About the Entrant

headshot-mask

Suzanne

Club: Bowral

Age: 61

Suzanne

What a difference Curves has made to my life

I joined the Bowral Curves gym at the beginning of this year. I joined because I had severe back pain that could not be relieved with painkillers. My doctor told me that I needed to exercise and stretch my muscles to relieve the pain. If I didn’t, my back would become worse with age. My father had recently had spinal surgery and suffered constant pain and I was determined that I never wanted to reach that stage.

Although I was overweight, I had managed over the past 20 years to ignore this fact. I chose clothes that had a lot of stretch in them so that I could continue to wear sized 14 or 16. My wardrobe was full of huge tops and stretch pants. Not a dress or skirt in sight.

My home had only mirrors at head height. Occasionally, while shopping, I would see myself unexpectedly in a mirror. I remember being shocked momentarily before putting the image of myself to the back of my mind. When shopping for clothes, I never tried on anything I bought. I would wait until I arrived home and if it felt comfortable I would keep the garment. I had no idea what I looked like in it or whether the outfit even suited me.

It is only now that I realise how much effort, at an unconscious level, I had made over the years to kept my weight gain out of my thoughts. I now think back to the very brave family members who commented on my weight in the hope of me doing something about it. Following my reaction, they only ever dared to raise the subject once. My mother, a very brave sole, over the years suggested for the sake of my health I should consider losing some weight. My reaction each time was abrupt and I felt dreadful because I knew she had the best of intentions.

When I looked at the requirements to enter the Curvette of the Year, I began looking for a ‘before’ photograph of myself. My family has hundreds of photos that have been taken over the past 20 years. When looking at them, you would think my husband went on holidays on his own and that I have not attended any family events. There is only one photo of me. It exists because a tour guide insisted on taking my camera and photographed me. I forgot about this photo and it was not deleted.

The first time Danna (owner of Bowral Curves Gym) weighed and measured me was stressful but also a positive experience. I finally was facing the fact that I needed to change my life. I had to accept that I had reached a very unhealthy weight.

What a difference Curves has made to my life. Over the past five and a half months I have lost 20 kilos. I am constantly amazed at how healthy and strong I feel. The 12 Week Challenge has helped me to understand the importance of healthy eating, portion size and exercise. I keep telling my friends how wonderful it is to go to a gym and feel comfortable and accepted. There is no competitiveness; just women improving themselves.

Within the first two weeks of doing the Curves Circuit and the stretching exercises, my back muscles were relaxed and I no longer needed painkillers. I am wearing jeans and skirts again. I can wear shoes with heels without discomfort. This spring I plan on buying a dress. Most importantly, I have gained the knowledge to maintain my weight loss.