Friday, 21 February 2014

Introducing...Operation Home Run

Usually when I do a 12WBT round, I spend some time in the last few weeks preparing for the next round.  I try and focus on getting pre-season done, and at the very least map out my goals and upcoming plan.  So by the time the round starts, it’s a fresh beginning and I
have some exciting things in place to look forward to and can hit the ground running.

When I was doing Round 4 though, I was so completely focused that sometimes I’d come up for air and realise I had nothing ready for the next round.  I knew this was the case and I just let myself be aware of it.  I was so focused on Operation Birthday that I purposely didn’t plan ahead for the February round.  To reach my Operation Birthday goals, I knew that I needed 120% attention and that meant having tunnel vision of the current round and not splitting focus.  I put everything on the back pedal with it.  I made no goals for the following round, did no pre-season, I didn’t even let myself sign up to the next round until after my birthday.  I was so aware of this and just told myself I’d deal with it when it came along.  

I told myself I’d do Round 4.  

And then when that finished, I would do the February round. 


Which is how, including adding on the whirlwind of the last few weeks, I’ve found myself in Week 3 with no goals, no pre-season done, no preparation, off track etc.  I’m proud of myself though because I haven’t let it derail me.  I’ve just accepted how things are and as a natural progression, albeit a few weeks later, have moved on.

Its taken a little longer also because I’ve been dealing with PFB (Post Finale Blues, an actual condition).  It’s inevitable and happens after every finale.  Particularly this latest one for me.  A crash was always going to come, I even estimated when it would hit!  I was way off in my estimation though as it surprisingly hit me immediately after finale.  Like at the end of the actual day – BAM!  It took a good week to get through it.  I also struggled because health and fitness wise, things have been SO epic for me lately, that I didn’t know where to go from here!  A lot of people asked me at the end of the festival “so what’s next?” and this question freaked me completely out.

I’ve processed it all now so I can more eloquently understand why it scared me so much.  It’s because the question felt so final!  Having people ask you that makes you feel like something's finished.  What do you mean what’s next?  I’m still going!  I’m not even close to my goal weight yet.  I have a marathon to run.  Soooo much more.  I aint done yet!  Nowhere near.  I think I knew where I was going but because I was so focused on last round and hadn’t planned the next one, people’s innocent question made me doubt what I already knew, and doubt myself.  There was nothing to question.  It took me a little soul searching and time, but I realised what I already knew.  What next?  Umm, I keep going! :)

So...I've worked it all out.  My new Operation needed no consideration.

Operation Home Run.

That's what I'm doing!  I am now on my way to my goal weight and it's close enough for me to actually aim for it.  When you start out and you're 141kg, your goal weight is not at the forefront of your thinking.  That comes later.  And for me, that time is now.

Step #1 was for some reason me suddenly deciding that I NEEDED a DEXA scan.  Like
There's always time for a gown selfie
right then and there.  I've been putting off getting one done for over a year, partial laziness, partial financial.  But last week I decided I need to get one immediately.  For those not in the know, a DEXA is kind of like an X-ray that shows your bones, muscle and fat, and measures how much each weighs.  It then gives you a ton of stats and explains realistically where you should be, based on your own body, not that of an outdated BMI chart...

There was a time where I chose my goal weight based on whichever eating disorder had it's grips of me at the time. If I described the levels of my obsession and the extreme numbers I chose back then, you would think I was a little crazy. Booking a DEXA marked an end to that 16 year old mentality I've held onto by a futile thread for all these years.  The information in DEXA scans is dictated by the biological make up of our body, muscle mass, water composition and a whole stack of stuff I don't know the first thing about. It's sciencey / factual stuff. All I know is that it's not created by a semi anorexic 16 year old girl who will do anything she can to get to the number she decided upon in drama class with only an emotional basis to guide her. Nor is it made up by some adult Who. Doesn't. Understand. and who just says I'm big boned. This is factual stuff and I decided I was ready to listen. I was starting afresh this week - but I couldn't start afresh until I knew where I was going. I need goals and focus to go on. I told myself that I'd take onboard what they said and accept it maturely.

Getting a DEXA was going to be one of my goals for sometime this round, but on Friday I decided that I needed it NOW.  I managed to book one for Monday and WOW.  It was AMAZING.
First time I have ever been recommended/regular/NORMAL!

The coolest thing that came out of it was hearing that my body fat percentage is currently in the 'Recommended' range for a female of my age.  I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN THE RECOMMENDED RANGE FOR ANYTHING, EVER!  This made me so happy.  Not because I was already 'there', but because, for one of the first times in my life, I felt normal.

I was at the higher end of the range, but that's ok.  Higher end of the range is still in the range! :)  I also got told I have really strong bones.

Here's my scan (it's a little confronting and I hate the way fat looks so squished up on the scans! I've seen my friends scans and this is normal, but still, it's embarrassing!
My DEXA scan

  • The blue is bone, the red is muscle and the orange is fat.
  • Yes I DEFINITELY recommend getting one done. I wish I had done one 50kg ago for comparison!
  • The company I went to was awesome & the lady I had was great and really explained it all and even explained things further on the phone when I rang back later with a question (for those in Brisbane, it was Body Composition at Morningside - awesome).
  • I thought they'd give me a goal weight but they didn't. Instead they gave me: my total kg's of bones, my total kg's of fat, my total kg's of muscle (including blood / water / everything else) and my total kg's of everything BUT fat. 
  • The lady didn't try and coerce me into choosing a safe goal weight of anything annoying.  She just gave me the facts and said that I can decide, and that it just depends on what my goals are.  
  • My lowest recommended weight is 22kg heavier than my goal weight...
  • I don't agree with this - I know my body close to the weight they suggested and it is certainly not my goal weight.  In saying that, I still took it all in.
  • Check out my leg muscles ;)  Cathy said I have runners legs :)
As I had preempted, it was a little overwhelming to listen to, let alone accept what I was being told.  They told me what my weight was without any fat. So basically my bones, muscles, blood, water, organs, you name it - everything except for fat - and a weight for that.  To give you an idea, my goal weight I've been harbouring up till now is 3kg lighter than that amount.  So imagine my body, take 3kg of bones and muscles away, then take away every single gram of fat, that's what weight I was trying to get to.  No matter how lean I want to be, we all need fat to survive, so my goal weight immediately became defunct.  If I wanted to get to this goal weight, I would have to lose muscle mass and bone density in order to do so lol - because everything in my body ASIDE from fat is already 3kgs heavier than my goal weight.

It was so interesting.  And to be honest then left me with a confusing decision to make.  I thrive on numbers so I needed one!  I can change it but I needed one for now!  I've already changed my goal weight once since starting this whole thing.  Changing it again was scary!

I spent the next 2 days gathering advice and thoughts.  I spoke to many friends.  I spoke to friends who are my height and compared our weights - which is something I don't usually do.  I researched runners - and whether distance runners generally lose or gain muscle mass.  It's one thing for me to estimate a prediction of fat loss, but who knows what my muscles will do?  I asked the Dietician who was a guest speaker at Marathon School.  I studied the DEXA scan results.  I asked running groups advice.  I studied photos of me from years ago when I was a lot lighter.  This was going to be the most informed goal weight anyone had ever made lol.

Finally, I have settled on a new goal weight.  I'm not completely happy with it, it scares me and was hard for me to accept.  But I'm trying to not be 16 - and instead be realistic and smart.  To be completely honest there was a 5% decision component which was derived from my inner 16 year old AKA stubborn set in my ways self.  But that's ok, I can deal with that small part.

And so yesterday I woke up, and began Operation Home Run!  Aside from my very well thought out new goal weight, this is my basic plan:
  • My new goal date is Wednesday 2nd July.  This is a few days before I run my first full marathon.  Am I planning for another epic week, or what? :)
  • Operation Home Run has Stage 1 and Stage 2.  Stage 1 is the rest of this round -
    My new 'yellow dresses'
    there's only 9 weeks left - because I have taken my sweet time to start!  And Stage 2 will be the next round.  I plan to hit goal by Week 9 in the next round.
  • I have a new 'yellow dress' - I now have Operation Size 10 Red Dress and Operation Size 10 Pink Underwear.  We’ve had the yellow dress, the blue dress and we still have the green dress (when I can get around to updating it!) so it only seems right that we have a red dress to complement the rainbow. I bought the red dress ages ago, like 2 years ago at least, specifically for an ultimate goal dress. It’s not exactly my favourite style, but I liked it, it was a little more expensive than I normally spend on dresses (I am such a cheap clothes person) so it felt special, it’s RED and it is Size 10. It’s now time to do an operation to fit into this. When I bought it, I decided that I would have a special night out when I reach my goal weight, while wearing this dress, and I still intend to. The underwear set I bought when I won a Triumph voucher through 12WBT in my early days from a weekly challenge. Instead of buying something I could wear at
    A long way to go!  Week 1
    the time, I bought a goal set: Size 10, pink. I’ll share my weekly progress in the red dress…and no, I won’t be sharing the pink underwear photos. :)  At the moment the dress doesn’t even go around me. And the underwear, I am so stoked they go on! Like the bra does up! Size 10 actually does up! But of course ‘doing up’ and ‘fitting’ are two separate things…lol let’s just say they will be brilliant before photos. So I will keep the pink underwear photos to myself but will do the regular red dress photo thing on my Instagram and on here.
  • I'll have a new goal sticker chart and have restarted my Rewards jar at empty (as I have spent Operation Birthdays money!)
  • Still to do: pre season, my training plan, fixing up my inspiration wall, redoing my Rewards chart.  I have this amazing Rewards list - of things I get when I get to certain goals.  It's so good but it's also so out of my budget that I can never afford to actually buy myself the rewards!  So I'm going to do a more realistic one.
  • I've semi prepared the rest of the weeks food to start off with, but on the weekend I plan to do a decent sized cook up and get back into prepping my meals on a weekly basis.
  • And, I've set my weekly mini milestones / personal challenges!  I have 3 to carry over from last round.  And even though it's already Week 3, I am still going to fill in those weeks, so I had better get moving!  My weekly challenges:
WEEK 1: Get my 1st DEXA scan.
Done! :)

WEEK 2: Girl In Blue
This is carried over from last round because I didn't get to it.  Basically this one is finding a police, fire or defence force etc. fitness test, and aiming to get to a fitness level where I would pass the test.  Just for fun!

WEEK 3: For: Me
Another carried over goal.  This is a nice one...I just have to do something for myself.  I have no idea what yet, but it will be good!

WEEK 4: Butterfly immersion!
I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier!  My friend Bron went to Cairns last week and went to a butterfly sanctuary!  She sent me a video of her in there, with butterflies landing on her, because she thought of me.  I so want to do this!  I just have to find one a little closer to home.

WEEK 5: Run the Gateway twice.
There's a long bridge here in Brisbane called the Gateway.  Actually there's two of them.  I've run over one of them once before, so just for fun I want to run it twice.

WEEK 6: Fly Like A Bird and Glide Like A Swan
Another one carried over from last round.  I've explained the deeply emotional story on earlier blog posts, but basically this goal is to go to a theme park and go on a ride and not flood it.  Because this happened to me years ago and I haven't been on one since. :(

WEEK 7: Buy togs.  Wear togs.
So a few months ago I went away with some 12WBT friends for the weekend.  We stayed in a place by the beach, that had a pool, sauna and spa.  And this is when I realised, that I don't own togs (swimmers)!  My friends went to get changed and I just was there in my just never occurred to me!  I mean, I've owned them as a kid, and I did have some boardies years ago, but really, I don't own togs.  141kg people don't own togs.  (Well, I didn't).  I'm so nervous to do so, so this is why this is a goal.  And you will note the second part to this goal - I have to actually wear them, too!

WEEK 8: Beach workout.
My friend Courtney does beach workouts and they sound so cool!  I've done boot camp on the beach etc. but one day I want to drive to the beach like her and do a workout like she does and then go for a swim in the ocean to cool down!

WEEK 9: Iceskating
This is one Court thought up.  I love it!  I haven't been since I was a kid - can't wait!

WEEK 10: Run Mt Coot-tha's loop road
I always have to have a Mt Coot-tha related goal...this one is to run the 10km loop round that goes up and down and around the mountain.  When I did my first exercise stint on the mountain about a year ago, one of the 12WBT girls ran from her car, up the mountain to join us.  I was so amazed and impressed that she could do this.  She was so fit and I was in awe.  So I wanna do it now.  But the whole 10km hilly loop road!

WEEK 11: Find a new mountain to climb
I've done the 3 I usually do, a fair bit.  Time to spread my mountain climbing wings a bit, and find a new one, just for something different :)

WEEK 12: Do a photo shoot
I have a couple of photo shoot vouchers sitting will be time to use one of them.

So there we have it!  Operation Home Run is a-go!  It's been a slow start to the round and I'm not even completely prepared yet.  You'd think I'd just continue what I usually do...but, you know what I'm like by now.  I like to have little fresh starts all over the place.  Over the years, every time I start ‘again’, I spend ages working out the perfect day to start. Mondays are a good one. Start of the week and all that. Thursdays have also been a favourite of mine. I was born on a Thursday so it matches. Since starting 12WBT and having Wednesday weigh ins, Wednesdays are also good. I usually have to like the date of the month too. I like the number 16. And 12 is a nice number too. The month had to be perfect too. May sounds pretty. That can get a bit awkward when it’s October and you want to start… 

I have to have everything ready and perfect. Pristine clean apartments have direct correlation with successful weight loss, did you know that? My life has to be perfect and on track to be able to start this. Buuuuut. The one thing I’ve learnt is that there is no perfect time. Sometimes, Thursday 16th May rolls around, with as Mish jokes, my full moon rising in my Zodiac circle Warrior Princess (?), I have mopped the floors and filed my bank statements, and --- I don’t ‘feel’ it. Times like this are quite inconvenient. Which is why I
dissed this notion a short while ago. 

My life has been a little bit ‘non normal’ for a few weeks, and I have not been working at it. This is fine, I needed this time off. But I need to now get to goal.  As I said, I had my DEXA, made a new plan for my new Operation. Got all ready. Even dusted the book shelf in preparation. Getting perfect and all that, you know. But even with a dusted book shelf, I still wasn't feeling it. I’m having one of those needing hugs rough weeks. In a perfect Sweet Valley High life, being Day 1 of my fresh start, I would have woken up yesterday morning with a smile on my face, a spring in my step and a pre-prepared calorie controlled lunch bag. Instead I was behind schedule, dragging my feet, throwing my lunch together while running out the door, finding my pink crop top has stained my grey work dress and having to change, leaving my socks at home so I had to do boot camp in work stockings, and generally just feeling down. 

But you know what, this is ok. Because I know now that life is imperfect, and I don’t need to feel 100% ready to have my fresh start. I just need to begin. Day 1 of Operation Home Run started yesterday whether I liked it or not. Because I want the end goal. And that’s the important bit. I’ll work the rest out later, that will come. It won’t come though, if I don’t start. There will never be a perfect time. I’ll just make it happen, because it doesn’t matter how I feel on Day 1, it only matters that I start. Be ready to follow my imperfect journey post Operation Birthday. Welcome to Operation Home Run!

P.S. This is completely unrelated to this post but in the craziness of the last week I forgot to share this little news...guess what happened officially at the One Active fashion parade? There's only so many coincidences of fitting into a particular size before you have to accept that that is actually your new (usual, always exceptions) size. :) It happened while standing next to Mish too and I got to share the news straight away. Perfect Moment #67 from my last week.  Size 12 baby!!

Monday, 17 February 2014

My Summer Festival wrap-up and personal photo album

I seem to have a lot of these blog posts...posts where I don't know where to start writing. It's now a week later since the Summer Festival and I need to get this out on paper blog!

So as per my last quick post, I had the absolute honour of being in the Top Ten for Round 4 and being awarded a Top Transformation prize. It was awarded at the Summer Festival - the first of its kind! So much more happened on the weekend but this was the pinnacle of it for me, for non materialistic reasons I'll explain in this post.

Seriously where do I begin. The weekend was absolutely huge. This was separate to the festival but on the Friday I had the exciting opportunity to be a One Active model again at a Michelle Bridges book tour appearance on the Gold Coast. Exciting is an understatement. I was out of this world on Cloud 9 about being able to do this! My friends and I who are in the book have been joking for months about attending a book signing so to actually get to do this was awesome.  (Not that we were the ones signing the books lol!  (Although I signed quite a few across the weekend!)  But it was pretty cool all the same).

Kirst and I en route to the Gold Coast
It took a bit of logistical manoeuvring to make it happen, but where there's a will, there's a way. (Where there's a chance to model your favourite brand of clothing and get interviewed by Mish, there's a way!) I'm talking major logistics here. My beautiful friend Kirst changed her FLIGHT TIME of coming up for the festival to make this work for us! It was a 10 step operation including a strategically placed car to get us to the coast on time but we made it. 
Half of my outfit

We were told to meet at Big W so they could dress us - I shared the experience with my gorgeous friend Tracey and another 12WBT'er, Paula, under the guidance of the beautiful Heather and Kim from 12WBT and Elizabeth from Big W, and Kirst was my ever supportive friend by my side. It was a myriad of choosing our own clothes (!), another jacket wardrobe malfunction for me, and a LOT of selfies. As the excitement built and we started walking to centre stage and the green room, my mind suddenly went blank. I could not think of one bit of information about my journey. Not one. HELP! 
On stage at the Gold Coast

But, as soon as I walked up on that stage, I relaxed and I spoke. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had. Everything came back to me and I spoke from the heart. It felt natural and safe and was just this special moment onstage, chatting to Mish and Chloe Maxwell who was the MC (and is super sweet might I add! I've fallen in love with her!) 

Mish described what we were wearing, and then we each took to the mic to do a little summary about our journey. We got asked to demonstrate an exercise each - I got squats. That is one thing I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined I would be asked to do one day. 
Mish, Tracey, me and Paula

Afterwards we got interviewed on camera, and again, I was on a roll with my chatter. I couldn't stop talking! Unfortunately due to the craziness of the day, I didn't get a chance to eat breakfast or lunch, just a small snack in the morning, so by late afternoon I started to get a bit unwell and after it had all finished, I almost fainted. I got some food in time though and came good.

Saturday began with an inspirational parkrun
Two of my dear friends, MAK and Sarie
(check my Instagram), followed by some appointments with Kirst, continued with a mini road trip with some new 12WBT friends to visit the next stage of the MB tour, followed with a massive boot camp by Margie, and ended with an unofficial finale party that Brisbane put on for our interstate friends, led by the amazing Julie and Cathy. It was a lot of
Ready for the unofficial party!
fun and it was great to catch up with everyone. That's all I really need to say about the party...let's just say that losing 20kg is a lot between drinks, if you know what I mean. #ohdear

Then, Sunday!

It started with our traditional 30+ breaky which was lovely to see everyone even though I may not have felt too great for the first hour. :o

Then it was straight next door to registration, for the very
Some of my amazing friends
first Summer Festival!

Back when they announced the changed format of the end of round event and mentioned the introduction of a new all day 'festival' to replace the finale parties, I admit I was one of the emotional members crying on the forums about it. For 6 rounds I had been travelling around Australia to attend the workout and party every 12 weeks, and adored each one. It was motivation for me during the current round and inspiration for the next. I loved it all, running absolutely rampant from the moment you touched down to the moment you left, gaining a million new memories
Ready for our couch interview
and just as many photos.

And now they were going to change this? OMG!

Well, I totally take it back.  I loved the finale parties and still do, but the Summer Festival?  Massive tick.  The 12WBT team did an amazing job.  All day I heard people talking about how impressed they were with how much effort and thought had gone into the day.  The 12WBT team did themselves proud with this event and everyone I spoke to had the best day ever.

After registration it was time to do a quick walk through of the mindset lesson.  I was asked to speak in one of Mish's mindset lessons alongside my friends Kirst and Cathy.  We got told it
Never leave us 3 alone on set...
would be a little like the TV show 'Ellen'; just a casual chat on some couches, being interviewed by Mish.  Mish told us we'll just take it as it comes and see how it progresses, and we had a quick walk through.  (Us 3 may have also done a little impromptu photoshoot on the set lol).

Everyone arrived and then it was on.  And oh my gosh was it like 'Ellen'!  haha!  It was awesome!  Mish came in and danced with everyone just like the show, and then did a live mindset lesson.  Oh man it was amazing.  I will come back to this later as this mindset lesson
ended up being one of my unexpected biggest highlights of my entire journey.
On the set of 'Mish' :)

Then it was interview time!  I'm really close to Kirst and Cathy and I thought having us 3 up there together would make for a pretty fun show with a lot of laughter and joking around.  Not even.  It was surprisingly for me, quite an emotional experience!  We opened up a fair amount and some of it was heart wrenching.  I saw people in the room crying.  I only wish it had been able to go for longer.  I really enjoyed my time doing this and it was such an honour to be able to do this.

We finished up and from then on it was crazy town.  The whole day was so full on - I did a few different classes - the heart rate class, the training gear class, the running class etc.  I had to sneak away from my friends at one point and make sure they didn't get suss, as I had to go and meet Larah and the other winners so we could have a quick meet and greet with Mish.  We weren't allowed to tell anyone other than immediate family that we had won!  Like last time, do you know how hard that is?  But - it made it so much better at the time :)  More on that soon.

We all met up and got some photos, chatted to Mish, I ran to another couple of classes, the whole time seeing old friends and meeting new people.  Just the best day.

Suddenly it was 1:30pm and time to go and cheer my friends on in the One Active fashion parade.
With 2 of the Heroes, Amy and Kristy :)

Oh my gosh I have tears as I type this.  It was like watching the first parade they did in Sydney 2012 when my friends Cathy, Mim, Sandra, Sarah, Leanne, and Bella did it.  It was totally overwhelming to watch it as I knew every one of them and it was such a celebratory parade.  Well, it was the same last week.  I'm friends with every one of these models too and I can bet you I was the proudest person in the room that day.  I was trying to contain myself jumping up and down.  I am so, so proud of my friends.

Then, before I knew it, as in while I was jumping up and down at the front of the stage for the parade, it was time for me to line up behind the stage for the awards.  I ran around the back and lined up - I was supposed to be first up.  My model friends were around the back also and a couple of them cottoned onto why I was there and they were so excited for me.  They ran around the front of the stage to take photos and I tried to
calm myself and focus.

I desperately wanted to focus.  I wanted to take this in.  I hadn't stopped: the entire 12 weeks was go-go-go.  I made it to my birthday <3  Then from my birthday to finale was even moreso crazy.  Of all times for work to be manic, it was.  For the last 2 weeks on most nights I either went to bed at 2am or got up at 2am.  I still can't work out what was harder.  I was conducting roadshows for work and working offsite.  I had to travel interstate the day before the festival and spent all week out of the office, running around airports and falling asleep in cabs.  I was so busy that it took me 2.5 days to tell my family about my award.  This makes it sound like it didn't mean anything to me - that it could take me so long.  Even I myself read this and think I was nuts for not telling them straight away.  But it wasn't the case.  I just couldn't stop.  2.5 days after I got the special news, I literally forced myself to go into the bathroom at work and lock myself inside with my phone, just so I could finally email my family to tell them.

So the non-stop-ness of the weekend just added to it a hectic week where I was still trying to
make sense of it all.  The whole thing was pretty surreal and I had a couple of moments where it
hit me.  One of them was in the hotel the day before.  I stayed in a hotel for one night with Kirst and Court.  When I got to the hotel to change for boot camp, I had about 15min. to get ready.  The other girls were at model rehearsal, so I was alone.  I got dressed and looked at myself in the mirror.  And burst into tears.  All of a sudden the enormity of how much of an honour this was, hit me. It was kind of like I had a moment of watching my 18 months on video flash before me, and it culminated to this.  All I could remember was this sad, Morbidly Obese girl lying on her bed, watching her first mindset video.  It didn't seem real to now be in this situation.

So back to just before I walked up onto the stage, it hit me again.  The feelings I had in the hotel room came back. This moment was crazy. It was slightly sensory overload and I vaguely remember Mish onstage, talking. I knew I was about
to be called up. I got all teary. So much was going through my mind. More than anything, I  simply wanted to take this all in. But I needed back up. This was so full on. Help. My eyes darted around me in mild panic and, Girl In A Million, the beautiful Larah from 12WBT met eyes with me. Without hesitation she pointed at me and mouthed "you've got this."

In an instant I was fine. With no black cloud determination, I calmed down. Mish called my name. I took a deep breath and I walked up onto that stage, possibly the proudest I have ever been of myself.

This is the moment most of my friends found out, when they saw me up there. I saw them jumping up and down and screaming. This is what did it for me. Plus another 1500-1800 (?) people cheering. This time, I took it all in. There was no dark cloud, and to be perfectly honest, for that walk from the steps to Mish, there was actually no-one else in the room.  I was vaguely aware that pictures of me in my underwear were currently being broadcast on the screen above me.  I could see my friends jumping up and down, I could see Mish and Tim in
front of me.  But for that little walk, I felt like I was the only one in the room, that's how much I took it in. :)   I walked towards Mish and she gave me a bouquet of roses and flowers. She asked me what my highlights of 12WBT had been so far. I told her about the doctor diagnosing me as fit. And then I said another thing, that I'd only worked out just that day.

In the mindset lesson earlier that day, Mish spoke about one of her The Biggest Loser contestants 'getting' it. She described how the contestant one day suddenly realised that she could, in fact, do anything. In that moment, in Mish's mindset lesson, I 'got' it, too. I realised that that was what this whole thing has been about. I knew weight loss has been a byproduct of the whole experience. But what I had only just worked out, was what I really had been working towards, was the realisation that I had that day.  I truly, in fact *could* do anything.  That moment made me feel like I had the world at my feet.  I shared this raw realisation onstage.  

I cheered on the other winners as I stood onstage, but I wasn't really listening.  Not because I don't support them, I really do - they are all amazing, deserved winners.  But because that's when I started getting overwhelmed.  One of them said something that struck a chord with meand I cried a bit.  I can't even remember what it was.  I just remember starting to get overwhelmed.  We left the stage and from all directions my friends ran over and hugged me and jumped up and down.  I can't describe how much this meant to me.  So much so that this is what did it and I had a little crying breakdown.  The support meant so much.  It was such a special moment.

Soon after I had no idea what was going on - it was all ok (!) but I didn't know what to do.  My friends were still there, I was holding my flowers, crying, and suddenly the group workout began.  It took me ages to get my head straight so that I could focus on working out.
This moment

As always, it was an amazing workout, and as always, after goodbyes, I trudged away exhausted and balancing my bag, showbags and stuff that we seem to collect at finales / festivals.  I had a debrief Thai dinner with Kirst and then back at my place, she packed to go home while I walked around the house aimlessly for ages, taking selfies with my flowers.  This was moment #3 of it hitting me.  I just kept staring at the flowers, trying to take it all in.

So much more to tell you about my post festival feelings and plans, but I'll leave this here for now.  This was all about my festival experience :)  And from now on, there's so much more of my story to create and to share.  I'm nowhere near goal yet and am still continuing on my journey.  My next stage begins this week.  New adventures to come!

I am so thankful for last weekend for so many reasons.  It was a true honour that meant even more than I have described here.  It was a day that brought me to the greatest realisation.  It was a weekend of amazing, special memories.  It was an opportunity to share parts of my story.  It was a chance to do it all with a true smile on my face.  And, as much as I got (the most awesome!) prizes sent by courier this week, my absolute
true prize was that feeling I had walking towards Mish.

Somewhere between finishing high school and now, I lost that sense that I have the world at my feet.  Life happens, we get older, responsibility enshrouds wide eyed wonder.  But last week I realised it again.

I really can do anything.


Some of my festival photo album:

This girl is beautiful...Donna Marie :)

Meet and greet with Mish
With Rina and Kylie #lovethesegirls

Party shenanigans

We made it to Big W!

Party kiss fun!

Our book! ;)

With my dear friend Cathy

My clothes for the One Active parade!

So much fun hanging out with Trace :)  #somanyselfiesbackstage

In the green room

#blonde #supermodels ;)

Adore this girl

Best selfie ever!

With Hero Lannie, waiting to go on.... #nervousmuch

Us with the beautiful Heather

The lovely Chloe

The 30+ crew!

That's me bottom left!

Mic-ing up!

So much fun

The top ten with Mish (3 couldn't make the festival)

Demonstrating exercises

One of my oldest friends, Ferny, came down to support me <3

Mel and I at parkrun on Saturday

My Saturday mini road trip buddies

parkrun on Saturday

On our way to boot camp

At boot camp with Guin and Kristy

Instagrammers photo :)

30+ breaky

With Kim x

Feeling at home on our couch ;)

Feeling special

<3 #girlinamillion

Me doing a push-up at the workout

Mucking around with the camera...just for something different

One of my stunned flower selfies later that night :)

Like a...

Just before we went on...gathering my thoughts

And this is why I love the 12WBT official letter :)

My awesome prizes!

Trying to take it all in #anotherflowerselfie

Love this photo :)