40 ways my life has changed since losing 40kgs

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So a few weeks ago I hit the big 4 0.

No, not that one Frock Friends! It’s still a few years away yet.

The 40kg weight loss mark. 80.2kg. Down from 120.2kg.

33% of my body weight gone.

66% or two thirds of the weight I’d like to lose (which is around 60kg all up, I’m 158cm tall).

Sometimes I can’t believe I’ve come this far. When I lift 40+kg in the gym… well… it’s damn heavy.

If I’d focused on the fact that I had 60kg to lose when I started I would have been paralysed with fear about the task at hand.

Instead I focused on 1kg at a time, just aiming to get to the next number down. -1kg, -1kg, -1kg… they all add up.


New Year’s resolutions

If weight loss, fitness and wellness are on your 2015 resolutions list, I hope you’ll find some inspiration here.

If you think it’s an impossible task, stop thinking.

And instead just start.

Because a year from now you’ll wish you’d started today.

Here are 40 ways my life has changed since losing 40kgs, in no particular order.

Settle in Frock Friends, this is a long one…


1. My inner mean girl has been banished

The voice in my head that kept up a steady banter of negativity for the last 20 years is gone.

I have nothing to beat myself up about anymore; I’ve taken massive action, made epic changes and am no longer berating myself for not doing something about my my weight problem.

Once I started my program of change, my inner mean girl just disappeared. And it was a huge relief.

2. I’m no longer the biggest person in a room

I blend in and don’t feel self-conscious about my size. It’s a strange feeling after being so big for so long.

3. All the seats, everywhere

Plane seats, movie seats, bus seats, outdoor settings. There is nowhere my backside doesn’t comfortably fit now!

There is so much room in the seats that I can tuck my feet beside me. Or in front of me. Or just leave them on the floor. Seats are roomy!

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4. Squashy spaces

Squeezing out of the car when someone is parked in tight beside you or scooting around the tables and chairs in a tightly packed café or restaurant. Easy.

Though sometimes I still think I won’t fit in a space, but then I do.

It’s my head catching up to the changes in my body.

5. Energy

Work, exercise, social life, chores, life.

Everything, every day is easier. I have so much energy and stamina.

6. An average size

I’m delighted to be average.

I’m still working on losing weight, but right now, at a size 14-16, I am decidedly, and thrillingly, average.

7. I’m a Yogi

This still makes me laugh. My yoga mat lives in my car and I use it all the time. I love yoga and go often.

I can out yoga many yogis in the power yoga class, which is not remotely in the spirit of yoga-ness, but I love the strength that my body has after 21 months of training, and it’s in the yoga classes that I can see and feel this strength in practice.

Plus yoga helps with the zen.

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8. Photos

I no longer avoid them. And I’m happy to be documenting more of my life.

There are years where there are no photos of me at all.

9. Showing up

I haven’t spent the last 21 months excited and motivated to attend every gym session and yoga class.

I still have days where I don’t fancy it, can’t be bothered, am tired, or feel as though I have other pressing commitments. But I show up consistently (even when I have to make myself get dressed and just go), and have cancelled training sessions maybe five times due to illness or inury.

The consistency of showing up has paid off and reinforced the exercise habit.

And I never regret it afterwards.

10. The power in my body

I can lift weights. Heavy ones. Ride a bike. Run. Do cool yoga moves.

My body surprises me constantly.

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11. Will

I don’t like the word willpower. It’s over used in reference to weight loss, but I do like the word will.

Will is what I have developed into a strong habit.

Here are some other words and phrases for will that I like: determination, firmness of purpose, fixity of purpose, strength of character, resolution, resolve, resoluteness, purposefulness, single-mindedness, drive, commitment, dedication, doggedness, tenacity, tenaciousness, staying power, backbone, spine.

These are what I’ve needed to call upon over the last 40kg.

12. Weather

I no longer feel the heat like I once did.

Makes sense really, now that my body isn’t busy carrying around the extra 40kg.

13. Listen. Trust. Communicate.

It sounds a little silly, but the best way I can describe this is to say ‘give in to the higher power’. In terms of addiction, the higher power is God.

For me, the higher power is the program I’m doing with Chris. The best thing I did was be open to change and challenge, trust in the process, listen, communicate and undertake the work without putting up arguments or barriers.

Except for milk in my coffee. We still disagree on that one.

14. Mirrors

They no longer scare me. In fact I seek them out more than usual, just to check that I really do look like this now.

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15. People are less judgmental

They just are.

As much as it’s a hard one to swallow, we’re judged on how we look and people have pre-conceived ideas about those who are overweight.

16. Weight loss is quite the visual sport

This is something you’ve heard me say before here. Everyone will have an opinion and when you are massively overweight no-one says anything but when you lose weight it becomes the #1 conversation.

I’ve learned to be gracious, say thank you for the compliments and change the topic when someone (usually a person with weight to lose), starts to explain why the way I’m losing weight is the wrong way.

17. The scales

Standing on the scales is no big deal anymore.

They aren’t the enemy. In fact they let me know I’m on track and winning.

18. Clothes shopping

The sheer joy of shopping for anything, anywhere.

Buying things because I like them and not just because they fit and look half decent. #joyous

19. Frustration

Most people have some sort of injury they are trying to work around. Even the fit people.

Mine is plantar fasciitis, which is a painful problem in my heels. The frustration of the limitations this has put on my training has brought me to tears numerous times.

Patience and working around the problem is key.

Did I mention patience? *sigh*

20. Happy

I’m so much happier. I just am.

I’m winning at what has been the biggest hurdle in my life.

21. Family smile when they see me

Because they are no longer worried about the state of my health, and are so happy with the changes I’m making.

22. I have the ability to inspire others

This one has taken a little getting used to; being an inspiration. I talked about doing this blog for a long time before I actually launched it.

And I was so overwhelmed when I did launch it that I cried!

But I am thrilled and honoured to inspire others; to show people, especially those like me who have been forever overweight and have a large amount to lose, that they can win at this.

23. Cost of living

I spend so much less on eating out, take-away, packaged foods and alcohol.

It would appear that I’ve made up for this with new clothes, nice gym wear, yoga classes, gym memberships and personal training.

24. It’s never too late to make epic change

I’m 36. Of course I wish I did this earlier. But I’m so pleased that I did this AT ALL.

Don’t ever give up. You only fail when you stop trying.

25. Mental health

It’s just better. No beating myself up, no self loathing, greater happiness and loads of mental energy and resilience.

26. Painting my toenails

This used to be a little challenging.

Now, thanks to yoga, and a whole lot less fat on my body, I can basically flick my foot up any which way and paint my toenails.

27. The beach, pool & bathers

I’m okay with wearing my bathers in public and really enjoy going to the beach or the pool. There’s no need to avoid these activities any more!

And on 12 January 2015, you can buy New Idea and see me posing in said bathers #freakingout

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28. Being kind to yourself

I’m not always perfect (did you see what I ate on holidays in Vietnam?), but there’s no point beating myself up for past mistakes.

Being kind to myself matters.

29. Travel

If you follow along on Instagram or Facebook you’ll know that I was just away for a week on holidays in Vietnam for Christmas.

Two things of note; firstly, with much smaller clothes, there was a lot more room in my suitcase. Secondly, when I lived in London and traveled around Europe a lot, I always had a vague fear of my suitcase being lost.

Finding clothes that would fit in European countries would have been pretty challenging if not impossible. Fortunately my suitcase was never lost, a miracle given the amount of travel I did.

I recalled this fear when I was in Westfield Carindale recently and managed to spill coffee down my cream top. I popped into one of the cheap clothing stores, bought a size 14 top for $12, put it on and continued with my shopping, something that would have been more complicated and probably more expensive when I was a lot bigger.

30. Effort must be made daily

I wake up and make the decision every single day to do this thing. It doesn’t happen automatically.

31. Social life

I used to sit and think, “I’ll lose x kg by a certain date.”

Usually for a friend’s wedding, a party, awards dinner or holidays. Inevitably, I would not lose x kg by that date and then I’d be in a panic about finding something to wear.

And upon reflection, I always had something to wear (see my fallback frock for many occasions), but it was just that I was uncomfortable about how I looked and wanted to buy something new and be smaller for the occasion.

I no longer give this much thought. I have loads of clothes (93 Frocks in fact!) and I’m comfortable with how I look now.

No matter what I put on, these days I look and feel just fine.

32. Confidence

I’ve always had a reasonable amount of confidence but the ante has been upped. I think the photo shoot with New Idea says it all. (Though I had to gather every ounce of my confidence to go through with it!).

Along with all of the other kinds of confidence in different areas of my life, I have a lot more body confidence sans 40kg.

This is still a work in progress, but I’m getting there. If you follow along on Instagram you will have seen my foray into wearing trousers and frocks without sleeves.

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33. Pill popping

Eating well and getting fit has meant the reliance on paracetamol on ibprofen has drastically diminished. I don’t get the headaches, aches or pains that I used to.

34. A  new normal

My wellness program is how healthy people live.

They do physical activity each day and rarely eat unhealthy food. The difference between them and me is that I eat a few less calories as I’m actively trying to lose weight.

One day (when I get to my goal weight), I’ll increase the calories a little to maintain my weight. But I’ll be eating the same kind of food as I do now and doing the same amount of physical activity.

And this is my new normal.

35. Optimism & positive thinking

These are key to successfully making massive life changes.

It all starts with the mind.

36. Dating etc.

Errr… a note to my family members and any other folks I know ‘offline’ who just cringed… skip to #37 please.

But for everyone else, increased body confidence is a marvelous thing.

That is all.

Nothing more to see here.

Move along…

37. Finding my tribe

I’ve made new friends. At the gym, at my classes and online.

For me to continue on this path, I need to surround myself with people who are living a healthy lifestyle.

It doesn’t mean out with the old (not at all), but making friends who want to go to a yoga class, out for a bike ride or walk up a mountain for fun on the weekend instead of going out for drinks and dinner is a good thing.

38. No pain

Creaky bones and sore knees are a thing of the past.

My bones are happy that they are no longer carrying around that 40kg.

39. Riding a bike

With Chris‘ gentle pushing and shoving encouragement I have re-learned to ride a bike and it’s amazing. I think I was 12 the last time there was bike riding.

It is one of the only cardio activities I can do with the plantar fasciitis problem in my heels, but it’s also fun, social and feels like a huge milestone and something I never thought I’d be in a fit enough state to do.

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40. Winning

I feel like I’m winning.

I feel that if I can win at this weight loss thing, an issue that I’ve struggled with for more than 20 years, then I have the power within myself to do anything I set my mind to.

I often think about the combination of fate, timing and hard work that has brought me to where I am today.

And I feel grateful.

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How are you feeling about your health goals and the New Year?

Ready to make a change or struggling to know where to begin?

  • Lauren

    That is a great 40! Have you looked into doing it online as well? I am residing in Dubai and am very interested to do your 12 week program 1kg at a time 🙂

    • Thanks Lauren! Funnily enough it didn’t take me long to think of 40 things, I could have kept going 🙂

      Indeed Chris and I have thought about developing an online course using Skype, text messaging, videos and webinars and we hope that this is something we can offer people later this year, so keep an eye out here on the blog to see where we get to!

  • Delly Dyer

    Emma you’re amazing!!! I am so inspired and amazed by your journey! And so happy that you’re happier, you deserve all the good things in the world!!

    –Delly

    Ps. Nearly chocked on #36 laughing! Love it! Pilates is a true gift!!

    • Thanks Ms D, so much 🙂 Hope you’re still doing your Pilates DVDs! I remember how um… committed to them you were in London…

      Is 2015 the year we’ll be seeing you in Australia? I hope so 🙂

  • Thank you, Emma. I found this list hugely motivating and inspiring. I really want this year to be MY year to finally complete what I started in my teens and get healthy and harmonious with my body. For way too long I’ve lived too much I my mind, dragging my bod along for the (leisurely) ride. I want to connect the two once more. Illbe keepong this list very handy indeed.

    Best wishes for massive success with your Healthy Living Project. I hope you see many, many success stories this year. x

    • Super thrilled you found it motivating and inspiring and I’d only say yes, yes and yes again – do make it your year to achieve your health goals – I totally get that whole body separate to mind thing. For such a long time I just ignored my body and hoped it would just come along for the ride. I *literally* would only check my face looked okay in a mirror. The whole issues was in the too hard basket.

      It’s hard to even to explain quite how different I feel now compared to before. Given your word is ‘complete’ for 2015 – I’m thinking this is a great theme for getting the mind and body working together and feeling good 🙂

  • What an amazing journey! Congratulations on your weight loss, and I feel no need to wish the usual luck for the remaining loss, as I can see from this post you will achieve your goals!

    • Thanks Nicole! It has been amazing – I’m only now perhaps coming to terms with much of it. I shall still take that luck for the remaining loss – every little bit helps!

  • You are just absolutly gorgeous. Your blog will help a lot of people. I like this post very much. Bravo.xx cath

    • Oh thank you so much Cath! I love that you think this will help a lot of people – I hope so – thank you again! Also – your blog is beautiful! How good was the Clever Cookie School? Helped me so much with it all.

  • So many wonderful things here!

  • Themba Nyasha Sithole

    I want to loose 40kg but so fearful of the excess skin

    • Loose skin is definitely a thing – but in the scheme of things – the weight loss is far more rewarding than the worry of loose skin.

  • KΑΕ

    This is a great journey. At some point I had done it down to 80 only to climb up to 110 again. 20+ years of being overweight was finally too much. Now I’m starting again with a nutritionist/dietician who is also my best friend and I’m hoping I’ll have the will to go all the way this time around. It’s difficult but I’m inspired from other people like you, who they have found more to weight loss than a smaller wardrobe size. Thank you.