Transformation – Richelle Vandenberg

 richelleRichelle is an amazing young woman with an incredible story. She is not what some would say, picture perfect with her nutrition, but she is the perfect example of someone who has made and continues to make improvements in her life, her nutrition, her exercise, to improve her health and lifestyle. So she is what I would call ‘Picture Perfect’. She is also a walking example of someone who conquers despite the odds. She is a woman that so many people will be able to relate to on so many different levels. She is a fighter and winner and refuses to let life get her down, though Lord knows it has certainly thrown enough punches at her. Richelle has lost an incredible amount of weight making improvements along the way in her nutrition and increasing her strength and fitness to a level that words cannot describe. She has lost in excess of 56cm from around her body with 16cm from her waist and 5cm from her hips. These measurements were from her September reassessments. She has not been able to get to more recent reassessments due to prior commitments, but I can tell you she has shrunk even more since then! She has succeeded in her journey thus far, despite the curve balls.

Richelle is not someone to make excuses and is certainly not one to back out of a commitment. She had the perfect excuse to walk away from Terrific Fitness, but instead of using that as her excuse, she used it as her reason to not only attend, but to go forth and conquer. There is a very special place in my heart for Richelle. And it has nothing to do with weight, exercise or nutrition. It has everything to do with her sense of strength, character and commitment to life and the people she loves. She has fight in her that I haven’t seen in many people in my 41 years. She inspires me beyond words every single day. I absolutely adore her. Richelle my love, keep fighting, and kicking butt my love. You rock babe!!!!

Please join me now in reading Richelle’s journey:

“Before I started training with Terrific Fitness I was in major denial about my body. In my early 20’s I was unwell and sickly skinny (I weighed 47 kilos at my lowest) but after losing my Dad to bowel cancer and removing myself from unhealthy relationships the weight quickly piled on. I am a bad emotional eater. I saw a personal trainer twice a week but it was more for the social aspect than anything else and outside of that I did little to no exercise other than dancing on the weekends when I was out drinking with my girlfriends. I knew I was overweight but after being so skinny I was glad that I could sit down without having bruises covering my protruding bones. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see a fat person, I saw someone who finally looked healthy. I then quit smoking after 16 years and gained even more weight. I have been a non-smoker for almost 5 years now.

Looking back I wasn’t happy in my life, I was putting on one fantastic show. I was always in baggy tracksuit pants and massive hoodies trying to hide my body. I would get puffed out running for the train and had absolutely no upper body strength. My Mum could carry more than me, which was embarrassing.

Back then I thought I ate healthy but the weight never seemed to budge. I tried every diet known to man without any success or if I was successful I would put it all back on and then some, so in the end I decided that I would just be content being overweight as in my mind “I wasn’t that bad” but how wrong and delusional was I. Looking at my before photo makes me sad as I really had no idea just how bad I looked, I was in major denial and the sad part is I had lost 10 kilos in the 4 weeks before starting training [with Terrific fitness] due to being on autopilot dealing with grief and forgetting to eat, so seriously how large was I beforehand?? I really didn’t see the person I was back then and am appalled when I look at old photos of myself.

To be honest I joined up simply to make my friend Rebecca stop nagging me. She had been trying to convince me to join her and get fit for well over a year. Every time I saw her she would try to get me to do burpees, squats, squat jumps etc to show me I could do it. In the end I finally agreed so that she would stop pressuring me every time I saw her, but I am forever grateful that she did as it most certainly changed my life.

Rebecca and her sister Charlie had been training with Terrific Fitness and they had fantastic results and were the leanest and fittest they had ever been. So I decided that I would sign up with them. 6 weeks before I started Rebecca found out she was pregnant and had cancelled for the next round on doctors’ orders. I decided that I would still go as Charlie was in the class.

However, 4 weeks before I started my brother’s life was taken at the hands of another person in the most horrific circumstances. I decided then that I would cancel my registration as my mind wasn’t in the right place as I was dealing with so much grief, confusion and heartache. But after having 2 weeks off work grieving with my family I decided that I would go and get fit not for me but for my brother. Walking into pre-assessment was so hard but I did it as I knew my brother would be watching over me and he would be so proud.

I started doing Boot Camp (now Circuit) on Tuesday and Thursday nights. It was a great way to deal with all my emotions and I was getting fitter at the same time. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed it and how hard I pushed myself at it; it was a great release for me. There were some exercises I would struggle with as I have nerve damage on my left arm and have little to no feeling in my pinkie and ring fingers up to my elbow and no strength after I had an operation to remove muscle to take the pressure off my nerve, but there was always an alternative exercise I could do.

Charlie ended up convincing me to join Cardio Boxing even though I was so scared of doing it, but it was seriously the best thing to ever happen to me! I loved it and was actually quite good at it. It was a fantastic way to deal with all the grief, anger, hurt, hatred and everything else I was feeling or not feeling at the time. I pushed myself to my limits and my body transformed like never before! I must admit I heavily rely on the class as to me it’s my form of counseling. If I miss a class due to work I end up being very angry and irritable as I’m not releasing the built up tension and emotions of the week. I love it so much I ended up signing up to Cardio Boxing on Tuesday and Friday nights and Smash on Thursday nights and I would not it have it any other way.

To be honest I have only changed little things about my eating habits and diet. I reduced my fruit consumption as I would have fruit for breakfast and all snacks and would easily have up to 7 pieces a day but now I have 2 egg muffins for breakfast and 1-2 pieces of fruit a day. I cut down sugar in my cup of teas from 2 teaspoons to 1 teaspoon, not much I know but for me it made a huge difference. I have reduced my fruit juice consumption to maybe once a week if that, when I could have easily drunk 2 litres in one day. My downfall is all forms of dairy, so I have also reduced that. I have not cut anything from my diet and I still eat whatever I feel like when I want but I am more conscious of it all now and won’t binge on it. I am still an emotional eater but I can say I’m definitely not as bad as I used to be.

I started training with TF on 30 April 2013 and I will never forget that day as it was the day my life changed for the better.

I am so different today than when I first started. My mindset has probably changed the most. I embrace change now in all aspects of my life, although at times it still takes me a while to accept it. But the biggest difference is that somewhere along the line my mindset changed and I no longer train just for my brother, I train for myself and my own sanity as well.

Today I am healthier, fitter and truly happy with myself and my appearance. I’m confident now, not a fake confidence but a real confidence, so I no longer put on a pretend show of it and my smile is finally genuine. I now hold my head high and am so proud of what I have achieved. I truly love the person I am today and I will never go back to that other person, I don’t even know who she is anymore.

I love how training at TF makes me feel, I love how it makes me look, I love everything about it and that is what gets me off the couch 3 times a week. I love pushing myself to my limits but if I slack off, I love that Terri, Daniel and Theo (my trainers) are there to pull me back into line and the encouragement and dynamic energy of everyone at TF goes along way. I actually want to go to training every single week and miss it, on my week off.

Don’t waste any more time, get on it, I guarantee you won’t regret it. Terrific Fitness has changed my life in so many ways and it will definitely change yours. I would not be where I am today without the encouragement and support of Terri, Daniel and Theo and everyone who works or trains at TF. It truly is like no other place I have been to or ever known.” – Richelle Vandenberg, Coolaroo

*Weight loss and training disclaimer