Anna Tideman joined Fernwood North Lakes in December 2012 weighing almost 130kg. Now down to 77kg, she’s bursting with an energy and enthusiasm she never thought she would have. Here is her story:
What was your health and fitness like before joining Fernwood, and what is it like now?
I was morbidly obese, I was on numerous daily medications for several chronic health conditions, I had no energy, and it was difficult to do everyday things. Even when I was babysitting my nieces and nephews, I would get exhausted just watching them run around. I was depressed, angry, upset with myself, lacked any sort of self-esteem and felt like a failure. I was embarrassed to go out in public.
I had tried everything - meal replacement shakes, Weight Watchers, Lite n Easy, My Fitness Pal, detoxes, a cardiac soup diet... I would have success for a short time – but then the weight would pile back on when I lost motivation.
What was your ‘light bulb’ moment - the decision that drove you to join Fernwood?
My light bulb moment was moving back to Queensland from Victoria. It was physically so hard to move - it exhausted me for weeks! It was my 31st birthday and I just decided, ‘NO MORE!’ I knew I just HAD to start or else I would be forever saying, 'tomorrow I will'. So, the day after my birthday, I walked myself into that beautiful Fernwood North Lakes and it was one of the hardest things I've done but one of the best decisions of my life! I will never, ever regret it!
Why did you choose Fernwood over other gyms or programs?
I almost didn’t join Fernwood because of the slightly higher price than other gyms that were in my area. But I did a tour of the club and compared the services that you get for your membership. And when I realised that I had paid more for one junk food meal than what one week's membership cost, I made the decision on the spot to join.
What was or has been the most challenging thing?
The biggest thing was walking into the gym to join: the uncertainty, not knowing what to expect, the self-doubt and lack of confidence.
The next step was actually going the next day and walking the talk. The first few days were filled with thoughts of ‘Can I even do this? I'm just going to fail again. Look at all of these fit, beautiful girls, I must look like a sloth compared to them.’
And then do you know what happened? I actually started enjoying going! That 'feel good' feeling would kick in after I had done a workout, and I would know that I was doing something positive to change my life. And then I started wanting to eat well to fuel my body with the good stuff and not ruin all of the great work I had just done.
What aspects of your club do you enjoy most and why?
I joined on December 18, 2012, and by the start of the 12 Week Challenge in March 2013, I had lost around 20kgs! But I knew I needed some extra motivation because I felt myself slipping slowly back into the same thought patterns, e.g.: ‘I've worked hard - I deserve that break, that chocolate, that McDonald's meal, that extra large nachos with extra sour cream... I've been good, why not?’
Joining the 12 Week Challenge was one of the best experiences of my life! Bianca King, my personal trainer, believed in me, pushed me to my limits, was my counsellor, friend and helped me get back my fight for life and self-confidence.
My food coach Karen was also so amazing. As a nurse, I believed that I generally knew what to eat and I thought that these sessions were going to be a total waste of time and money. I WAS SO WRONG! I learnt so many tips, got recipes, terrific snack ideas with low kilojoule options. Karen also helped me get down to the psychology of why I was overeating, why I would binge, etc.
The other thing I love are classes, because you don't have to think: ‘What will I do at the gym today?’ You just do a class and your workout is done - no thinking! I have learnt it doesn't matter what fitness level you are at, the instructors are so lovely and they show you different levels that you can choose to do. And if you need a breather or a drink break during the class, there is no judgement.
What has been the biggest thing you have learnt thus far?
When you falter, slip up, skip a session, eat too much, etc. – FORGIVE YOURSELF. Forgive yourself and get back into it. Think to yourself: ‘That's okay; I will get back on track.’
I was not overweight from one bad meal or one missed exercise session, it was YEARS of these.
What do you think was your key to success?
Using everything in my life as motivation and encouragement - whether it is positive or negative:
- If someone comments on your weight - go work out
- If someone upsets you - go work out
- If someone compliments you - go work out
- If something terrible/great happens in your life - go work out
- Whatever happens, you cannot control it. All you can control are your thoughts. Make these positive to change your life.
How has losing weight/getting fit/being healthy changed your life?
- Exercise is a part of my daily life now – I actually enjoy it and miss it on rest days.
- Losing the weight has been huge – it’s terrific to be able to look in the mirror with happiness instead of totally avoiding eye contact.
- Being able to go to the beach and wear togs or go for a walk feeling confident is amazing.
- Being able to run is AMAZING! What a feeling! My distances have been increasing all the time - my furthest to date has been 7kms. Even saying this now amazes me!
- I used to be on 5 different types of medication per day, which is now down to 2. My ultimate goal is to be medication free.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about joining Fernwood?
Just take that leap of faith, gather up every little bit of self -belief that you have left and walk through that Fernwood door. Amazing things happen when you take that first step. And when you are looking at all of those fit girls around you, never compare. You never know if they were once right where you are at this very moment.
‘Believe in yourself, you are worthy of good things and you've got this!’