"So many people have told me that I inspired them to begin their path to a healthier life."
I wasn't overweight as a child. In fact, I was quite healthy. I played sports and was good at both Australian football and squash. I didn't really start to put on weight until my brother died in a car accident in 1994. I was the one who broke the news to my parents, and while I knew I had to be strong for them, I didn't deal very well with my own feelings. I turned to food for comfort and stopped exercising. I just ate more and more.
I knew that being overweight made me very unhealthy. I have no doubt that I would have had major health problems within five years. In fact, it's entirely possible that I would have been dead within ten years had I not made a change.
Choosing to Change
My decision to do something about my weight was purely a result of watching Jillian on the American version of The Biggest Loser. There was something about her that made me want to try out for the show. I guess it was the way the show portrayed her — as a tough-as-nails drill sergeant who wouldn't quit on you until you reached your goal. I knew I needed that. So I applied for the Australian version of the show — I didn't really think I would make it, but I did!
New Body, New Life
Before being on the show and meeting Jillian, my fitness routine was nonexistent. Basically, I didn't exercise at all. Despite this, I found it really easy to stick to the program Jillian created for me. Once you get the hang of it, it's so simple. Now I get annoyed if I miss out on my training, even for one day. And I can physically handle almost anything. I take karate five or six days a week and do weight sessions in the gym, and I'm so much more social.
I've even completed my accreditation to become a personal trainer myself, so that I can pass on what I've learned to others. So many people have told me that I inspired them to begin their path to a healthier life. This makes me want to reach out to even more people!
I've also completely changed the way I look at food. I used to eat a lot of takeout, but now I prepare most of my own meals, which consist primarily of lean meat and vegetables. That isn't to say that I don't have the occasional treat, like chocolate or a piece of cake. Now I just eat those things in moderation.
Now that I've lost 126 pounds,* I have the energy to do anything I want. I love being able to buy clothes off the rack. I love having more confidence in myself than I've had for a long time. I love everything about the new me.
People often ask about my experience on the show with Jillian. I always tell them, "Jillian is truly one of the most beautiful people that I have ever met. Sometimes you meet someone and you just click. That's what it was like."
Shane's Words of Wisdom
Advice for Every Day: People just don't believe in themselves as much as they should. Most people look for someone else to believe in them first, before they take action to achieve their goals. I've found that it works the other way around. Once you take action, you're suddenly surrounded by people who support and believe in you.
Advice for the Long Haul: I think it's very important to keep an open mind about weight loss and to try different things until you find something that works for you. For me, that meant finding something I could sustain for the rest of my life. In fact, the most revolutionary thing I learned was that I could eat all the foods I love, as long as I ate them in moderation and as part of a balanced diet and a regular exercise program.
Take Your Show on the Road: I always find ways to exercise when I'm away from home. This might mean walking instead of taking a cab, going for a quick run, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or playing football with my friends. And at restaurants, I always find a way to order a healthy meal. Many people are afraid to ask for sauce on the side or steamed veggies instead of fries, but it never hurts to ask. I figure, if I'm paying for my food, they should prepare it to how I want it.
Write It Down: When I started the program, I wrote down all the things that I wanted to achieve in life. This made me realize something: The odds of getting any of those things done were really slim unless I made some pretty drastic life changes. I keep that list in front of me every day. I've achieved some of the goals, but I've added a lot more.
Favorite Compliment: I think the most meaningful compliment was given by a friend who actually walked right past me in the street without recognizing me! She said that I had changed so much it was like looking at a completely new person.
*Weight loss varies by individual. You may not achieve similar results.