This month’s profile of the month is our tiny yet dynamic Joanne Basile. Jo is the most incredible inspiration for me and I absolutely love training her! When she first started at TF she barely spoke to anyone, she struggled with most exercises, she struggled with her self-esteem, confidence and her digestion is no many ways.
Today Jo is a little dynamite! She is a fit-machine, super strong, fit, and totally dedicated to her healthy lifestyle. She has encouraged and taught her entire family to join her healthy lifestyle and is an awesome role model for her children. Other members are extremely inspired by her, as am I. Jo is no longer the quiet one in the group; instead she is our social butterfly, chatting with everyone.
I love sharing Jo’s journey and watching her push herself so that each and every day she goes that little but further. Jo is an incredibly valuable member of our TF community, helping other team members, as she was helped when she started, and continues to be assisted throughout her journey. She truly is an incredible little lady. Physically, Jo has dropped a total of 78.5cm from around her body, with 18cm being from her waist and 17.5cm being from her hips. But as you will read from her story, as always, it’s never about the weight, it’s about so much more!
Here is her story:
“My life before training has been up and down, like a roller coaster. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety/panic disorder at the age of 18 and have been on medication ever since. Along with this I’ve always had digestive issues and basically have always been told it was due to stress. I was diagnosed by many doctors with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and basically told to live with it. My diet has always been horrible, now knowing what I know I understand why I didn’t enjoy eating food. I never understood how people enjoyed eating, I ate because I had to.
I wasn’t much of a comfort eater I was more basically eat nothing or eat only safe foods. I noticed if I ate certain foods it would lead to extremely painful stomach cramps or nausea and with that it would lead to triggering panic attacks. At the time not realizing I was allergic or intolerant to most of these foods.
Also with my anxiety I never had much of an appetite so I hardly ever ate but when I did it wasn’t healthy food. Because of my eating habits my size always went up and down and it also depended on my anxiety levels too.
Before I fell pregnant with my first child my weight got down to 45kg. I went to a dietitian to help me out and help me put weight on. It wasn’t much help, was never sent to have any allergy testing done etc. Once I fell pregnant obviously I started to gain weight and got to 70kg. After I had Christian a lot of weight came off due to stress and suffering PND (post natal depression) and kind of went back to my old eating habits. My weight got down to the 50’s again.
I also started trying to exercise and joined the gym with some mothers from Christian’s playgroup and also from the advice from my psych telling me it’s great for my mental health. I went but never walked away feeling good after a training session. I never experienced the release of the endorphins that gives you that great feeling. I got nothing out of it but more anxiety. I would panic when I would notice my heart rate creeping up (obviously due to being unfit) and back right off. I had no support.
I fell pregnant with my 2nd child weighing close to 60kgs and got to nearly 80kg. After I had Zara (we had a very stressful and scary start when she had to be operated on at 3 days old due to an intestinal malrotation, a form of twisted bowel, and was in hospital for a month) my weight didn’t come off like the first and found my eating habits changed too. I started to comfort eat and only avoided certain food that I knew would make me sick but I continued to eat food that irritated me and I just put up with my symptoms. I ended up with PND again with my 2nd and my depression hung around cause I saw my weight got down to about 70kg and wouldn’t move. I also found when I was anxious or stress I still had an appetite but all I was eating was chocolate, anything with sugar lots of carbs, I was comfort eating.
Feeling big at 68-70kg (big for me as I’m only 4’10), I was a size 12-14. My self-esteem was so low, I had no energy, always tired, always feeling down. I didn’t have the energy to keep up with my kids.
I basically hated myself.
I tried some quick fixes like shake diets or other diets where I ate certain amount of calories a day. I wanted a quick fix without doing the work because I didn’t have the energy, motivation, confidence to exercise or get help with my food.
Also our lifestyle was/is pretty simple, my hubby and my 2 kids are homebodies, also always found socializing hard with my anxiety and depression as well as having a child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) it can be hard to get out.
Even though my eating habits were not good and I don’t enjoy cooking, I tried so hard to get my kids to eat a balanced diet, I didn’t want them to be like me.
What lead me to look [for a Personal Trainer] was that I hated how I looked, I hated myself, I hated that my clothes didn’t fit. I had enough. I faced the fact I had to face some fears and do some hard work.
I looked around at different gyms but something just didn’t seem right when I would check them out, I was doing this on my own and felt intimidated going to gyms with all the other fit people. I saw some ads on FB about TF and saw that a friend of mine was doing it; she told me it was nothing like a gym, it was a group setting, go at your own pace, no judgment and the trainers are there for you.
I emailed TF and got started.
I started off with 1 circuit class a week in the first round and during that round I took up a core class.
As my confidence grew I wanted to do more. 1 year later I do 3 classes a week and fit in any free classes or make up classes, so that some weeks I do 4 or 5 classes. I became more confident and pushed myself to try new classes and do classes I didn’t think I was capable of doing.
[When asked, ‘Did you change your eating habits?’] Basically YES. I started trying to cut out all the crap food I was eating. I started to read some of Terri’s books on nutrition and made some recipes from her recipe book. I started to eat more fresh food. Then I took the big step of doing something about finding out why some foods would make me feel so sick and why with all the unhealthy food I eliminated my weight wasn’t moving that much even with all the exercise. I discovered I’m allergic to gluten and dairy; I knew dairy I couldn’t eat much of in the past but I still would eat foods with it.
When I discovered I was allergic to these foods plus a few other foods I made the decision to put 100% in this and went GF (gluten free) & DF (dairy free) straight away. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be and I noticed how much better I felt straight away. I’ve been GF and DF since April this year and my digestion is better than it’s ever been. I’m also not as scared of food as I was, I still don’t love food but I know what foods are safe for me to eat without getting sick or being in pain. I also couldn’t believe I put up with this (the symptoms, pain etc.) for so long. I’m continuing to try and learn more about nutrition through TF which is increasing my confidence with food and foods to eat and even to cook.
I’ve been training with TF for Just over a year and so much has changed in that time. My husband noticed my changes and how I actually enjoyed exercising, my new eating habits and my attitude and motivation changes too. I inspired him to do something about his own health and exercise. He is now training at TF too. Even my psych sees a positive difference in my moods, attitude and frame of mind and continues to encourage me to do what I’m doing.
We have changed our attitude to our food, we make more of an effort to prep and organize dinners for the week for our family. We motivate each other. I also took the plunge and went with my gut and got my kids tested for allergies and found they are both allergic to gluten and dairy. This has helped with their severe constipation they have had since they were babies and no longer need to take laxatives.
Our lifestyle has changed that we have changed our weekly routines to fit in our (my husband and I) classes. Our kids know that exercise is part of our lives now. Christian is now in Terrific Fit Kids and loves it and loves that he is doing what his parents does. We also try and do more active things with the kids on weekends, we are more social than what we use to be.
I basically love to train now. Which is so foreign to people who know me. My brother thought he entered the twilight zone when he came to visit and saw how much we enjoy training and how we changed our eating habits.
I started off wanting to exercise to lose weight but it’s now more for my sanity, my mental health, and my ‘me’ time. It’s a time where I go and it’s about me, I’m not a mother there or a wife, I’m me!! I make myself go when I have so much going on with the kids and with life, ‘cos when I’m there for the hour I don’t think about anyone or anything but just on what I’m doing. It’s also a great social outlet for me, it has helped me be more comfortable to socialize and I’ve made some incredible and beautiful friendships.
[“How do you feel about yourself today?”] I’m more confident, I feel healthier, and I feel stronger. I don’t hate myself anymore. I still suffer with my anxiety and depression and there are times when especially my anxiety can get the better of me. Over the last few months my anxiety and panic attacks came on in full force and my first instinct was to retreat and hide. Stop my exercising, go back to my old eating habits go back to the old me. But I hung on and if I was at any other gym I would have quit and gone backwards. With the support of TF I didn’t give up my exercise and attended my classes even though it was a battle to be there and I didn’t train as hard as I usually did, but I still showed up. Slowly but surely I’ve been able to get back to where I was.
[“What really gets you out of your comfy lounge to attend training?”] That feeling I get after I train, I’m so sweaty, sore, exhausted, but I feel so good mentally. This, and my goals that I set for myself.
Also I don’t want to go back to where I was. I want to be healthy and strong for my kids and husband both physically and mentally.
Give it a go. I was so anxious when I first started, even though I knew a friend who was doing it I wasn’t in her class. But from the moment I walked in you feel welcomed, never judged. Everyone there is there for a reason. The support you get from the trainers is nothing you get from a gym. The bonds I’ve formed with my trainers are amazing. That being said the TF team are there for you and they tell you that but if you need that extra push or that extra support or that extra bit of advice you just tell them.
I stepped out of my comfort zone and spoke to them about my mental health, my fears and during some rough times with my anxiety. They made it feel like a safe place for me to be with no judgment, no pressure to work harder. You don’t get that at a gym.
All my life I’ve been told to exercise and eat well because it will help with my mental health, I knew the scientific reasons behind it but I never truly believed it. Now I believe it ‘cos it helps and a major reason why I do this.” – Joanne Basile, Thomastown