Why, what and when…

I used to see a personal trainer every week.

It was when we lived in Sydney and when I was working full time and could afford to outsource the responsibility for things like that. He was a lovely guy and we had a deal – I’d promise to show up every week if he promised not to make me run or jump on or off anything. Oh, and he had to mix it up.

On the whole, the arrangement was working…sort of. He was keeping his side of the bargain, and I was keeping mine. The problem was, we’d been training together for about 18 months and my weight had gone up not down. He was trying to get to the bottom of why.

‘Because I eat too much, drink too much and don’t move enough,’ I replied.

‘But you know what you have to do – I can’t physically stop you from eating.’ He paused for breath before continuing, ‘I don’t understand it. You know what to eat – you know more about nutrition than most dieticians I know. You know how hard you need to train. You say you want to lose weight, so why don’t you?’

How could I tell him it wasn’t as simple as just eating what I knew that I should or training as I knew that I should? It wasn’t that simple. What we hadn’t addressed was what was holding me back, what could motivate me to move forward – we hadn’t talked about what was going on in my head.

‘OK, it’s time to get serious.  I think we need to discuss your goals,’ he said, waiting for my response. When none was forthcoming he continued: ‘What are your goals?’ Goal – the ultimate 4 letter word. Like commitment…that should be a 4 letter word too. As should discipline.

‘To lose weight,’ I reply. Duh. Like I would be down here submitting myself to this pain if I didn’t want that?

‘How much?’ he asked.

‘Ummm, 20 kgs sounds like a nice round number.’ (As an aside, I now need to lose about 30kgs, but for the sake of the story, let’s park that number.)

‘By when?’

‘Ummm, I don’t really have anything to look forward to, like a holiday, so how do I choose a by when time?’

He raised his eyebrows at me.

‘Ok, let’s come at this from another angle. We need to find your “why”. So that when things get tough you can remind yourself why you’re doing this.’ I still looked blankly at him. ‘What does 20kgs mean to you?’

I was long past enjoying this conversation. ‘It means that I can buy nice clothes again.’ What did he think it would mean?

‘Is that all?’

‘No, I want to look good in jeans, I want to feel better about myself and I don’t want my feet to hurt when I wear heels.’

‘Why do you wear shoes that hurt?’

‘They don’t when I am sitting down, but the heavier I get, the more weight ends up on the ball of my foot, so it hurts,’ I reply. (Again to interject, these days I don’t even attempt to squeeze my feet into an enclosed space. It’s now all about the flip-flops.)

What I couldn’t tell him were the real reasons. These reasons are still valid:

I want to feel sexy again. Whilst I am very married, it would still be nice to attract a little attention – it’s energising.

I want to buy nice lingerie – I want panties, not works of engineering. I want swimmers that don’t require extra support and I want my clothes to take up less room in my suitcase and not look like a parachute when I’m trying to dry them on a hotel room drying line.

I want to be able to bend over without my tummy getting in the way and I want to be able to sit on the floor again without requiring support to get back up. I want to be able to get in and out of a chair without making groaning noises. I don’t want to feel as if the weight of my boobs is dragging my face down to join them. I want to be able to paint my own toenails.

I didn’t tell him any of this.

‘You’re the one that needs to set your own goals. You have to plan for your own success – that means setting a realistic time-based target for sensible weight loss.’

Whoa! Now we are sounding way too much like work. He also used two words in the same breath that I have issues with – “realistic” and “sensible”…I’m a Pisces for God’s sake. What is this – a freaking project plan, complete with milestones and dependencies? Apparently so.  I have no problems running full-scale projects at work, and I have no problems setting work based goals and targets. I know the theory inside out, so why should this be any different? It isn’t very different at all, and yet it is very different. Same same but different.

That conversation was 6 years – and another 15 kgs – ago.

My target now is to lose 30kgs, but my why remains the same – although the priorities have changed a tad:


  • To help manage my back and joint pain
  • To be able to paint my own toenails
  • To reduce my blood pressure
  • To stop my ankles from swelling in the Queensland humidity and on long-haul flights
  • To wear the brands that I love – the ones that don’t go past a size 14 – without sacrificing internal organs
  • To walk up a mountain (or a tall hill) under my own steam and still have the energy to appreciate the view
  • To bring my sexy back
  • To fit comfortably into a Jetstar seat – and yes, I’m aware that comfortable and Jetstar aren’t two words that normally go together.


My ultimate target is to release 30kgs. Let them all go out into the wild and settle around the belly of some other poor unsuspecting soul. I don’t need them anymore. Having said that, I am wary of setting such a goal – not because I think I can’t do it…on the contrary I have to believe that I will. More that I don’t really want a fan-fare type of finish date. Why not? Because I’m great at starting things but have a problem with endings – it’s the vacuum they leave. Once the end is in sight and business as usual sets in…well, that’s when I run into trouble. After all, this needs to be a plan for life, not just for 30kgs.

For health reasons though, a more appropriate target is around waist measurement – I need to get it below 80cms. Trust me, that’s quite a reduction.

I know myself well enough to know that my short-term targets will be more important than my longer-term ones. Having said that, I’m not going out any further than 3 months…for now.

Month 1: End date Sunday 21 July 2018

Weight loss: 5kgs

Month 2: End date Sunday 19 August 2018

Total Weight loss: 10kgs

Month 3: End date Sunday 14 October 2018

Total weight loss: 15kgs