Saturday, July 27, 2013

Character Strengths

VIA Survey of Character Strengths

While at TBLR I was told about a website that allows you to work out your strengths. So I decided to complete it today. Here is the website

The Survey of Character Strengths required me to answer 240 questions. And came up with five strengths for me

It was kinda weird to read about my strengths, because I would see myself as a humble person who generally doesn't like to acknowledge good parts about myself. Like I'm the type of person who has difficulty taking a compliment and I struggle to answer if someone asks me the good parts about myself.

So here is what the website said were my strengths:

Your Top Strength

Kindness and generosity
You are kind and generous to others, and you are never too busy to do a favor. You enjoy doing good deeds for others, even if you do not know them well.

Your Second Strength

Capacity to love and be loved
You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

Your Third Strength

Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.

Your Fourth Strength

You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.

Your Fifth Strength

Humor and playfulness
You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.

Now I need to try to work out how I can use these strengths to help achieve goals...

-- Jackie

The Biggest Loser Retreat

The Biggest Loser Retreat

Mum and I left home on the 7th July not really knowing what to expect from TBLR. When we arrived we were greeted by a very excited Emma at reception :-)
We were given our keys and head up a MASSIVE HILL to our room (forgot to take a picture at the bottom of the hill - but here is our room)
We then head back down to the Dining Room (near reception) and waiting for our orientation.

We were greeted by Mick (RIGHT) one of the trainers for our Orientation. Mick showed us around the grounds and we soon discovered that there were hills EVERYWHERE. After our Orientation we had lunch and then had the afternoon to do our Body Scan and get settled in (unpack etc). We were also Introduced to Duncan (LEFT), another trainer. We were told that either Duncan or Mick will be doing our Body scan that afternoon.

I had my scan first up, so I head to the Spa and waited for my trainer - It was Mick. He had a little chat with me and then I went on the scanner. I was told that we would find out what all the mumbo-jumbo on the sheet means later in the week.

After my body scan I went to the Hanger (what ended up being my FAVOURITE PLACE at TBLR), did a bit of boxing and rowing. After my mum's scan I dragged her down to the Hanger and also showed her a bit of boxing - she seemed to enjoy it. We unpacked and then head down the hill for dinner.

After dinner we had a talk from Sharif - a previous contestant from The Biggest Loser. It was great to hear from him, his weight loss experiences and we were also happy to hear that he would be training us on Thursday :-)
We were also informed that we needed to meet at 'The Meeting Tree' at 6am in the morning for a walk.

Mum and I head back to our room, chat for a bit then went to bed, so we could be up for the walk. It was difficult to go to bed that early, and we were definitely feeling the lack of sleep it the next day.


  • Every day at the retreat started with a 6am walk (two days there was an alternative deep water running session instead). We had breakfast at 7:30 then we had an information talk/workshop from around 8:15. The workshop went for 1-2 hours depending on the content. Followed by morning tea.
  • We then had 2+hours (depending on how long the talk went for) of high intensity activities with the trainers. The group was either broken up into 2 or 3 small groups (depending on the day) for the first part, and then we joined back together for the second part (generally a water activity).
  • After the activity we had lunch. The afternoon consisted of a stretch and then 3 voluntary 'FUN' activities that keep you moving, but you don't really feel like you are exercising e.g. Zumba, Water Polo, Tennis etc.
  • Afternoon tea was left out in the dining room for you to get sometime in the afternoon between activities
  • Some people purchased 'spa' treatments in the afternoon instead of doing the activities.
  • We had dinner at 5:30, chat to the other guests and then went to bed. Some guests put on a movie, or read books.
Thursday was special: We had a training day with Sharif in the morning, which was great! It was crazy that he was able to organise one workout for the entire group! But he did it and it was really rewarding! I even found out that I wanted to buy one of the sit-up helper thingys that he had, cause I was actually able to do situps in his circuit! WHAT EVER YOU DO, DON'T MISS SHARIF'S TRAINING SESSION!


There are a number of things that I think are a MUST at the retreat
  • The Breathing Workshop (it was on Monday afternoon when I was there)
  • The Cooking Demonstration by David (I purchased his book as well, and I've already used it 4 times and I haven't been home 2 weeks yet)
  • The Morning Walks - I know it is hard to get up in the morning, especially when this is your holiday, but it is a great refreshing start to the day
  • At least one 'Fun' activity each day (generally after lunch you may be really tired, but try to do at least one afternoon activity). Things like Water Polo, or Zumba are great fun and you'll be amazed about how many extra calories you will burn
  • Sharif's training session and obviously the training sessions with the other trainers, since that is what you are here for :-)
  • If you have some spare money, get yourself a massage or a facial. Your week/s at TBLR does put a strain on your body, so it is nice to remove some of that extra stress with a nice relaxing rub

Sometimes Bad Things Happen

I'm Hypoglycemic, which means I suffer from Low Blood Sugar. When I found out that we had won a trip to this retreat I said to myself that I wasn't going to leave saying that I didn't put in 110% every day. And unfortunately that bit me in the butt!
We are always told 'Make sure you put in 100%', but the trainers here had a slightly different philosophy, they ask people to work at 60-80%, not 100%. I couldn't tell you how many times Mike said to me 'are you at 80%?' and I'd have to rethink what I was doing and back down my intensity.
While I was at the retreat I had two 'bad' lows and a few more minor ones that I stopped before they got too bad. I used up all energy stores that my body had.

Body Scan: When I got my final body scan I was devastated to see that while I was at the retreat I had actually LOST muscle in my stomach and arms (gained it in my legs, but at the time I didn't want to focus at that). I was a mess - I kept saying to myself, what is the point of being here if I'm going to be worse off then when I got here? I felt like everything I had done in the week was pointless! I felt that they had picked the wrong person to give this prize to, and that I had wasted their time and money. I felt like I had let myself down, my mum down and that I had let the trainers down.
Duncan saw that I was upset and explained to mum and I how the body works when you have a sugar low (My brother is diabetic, so we thought we knew everything).  I found out that my body was eating my muscles as a way of getting sugar when I crashed, as it is easier for it to break down my muscles in that dire situation than to breakdown fat. They also told me that they were really impressed with how I worked this week and that they knew that I had worked my butt off!
At the time, I was a mess (getting a hug from Mick did make a bit better). But now I'm glad that it happened - because I'm able to see how my body works, and what I need to do in the future to ensure that get closer to my goals. I know now that my body can't handle the HIGH intensity training (e.g. Hill Intervals), but it thrives on strength training (weights) and Mid-Low intensity activities. 
I'm looking forward to my next trip to TBLR to see what I can do with this new found knowledge :-)

The Beauty of TBLR

There were a few places that I just LOVED at the retreat. I've said earlier that The Hanger was my favourite place. Here is a shot of the hanger sign with the beautiful Oak next it it (You can actually look at this oak from the Hanger while you are exercising - its great!)

Here is a shot I took of the Oak at night (a bit hard to take without a tripod)

The top pool

We wanted to get photos with each of the trainers, but didn't end up getting them. But we did get a photo of us with Dr. Cris

and us with Vicki  We'll get the other photos next time :-)

All the people at The Biggest Loser Retreat are amazing. From Emma in the office, to Andrew the manager, to the trainers Mick, Duncan, Andrea and Sharif, and Vicki who was great at running the afternoon activities. It is really obvious that they genuinely care about our well-being and want us to achieve our goals.
Thanks Team TBLR for all your help and support while we were there. Looking forward to seeing you again in the future!


Website for the Retreat:

Michelle Bridges 12WBT

Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation

On the 1st May I started the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation (12wbt)

While doing the program I have learnt several things

  • Weight Loss is MAINLY about food: Now I've done Weight Watches, Lite n Easy, Store Purchased Freezer Meals. I've starved myself and taken all that I love out of eating and I've still struggled to lose weight. Or I lose it, and then it comes back on. But the 12WBT program is different. It teaches you how to cook food that you love, food that you can say that you could see yourself eating for the rest of your life. I can't see myself EVER changing my eating habits that I've picked up while on Michelle Bridges (I may increase my calorie intake, but I won't completely change the types of foods I'm eating). Like, I can eat chocolate every day if I want - As long as I factor it in to my daily calories :-)
  • Exercise Is Important, but it is just about MOVING MORE: Now Michelle Bridges has some fabulous exercise routines that she WANTS you to complete, but she also explains that it is better to be 100% with your food and 50% with your exercise then the other way around. So some weeks, I've been able to be 100% exercise and 100% food. Others I've been flat out with work and unable to fit in a major workout - but I've just focused moving more (walk that bit extra at work every day, park further away at the supermarket, if you can't fit in an hour walk of an afternoon, do 20mins)
  • That this is possible: This is the first time I've been on what people call a 'Diet' and felt like I can actually do this! I've seen the weight come off, and it isn't SUPER HARD. I still need to eat right, but I wouldn't say it is difficult - because its more about what you put in your mouth than trying to fit in 3 hours at the gym everyday
I've signed up for Round 3, 2013!
-- Jackie

Jackie's Journey So Far...

This blog is for me to share my experiences of losing weight.
I'm 28 Years Old. I've been a larger person all my life, trying a range of diets, fads and exercise programs. This time something is different. I've been on the Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation and I've also been to The Biggest Loser Retreat in QLD. The combination of these two programs have finally enabled me to see that THIS TIME, my weight loss journey WILL be a success!

At the moment - my theme song is 'This is It' By Dannii Minogue

How I Got Here: Short Version
On the 1st May this year I weighed 117 kg - my heaviest weight so far. 

Two years ago I weighed 90 kg for my wedding. Three months after I got married, I damaged my foot and struggled to walk for 3 months, which means I relied on quick/fast meals because it hurt to stand.
The following 6 months after that it hurt to do any activity for a period of time longer than 5-10 mins (walking, running, aerobics etc), so within 12 months I put on 20 kg. The following 9 months I slowly put on the final 7 kg. 
April this year I went to a Chiropractor, having tried everything else to try to get my foot back to normal. She found that my foot had been slightly out of its socket all this time, and that is why it hurt so much to be on it for an extended period of time (X-Rays, doctor appointments or seeing a physiotherapist didn't pick this up). Over two sessions she put my foot back into it socket (it was quite painful), and I was FINALLY able to complete activity like a normal person. I couldn't believe the vast improvement in my movement in such a short period of time.

After I could walk again, I knew I wanted to get rid of the weight I had put on in the last two years.
A friend of mine had done the first session of Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation for 2013 and recommended that I do it with her for round 2. I signed up and asked my mum to sign up with me.
Mum and I had completed 8 weeks of the 12wbt (more on that later) and she got a surprising email - she had won a trip for the two of us to spend a week at The Biggest Loser Retreat. We were both over the moon!
We spent the 7th-14th July at the Biggest Loser Retreat and it was the BEST experience ever! (more on that later)

Since the 1st of May, I've lost 11.5 kg, which leaves me 15.5 kg to go before I reach my first goal: To return to 90kg and to have a 'Drown the Gown' photo shoot in my wedding dress. That's me on the right --->

My goal after that is to get between 70-75kg or a comfortable size 12.