself because life doesn't get much better than this. The response I get from participants has been overwhelming so I know being vulnerable and sharing my story is making a difference. To them and to me.

So if you have the opportunity to go on a retreat; seize it. You won't regret it. Whether you have gone off track or you are wanting to maintain your own status quo I recommend it. It's life changing xx

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