How one decision can change lives

Recently at another one of our end of term events, Libby a long standing member, shared her fitness journey. It choked me up, not only was she brave, vulnerable and open enough to do this, it made me so goddamn proud. Meet Lib...

"Rach asked me to write something down about my story months ago. At first I said: sure no worries, but then as I drove out of the park I thought; no way! There is a whole lot of deep emotions that I cant share with people. And now here I am, verbalising my journey to you all.

I was always a slightly bigger girl growing up but was always active playing club and school sport. Once I finished school I moved to America and did a high school exchange program for a year. I was in a small town in Texas and my host mum wouldn’t buy fresh fruit and veggies, because if it didn’t get eaten it was a waste of money. Needless to say, my diet became terrible and I piled on the weight. Ever since then I have yoyo dieted for what feels like forever - I don’t think there is a diet, or fad that I haven't tried. I would also get gung-ho and get right into exercise until I either lost motivation or injured myself. Being overweight, having very loose joints and ligaments, plus terrible balance was a recipe for disaster.

Over the years with prioritising myself last as most mums do, I was becoming more and more dissatisfied with my body and more importantly my thoughts and actions that I wanted to model to my children.

When I had my daughter 2 years ago, something changed. I felt this overwhelming need to change my habits. I know the struggles I have faced for years associated with negative body image, self hate, feeling judged by others, that I would not wish on her for my life. If I wanted to model healthy habits for my children I knew I had to begin to make changes asap, as years of neglect was not going to change overnight. Honestly I just kept hoping that my kids would have my husbands skinny genes- working in a clinic next door to KFC, he eats more then his fair share, yet still fits into his high school senior jersey almost 20yrs later!

I began with walking and postnatal Pilates. It was at my local park in Brisbane, that I saw Rach’s banner. As my kids played on the playground, I would watch the sessions and think what a great idea - kids supervised with Nannies, getting some me time exercising rather then sitting in another coffee shop, all while enjoying the beautiful weather that we have. I came home and googled straight away, however didn’t do anything about it for over a month. Why? Because I was scared that it would just be another thing that I would fail at. That the other mums looked so fit that I would just make a fool out of myself and that Rach - before I had even had a single conversation with her, would say, maybe this isn’t for you, build up your fitness a bit and then come back.

I’m not sure what it was that eventually made me enquire- but it has now changed my life and my families forever.

While writing this I scrolled back through my messages with Rach and found the first message I sent her... It was this:

Hi Rach, I am really, really really unfit and overweight. Would your sessions be suitable or do I need to be fit to join? I do the 5k loop around the park and I have seen your groups there and they look like fun. Thanks Libby

I look back at my message now and just see the negativity in my thoughts. None of this aligns with my values that I want to instil in my children. I want my kids to enjoy movement for the fun and enjoyment that it provides, the friendships you can make, the mental clarity it can bring and the feeling of being strong and healthy. I don’t want them to worry about moving their bodies or choose not to because they are overweight and worried about what others would think. Rach’s kindly worded reply made me give it a go. I was so nervous for my first session, as my fitness level was non existent. We did some testing and I couldn’t even run one side of the dog park let alone do 400m or do a step up on the benches. I was mortified but it was also the kick up the bum that I needed. Everyone was friendly and no one made me feel hopeless. The first few weeks I felt like an idiot, completely out of my depth but I knew I had to keep going. A turning point came in September of 2019. I was going to New Zealand for holidays and was searching for a winter jacket as the one I owned from living in London didn’t fit anymore. I was horrified that I couldn’t find a ‘proper’ winter jacket that would fit me in any retail store so I had to order online. I am in my 30’s I should be wearing clothes that I like the look of not what is the only thing that will fit.

In January last year I had a gastric sleeve and it was one of the best things I have done for myself. I have lost 47kgs, 184cms in measurements and got my health back. It has taken some work with my psychologists to accept that I may never be a size 8 and that it’s ok. I am so much happier within myself, I exercise for enjoyment now not as a chore, we bought new scooters at Christmas and go on family scooter rides together and I am learning to love and accept my body and myself for more then just the size of my clothes. I have had two beautiful children, I have a wonderful husband and great group of friends, I have travelled to over 40 countries and lived in the US and London - all of these things are far more interesting than my weight.

So thank you Rach for your support - if you hadn’t have been so encouraging I probably wouldn’t have started and who knows where my life would be now. And to the MJ crew who didn’t make me feel like an idiot when I was the slowest in your team - Thank you so much! The amazing group of like minded mums Rach has created will be something I will treasure forever, as the day my new healthier life began for myself and my family!"

And this is WHY I do what I do.

Yours in health, happiness and connection,

Rach xx

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