Transformation – Alicia O’Dwyer

As at 29-06-15 (00000002)*I have been keeping a close eye on Alicia over the past few months as I have seen her do a complete 360, and am ridiculously proud of the woman she is unleashing. Every day I see more and more of that amazing woman hiding inside, coming out and sharing her potential with the world. When I first met her, she appeared confident, chatty and social, but she was always reserved and slightly withdrawn. To be honest I think she used her chatty demeanour as a defence mechanism to hide how she was really feeling. Though she socialised with the training group, she didn’t really have much to do with them. Whilst she contributed to the FB group she kept mostly to herself, she was very private. But when she discovered the power of living allergen free, she has totally unleashed an incredible person!

Aside from the physical transformation she has undergone (and let’s face it, she is looking sensational!), I am more taken with the transformation that has occurred within. Alicia was always reluctant to rock the boat when it comes to food with her family and friends, but now she is far more confident to eat food that is great for her body no matter what. She now respects her body, without disregarding those she loves. Though she always considers their preferences, she now never fails to also take her own into consideration. Alicia has learned to compromise without jeopardizing her self-respect. That is huge for a mum! To be able to look after everyone else without neglecting yourself is a massive success for a mum! No guilt, no fear no nothing. And she is an awesome, active and engaged mum; an excellent role model for her little man.

She is now genuinely chatty with people, with beautiful heartfelt smiles, social confidence and contribution. I absolutely love watching the real Alicia emerge and shine now that she is not being held back by her own insecurities and fears. I am also very excited about her career choice because I know she is going to be an amazing nurse and make such a huge contribution to our community.

From a physical perspective, Alicia has lost a total of 67cm and that’s just in the last 5 months! Though she has been training with TF on and off since November 2013, January 2015 Alicia was at her heaviest. She would start to make changes, then self-sabotage and go backwards again. This went on and on until I finally convinced her to have some allergy testing amongst a few other check-ups with our much loved Dr Angela Kopp. Dr Angela is a Chiropractor and one of TF’s allied health professionals. We believe very strongly in helping people achieve their goals using a community of resources. It’s not always about just the exercise.

I can’t even begin to describe the pride and respect I have for Alicia. She is an amazing woman, and I am truly blessed to have her in our community, and more importantly in the health sector. What an asset she will be to our hospitals when she graduates!!!! We need more nurses like her. She is certainly one very special young lady, and I adore her!

Now, Alicia shares her journey:

Life before TF? Well…it’s a blur really. As a kid/teenager I danced, it was everything to me, I danced at school, I danced outside of school, I taught dance on weekends and I made them up on my own time. If I wasn’t dancing I was likely singing. Then I got pregnant, well, doesn’t that change things?! It wasn’t planned, but it wasn’t avoided either. I now have a beautiful almost 8 year old boy. The weight piled on, I blamed the pregnancy, then I blamed the “baby weight”…by the way, what is baby weight? Does it even really exist or is it just an excuse? Then I blamed my job (working as an apprentice chef). Then I blamed my metabolism. Was I ever really happy? I don’t think so. Even in high school I was conscious of being bigger than everyone else (I was a 12-14 and that was too big for most of my friends).   I remember my Mum calling me a “fat cow” when I was about 14 and my Uncle basically told her in front of all of my family that I was a growing girl and if I wanted more cream I could have it and that it was just Puppy fat. Do I ever remember having a healthy relationship with food and understanding what different foods do to/for my body? Definitely not.

The last few years before joining TF I spent a lot of time “trying” but never actually committing to different ways to lose weight. Different things helped, but nothing ever lasted and therefore nothing ever helped the weight stay gone. I refused to obsess over the scales, but I was in denial about my size. I refused to buy size 18/20 jeans when size 16 wouldn’t do up. I lived in tracksuit pants to avoid facing the fact of my size. Honestly, I think the biggest I ever got was actually in January this year a while after I’d joined TF but I’d hit rock bottom. I didn’t care anymore. I’d given up on anything ever working. I still participated in the FB group and conversations, but I didn’t implement anything, even though I had the knowledge. I wanted to live in a dark hole, curled in a ball, where nobody could see me. I could barely carry a heavy bag of shopping from the car to the kitchen without losing my breath and forget about picking my son up…that was just not happening unless absolutely necessary, at the beginning of this year.

I chose TF after they popped up in my FB News Feed one day. It was local to where I was living and the page seemed really helpful, especially with all the food posts. Ultimately, it was convenient and short term, rather than those gym memberships that have long term contracts from the get go. I figured I could give it a go for the 8 weeks and if I didn’t want to keep going I didn’t have to. Hahahaha, how wrong was I? TF isn’t a short term fix, they become your family.

When I started, I was super enthusiastic (as I always am when I start something new), I put everything into those first 8 weeks with Daniel in the scout hall in Epping on a Wednesday morning. [We use to run one morning class per week in Epping, when Alicia started] As the rounds went on, as is typical for me, I tapered off. It became part of routine and then (after moving to Sunbury) became almost a chore. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because getting up on a Wednesday morning and hauling ass to get to Lalor was just too much, especially when I didn’t get home and showered until after 12, my whole day was gone. I stopped training, saying I’d go join another company or the local gym, or a sports club. It never happened. I woke up and realized I had to find a way to get back to TF. So I started training on Monday nights. I made the commitment and I started doing it. Put everything into training and started feeling better, but my eating habits weren’t what they needed to be to see results so I started tapering off again. In Feb I returned to training, not really sure why. I enjoyed going, I’d made some good friends, I hadn’t trained over summer so I hadn’t seen them since before Christmas, so I decided to go. I couldn’t do anything properly. I knew it. Terri knew it (not that she said it). I kept making excuses, this hurts, that hurts, I get blood rush when I do that, the list goes on. She told me to go see Ange and I’d been putting it off because I couldn’t afford it. I finally went (with a little help) and it changed everything! We identified my allergy foods, adjusted my spine so my nerves & muscles could function properly and I found a little piece of me again; from there, it became easier to put 100% in, it became easier to breathe, it became easier to LIVE!

Did I change my eating habits? YES!!!! And I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I would have done it years ago if I had known the effect those foods have on my body. Depression? GONE! Mood swings? GONE! Irregular, painful periods? GONE! Excess weight on my hips that previously just wouldn’t shift? GONE! Bloating, cramps, flatulence, headaches, the list goes on and on and on! And now it’s all gone. I eliminated allergy foods (for me that’s gluten and dairy). As well as that, I do my best to stay away from processed foods and anything with added sugar. I also limit my carb intake. I’m not perfect at this, not by a long shot! I know I could cut more carbs and be stricter on some foods that I eat a little too much of, however, I NEVER intentionally eat allergy foods. I also cut soft drinks…they are the Devil incarnate and a [email protected]%! To give up due to their addictive content. But I DID IT!

Today I train twice a week with TF. I love going to training each time and whenever I have nothing on of an evening, I try to get to extra/make up classes. I’m making an effort knowing that I can’t train next round due to uni commitments to create good habits by participating in different at-home fit challenges to ensure I don’t become sedentary next round. When I started training, I switched on for that hour and then straight back off again. Now I strive to give my body what it needs day in and day out; whether that’s exercise, food, rest or time with my family. I actually care about ME now. I’m also coaching my son’s Rugby League team and have taken up refereeing as well. These are things I never would have done before TF. They require too much running by my previous standards, especially refereeing. Now I have bets going with my kids, if they impress me, I have to do push-ups after the game or training. I can now no longer imagine my life without TF or my little group of kids.

I actually kind of love myself a bit now. I’m more confident and outgoing. I stand up for myself and my food choices and while I sometimes feel pressured to eat things I used to love, I take a breath and think about where I’ve come from and how I don’t want to be that person again. And, yes, one piece of cake can hurt! Cramps for the next 3 days are not my idea of fun.

Going to training isn’t a chore. It’s ME time. Some weeks it’s the only ME time I get. I’m disappointed when I can’t get to training for whatever reason and always look forward to the next time. The week off for measurements I now feel lost for what to do on those nights. And seeing my friends (family) each week and the laugh we have (sorry Terri, I know we’re noisy) are more than enough to get me out, even in the cold weather. Besides, it’s not cold while I’m training, just before and after.

Only thinking about joining TF? What’s stopping you? Come and join our family! ZERO judgement! 100% support! 100% of the time! – Alicia O’Dwyer, Sunbury

*Weight Loss & Training Disclaimer