Never in a million years did I think these words would come out of my mouth “ I love exercise!” Who am I? Or perhaps I should ask the question, who have I become?
I have always struggled with my weight. When I was growing up I was a tall girl, with a banging figure with great boobs. I was proud of the way I looked and how slim I was. I wasn’t aware of what I was putting in my body in the way of food, I would eat what I wanted but I was an active kid. I played netball flat out and threw a bit of tennis in there too. I also walked and rode my bike everywhere. I am probably lucky that I was so active back then as I could eat whatever I wanted and it never showed. Being a teenager and thinking you know everything about life, you don’t stop to think about how doing a little bit of exercise every day and watching what you eat can set you up for the future.
I struggled with endometriosis from a young age and I was put on the pill at the age of 15 to try and keep this under control. From that moment on, I struggled. The weight started to creep on, and it felt like my body started to slow down. Oh, how I wish I could go back to that point in time and tell myself to exercise! How I wish I could sit down with my 15-year-old self and teach her about the importance of looking after her body and how integral a healthy lifestyle is.
Let’s fast forward a few years and now this body of mine has copped IVF, two pregnancies, two childbirths, a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, a tummy tuck, and also a breast reconstruction. It’s fairly safe to say that my has copped a flogging! The last thing on my mind during all of this was that word … exercise. My mind was not in the right place to be thinking about looking after my body. My mind was in survival mode and just needed to get through each day. Exercises were the furthest thing on my mind. I was focused on getting better.
Two years ago Bob and I decided that we needed to lose weight. I was sick and tired of being the frumpy Mumma. I wanted “me” back, the me that was able to walk into a shop and buy clothes without having to go to the “fat” section. The person who could look in the mirror and be proud of what was looking back at her. So, we set about losing weight and we were smashing it. Bob lost 30 kgs and I lost just over 20kg. All we did was exercise by walking every day and watch what went into our mouths. At times it wasn’t easy, but doing it together and challenging one another helped … a lot!
During this time, I was writing my book ‘Thanks for the Mammaries.’ I was not in the best place, mind or body and exercise was the last thing on the agenda. Writing was helping with the mindset but something was missing. I allowed myself to get super busy and any exercise went out the window. I was working on the book and where I wanted to go, but I completely forgot about my body and looking after it. The weight started to creep back on, and I was falling into the dark hole of anxiety and depression. I would look at others posting on social media about their accomplishments in the gym or look at selfies of them after a run and think, whatever! No one needs to see you in your activewear. I know now that my head was not in the right space and that I was jealous of these people. I wanted to be in their position but instead of doing something about it, I would look at it in a negative light. I needed to change my perspective on exercise and put myself in a positive mindset. But how?
I work with Allied Health practitioners and people that are active and ones to look after themselves. I look at them daily and idolize the way they have it all. They have great careers, healthy bodies, and minds and why do they have all of this? Because they exercise. They make time in their lives to exercise. I live next door to two guys that are probably the fittest people I have ever seen. During lockdown here in Victoria they were in the garage every day doing a workout and smashing it. Exercise was their staple every day. I looked at them too and thought they were crazy. I’m surrounded by exercise addicts! Interestingly enough though, these addicts that I am surrounded by have been nothing but encouraging and have 100% had my back on my weight loss/get fit journey. They have never judged me just cheered me on and pushed me to go for it, they all inspired me. I managed to turn around my negative mindset with the help of these people and I was finally ready to move forward … positively.
Gemma my youngest daughter is an active child. She plays basketball, golf, and rides everywhere but she is solid. She reminds me of me in so many ways. Gem came to me and asked if she could start going to the gym. This is when the penny dropped for me. I decided that if she is going to the gym then so am I. We joined our local Fernwood here in Ballarat and we haven’t looked back. The day we joined I signed up for a six-week challenge and I had my blinkers on. If you throw me a challenge I am going to take it by the horns and do the best I possibly can. Exercising every day has changed my outlook not only on my body but my mindset. Exercise has become my therapy, my time to work on me from top to bottom. Gemma does classes with me and she cheers me on the whole way. I challenge myself to do things I didn’t think I can do, and trust me when I say there is no better feeling than completing the task and being proud of yourself. I am driven by seeing my daughter in a place where she feels comfortable and encouraged to be the best she can be.
Joining Fernwood has been the best thing I have done in a long time. From the moment I walked in the door I have felt safe and never felt judged. There are women of all different ages and sizes, and we are all there for the same reasons. To make ourselves better humans, to strengthen our minds not just our bodies. I have felt like I have landed where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. I have set small goals to hit along the way and am slowly ticking them off with a smile on my face mixed with a little sweat. Ok, let’s be honest here, a lot of sweat! Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t been easy. I have had muscles screaming at me that haven’t been moved in a very long time, but Fernwood has given me the tools to push through and keep going.
I am in the best place I have been in a very long time. I have found myself again. That Kate who was once proud of herself is in there and she is slowly making her way back to the surface. Covid and lockdown has been a godsend in the sense that it has made me slow down. It has made me aware of the fact that I was loading myself up too much and I needed to take a step back. I needed to put some self-love in place and do something for me. I am worthy of being the best person I can be and exercise is helping me to do this. My tired 40-year-old body is telling me it is ready to be strong again. My mind is there now, and my body is slowly catching up. She will get there, I just need to keep looking forward and taking on the challenge, one exercise at a time. Ask yourself this question … Do you allow yourself time to have some “me” time? If the answer is no, then make time and find the thing that makes you happy.
Hello, my name is Kate and I am an exerciseholic. Exercise makes me happy.