Kass Fraser is our June 2015 BodyBlitz winner. Here, she shares her amazing weight loss story.

I first saw the BodyBlitz challenge while flicking through WH&F magazine in my doctor’s waiting room, awaiting my post-operative review and clearance. I had just had another surgery, my seventh reconstructive surgery to my lower organs in four years following life-threatening complications sustained with the delivery of my two children. I had an overwhelming thought of ‘I’m going to do that, that’s me’.

In 2010, at 139.8 kg four months after the delivery of my first child, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Having always been physically active prior to pregnancy, my inability to move independently affected my health in all areas of my life and my self-esteem suffered considerably. Finally I was given clearance from my doctor and my physio and I signed up to the challenge. I never anticipated how much this decision would affect my mindset. Being able to say I was challenging and training myself instead of going to rehab changed my life dramatically. I felt like I pushed so much harder in the gym, knowing I was training for life instead of more surgery.

The biggest thing I have learned on this challenge is that we are all on our own paths and the only person who needs to understand why I’m doing this is me. There is nothing that will beat the feeling I had when I put my bikini on for my photos and how I felt in it, knowing that this isn’t the last day of my challenge, but the first day of the rest of my life; this is me and for the first time in my life, I actually feel proud to be me.

On overcoming challenges:
I experienced overwhelming guilt for taking the time I needed each day to train, having to put the kids in crèche, training around the clock, close to three hours a day, and it took me until around week six to manage this better. I learned that I am actually a better mum for taking this time to improve my health, ensuring I’m a healthy mummy who can enjoy my children, and it turns out I have a lot more patience after training!

Before I started, I went to the local library and got as many WH&F magazines as I could find to see what other people had done on their challenges. I joined a heap of bodybuilding forums online and researched everything there is to know about lifting weights. The first few weeks were slow and the learning curve was pretty steep. I had to tweak a lot of the lifting techniques to make them pelvic-floor safe. I had to keep my physio happy by meeting my rehabilitation requirements, but also allowing myself to meet some personal strength gains too.

On workout motivation:
It sounds funny, but the muscle soreness was one of my big motivators! (Weirdo, I know.) Having been very sick for a very long time and unable to walk and move independently following my surgeries for extended rehab periods, I know how it feels to have this freedom taken away. To know exactly what my body had done in each training session to create the muscle fatigue and soreness I was experiencing during the challenge was so liberating.

I was definitely aesthetically driven too. I’d been ‘rehabbing’ for so long and exercising most days yet to look at me you’d assume I had a fast food addiction, which was definitely not the case! I wanted the outside to reflect how hard I’ve worked to regain my health internally.