My 'story' along with a few shots of the old and the new me!  Click each to view......and if you fancy, you can read what lead me to changing my life forever...

 

I was always quite a sporty kid. From gymnastics to dancing, cricket to soccer, rugby, netball, you name it...I gave it a go and I was into everything!

The weight struggles started from a young age. I hit puberty and that was it! Chubby face, chunky legs and spotty skin. I always had fairly decent confidence but as I got older, that dwindled. My legs grew wide, so did my cheeks but I had no boobs (one was quite a bit smaller than the other too) and I always got teased for my lack of chest and my thunder thighs!

One day when I was about 18 years old, a friend recommended I go and have a chat with a guy called Shawn Toms at World Gym in New Lynn, Auckland NZ. I did. I didn't hear what I wanted to hear but the impact that Shawn had on me lasted forever.

                                With my first ever Personal Trainer - Shawn Toms

 

Shawn told me that I was never going to be tall and slim. He said I was muscular and could make an awesome bodybuilder and to train the way my genetics would love me to.Well I knew I'd never be tall but I had hoped to be a slim girl! Truth is, I am not 'made' that way. Years of sports and so forth meant that I had built a LOT of muscle in my legs and my genetics meant I was always going to be muscular, or fat if I didn't look after myself.

Shawn suggested I try bodybuilding and weight training and I was horrified at the idea! But it became a realisation...if I was to change my body shape, lose fat and tone up, weight training was the only way to do it. So I did and I even competed in a small bodybuilding comp at the age of 20 getting 3rd place! The bug was set but other things took over. His advice and his honesty never left me and I shall always be grateful to him for that.

Bodybuilding then floated in and out of my life whilst I grew up. All my life I had grown up knowing I had to pay my own way. My family come from the equivalent of a UK working class background; times were really tight at times and so from the age of 14 I learned to pay my own way and started working to help ease finances doing child modelling from the age of 6, TV commercials to help pay for my dancing and gym fees from the age of 9 and also worked part time and weekends in a supermarket when I turned 14. When I left school and went to University, my jobs and study took over my life and the weight issues went from being a puberty issue to an up and down cycle to just and up and up one. I was working up to 4 jobs, everything from cleaning jobs, retail and promotional work, making pizzas and studying hard to get my degree.....but neglected my nutrition and my training. In NZ the state does not fund University education and my family couldn't afford to pay my fees so it was up to me - if I was to get a degree, I had to put myself through University education. I accepted this but my health and body really suffered at times.

Around my biggest on the left...and a few years later just 2 weeks before my first figure show  in 2007! Amazing what a bit of determination can achieve.

Around 1993 at University I met my first husband. We studied hard and got our degrees...I even managed to get a boob job in 1999 which helped my confidence immensely! We married in 2000 and life seemed fantastic. I was happy, we had graduated and left University and decided to move to the UK in 2001. A few family issues with his family had arisen and we couldn't wait to start a new life in London. We left with the intention of being away for about 2-3 years but to this day, I have still never returned to live. An unfortunate fall out with his family also meant we couldn't visit home for 6 years and things began to get bleak. I wallowed in my misery, feeling sorry for myself and complained and moaned a lot, cried constantly. More and more I felt isolated, lonely, cut off and got extremely depressed. I ended up on anti-depressants, my weight got out of control (about 142lbs which is a lot when you're 4'11") and I was missing out on so much. Family and friends were getting married, milestone birthdays, funerals, you name it - I wasn't able to go home to share, enjoy, grieve and take part so I just had to deal with it.

Then a bombshell really hit. All went terribly wrong in 2003. I made a devastating discovery in my marriage that would change my life forever. My discovery found me helpless and totally lacking in confidence. I became suicidal and had to seek help. I felt like my marriage was over, life was in tatters and I didn't know the way to fix it all. To cut a long story short, the next few months were a bit of a blur of tears, feeling sorry for myself and looking for 'an answer'. I had looked at doing a 12 week Body-for-LIFE Transformation a few years prior - maybe this was the time to do it?

So that's what I did! I took the bull by the horns, signed up for the challenge and refused to be a victim! I cleared out the crap out of my cupboards, set goals for myself, kept a journal for 12 weeks and bought some equipment to work out from home in case I couldn't get to the gym. I was working at Sky TV at the time working anything up to 80 or more hours a week, ovenight and day shifts (all 12 hour shifts) but I wasn't going to let that stop me! The program dictated I train with weights 3 days a week and do cardio the other 3 days, eat clean 6 days a week with just one 'treat' day. So, that's what I did. And what resulted was a totally new woman in just 3 months. This journey though is one I would walk forever.

In 2006, my ex-husband got a job in the Middle East. I supported him and went to live with him in Doha and qualified as a Personal Trainer, EAS Success Coach and did various other courses, launching my own business and website in Doha whilst he built his new career...I had dreams too. To have my own PT Studio one day, to do some TV Presenting, Fitness Modelling and develop my writing. What the Body-for-LIFE program had taught me 2 years prior is to live your dreams, set new goals and continue to improve yourself and help the lives of others. And my first ever influence in the industry, my first PT Shawn never left my mind in knowing how much I wanted to be not a good PT but the BEST out there.

The marriage for me was never the same after my discovery in 2003. I never fully recovered despite us getting marriage counselling and help. So, I concentrated on the future and what I REALLY wanted! I wanted to compete in natural bodybuilding shows, I wanted to have a really successful PT business and I wanted to feel 'free' of the burden in my heart that lay there for years. I knew my marriage was over but I needed the courage to do something about it. So, I told him it was over, packed my bags and left him on 15 September 2007. For various and financial reasons I decided to come back to the UK and start all over.....I had a huge amount of debt (which would eliminate sooner with pay cheques in pounds rather than NZ dollars), I had just my clothes and belongings, no home to live (only friends to stay with) and no job to go to. It was a really scary but also unbelievably exciting time, heartbreaking and confusing. The one thing I had in my heart though was faith, belief and determination to know I could start a new life on my own - one that would make me truly happy. For me, leaving him and leaving the one thing I loved so much said a lot - it wasn't right long term and its turned out to be the best decision I have EVER made!

You can love someone but if you are not happy, only you can decide what to do about it. Initially it broke my heart to go but it built my character beyond belief. My life has been full of opportunities that I have made the most of and I know I can achieve ANYTHING and everything that I want to. Two weeks after I left him, I competed at the BNBF British Champs getting 5th place and the rest is history! Dont' get me wrong, it was hard. I hit rock bottom again for a bit but I knew how to handle it - great friends and an awesome psychotherapist! Like I said, I had nothing much but I also had nothing to lose. My friends were incredible, like family and they soon helped me rebuild my life. I found a job at Fitness First in Brentwood Essex as a Personal Trainer, spent up to 80 hours a week in the gym in the first few months just trying to build my business and within a few months I was the most sought after trainer in there with a waiting list!

       With my awesome client Jackie in July 2010 completing the 5K run for Havens Hospice

As of the 30 September 2012, I opened up my very own PT Studio in Warley Brentwood Essex, 'A.P.T.' Its my pride and joy, its a space to transform the lives of so many and I wake every day grateful knowing I'm lucky to be able to do what I love. I write for Yahoo! Lifestyle, I am a Fitness model (and am 41 years young!) and I have done regular bits of Fitness Presenting for both TV and Internet and am soon to launch my own series of e-books. One thing I know though? I never ever gave up on my dreams and I continue today to make them come true. And to top it off I am in love with an unbelievably funny, sexy, kind and wonderful man.....who is now my husband. He is a true partner in every sense, my best friend, my training partner and everything I ever dreamed of and knew love could be like. So that morning smile is extra wide these days. Life is incredible but you know what? I MADE it happen.

Is your life tough too? C'mon, don't sit there, don't moan, don't wallow in how hard it is. It is hard! Forget the crap, forget the hardships as we all have them! We all have a story. They are all extreme and different in their own ways and mine has a lot more to it too that I don't need to say on here. Attitudes are contagious, so are our actions. If you want a great life, have a great attitude and do great things! Its the law of attraction. Like goal setting, it just works.



Like I said, we all have our own story. How we deal with it is up to us. Its a choice. And here is just a snippet of my story. I know the ending. What's yours going to be?