Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Six Years and Three Months Later… Why Does That Black Dress Still Fit?

I had a fabulous time at the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation Round 3 2011 Finale Party on 10 December 2011.  I still remember how I ended my 12WBT Lean and Strong submission (this is what participants wrote and submitted to be in the running to win that category):

Splasharama is Leaner in Body, Stronger in Mind.  However, Clinton Barker deserves to be the Lean & Strong winner.  I'm so proud of him!” 
And he won!!!

The Round 3 2011 12WBTers may remember That Black Dress and black stilettos with diamante heels that I wore to that event.  I wore it to a photoshoot one month later.  It has been sitting in the back of my walk-in-wardrobe for over six years, untouched.

I was excited to attend a family member’s wedding on 10 March 2018.  I had planned to wear my 40th Birthday Party dress from July 2017.  Two days before this wedding I had a strange idea.  Thanks to the MyFitnessPal App that I still use, I was able to check what my weight was when I wore That Black Dress to that finale party, six years and three months ago.  I am two kilos heavier today.  That Black Dress cannot possibly fit me.  However, I now have much more muscle and less fat than I did back then.  Could it fit me?  I tried it on. 
Aaaaahhhhhh!!!  That Black Dress Still Fits!!! 

I wore it to the wedding with those fabulous stilettos.  My sister screamed with excitement when she saw me wearing it.  I wanted to surprise her and it worked.  I was complimented all night long on how gorgeous, wonderful, glamourous, hot and sexy I looked.  I was drawn to happy tears with many of the overwhelming compliments.

Six Years and Three Months Later… Why Does The Dress Still Fit?

I gained 18 kilos over two years, from when I was at my leanest and strongest in 2012, to when I weighed 82 kilos in April 2014.  This is due to the limitations that came with being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2012.

My work hours had to slowly reduce. My food choices were poor because my physical limitations were getting me down and depressed.  In July 2013, my Specialist Doctor instructed me to stop working and reduce exercise to 20 minutes of walking once or twice a week, if I had enough energy.

Not working was boring.  I had nothing to do.  Doing basic things was exhausting.  Washing my hair would physically exhaust me and make my arms really hurt.  I would then fall asleep for a couple of hours straight afterwards to physically recover.

Being bored was no good for my physical or mental health.  I ate to pass the time.  My Specialist Doctor suggested I keep my mind stimulated by studying online slowly.  I would have to study at my own pace, with no time limit to complete the course.  Working for eight hours per week was previous exhausting and I had to stop.  Therefore, my studying capacity would be less than that, but it was unknown.

I already had my Gym Instructor Qualification.  I decide to enrolled into an online Certificate IV of Fitness course in May 2014 to get a Personal Trainer qualification.  I weighed 82 kilos, the heaviest since losing the weight in 2011. 

I discovered that I could study for four hours per week, one hour per day, without totally exhausting myself.  I was still bored, but I didn’t eat as much.  If I was eventually going to find a job as a Personal Trainer, I needed to be fitter and healthier.

I completed the online course in September 2014.  I still wasn’t allowed to work. I was still bored.  I didn’t eat my way through the boredom though.  I needed to lose weight.  Exercise was very limited so I had to make better food choices.  I reduced the amount of unhealthy foods I purchased.  If I did not have unhealthy food in my house, I could not eat them.  I tried to make and eat healthy meals.  My good food choices helped me lose 10 kilos over 12 months.

My Specialist Doctor advised me that I should be able to begin working very limited hours in July 2015.

I applied for Personal Trainer positions at local Health Clubs.  I was surprised to get a job at The Ridge Health Club in September 2015.  I weighed 72 kilos.

I had to be a good role model for my Personal Training clients.  They all loved that I changed my lifestyle and lost so much weight in 2011.  If I gained weight now, no one would trust me to train them.  I needed to get back to my fittest and strongest.

My weekly working hours were limited to a maximum of 10 hours.  I spread these hours over four days and I had to have a 30-minute rest during each shift.  I had no energy to exercise so I had to continue my healthy food choices.  Eating 1200 calories per day did not give me enough energy to function now that I had a job.  I worked out that 1400 calories was the absolute minimum I could eat.  I tracked my food intake with MyFitnessPal and ate about 1500 calories per day.  From September 2015 to March 2016 I maintained my weight of 72kg. 

My medication increased to give me more energy to work safely.  I increased my exercise to 20 minutes up to four times per week, under the instruction and strict supervision of my Exercise Physiologist.  I ate a minimum of 1500 calories per day, sometimes more if I became too exhausted.  I lost three kilos over the next six months.  I weighed 69 kilos in September 2016.

My CFS limitations were very slowly decreasing.  I could still only work 10 hours per week.  My food and exercise did not change.  I lost another 4 kilos over the next 12 months. I weighed 65 kilos in September 2017

My CFS limitations had not improved but my job was making me stronger and leaner.  My muscle mass increased and fat decreased just by being a Gym Instructor, Circuit Instructor and Personal Trainer for 10 to 12 hours per week. I still made healthy food choices of a minimum of 1500 calories per week.

I lost another 2 kilos over the next six months.  I weighed 63 kilos this month.  I am 2 kilos heavier than when I wore That Black Dress, 6 years and 3 months ago.  My body composition is different now.  I have more muscle and less fat due to my job.  Therefore, maybe I could be about same size as when I wore That Black Dress.  I tried it on and got a huge shock!

That Black Dress Still Fits!!!
I wore it to the wedding and cried happy tears as the endless lovely compliments came my way. 
I am very lucky.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Working as a Personal Trainer

September 2015 to August 2019

I worked as a Personal Trainer for four years at The Ridge Health Club in Eltham, Victoria, Australia.

I was so pleased to be able to offer my services to others wishing to achieve health and fitness goals, in particular but not limited to Weight Loss.

It was an awesome four years with wonderful work colleagues and fantastic clients. Unfortunately, The Ridge Health Club stopped trading in August 2019.  I wanted to continue my journey as a Personal Trainer with my fantastic clients so I set up my own little fitness business a few months later.

Fitness Qualifications

  • Certificate 3 in Fitness (Gym Instructor and Water Aerobics Instructor)
  • Certificate 4 in Fitness (Personal Trainer)
  • Senior First Aid & CPR


  • I have worked in the Leisure, Health and Fitness Industry for 20 years.
  • My various roles at leisure centres include Centre Manager, Programs Coordinator, Aquatics Coordinator, Event Coordinator, Water Aerobics Instructor, Gym Instructor, Pool Lifeguard and Swimming Teacher.
  • My most recent role was as the Leisure Facilities Contacts Coordinator for a local government.


  • My specialty is Weight Loss.
  • I lost 48 kilos in 2011 and have kept weight off.
  • I won two weight loss awards in the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation program:
  •       Top Transformation in August 2011
  •       Inspirational Role Model in December 2011.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

12WBT R4 2013 Week 4 Squee!

Slow and steady will get me to my goals.  Here's the Week 4 update.

I've been participating in this round of the 12WBT program for almost four weeks and it's time to measure my progress.  I have exercised only 3 times and have followed the nutrition about 90% of the time.

In four weeks I have:
* lost 1cm from my right upper arm
* lost 2cm from my right thigh
* lost 2cm from my chest
* lost 5cm from my waist
* lost 3cm from my butt
* lost 3.5kg

I am trilled with my results and will continue doing what I did in the last four weeks.  Not only does my body feel better but my mind is in such a positive place.  I'm slowly feeling more comfortable in my clothes and I can wear my jeans again because the muffin top is gone!

My body is shrinking slower than it did in 2011.  I'm taking a slow and steady approach this time and not following the program 100%.  Weight loss is not my first priority, managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is.  I am thrilled I have done so well and I feel ok too.

One big red flag is a theme park holiday next week.  I plan to have fun at the theme parks and indulge in a couple of treats. I won't return from holidays any heavier as it is just not worth it.  My mind is too happy to undo my hard work.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do What You Want

I had a lightbulb moment twelve hours after attending the Round 3 2013 finale party in Sydney. That moment was reinforced when I heard Lady Gaga perform her second single from her Artpop album called Do What You Want.

Let's rewind and recap the last three years of my life first.

  • Went from obese to the healthy weight range thanks to www.12WBT.com in 2011.
  • Diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis in November 2011. (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/transversemyelitis/detail_transversemyelitis.htm)
  • Improved muscle definition and strength with www.12WBT.com in 2012.
  • Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in October 2012.
  • Almost stopped exercising and gained weight.
  • Stopped working and exercising in July 2013 due to CFS.
  • Lost confidence and turned to food.

The 12WBT finale party was exactly what I needed to experience. I loved being reunited with the friends I made during five rounds of the program. They are such beautiful people and I felt the love with every hug and word that was exchanged.  I was so surprised that the Eventify staff remembered me by name from the two 12WBT workouts where I volunteered as their Water Crew Team Leader in 2012.  And, of course, it was lovely to be greeted by the 12WBT staff with huge smiles and "Hi Splash!"  I honestly can't believe these people remember me. I was ten kilos heavier ,looking like a big pink squishy marshmallow with diamant√© stilettos and being greeted with nothing but love.  Needless to say, 12WBT knows how to host a party and I had a fabulous night.

I woke up on Sunday feeling different to the last three months.  I was feeling empowered.  I'm not totally sure why but it must have had something to do with being in a room full of confident people the night before.  I remembered feeling confident.  That used to be me.  Can I be that again? Do I want that again? I do.

Ten minutes later and my iPad is welcoming me back to 12WBT.  The road to confidence starts tomorrow. I'm scared. But Splasharama do this.  I'm back for the mindset lessons. Everything starts in the mind and 12WBT is exactly what I need to bring me out of my three-month coma of self doubt and unhappiness.

Fast forward to The Graham Norton Show on Sunday night.  My favourite artist of all time opened the show with her latest single "Do What You Want".  I was almost crying yet so so happy watching her performance.  "Do what you want"... What do I want?  I want the old me back.  It will take longer than three months and that's ok.  Splash is back and I'm doing what I want.

Do What You Want - I want to treat food as fuel for my body, nothing more.
Do What You Want - I want to feel sexy wearing that tiny size 10 white Review dress hanging in my wardrobe again.
Do What You Want - I want my strong body (and my sexy muscles) back.
Do What You Want - I want to be healthy and genuinely happy.
Do What You Want - I want to beat CFS and return to work ASAP.
Do What You Want - I don't want to walk... I will strut!
Do What You Want - I will be confident.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Project SplashAttack

In the last 12 months I have:

  • Been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  • Stopped lifting weights and exercising due to CFS

  • Gained fat and my strength has diminished
  • Gained weight
  • Changed from working full time to part time to taking extended leave

Monday 15 July is the first day of my twelve months off work and I have mixed thoughts.  What if I become lazy?  I am scared I may eat out of boredom.  What if my health doesn't improve in the tweleve months?  How can I keep a strong mind when all I want to do is go back to work?

I can sit here over-analysing the situation I am in and eat myself silly for twelve months.  Or I can be positive.  It is time to implement the Essentials that I posted about two years ago.  I will take my own advice and be accountable for my actions.  Here's a little glimpse of what lies ahead for Splasharama Version 2:

  • Complete personal training course that I deferred due to illness.
  • Walk for 15 minutes once or twice a week and increase the intensity and duration of exercise when my body allows.
  • Fuel my body adequately for energy, not to entertain my tastebuds.

In twelve months time I want to have no regrets and be the best version of me.  I call this version SplashAttack.  I will record my SplashAttack journey here.  Knowing I will blog my year will keep my mind strong as I don't want to report that I have failed or made bad decisions.  Unfortunately CFS drives what I can physically do and when I can do it.  Planning ahead doesn't always go to plan.  However, my mind determines what I do with my energy when I have it and how I fuel my body.

Project SplashAttack starts now.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Week 4 Weigh In - R1 2013

Week 4 = - 0.6kg
Week 3 =  -0.1kg 
Week 2 =  -1.5kg
Week 1 =  -1.4kg 

Total weight loss = 3.6kg

I'm feeling tired and not managing Chronic Fatigue well this week. On the bright side, I'm only 4kg away from my beautiful Review dresses fitting me again SQUEE!

This weekend is full of 12WBT catch ups. 
  • On Saturday I am going to FitX with a couple of my R1 2012 Lean & Strong training buddies.  
  • On Sunday I am having lunch with six SplashFits. 
  • Oh and next weekend I am spending the whole weekend with seven of my 12WBT Lean & Strong training buddies, including one from Sydney. Two of them are staying with me so it should be a really fun weekend!!! 
What a great fortnight I have ahead of me :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 3 Weigh In - R1 2013

Week 3 =  -0.1kg 
Week 2 =  -1.5kg
Week 1 =  -1.4kg

Total weight loss = 3.0kg

Weight loss percentage total is 4.1%

I lost 100g this week.  It's due to eating too many calories on the weekend.  Not sure why i did it but I did and I knew i was eating too much and the wrong foods.  I'm not beating myself up about it.  I'm just back into 1200 calories a day mode today.

I am really missing not being able to lift weights like i used to.  To lift my spirits I am doing this Mean Abs Month in March with my training buddies. It shouldn't wear me out but will be fun.  My Lean and Strong buddies in Round 2 2012 added this to our 12WBT training for the month of June and had great results in both core strength and muscle definition.  Let hope I can move some squish in March too so you can actually SEE my abs again! 


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Play Lists

During my weight loss phase, I made playlists with songs that had the same beats per minute as the pace I would keep on the crosstrainer. I usually kept a pace of about 135 paces per minute so I picked songs that were 135 beats per minute.

On other cardio equipment and during strength training I play the songs I love:

Don't You Worry Child - Swedish House Mafia

We Run The Night - Havana Brown

Hall of Fame - The Script

Good Feeling - Flo Rida

Club Can't Handle Me - Flo Rida

Sweat - Snoop Dogg vs David Guetta

Wild Ones - Flo Rida featuring Sia

She Wolf - David Guetta featuring Sia

Titanium - David Guetta featuring Sia

Turn Me On - David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj

Without You - David Guetta featuring Usher

Teenage Dream - Katy Perry

Poker Face - Laga Gaga

Born This Way - Lady Gaga

Telephone - Lady Gaga

Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga

Just Dance - Lady Gaga

Super Bass - Nicki Minaj

Say It Right - Nelly Furtado

Scream - Usher

More - Usher

Yeah - Usher

Don't Wanna Go Home - Jason Derulo

Die Young - Kesha

Week 2 Weigh In - R1 2013

Week 2 =  -1.5kg
Week 1 =  -1.4kg
Total weight loss = 2.9kg
Weight loss percentage total is 4.0%

First two weeks were big losses as my body was shocked when reduced to 1200 clean calories.
Although I am very pleased with losing 2.9kg in 2 weeks, I am aiming to loss 500g each week from now on.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Week 1 Weigh In - R1 2013

It's week 1 weigh in time!
My start weight is from Wednesday last week so my weight loss is for seven days.

Week 1 =  1.4kg gone
Weight loss percentage total is 1.9%

FINALLY my mind is back in The Zone! I remember this feeling!  And you know what? My meals have been delicious and I haven't been hungry at all.  As my sister stated yesterday "I actually eat better when I follow Michelle's program". It is so true in my case too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Splash is Back for 12WBT Round 1 2013

It has been two years since I changed my lifestyle in February 2011.

  • I lost 48 kilos in 2011.
  • I developed an illness called Transverse Myelitis is November 2011.
  • I became a lean and strong woman in the first half of 2012.
  • I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2012.

Now I'm back for another round to ditch the Christmas squish!  Seven kilos in twelve weeks... Can I do it?! I absolutely can because 12WBT and Mish have got my back!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week 1 FabFastFeb

Here's the link to my February mission http://splasharama.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/fabfastfeb.html

After one week I have lost 300g
That is so embarrassing to write.
I ate more than 1200 calories on Thursday at family dinner, as well as throwing in some chocolate on two other days. That is terrible!!!

I planned my meals everyday. 
However I need to screw my head on properly and not give into temptation others put in front of me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I always thought that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) just needed to sleep more and they would feel fine... Wow, I Was So Wrong!

As some of you that regularly read my posts may know, I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis in November 2011.  I still have it.  One of the symptoms is random fatigue and a couple of my fingers and part of my lower arm sometimes go a bit numb and sore.  Six months after the diagnosis, an MRI showed that the inflammation in my spinal chord is slowly healing.  My next MRI is in May 2013.

In October 2012 I experienced 8 straight days of fatigue where my mind and body were exhausted but I just keeping pushing through my work and daily duties.  I was only training one day a week for a month as i was just exhausted most of the time.   A visit to my GP ended in a diagnosis of CFS. Apparently it can last six to seven years...Well that is just great! I can't get stressed, anxious or run down or I will "conk out".  Right... how on earth do I deal with this...?  Splasharama doesn't want to conk out.

I want my old life back.

So, I felt like my world was falling down around me. I couldn't train like I wanted to. I couldn't concentrate at work as I was generally tired. I looked generally disinterested in most things but I was just fatigued. I napped whenever I could.  I trained only once a week as that is all I could manage.  I put on weight (eek!).

I had two choices. Feel sorry for myself and fall in a heap. 12WBT taught me that I have the power to be anything that I want to be.  I didn't want to be defeated. I chose to research CFS and equip myself with knowledge.  Knowledge is power.

If my body allowed me to get up at 5.30am and train, that was a win. If I managed to work a six-hour day, that was a win.  If I could drive all the way home after work without having to stop at my parents place for a nap, that was a win.  If I couldn't do these things then that was just normal life for me and I accepted it.

Three months on and I naturally still overdo it.  I stopped training altogether and spent two weeks working out how much energy it takes to do the essentials, being eat, sleep, see my family and work.  I was just as exhausted that fortnight without exercise! I turned to a medical professional that specialises in Chronic Fatigue and was advised to not exclude exercise.  I'm now limited to light exercise for 20 minutes twice a week, if I feel up to it.  I was also advised to do half of what I would normally do on the days I feel good.  I'm still working on finding the right balance for me.  No day is perfect.  I'll work it out eventually.

I've come too far since February 2011 to be defeated.  I am just treating these things as a challenge that has been thrown my way. I love a challenge and love winning the battle.  

This is not game over.  I'll come out of this stronger than ever because I have a strong mind  and a fantastic support crew.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Round 2 2012 Perth Finale - Part 2

The Workout

At the workout i was a volunteer and had the role of Water Crew Team Leader (which I renamed to the Splash Crew).

My friend, Pirate Kate, had never met Mish so I was secretly totally excited for her as she was soon to experience a moment with someone that she would remember forever.

As Pirate Kate & I arrived at the park (a touch late) I saw the volunteers gathered in a circle about 100m away but I was headed to the Registration Tent first. I couldn't understand why they were all signalling for me to go to them first.  I was thinking to myself "I've done this volunteer role before so I know I have to go to the registration tent first". Anyway, I gave in and detoured to the group of volunteers first. 

As I arrived I said hi to the team and apologised.  I thanked my friend, Pirate Liz, for doing the roll call and handing out uniforms for me. I then realised that standing next to me was Michelle Bridges!!!  "Aaaaaahhhhhhh!" was what I screamed as I saw her looking at me.
"Splash!" is what she replied.
We all cracked up laughing and she liked our Pirate outfits.  I STILL get star struck and LOVE this woman to bits. 

I've had so much Mish time over the last year so I usually stand back and enjoy seeing others experience Mish for the first time.  They are usually a blubbering mess and she is so gracious and kind with beautiful words that makes them shine, smile and cry all at once.  I was so grateful that Mish acknowledged me and we had a brief chat.  So so special.

Briefing my Splash Crew Volunteers

I took my team over next to the small stage and i jumped up on it. I was about to brief them on the run down of our morning. Then I had a brilliant idea! Let's get briefed in plank position!!! Some witty videos and comments were exchanged leading up to this day between the Team Leader of Registrations & Scanning, Leanne H, and I that involved planking and awesomeness.  My team were up to speed with this so I thought it would be fun to carry on with that tradition.  So we dropped and planked while I read our the brief.
Occasionally I hear a team member say "Hurry up Mary!!" but I knew it was Pirate Kate so I kept taking my time :p

We had the cameras flashing and it was just a whole lot of fun! I'm pleased to say I held my plank for the whole brief - it was tough but that's just how I roll :)

To keep the tradition going some of the Splash Crew planked in the group volunteer pic with Mish too.  That was lots of fun.  We then got a Splash Crew pic with Mish.  My team was telling me to stand closer to the middle but I told them I've had my Mish time so I stood on the end.  Can't wait to see that pic!

The witty banter continued throughout the workout between Leanne H & I.  I found it hysterical and it was fun for those around us too.

 To Be Continued...

Round 2 2012 Perth Finale - Part 1

Summary of Previous Finales

I had attended 4 finale parties prior to Perth and each of them were totally different experiences.

R1 2011 Melbourne - 
I was my sister's guest at Silk Road. Energy, passion, commitment & achievement filled the room.  I was blown away by this 12WBT thing and could not wait to begin MY 12WBT journey in Round 2.

R2 2011 Brisbane - 
My first finale as a member. I had phone numbers of the small support crew I had created and could not wait to meet these wonderful people that I knew as my Mini Comp Team Members.  I was ecstatic to be spending the day with the wonderful people I had formed connections with online.  I didn't think the night could get any better... :)

R3 2011 Sydney - 
I knew I was a Top 20 finalist so I was a shaking nervous mess.  wow what an experience and honour.  I got to meet my new Mini Comp Team members after presentations and we had a great night together. I also met complete strangers that knew so much about me.  That was strange but I loved asking them about their journeys and seeing them light up with excitement.

R1 2012 Melbourne - 
I thought I'd be able to relax and just enjoy the day with my 12WBT Pirates from around the world. Ummm... No.  I was overwhelmed at how many strangers came to thank me for how I have contributed to their journey. It still spins me out that people know who I am, what I've done, how much I weigh, where I train, what I train in, etc...
I was a Water Girl & World Record Team Leader Volunteer at the workout which was beyond fun! And I spent the evening with my Pirate Buddies which was so so special to me.

R2 2012 Perth - 
Perth was going to be Party Central for the Lean & Strong Pirates.  We were terribly excited to meet each other and had already made all necessary plans beforehand to ensure we maximised our time together.

Like all other finales, I expected and was prepared for 15 hours of laughing, smiling, screaming and jumping up and down with my friends.  I did not expect to cry every couple of hours.  Thank goodness I didn't wear eyeliner as it would not have handled my hard core water works.

To Be Continued...