“I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. Most of all I hated what people saw when they looked at me. I was constantly tired and incredibly grumpy.”
I have always struggled with my weight with my ideal being around 63kgs (I’m 5ft 6). Through various activities, including the somewhat dubious, I’d managed to keep my upper weight threshold to around 73kg. At the age of 43, I was successfully treated for breast cancer. I underwent 5 surgeries in 8 months, however my weight then ballooned up to 92 kgs. I battled to shed these excess kilos. The only thing that seemed to have any impact, albeit temporary, was strict calorie control and fasting. I would try to fast at least once a week and managed to lose 4.5 kilos with a 10 day water only fast (I don’t recommend this for the feint-hearted). I tried medically prescribed appetite suppressants as these had worked really well for me in the past. But no matter what I tried (including 4 years of therapy) I couldn’t regain my pre cancer weight. About 5 years after the cancer I then started going through menopause and was plagued with insomnia and hot flushes, or in my case ‘flashes’ as they came and went quickly. Because of the cancer HRT wasn’t an option. My new set point for my weight was around 86 kilos. I hated it. I hated the way I looked. I hated the way I felt. Most of all I hated what people saw when they looked at me. I was constantly tired and incredibly grumpy.
“One GP I saw said ‘maybe you just need to accept that this is the size you’re always going to be.’ I cried all the way home and never went back to that clinic.”
Everyone was full of suggestions as to what I should do re exercise and diet. I would often see the look of disbelief on people’s faces when I talked about my diet and exercise. ‘Are you sure your working as hard as you think?’ ‘Do you check your heart rate?’ ‘Maybe you need to do more?’, ‘Do you check your portions size?’, ‘Have you tried…’ I felt stupid, embarrassed and ashamed whenever the topic of my weight came up. Even my partner would say ‘I can’t understand why you’re as big as you are given what you eat’..he was constantly telling me ‘you need to eat more.’ All of this left me dispirited and downhearted.
My weight was impacting every area of my life especially my relationship and self-confidence. The thought that I could never lose the excess kilos was too depressing to accept. As loathe as I was to have to go under the knife again, I explored the option of bariatric surgery. Apparently, however, I wasn’t quite fat enough for that, yet. The surgeon recommended I come back once I’d put on another 5kg.
Eventually a dietician recommended that we get my metabolism tested. She sent me off to see the guys at Jupiter Health. I was really surprised as despite all my research into weight loss, I didn’t know such a test existed. I was fascinated by the whole process. On the day we did my first resting test, they ran the test for an extended period of time as my results didn’t look quite right. My fat burning was incredibly low. Mark asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with chronic fatigue. He even redid the test on another day just to confirm the results.
“When I received the report, even though my results were well below the norm, I was really happy. At last I had an explanation for why I had struggled for so long. I wasn’t stupid, lazy or a liar.”
I also had a game plan for the way forward. Mark warned me that it would take time to see improvement. He also strongly advised me against restricting my caloric intake and fasting. Although I didn’t tell him, I continued to do this for the next year as I couldn’t accept that my weight wouldn’t spiral out of control once I started eating more.
“Eighteen months on my weight is now down to a manageable level at 74kgs.”
For the first 12 months working with Mark I did less exercise than I was doing beforehand. Now I’m no longer exhausted after exercise and I can enjoy it more. I don’t know how to describe the difference in my energy levels and the way I feel. I think the weekly supervised interval sessions at Jupiter Health were enormously beneficial. Not only did they teach me how to do interval training properly but they pushed me harder than I could push myself and kept me motivated, accountable and on track. They also provided a fantastic opportunity to ask questions, learn more and as an added bonus were claimable under my private health insurance.
“For the first time in a decade I feel in control of my weight.”
This month I completed the Great Ocean bike ride (145kms). With a finishing time of 8 hours, I don’t profess to be an athlete, but a year ago there is no way I would’ve even contemplated, let alone completed, an event like this. The first hill would’ve wiped me out and I would’ve been too exhausted to continue. Two days after the ride I was back on the bike again and feeling great. For the first time in a decade I feel in control of my weight. Thanks to Mark and the team at Jupiter Health the only hills I now have to ride out are the ones my pushie not the ones on the scales.