I wanted to share the truth behind those transformation pictures that you’re looking at….
I had a gastric sleeve done when I was 142kg. Not only was l severely overweight l was also diabetic, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, due to my lifestyle. l felt that this was the best option for me and also my diabetics doctor recommended this procedure. It was such a shock to myself and body when couldn’t eat anything solid for a few weeks and l could hardly eat anything as my stomach couldn’t handle much food. I also change my eating after a few months as l was able to eat and handle any kind of food in my stomach and also starting exercising. I incorporated more the Paleo eating and asked Elsa to start training me. I was afraid of having a lot of excess skin. I saw a drastic change within a few weeks my weight was starting to fall off. I felt amazing and l was able to move more freely so l was able to do more range of movements with my exercise. This saw a different side of me. I guess l was freaking out that l was buying clothes that was smaller size, people started noticing and complementing me on my weight loss. Lots of “wow and so happy for you” and lots of crying from close one and also church members, l was also inspiring a lot of people about my weight loss and giving them some hope in their own journey. For the first time l was wanted, admired and somehow felt accepted.
My name is Helene Emelda Chase but l preferred to be called Millie l am 49yrs turning 50yrs old this year. I work as Admin officer in a school and l am also a Disability Support Worker that’s how l met Elsa. We have been friends for over 8 years and she has been one of my support that has seen the highs and the extremely lows of my body transformation.
I have always been on the big side and most of my family members are also big but l always the one that was the biggest. As growing up my family wasn’t into junk food but we were mainly eating big portions, that was the norm. My fondness memories is when all my family and extended family member would come over for breakfast and lunch to eat together at our house, my mums house was like a restaurant where everyone would come over and eat together. This is quite common in the Polynesian culture and our main meals are boil up which is a big pot of meat and vegetable stew.
I was every active in sports doing netball and softball in my younger years. I only started to put on weight when l decided that l would stop socialising in clubs as l no longer wanted to be in an environment of drinking and clubbing l guess that was around the time that l was searching for something more in my life and found my faith, no longer was l wanting to hang out with my friends because of the drinking cultures at the same time l also injured myself through playing sports so l stop playing all together. Looking back l was never encouraged to look further to see anyone about my knees. So instead of going out l stayed home more often with movies and snacking on food so l had replaced a habit (drinking) to another (eating). The only time any family members would mention or encourage you to exercise was when you put on a lot weight but the encouragement was more like been put down with no support so this made me more defiant to put more weight.
I spent majority of my life been overweight but l was always surrounded by great friends as l had a very outgoing personality and that l was also a nurturer to those who needed me. It has been a long and exhausting battle for me carrying all this weight and been so limited in my movement and just to do a daily task took its toll so when l had the gastro done l thought l had found my answer.
When you look at this picture what do you see besides the obvious what do you really see. When l see this picture there is so many emotions that goes through me one of triumph, one of sheer hard work, that l have been able to be motivated to stay on this journey, there was so many moments of wanting to give up and moments of feeling of unbelieve of how my body is transforming before my eyes. I would go pass the mirrors and had to take a double look at what l saw and at times l would just stare at myself. I started to feel confident about who l was and starting not only training myself but l also had a few girls that was wanting to train with me, they were motivated at what l was doing and they wanted to change their lifestyle too. Slowly I could see that l had become obsess with my weight & I was now exercising more than ever. I would think about food constantly and if l ate something l would than punish myself by exercising more l couldn’t go back to my old self. I went from 150kg – 69kg. This lifestyle started to overtake my whole life. I slowly started to with draw from everyone and eventually l became alone again and that’s when l started to eat more and more. I funnily enough l also time hurt myself from training so l wasn’t able to do as much as l wanted. It felt like history was repeating itself.
Over the months’ l suffered from depression and anxiety, that it got so bad that l wasn’t able to function. I was no longer exercising and eating right l have lost all hope and that l felt so isolated and alone. The biggest thing l faced was shame. I was ashamed to see any one in public because of the weight gain, l was ashamed because l knew they would judge simply because l know l too judge people without thinking about it. I have met some of my friends who were shocked to see me put on weight and the look on the face said it all. I felt ashamed of what l have become, ashamed because l felt l cheated those who were inspired by me, ashamed because l was not what they thought l was.
Even when l finally saw Elsa the first thing l said is “Don’t sis” and she understood. Over these last few months we have been talking about health and wellness and one thing that has stuck to me when l was asking her for eating advise and training she kept on saying that l needed to change my mind, change the way l see myself because l will be back to where l started. l was missing what needed to change and that was me, the interior stuff, the mental side of things as this is what is left behind. When the motivations, the desire, the extreme eating and exercise finally leave your space you are left with the essence of you and when you don’t know who you are in the inside the outside will only have temporary changes till eventually you are where you started. All this came undone when l hit my lowest 69kg in about over 1 year. So where am l now back to where l started but l am trying to do it more slowly and not too much restriction. I don’t like where l am now but l know what not to do and that l am trying to rebuild a relationship with myself. l am thankful for my faith as this has got me through the last 2 years or l would have just given up. I am not going to lie l feel that it’s a lot harder on this road again because l can see my previous steps, l just take one day at a time and keep my eyes up.
© Eat Real 2022