I started following a super awesome chick called Brooke on Instagram about two years ago and I absolutely LOVE her page Fat Girl Does Stuff and I would like you all to meet her.
She inspires me every day with her determination to be her best self and I reckon everyone should get around her and take a leaf out of her book. Her sheer willpower is what dreams…
I sat down with her to chat about her lifestyle change and her answers will blow you away! What an honest chat! I love it.
Meet Brooke – Her insta profile says “F45er, Slow Runner, Op Mover, Crap Housewife, Really Excellent Rapper, Losing Weight ’N” Lifting”
Tell us a little about your story growing up…
I was always tall and little bigger than the other girls at school but I didn’t really consider myself overweight. I was bullied but not for being overweight, I was bullied because I have different, I was outspoken and then because I had epilepsy and had several seizures in front of people, so that seemed like a nice way for them to bring me down.
It wasn’t until I started being treated for my epilepsy at about 16/17 that I really started to stack on the kilos. The medication that I was on caused me to eat, and to eat everything!!! Within my year 12 year, I had put on about 15 kilos sitting me around the 90 kilo mark for the first time ever and it wasn’t until I realised that I couldn’t really buy the same nice clothes as my friends any more, or that the costume lady for the school play had to “make” me something special that I realised I was actually just fat.
Any pivotal moments that may have impacted you emotionally?
I had a life that was full of lots of amazing things, a mother who is beyond words and a brother who I can honestly say is one of my best friends, but my life also had lots of sadness. I lost my Dad to cancer as a child, My Mum remarried a great guy only to have him diagnosed with MS and struggle to maintain his life, my own epilepsy, the deaths of several family members who I was very close to helped overlay my life with a general tinge of sadness.
I had friends, but I also had lots of people who hated the loud, mouthy girl who refused to apologise for being herself (that would happen much later). My friends from then are still my friends now which is amazing and something I am especially proud of. Uni life… As I left high school and entered uni, that’s when I really struggled with my eating and my drinking. I was in a constant cycle of eating everything, starve for days and drinking my weight time and again in uni beer. I didn’t develop any good habits and my attitude towards food was awful. I left uni hitting almost 120kgs in 2005.
Tell us about the moment you changed your life & mindset…
2015/2016 was really the year that changed things for me, but I can trace it back to basically restarting my life at the end of 2013. I came out of a very long-term relationship and was happy about it and all set to live the single girl life for a while! Obviously, the universe had other plans, about 3 months into my single girl journey I met the man who would become my husband and he literally stopped me in my tracks. Within 6 months we were engaged and for the first time in a long time, I was happy! But… I was still fat, in fact, I was fatter than I ever was, around the time we got engaged I was close to 160kgs.
May 2015 was the real start to this whole getting fit thing! I went on school camp with my grade 6 kids who I adored. I loved this level of kids, they were funny, smart, engaging and just all round amazing humans. The camp they go to has a series of challenges, including some that require a harness to be worn to do them. These are all relatively hard and the kids always want the teachers to try them out… I wanted to, I so desperately wanted to make these kids happy and proud of me. I asked the guy the weight limit, in the nicest way he could he basically said no, not a chance I would fit, I wouldn’t even be able to get into the harness, let alone do the activities. I was so broken, so sad and so defeated… so of course, I ate my weight in camp pasta and tried to push through… In June of that year I attended my brother’s wedding and was pushing 170kgs plus, I was uncomfortable, I felt awful. Midway through June I woke up one morning to get ready for work and when I was in the shower I coughed, I ruptured a disc in my lower back, I ended up in hospital, I needed almost 2 weeks off work, I was on crutches for it… the cause…. weight overload on my back.
Enough was enough.
July 2015 I started, as soon as my back was healed I went one day and sat on an exercise bike for 15 mins then went home, the next day I did 20 mins and before I knew it I was doing an hour. So that’s how it started just a fat girl on a bike!
How have you done it?
This journey has definitely been the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve sacrificed nights out and lots of time to try and get myself to a place where I can be fit, healthy and happy. 80% of the time I love it, I love the success I feel when I manage to do something I’ve never done before, I love the challenge of trying to beat my times and fit in more reps or higher weights.
I started my following a ketogenic diet restricting to under 10 grams of carbs a day and gradually cut out some of the stuff in my life that I love but that is not going to help me achieve my goals… carbonara pasta I mean you!
When I started running in Nov 2016 I relaxed on the low carb a little and went for a more balanced macros counting approach but I’m no dietician, I just do what I feel my body needs and be careful about how much of something I eat or drink. I switched to low-calorie wine which is a blessing in itself, and I still have occasional cheat meals and days but I try and balance it out with the exercise part which I love.
I always try and aim for a 1500 calorie differential in a day, so if I eat 1500 calories then I need to burn 3000. That’s the ideal when everything is going great and I’ve meal prepped and found the time to do my big workouts or long runs.
Bad days how do you motivate yourself? Do you train rain, hail or shine?
I was diagnosed in 2013 with severe depression and an anxiety disorder which don’t rule my life but that contributes to some of my bad days. Those days are complex, sometimes they are a write-off and I can not do anything. I can barely get out of bed, on the plus side they also make me sleepy and not want to eat
However, it has become interesting to start to see a distinction between a bad mental health day and just a regular bad day. On those days, the ones where I worked late and rushed to get home, or I left my lunch at home, or I forgot to take my headphones to the gym, I have had to force myself to push through. I started my Instagram @fatgirldoesstuff to help keep me accountable and make sure that when a day was simply a low motivation day, the people I saw kicking goals on there would help inspire me and they certainly do!!
How’d you come up with your social media name?
Haha, my name @fatgirldoesstuff gets me into so much trouble!!!! It originated from a discussion I had with a girl from work not long after I started going to the gym. She was a bigger girl herself and I was saying how I had gotten up early that morning to go to the gym because I knew we had a work even on that night and I wouldn’t make it. I mentioned something about how I deserved special recognition for that because when you’re fat stuff is harder, and that when you’re fatter you should get credit for just doing stuff! When I started following some people on Insta I was struck by how many fitspo people looked like bloody models and here I was just a 170kg chick on a bike, hence @fatgirldoesstuff
Many people have asked me if when I get to a certain weight I will change it, probably not, because of one day if I’m not fat I’ll still be phat!! I also want to try and remind people that fat is something we have NOT who we are!
I share lots about my journey, I share my post workout selfies, I share the good runs and the bad runs, I share my successes and my failures and the good days and the crap days. I don’t sugar coat anything. I share memes that would indicate I want the booty of a rap stars girlfriend (accurate) and that I sometimes cry at a how much I miss bread (also true) but mostly I share my journey, my story and hope that one day someone who sees thousands of insta fit models and is intimidated, sees me, the fat chick on the bike and realises that it’s never too late to get out there and reclaim your health and your life.Follow Brooke @fatgirldoesstuff