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15 February 2021
Confronting fears and making changes, one step at a time
Words Robyn Lorimer
It took an overseas trip, knee surgery and losing a close friend to cancer that made me realise I needed to change the way I was living. My health – mental and physical – was at a point where I just didn’t like who I was anymore.
I didn’t like photos being taken, knee pain made walking any distance nearly impossible, and things I had always enjoyed had now become difficult. I felt a complete failure in so many areas of my life.
When I came home from a trip overseas, where I really had struggled, I decided enough was enough. I had already been booked for some knee surgery, and now was the time to make a change.
Only a few years ago I had lost a close friend to aggressive brain cancer, and it really shocked me that life could be taken so quickly. So, with her in mind, I put a challenge out to a group of friends – I needed to make changes in my life and would they help me? There wasn’t anything we could have done to save our friend, but we could do something to get fit and healthy and live our lives to the full.
I had my surgery and part of the recovery was to lose weight. For years I had struggled with my weight, and it was a key part of my life where I wanted to regain control. I began attending a weight-management clinic and my journey started with a proper eating plan and exercise.
This was all very positive, but the problem I kept facing was confidence. If you don’t have confidence or faith in yourself to make the change, then the change won’t happen. If you don’t believe that you can do this, then you won’t. For such a long time I had struggled with my self-worth and ability to change the way I felt about myself, that I had already failed even before I started.
So, I started with small weight-loss goals and minimal exercise. Weekly check-ins with my nurse allowed me to see weight change starting to happen. I didn’t refer to it being a diet, but a change in eating habits.
Support from family and friends was life-changing. Two of my girlfriends joined this journey with me and together we supported each other with food hints, encouraging thoughts and sharing our successes and failures. Between the three of us, we have now lost over 70 kilos.
Then COVID-19 happened and everything changed. Work and church were now from home, and my check-ins with my nurse were online. I feared falling back into bad habits without that face-to-face accountability.
The pandemic did, though, get me into a rhythm of walking. On Sundays, I walked while listening to our online church service. In the past I had tried to avoid walking, but now it was something I looked forward to. My knees were getting stronger and I was losing weight – added incentives to keep going.
In May last year, I decided to walk the 8km Mother’s Day Classic for breast cancer. I’d never done this challenge before, not having had the confidence to achieve it. Again, though, I knew that change had to happen; I had to stop telling myself that I couldn’t do things and believe that I could. I walked more than the 8kms and it gave my confidence such a boost. I was inspired to try new things and push my limits further. I felt I’d been given a new lease of life.
So, after 18 months, I’ve lost nearly 30 kilos. This will be an ongoing journey, a work in progress, but that’s okay. I’m so close to my goal that I just want to keep going.
I have found a new sense of freedom and happiness. I realised that this change in me couldn’t just be physical; I needed to learn to like myself again and to embrace the wonderful life that God has given me. I’m learning not to let fear change me or stop me from living my life the very best way I can, and it is my hope that just this small snippet of my journey may encourage others to make that change. It’s so worth it!
Captain Robyn Lorimer is National Coordinator for the Salvos' Positive Lifestyle Program.