Every now and again in life we step out onto a different path – and how blessed we are when we dare to step outside of our comfort zones. Probably, like many women who first heard the call for applicants for this year’s makeover, I thought of all the reasons that I wouldn't be chosen.
There is nothing like a challenge to make oneself aware of all our inadequacies … without realising that most of the labels we carry have been placed on us by ourselves and are not seen by others.
I decided to put my name forward and I completed the form. As there was no place on the form to beg to be chosen, I simply gave my name and address, and attached a photo which I felt terrible about, but was a true representation of the current me.
In the past twelve years I have survived the death of my eldest son, my Dad, and a mid-term miscarriage, and the surprise arrival at age 43 of a child who has physical disabilities as a result of meningitis. To keep myself sane I completed an Honours degree at Otago University amidst the challenge of being a great wife and mother. I was happy with my life, but it was out of balance.
There was no time for looking after my physical self, and I contracted a virus, which attacked my liver, and then started on my brain. Last year was spent not working but having a gruelling drug treatment to try and rid my body of the disease.
It was in this place that most unexpectedly I found myself chosen as one of this year's four contestants. We began by meeting at the salon and making eight weeks of appointments for so many treatments it was like being at Disneyland. Then we moved to an assessment at Bodyvibes gym. That was about the time I knew I was in trouble, my body had just been moving about and breathing for a long time, after all I didn't have time!!
Whilst doing the assessment I lost my balance on the step and stumbled forward nearly crushing Sandra our trainer!! We were weighed on scales, which told our fat content … mine was 51%. When I told my friend that night on the phone, she said: "My friend, that is a takeover bid – you are no longer in control" … funny and sad at the same time. Oh dear.
I asked for all my Botox and dermal fillers first so that if the gym killed me, I would at least look OK!! However I have lost 3% of my body fat and 17cm. Changing eating and exercise resulted in an enormous detox of the body, and a couple of tearful meltdowns at the size of the task I was on, however, I discovered it is just about not stopping.
The girls at Beauty and Beyond have worked on my face and hair, but in doing so have made me feel better in some very deep and out of sight places. They have given me great skin, but also a deep sense of self-assuredness of my physical self that I lacked before. Maybe God sent me angels in human form!!
It has been an inspiring journey, which has been made uplifting by the women who have accompanied me and encouraged me. … the staff and clients at Bodyvibes, who have made exercise a fun and exhilarating experience, with encouragement and laughter. The women at D'Coy, A Little Bit Cheeky, Goody Two Shoes and Silver Moon, who helped to drape me in finery. It has been so hard to be me, starting every Monday morning with a facial!!!
So after it is all over, what now? I have come to realise that there is always time for what we deem to be important, and like many women I didn't give myself that courtesy. When I took time for myself, nothing fell down, people coped, in fact they like the new me better because I feel happier and more worthy of time for me.
As well as being privileged enough to have been voted the winner, I have just this week been declared free of the virus I have been fighting … WOW. It is possible to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear after all!!!
The greatest thing about this makeover is that as a result of women working with women for women, we have raised money for women struggling with appearance issues as a result of cancer treatment.
YOU can feel as good as I do, you just have to take that first step, and let other women help you on the way.
To all of you who helped, who watched, who laughed, who cried, who supported, who voted, thank you from my heart to yours.