THIS week is Women’s Health Week, dedicated to helping women across Australia make good health a priority.
The two biggest barriers for women not maintaining a healthy lifestyle is “lack of time” and “health not being a priority”. Women’s Health Week is the time to put ourselves first and start making positive changes that can last a lifetime.
We know women are leading busier lives than ever before and we have a tendency to let ourselves slip low on our priority lists. However, the health of those we love starts with us. By investing more time in ourselves, we are better able to look after the ones we love and care about.
As a busy mum of three children, Derwent Valley resident Susan Nation’s health needs had not been a priority for some time. She had become accustomed to being a “big mum” and having difficulty buying any clothes that fitted her, let alone clothes that she genuinely liked.
Susan’s weigh gain and her lack of motivation to shift the increasing weight began to affect her mental and emotional health and her self-worth was plummeting. She felt dreadful.
Susan hit rock bottom while on a family holiday in January last year. She was not able to participate in activities with her family. Her legs simply wouldn’t work and she didn’t recognise the person she had become. That was the moment that she knew she needed to make some changes. She realised how much she was missing out on.
She knew she needed someone to support her, and her loving partner Rod became that person. Rod had been picking up the slack in the family due to Susan being unable to do many things at home and he recognised that the family needed Susan to be well — physically, mentally and emotionally.
Together, Susan and Rod started walking — initially just as far as the letterbox, as that’s all Susan could manage. Then it was to the end of the street. Then around the block. Then around two blocks, increasing the distance each time they walked.
There were tears of frustration and pain. Her legs ached. She questioned over and over how she had let this happen to her. She felt guilty and ashamed. But with Rod’s help and having the support of her kids and the rest of her family, she got fitter and stronger and the weight started to shift.
Eighteen months on, with lots of kilometres under her belt and 120kg lighter, Susan started participating in some exercise of a higher intensity in conjunction with her walks. She didn’t know if she would be able to get through a minute of a class let alone a full class. She started with one class a week and over a three month time period, increased her frequency to three or four classes per week. Each class she does a little bit better than the last.
Twelve months ago Susan couldn’t even bend her knees — now in these classes she celebrates that she can get on the floor and get back up again. For the first time in her life, Susan feels proud of herself. She can sit on the floor with her son to play together. Seeing him with a huge grin on his face while they are playing warms her heart.
Since losing the weight, she is much more confident, healthier and her selfconfidence has increased. Her depression and anxiety has decreased and she can choose clothes from regular shops. She is more active with her kids and is an amazing role model for them. Susan still has weak moments but these moments no longer send her into a downward spiral like they did in the past. She lets them pass and moves on to the next day.
Susan made her health her priority. She knew that she needed to do it for the ones that she loves. She invested time in herself so that she can look after the ones she loves and cares about. She is truly an inspirational women.
“We only get one life and for me I nearly lost my chance at life,” Susan says.
“So never give up, give it all you’ve got. You will not look back once you take that first step.”
A FUNDRAISING dance night to support the Chilcott family, whose daughter Janelle has been fighting cancer for 10 years, will be held on Friday night from 7pm. Entry is by donation and attendees are asked to bring a plate of food to share and their own drinks. The fundraiser will be held at Freedom Health & Wellness, 99 Ring Rd, New Norfolk. For more information call Stacey on 0417 464 476.