“For the first time in my life, I’m finally ready to share my story. My journey is not just about weight loss. I have never shared the raw and honest side that I’m about to share now.
The point of sharing my journey is for others to know that you can make a change.
My story began approximately four years ago. I was 26 years old; I was married, and I had found out my husband had cheated on me. We had been together for seven years, married for two, and were in the process of trying for a baby. My whole life completely turned upside down. But because of this experience, it has helped me shape into the person I am today. I struggled a lot. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t be on my own, and my mental health was at its worst. I couldn’t even eat dinner on my own. My parents would come over every night to sit with me and eat dinner with me because the thought of being by myself was unbearable.
I never realized how much weight I had gained, how unhappy I was as a person, and how dependent I had become on the one person who I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. My life revolved around waiting around for him, missing out on spending time with my friends and family, and I never focused on myself and my own happiness.
I had gained so much weight since being in a relationship and I never had any thought about it. That was my life and I was content. It wasn’t until I was faced with one of the most heartbreaking experiences in my life that this pushed me to make some tough decisions and learn how to love myself again. When I was younger, I was always such a happy and social person. I was extremely into my health and fitness and that all started to change. I faced anxiety and I would often turn to food for comfort. I had no idea what a macro was. I had no idea what it was like to push my body to the limits.
Once I found out that my husband had cheated on me, I had to make some tough decisions. I ended the relationship and asked him to leave. For so long, I had always put his needs before mine and I had never put myself first. This was my time to take control and do what was best for me.
However, it wasn’t easy.
I started suffering from anxiety and depression. I couldn’t be out in public without experiencing panic attacks and constantly worried about what people were saying and thinking about me and what happened with my relationship. I remember going to the supermarket and needing to get out of there because my chest would tighten and I couldn’t breathe. My hands constantly were shaking in social settings where I felt anxious and uncomfortable and I would often avoid certain situations due to the fear of running into people.
I finally went and saw my GP, filled out a survey, was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. I was given anti-depressants without question. This is where my turning point began. I took the medication for one day and one day only. The feeling I got from this medication wasn’t how I wanted to feel. I drove home from work that day, without knowing how I got home. I didn’t want to numb my feelings and feel this way. So, I said to myself, ‘I can change my life in other ways without taking medication.’ I had to pull myself out and make some serious changes.
From that day, I realized I could make a change and I didn’t need medication to help me get through. I made a conscious decision to pull myself up and focus on myself.
This was my time to focus on me for the first time in a very long time. I began to get right into my fitness, and I was attending approximately 3-4 boot camp sessions a week. I began to see results; I was becoming the old Kirsten again. I was spending time with friends; I was reaching out to people I hadn’t spoken to in years. I was living my life once again. I started going to see a Personal Trainer once a week and followed a meal plan and I was slowly becoming the happy girl I was once before. I was so much more mindful of what I was feeding my body and my mindset completely shifted. I began to focus on the positives in life and was learning to realize that I could find true happiness within myself.
I think the biggest shift in my mindset would have been about 12 months ago. I moved gyms, started Personal Training with a new coach and I decided to push my body to the limits, and I signed up for my first Bodybuilding competition. I loved the way that being fit and focusing on myself felt and I thought if others can do it, I can do it too. It was never about weight loss; it was purely to show myself that anything I set my mind on I can do.
I started a 20-week comp prep, lost 13 kgs, and placed first in my first ever competition. I never decided to compete for a place on stage. I did it for myself. I did it to show that I can do anything. The mind is a powerful thing and I’ve always been a huge achiever and goal setter. I went from drinking wine and going out to restaurants to cutting alcohol out altogether for 20 weeks and eating every meal out of a container and I loved it. I took on such a positive attitude throughout my whole prep and I embraced the journey and I don’t regret one second of it.
Each day involved getting in 20,000 steps, training for 1-2 hours, and counting every single calorie that I ate. At the end of the 20-week prep, I got up on that stage and it was the happiest I have been in years. The best feeling was knowing that I had achieved the biggest goal I had set myself in my life and I had completely turned my life around.
Today I am the happiest I have ever been. I have the most amazing friends and family in my life, who truly support and love me for who I am. I’ve recently started my online training business and undertaken my Certificate 3 and 4 in fitness. I want to be able to inspire others to make a change. I want to help make a difference in the life of others and show them that you can pull yourself out of the darkest places if you decide to make a change and do it for yourself.
I’m not saying it’s easy, because it was damn hard. But I can say that it was the best thing I ever did.
Mental Health is such an unspoken issue in the world and we need to know that it is ok to not be ok. We need to know that there are ways to change how we are feeling. Life is precious and your mindset is precious.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kirsten Aisbett of Victoria, Australia. You can follow her journey on her Instagram.
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