REVEALING MY AUTHENTIC SELF
January 2, 2017
For as long as I can remember I’ve been big. I have this memory of being 8 years old and tearfully asking my relatives at Christmas if I was fat – and being horrified by their reply, which only had the best of intentions but had the absolute opposite effect: “Don’t worry Hilary, it’s just baby fat!”
……….What?!?!?! Were they serious?? I really was fat….??
From then I started viewing myself differently; from that moment on I have only ever seen myself as less of a person, not normal but FAT.
This status of being fat followed me through my difficult childhood, where I was the subject of incredible bullying and isolation. I could tell you some pretty insane things other kids and people who know better (adults) have said or done to me over my life regarding my weight but I had to decide long ago that if I focused on those moments then I was forever going to be dictated by them.
5 and the only dimples I had to worry about were on my face!
Transitioning to high school can be tough for most kids, and puberty hit me especially hard. My once pale blonde hair turned mousey, you know – that colour no one claims and always dyes!! And my weight continued to soar and by the age of 16 I weighed 103kg.
And I don’t think I was particularly lazy, certainly not more than the average teenager. I have always loved sport and I played netball several times a week amongst other activities.. Exercise has never been my issue, because I have always loved it! It just wasn’t enough to balance my already tipping scale. I also don’t think I ate terribly in my teens, I just ate at the wrong times and way too much of it! Those habits continued to follow me as I got older.
Horse riding was a huge part of my life at 17 before moving states and high schools. I always hated this picture though as all I saw was my fat thighs.
Changing schools at the end of year 11 to a co-ed school threw me in the deep end, big time and created a whole new lot of issues for me. Having never really hung out with boys, having gone to girl schools, I was a whole lot of no confidence and a whole lot of mental instability. This toxic combination of desperately wanting to ‘fit in’ at my new school only caused me to get bigger and sadder.
I have always suffered from depression, having led a pretty.. hmmm, how do I put this eloquently? dysfunctional childhood and paired with some genes that had depression, addiction and weight issues as their main traits, I was kind of always swimming against the current. So pairing my poor mental health, not so great genes and a turbulent upbringing – whilst my ballooning weight was explainable and understandable, it still made me feel outcast and less of a person.
But wait a minute! There was an easy fix to my weight issues! Just eat healthily and exercise! Simple! If I had a donut for every time I heard that…. Actually I probably did eat a donut every time someone did say it, because it was endless and very, very depressing. Even in my sessions as a teen with psychologists and nutritionists it was the same thing; palm sized piece of protein, large amount of veggies blah blah blah blah blah. I know so much about nutrition and how to lose weight, I’m convinced I know more than those “guiding” me! You’ll actually find that most people who suffer from weight issues are extremely factual on how to lose weight, sadly though- that’s not the issue.
To those who have never being overweight, had depression or anxiety it is very hard to articulate how difficult it is to “cure” yourself. Because, you know what? There ain’t just one simple, easy remedy. Sure, there are tools in which can be very useful. I was seeing a psychologist in my late 20s who dealt with eating disorders. I was ok to admit I was addicted to food, but she could never admit that dealing with food addiction is more than just keeping a food diary and having meal plans.
So three years ago, after years and years of trying every eating plan, diet, gym program and psychologist under the sun I gave up. It just was so hard thinking about my weight every minute of every day. And don’t think I’m exaggerating, I’m absolutely serious. I literally thought about my weight, about how disgusting and defeated I was, every single minute of every single day. It was all consuming.
So, as you can imagine, I hit rock bottom. I weighed 122kg, I was about to get married to my beautiful man; who loved me at any size, as long as I was happy and confident. I had flogged myself for six months in the lead up to the wedding. I was on liquid meals 2-3 times a day and going to my personal trainer 5 times a week. Over a six month period you would assume I lost some serious weight, right? Nope. I lost 12kgs. Yes, still impressive but not when I had 40kg to lose, so it was incredibly upsetting. And after putting the hard fought weight back on again on my honeymoon, I realised I needed drastic intervention.
I have never felt more beautiful than on my wedding day. 110kg can still rock it!
I had done so much research over the years and by now I knew what I wanted; weight loss surgery.
It sounds easy right? Well yes and no. I took this decision very seriously given what I was thinking about was allowing someone (in fact paying them!) to remove most of my stomach. This is not a decision to ever take lightly. From when I first discussed this option with my husband to actually getting the surgery took four years.
At around the same time I decided I wanted the surgery a friend of mine suggested I meet up with a woman called Kat John. He knew I was very intuitive (I was adamant I wasn’t but he was quick to hush my lack of faith in myself) and knew of my past issues. He said she merged psychology with intuitive healing. Sounded interesting and in typical Hilary style I booked a session with her the following day. I can now see that as my intuition outplaying my head ;)
This step of committing to finally sorting my shit out once and for all was the most liberating thing I have and will ever do. I chose at that moment that I was never going to play the victim to my life story again. Indeed it was my own story that had sculpted me, made me strong and taught me unique life lessons but I was now ready to stop hiding behind it and instead use it as my power.
With the incredibly wonderful, warm and real Kat we started to link patterns, behaviours and habits. She used the chakra system to break down my energy into different “personalities” and by doing this I began to really understand areas of my life that were unbalanced, lacking clarity or were unacknowledged. The chakra system taught me to identify particular needs, to self-inquire and above all – that we are mirrors.
With the gorgeous Kat at the launch of the HHM Salon in Geelong
If you come up against someone who really makes you mad, if we get angry – we simply are mirroring their own issues. If we are with someone who inspires and motivates us, we are mirroring their inner awesomeness. By putting out what we want and who we want to be, those exact things come into our life. Again, mirrors. It started to all click into place!
Kat stirred my pot in a big way. She evoked emotion and such deep healing which had dramatic, instant results but as always, I had so much energy it made it hard to have clarity. Kat recommended a gentle but powerful kinesiologist called Elena Pilch, whom she knew would be wonderful for me. And man, was she ever! Elena taught me that there was never a wrong thought or action, that my body was an incredible energy that speaks amazing truths and when I listen, it has so much to say. It was this combination of seeing them both that accelerated my personal and business growth (business growth chat can be left for another time eh?).
Elena was instrumental in taking my clean slate, tuning into my true hearts desires and helping me manifest them. So much has come true with her guidance.
This holistic approach to myself, by healing myself of my “shit” and also wanting to become physically healthy too, I knew it would all balance. One doesn’t work without the other. And so by the time the surgery rolled around 12 months later, I was ready.
By the time I was ready to start the pre op 2 week liquid diet I weighed a massive 134kg. The liquid diet is tough, the first week is filled with headaches, nausea and feeling weak. It was an aggressive detox from the months of horrible eating leading up to the surgery. I’ll admit to cheating, but I still have dreams of that ridiculously massive burger I scoffed down so I don’t regret it at all haha! Though the picture (below) I made Ben take of me eating said burger serves as a reminder on how disgusting my approach to eating really was. I used food to smother my feelings, to cloud my thoughts and to deflect away from the real reasons to my unhappiness. But not anymore!
Surgery day came and I was seven kilograms lighter from the liquid diet. My beautiful husband Ben came with me and held my hand as they got me ready to roll out to the surgical ward. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. The surgery and the week spent in hospital post op was no walk in the park. This was major surgery and most of my super stretched stomach was removed. It was painful, and I knew I had a long road ahead of me.
5 minutes before I got wheeled off for surgery!
The next few months were some of the hardest of my life, I had been given a particularly restricted stomach so was vomiting 90% of the food I tried to eat. I would faint in the shower or when I bent over, was incredibly dehydrated and had huge post surgery ego moments detaching from food. I would youtube ‘How to make chocolate cakes’ even though I never really ate cake before! My brain struggled to let go. I existed on porridge for months but the pressure of such malnutrition took its toll and a couple months post-surgery my hair began to fall out. So for those that love my extremely short, white blonde hair might not know that I was forced to cut my hair this short to ensure I don’t look bald!
Though the hard bits aside, three months post-surgery I had managed to lose 30kg and was gagging to get back to my training sessions with my trainer, Adam. Adam never judged me for my size and never let my size limit how hard I could push myself. I owe Adam a lot as I really believe that a lot of the training I did with him pre-surgery has truly assisted my body adjust to the extreme weight loss so well. I’m lucky to have very little loose skin and I’m in love with my muscle definition (I knew they were there, just hiding!) Post surgery I had lost a lot of strength and was running on very little, but Adam was patient and adjusted my sessions around my capabilities, rather than trying to flog me military style, his encouragement meant I had to find my own “beast mode” as I call it. He has taught me if I want it, I can have it.
Always a laugh with Adam!
So, I am now 9 months post-surgery and have lost a pretty crazy 45 kilograms and weigh 89 kg.
I still have to take a moment to let that number sink in. 45 kilograms. I met someone yesterday who weighed 49 kilograms. Um…I pretty much lost a whole human. Thats pretty insane.
My one big goal was to be below 90 kilograms which my dietician said wasn’t possible but from all those who know me, I’ve never liked been told what to do! I have always wanted be lighter than my husband and I hit that goal only a week ago. That was one of the bigger reasons I have chosen to not speak about my journey until now. This was a personal journey and while I know the power of my story, I had to back myself first before I could share it.
I still have little goals to achieve health-wise but I’m confident they will come. The surgery has enabled me to slowly learn how to eat differently. I now eat 6 small meals a day, crave fruit not burgers, understand the importance of protein and balance but most importantly that its ok that I asked for, and accepted, help. I couldn’t have lost this weight on my own.
And it wasn’t just one person who helped me along the way, but an incredibly powerful cast of some of the best people I know.. From Ben, Kat, Elena, Adam, my surgeon, my dietician, the psychologist, my wonderful GP, my endocrinologist, and my understanding friends & family.
I may have had to give up my favourite meal, the trusty ol roast lamb but instead, I have gained my freedom from the mental jail I had been in all my life and the food addiction that came as a by-product from it and that, above all, is the most rewarding & powerful achievement.
TO CONNECT WITH MY AMAZING TEAM