How the ‘fat dress’ broke my 6 litre-day Cola habit
OVER the last three years Tracy Wood has been to hell and back.
Her husband was injured in a workplace accident and the couple almost lost their Lismore home.
Stress often led the mother-of-five in the wrong direction, to the solace of her comfort foods.
She would down 6L of Coke per day, or eat an entire packet of Tim Tams as a snack after work.
Tipping the scales at 156kg, the public health administrator was Size 24 when she finally snapped.
"I bought a dress for a wedding and two weeks later my daughter said 'why don't you go and try it on?'.
"I put it on, and you know what? It didn't fit any more.
"I was gutted, and I realised, 'I am actually fat'.
Ms Wood dragged herself to an open day at Snap Fitness, Lismore, where she hyperventilated from nervousness in the car before walking in.
"I was literally sick in the stomach," she said.
"I was dry retching.
"I was worried others were going to judge me.
"Louise (a personal trainer) greeted me at the door with a big smile and said: 'Hi, do you need my help?"
"I'll never forget it.
"If I didn't have that positivity from someone on that first day I wouldn't have joined, I would have walked out the door and said 'nope, I can't do this'."
Ms Wood now prepares healthy meals a week in advance, has swapped Coke for water, and trains twice a day on weekdays.
She's assisted by James Smedley, a 28-year-old personal trainer who she describes as a "godsend" and "accidental counsellor".
"When I first started training I used to cry, and it was because I was an emotional eater and I didn't have the food to comfort me any more," Ms Wood said.
"Being fat is easy.
"You don't have to think."
For motivation, in May this year Ms Wood started a 20 week program in the hopes of entering into a physique modelling competition.
When the competition was cancelled, Ms Wood's nutrition coach Kev Fricke suggested a photoshoot as a goal instead.
The photos were published this week and have gone viral, leaving Ms Wood shocked.
"One lady sent me a (Facebook) Friend request, and said that I inspired her to begin her journey, and that blew me away," Ms Wood said.
"Last night my grandson got teary, 'everyone is talking about you,' he said.
"He was that excited for me."
Ms Wood urged people "get real" about their weight.
"When I see people walk into the gym now and they're overweight they probably look at me and think I'm judging them, but I'm not.
"We all have our stories.
"Reality is I let my body go and I got massive.
"Be honest and accept that."