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Sunday, March 27, 2011

... The drugs don't work, they just make you worse ...

So, I guess by now you've seen that one of the ways I tried to lose weight was by using Duromine.
According to the leaflet (previous post) it works by "directly affecting the area of the brain that controls your appetite making you feel less hungry".

I will say, I felt less hungry at first - by less, I mean that I felt no need to eat sometimes for an entire day. Not healthy.
I also found that as someone who usually had little trouble falling asleep, I was now only able to manage a restless sleep for about 4-5 hours a night.
This was balanced by the fact that the drugs stopped me from feeling tired during the day, so nobody really would have noticed that I was any different in that way.

The first time I took Duromine, I had also started going to the gym so it was a big boost in the weight loss which I had already started working on.
I was unhappy in the job I was working in and this drug made my moods accelerated; as such, I found myself being unusually angry, upset and happy. I was bouncing from dawn til dusk and even though I could see the great effect it was having on my weight, I wasn't my normal self.

I became so short-tempered that people at work started checking what mood I was in with each other before they spoke to me. Ridiculous!

Not only this, when I would go out on the rare occasion that I would get the chance to go out and have some drinks with friends, it cost me a mint only to wake with a mind-numbing hangover. The fact that I didn't feel drunk on these tablets meant that I would drink to a major excess and feel twice as bad the next day! Some would argue that the drug helps you feel less hungover, but I guess everyone's different.

The cost was another prohibitive factor - unless you have private healthcare, you will pay full price (in excess of $120 for the strongest dose).

The following link takes you to some further information about uses etc.

Basically, I think it's really important that you understand what you're getting into with Duromine. It's not for everyone.

Like a cat in a bag, waiting to drown ...

Above is the information leaflet you receive when you are prescribed Duromine.
My next post is about my personal experiences when taking Duromine - if you've taken this drug before, please feel free to comment for others to get a wide variation of opinions and experiences.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

More of a winner than Charlie Sheen

I may not be drinking tiger blood as part of my new healthy life, but I can tell you right now - I feel great!

After an unexpected night out (driving, of course, because unlike Charlie Sheen I can see the benefits of not being hammered), I went to work and spent the entire time anticipating my appointment with my JC consultant.

I was super excited, feeling that even though I had not been as good as I could have been (a hen's night last weekend saw me channelling Pete Doherty - enough with the Charlie Sheen jokes), I had stuck pretty well to the program.

For example; during this week we had a morning tea for one of our leaving staff - it was a beautiful spread of warm ham and cheese croissants, jammy sweet pastries, chips, dips, chains, whips - no, wait - salsa, cake and crackers.
I can happily admit - and have witnesses - that I did not even consider eating anything from that goodie-laden table.

I didn't feel left out, I didn't feel sad, and I didn't feel like I might need to sneak back later and eat something.
I felt strong, and confident, that I didn't even want anything that I saw in front of me.
It just wasn' t worth eating something and feeling bad about it - and let's be honest, why would I want bad food? I eat so much good food each day I just don't have room for bad stuff!


I bet you don't think this looks great, right?
I bet you're thinking, "Oh, I see, tiny pre-packed meals with no taste and crappy frozen ingredients - there's no way I would want to eat that!"


I guess you might be right - it is frozen and pre-packed. Other than that, it's nothing short of amazing!

So I guess you're all dying to know how I went at my weigh-in?
Let's not pretend you came here to read about my dinner on Wednesday or a morning tea I didn't eat.

You want to know if I made some progress.


Here's the thing.
I like playing games.

So I'm going to let you guess.

This post is your clue - you tell me how much difference I've made.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

... Good night, sweetheart!

Ok all - so I know I said I would be blogging tonight about the effects I felt when taking Duromine ... But all this being amazing has got me beat and I'm going to head to the divine comfort of my bed now! So tomorrow I promise I will fill you in and leave you now only with what's on my mind right now.

Jenny Craig Chocolate Mousse is - well, awesome.

So stay tuned, folks - same fat time, same fat channel!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Skinny Hollie

This link will take you to another blog worth checking out -
about another girl struggling against her weight.

To eat, perchance to dream...

"Can I ask you a question, April?"

"When you dream ... are you .. thin?"

I couldn't be sure, that day in the school library.
Was that my dream?
To be thin?

And now I can finally answer that question.

No - in my dreams I live the same days I do when awake. Sometimes to the point where I'm tired from working all night (not in a red-light district way) and then having to go and do it for real!

But I never dream I'm thin - because that's not me. I'll never be 'thin' - I don't want to be. I just want to be healthy.

I want to swap clothes with my girlfriends - I want to meet the man of my dreams and not feel like at any minute he might want to 'downsize' - I want to know that when I have kids I'll be able to chase them all night and day and still have the energy to tell Mr Dream Man how much I love him - I want my friends and family to see that the April they have always loved is happier than she has ever been before - I want to make the most of the life I have because I can.

I'm going to do it - and I really hope that when I do, all the people who've supported me know I did it as much for them as I did for me.



A big fat thank you!

I was thinking a lot today about all the responses I have gotten to this blog.
It's something I thought about doing last week and suddenly it became a massive thing - I had a JK Rowling moment!
I had created it before I'd even sat in front of the computer and it felt like I couldn't hold it in.

I am so happy and proud that everyone who has read it has seen all the wonderful positive things in it - since mid 2010 I have been living a life less ordinary with every day bringing me new joy.

Moving away from the town I grew up in has allowed me to see the beauty in returning home - somebody once said, "You can never go home again," but I don't believe it.
Home is truly where the heart is - and I leave mine each time with the people I love in that little country city.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Drop it like it's hot

This Saturday will be my next consultation; fingers crossed I've lost more. Even if I haven't - I feel better than I have in years and sure that this is the best thing I have ever done.

I wish I knew years ago how much better things could be - but no time for regrets.

All I know is that things can only get better.


Baby Steps - more like Baby Elephant

I was horrified by the figure I saw on the scale at my first JC consult.

I thanked God I had chosen to come in and make this decision - I had no idea just how bad it had gotten.

I started the program and headed back to see Stef after 5 days.

"3.1," she told me.

Incredulous, I gasped. "Up or down?!"

I was sure that I must have gained weight.

"Down!" she cried.
We both laughed hysterically; we already had a rapport that made me feel comfortable about talking to Stef; she was supportive and friendly, and never made me feel like I was doing anything other than the most normal thing in the world.

I sent the results to a few close friends and my mum, all of them replying with messages of support and congratulations.

I felt so relieved; any doubt I had in my mind was gone and now I knew I would be able to finally save myself - from me.

JC - the Other Saviour

So now - here we are.

After a few months of stopping and starting - buying a cross-trainer, promising myself to eat healthier, giving up fast food and finally realising that none of that worked if I wasn't committed, I got here.

Another friend had started Jenny Craig - and had fantastic success - when I realised it was something I could do too.

If I wanted to see another birthday - I would take my chance.


I suggested it to my friend Teena and she thought it was a fantastic idea.

She even offered to help me get started by paying for my initial fees.
I made a call while on holiday and arranged to see a consultant at the local centre when I returned.

I told close friends that I was planning to start and everybody had the same reaction - "Wow, Apes, that's fantastic."

Jess was right.
I probably should have realised that.
People cared - they wanted me to be happy and healthy.

I saw my consultant and felt free to be honest about all the reasons I was the way I am.

I thought I'd cry, or be embarrassed, or something - but I just felt relieved.
I was in the hands of experts and I was going to make it work.

The Weight is Almost Over

One night, I went to have dinner and catch up with Jess and her husband (another of my great supporters) Dale.

After a few drinks and the usual chatter, Jess took a serious tone and told me she had something bothering her.
I didn't think for a second that it could be anything to do with me - I worried it was something to do with her health or the kids.

"April - I'm worried about you," she started.
"I know you love my children, and my family loves you dearly, and I want you to be around for a very long time, my love."

I was dumbfounded. What had I done to this woman, my best friend, who had avoided seeing me to stop herself from staying awake at night worrying about my morbid obesity? What a terrible thing for her to worry about.

"I just can't stop thinking about your dad, and your mum, and that you need to do something about your weight," she said, swallowing. "I don't want you to ... die."

This was the wake-up call I needed.
I was shocked to my very core - this woman was worrying that I might be gone soon.
All the people I loved might not see me any more if I drove myself into the ground any more.
She was serious and so relieved that I let her share this fear with me.

I didn't let her see how that made me feel - as always, when talking about my weight I was blasé and didn't let anyone see how easily they could break through my seemingly thick shell to the bleeding heart underneath.

I promised myself I would do something - for myself, but especially for Jessie.


Big Changes for a Big Girl

I'm almost there - I finally left the country city and made my way to Canberra.

I was continuing my career and feeling like I needed a change; my siblings and I had lost our father and this had different effects for all of us.

Things spiralled for me - a move to a new place, living with housemates again and working in a place that was like my old job x1000.

I looked forward to the changes and hoped that I could leave behind my need to eat and drink my feelings.

Jess encouraged me to use this as a way to make the changes I wanted to; a gentle push towards the health she wanted me to get back.

By this time I had stacked up the kilos almost beyond anything I had been before; I bought new clothes at the special fat girl shops and just thought about how great it would be if I could buy them at Cotton On.

Maybe I should have cottoned on to the fact that my father had died from a stroke, had heart problems, and had only just turned 60.

He ain't heavy - he's my brother

Lots of things happened in the next few years - including meeting my brother and his now wife.
I hadn't had any contact with him or my other brothers since childhood and it was suprising to see how alike I could be to someone.


I also met my sister and was brought back to reality.
Here, I saw what I would have been if not for the weight I was carrying.

A sobering thought - but still, I didn't make a change.


Heartbreak made me hungry

By now, you can see that I did manage to lose a bit - I was at my lowest adult weight.
I never got below 100kg but I was close - then I finally felt the crushing blow of my first heartbreak and ate my way back to feeling better.

Didn't quite work.


Gym, drugs and new clothes









Time flies when you're eating everything in sight

To save time (yours, I'm sure you're getting tired) I will say only that I did nothing to change my habits for the next 3 years. Then I did something different.

I had moved out of home and after finding a place with a friend decided I was better off on my own.
I moved into a house by myself and came at some point to the realisation that I could lose weight.
Someone had told me about a great drug you could get to help you lose weight FAST and you could eat whatever you wanted.

It worked - for a while - and I spent a great summer feeling the best I had about myself since 1992.


So many JC's - so little time...

In 2004 I met someone very special - another JC who really started all of this for me.
Jessica, at the time a recently single mother of a beautiful little girl, was the unfortunate victim of my confidence when she moved to my town.
Luckily - for her, and for me - that was the beginning of a friendship that has grown and seen amazing things happen.
A husband, two more beautiful children, and an amazing figure - Jess, not me.
She and I became and remained close friends, withstanding moves to and from the town where we met and many other trials.

I think it's important to me that Jessica get a special mention - she doesn't realise, but she's the only person who ever really made me see how much I needed to lose weight - for me and for the people who love me.

I guess you can blame her for this blog too!

Remember the days - of the old school yard

So now I finished my HSC, with more friendships and confidence than I'd ever had.
We'd learned the art of being honest about who and what we really liked, and been forced to spend time with people we never had before - we left the school behind but took our close bonds with us.

I spent a lot of time with a few close girlfriends, having my 18th birthday with family, and going back to TAFE to continue studying hairdressing.
Of course, I couldn't choose it as a career - asthma + perm solution is not a good combo!

But this mainly facilitated my extreme laziness; while I was studying in 2001 my mum had suffered a stroke and was still getting back her health while I did nothing to help around the house and went out partying night after night.

Drinking made me even more confident and I talked to everyone - making friends and enemies as I sung at Karaoke and felt great about the fact that even though my body wasn't anywhere near the lithe frames of all the other girls I saw around me, I could show off the only thing I felt people admired about me.
I didn't let it bother me but instead spent time eating junk food, drinking and sleeping way too much.

This went on and eventually TAFE finished.
The partying continued, as did the hangover food and the lazy days doing nothing but thinking about what I'd do the next night.

18 years old, 130kg, maybe more, and no closer to realising I could change it.

Take a break - we're getting there

So ... You've made it this far through the back story of my journey up until high school.
I guess by this time you're either ready to hear about what I'm doing now or you want to know a little more about what happened to make me think I should get some help.
Unlucky for the people who want the short version - I don't do short versions.
Skip to the post "JC - The Other Saviour" and you can read more about the progress I've made with Jenny since starting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Better late than never

So now I was a self-made popularity queen - every day was a great one because I felt like I had talent.

I was arrogant and stopped worrying about my size.

Bah - I will have another skirt made for senior high school.
Come to that - I'll have the shirts made too!
My friend's mother can take a pattern from a shirt my mum has worn and it'll fit great!
The fact that my shirts were made from plain dyed sheets and with a couple of long poles could have been a pastel yellow camping ground was beside the point.

Ecstasy, thy name is being cool and liked by people who hated you before.

Confessions of a Big Fat Drama Queen

Finally, after whatever the hell happened between 1997-98 (I was too busy eating...?) I realised I was good at something.

I had started Drama as an elective and we were having a school play.
Wasn't I always being called a drama queen?
Now was my chance.
Lucky me, I could also hold a tune and the musical was "Little Shop of Horrors".
I got to mix with the older kids (people a bit more my size) and show off the talent I had.
Modesty being the key, I'll tell you I wasn't the best person in the show.

I was the second best - the other guy was pretty much the coolest, most talented and popular guys in Year 12.

He's married to the girl next to me in this photo.


So I got to feel a bit like being the big fat one didn't matter.
I still insisted that I had to cover my arms for the show, as I felt these were a particularly bad part of my body.
But I felt - cool.
And a monster was created.

The Wonder Years? Not quite.

Even after the awesome joys of primary school, where I even had my teacher pull me out of class to tell me he was "worried about my weight" and I was teased mercilessly, not much could have prepared me for how I would not fit in at high school.


I had to have my school skirt specially made and wear man-sized shirts - my school jumper was faded but loose (because it had probably belonged to a boy from Year 10).

I lied about my weight and acted as though it didn't bother me - I got changed in the toilet for PE because I was modest, not because I was embarrassed.

I didn't do Cross Country.
I didn't do swimming carnivals.
I didn't do PE.
I didn't do athletics.
I didn't do lunchtime play.

I didn't do anything but eat my lunch - my lunch, and any other food that might be offered to me.
It made me feel better to have something to eat while I watched the other girls and boys play and have fun.
I was out of place and unwanted, even by the people I was sure wouldn't desert me. I only managed to retain any place in a group of friends by being loud, overconfident and sometimes funny.

The fat, funny one.

No pointing pudgy fingers!

I have to take a moment to clear something up.

I have never, nor will I ever, blame anyone for my size, my shape, my life or my weight.

I have a mother who has made my life one filled with love and laughter - our home is somewhere I always feel safe and loved.
As I got older, I learned how to manipulate her into making excuses for my lack of physical activity - I had asthma, and I just couldn't do anything without exacerbating the symptoms.
I suppose that was true, too - but mostly I was just a lazy, unfit little girl who was happy to get out of doing anything if Mummy was going to let me.

Our bad food habits are a burden passed on by the mentality of our ancestors; living on the land or working a seasonal job that meant food was scarce at times and so the most was made of each meal.

Now that we know that this isn't an issue, we have to take it upon ourselves to break these habits.

So Mum - if you're reading this, don't worry.
It's my fault I'm fat.
I can only blame you for the fabulous.

Weight a minute...

A severe asthma attack at 8 had me swallowing more steroids than a dodgy Mr Universe contestant, and when I got out of hospital on my mother's birthday we had a lovely celebration. It had everything we needed - a big, beautiful cake. And me? I was lucky. I had been in hospital - I got two pieces.

All of a sudden - so it seemed - I went from being a happy kid who loved her food to a girl who had to wear clothes that were too big for Justine, my 15-year-old next-door neighbour.

I can remember being in the school yard after that and having a girl who was a few years older than me ask, "How much do you weigh?"
I didn't want to answer.
I knew - I got weighed each time I went to the paediatrician for my now life-dominating asthma.
"You must weigh about 80 kilos," she continued.
I froze and my mouth went dry. 81kg, in fact, at the age of 9.
"No," I siad, "I only weigh, um, about 40?"

9 years old, and lying about my weight.
Something was seriously wrong.

All Smiles - Call it a "Low Fat Cheesy Grin".


Never without a smile.


I didn't know I wasn't going to be this happy forever.
Forever's a long time when you're 4ft tall.


Chapter 2: Filling the Gaps

Shall we start with a little history?

Now about me!

I grew up in a country city - you know, a country town masquerading as a city due purely to population and industry.

I started out like this.

And then this..

Who would have known this little girl would end up the way she did?

With a beautiful mother determined to make my childhood all it could be, and a family who thought of eating as an activity and not a necessity - probably should have seen it coming.

And God said, "Let there be food".

So... How to start?
I guess I should explain myself - My name's April and I've decided to start a blog about my extremely long journey from fat to fabulous.
Actually; I'm already fabulous.
Let's say - from fat to fit.

I've just started with one of the most renowned weight management programs known to man - Jenny Craig.

So Jenny - here goes. You're my last chance.