One year later, 40kg lighter
My thoughts on my body
In January this year I was an unhealthy, morbidly obese teenage girl on a fast track to an early grave. Now I am an active and happy adult.
What happened between January and now? I took responsibility for my health and decided to change weight.
It started once my constant headaches became overwhelming. A quick internet search of the problems I was suffering brought me to the conclusion that I was showing symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Instead of heading to the doctor to confirm my fears and having someone tell me for the thousandth time that I needed to lose weight, I decided to take it into my own hands.
That day, on a stomach full of deep-fried wedges, I confided in my mother that I thought I was pre-diabetic.
She sympathised with me and surely saw the bomb drop. Having been through her own weight loss mission she must have seen the determination that finally rose in my eyes.
Everyone talks about this switch. The switch that flicks and you're off. I had tried to lose weight so many times, which at just 19 is almost disturbing.
You name the diet I had tried it. I thought each of those times that I was determined, that the switch had finally flicked, yet each time I had failed. The important thing was that I didn't give up. I still waited for that switch to flick, and on January 23, 2013, it finally did.
I announced over social media that I was putting down the takeaway bag and finally doing something for my health. The support was astounding! Over 70 friends showed their support and that was when I knew I couldn't give up. I was accountable and responsible for everything from that day forward.
I told my sister, who lives in Perth, and she immediately started helping me. She had been 'clean eating' for a few months and gave me the resources I needed to find everything for myself.
I believe that finding what works for you on your own terms is incredibly important for your weight loss journey. It took two months of stumbling around, still losing weight, but not feeling like I had what worked for me quite right. It took stripping out the 1200 calorie mentality and realising that weight loss is all about what goes in your mouth and not how hard you work at the gym.
I believe exercise is important but to me the percentage looks more like 80 per cent food, 10 per cent sleep and 10 per cent exercise. After two months I found the formula that worked for me by stripping gluten, grains (bread, pasta, rice, corn, legumes including peanuts), dairy, soy and refined sugar from my diet.
It sounds extreme, and I suppose it is for a society that relies on grains to make up the largest portion of their diet, but when you step back and really look, you get everything you need from whole, natural unprocessed meats and vegetables.
It was so hard at first, and I slipped up regularly, but the slip ups became less and less.
My initial goal was 20 kilograms by my 20th birthday, which I ended up smashing out with 33kg lost by then.
It is now December and I am almost hitting 40kg lost out of the total of 60kg I plan to lose. I have never been a small girl so a goal weight is out of the question - healthy and strong is all I have so far.
I wish I could look back and say it has been effortless, but there are struggles. The word that sums up my year so far is perseverance.
This has completely changed my life: I have gone from unhappy, unhealthy and self-conscious to someone who is confident and happy in themselves.
It has been a journey of self love and so much change. It has driven me to become deeply passionate about helping to change the lives of others through creating a Facebook page that follows my journey through recipes, regular updates and provides a support network for other people in my situation.
If I can change one person's life, and help them become healthy and happy like I have, then it's all worth it.