In September 2012 I walked into the Brookvale Vision Personal training studio for the first time. I knew it was time I made changes as I was unhappy with my body image and fitness. I was nervous, but I needed to lose weight and make changes with my eating habits and fitness. When I arrived, I was welcomed as though I was visiting someone's home and I immediately started to feel more comfortable. The studio itself was not overwhelming and everyone seemed relaxed and friendly. I met Ivan Valcarcel who is one of the excellent Personal trainers at Brookvale Vision. Ivan went through an introductory consult and then became my personal trainer. With support from Ivan and all the team at Brookvale Vision I began a journey that has changed my life for the better, beyond anything I could have possibly imagined. On that first visit Ivan asked me about myself and gathered information including measurements and photos so that we had something to refer back to and see my progress. I remember asking Ivan if I was too old to lose weight and if it was possible to lose the "muffin top" around my waist. He reassured me and said "eat well and move" to achieve your goal. We set the first 9 week goal and so it began. I was determined and did my food diary and came to all my sessions. I got results in my first week with weight loss, which astounded me and encouraged me to be disciplined leading to weight loss every week that followed. During one of my sessions Ivan asked what I thought about running. My answer was " I'm not built to run." Ivan suggested we give it a try and I started with short sessions on the treadmill. This lead to an entry into my first Sun Run in January 2013. This became the first of many fun runs including six half marathons so far. After the initial 9 weeks I chose to continue on with a further 9 weeks resulting in additional weight loss. From September 2012 through to January 2013 I lost approx. 16kg. I knew that I had found a place where I not only felt supported to achieve health, fitness and wellbeing but also a place I felt totally at home and surrounded by a community of people who come alongside you in life through the ups and downs. I have now been a member of the Brookvale Vision community for 5 years and through that time my weight has fluctuated between 60kg and 68kg. I have missed no more than 5 sessions in 5 years and have found being accountable as a key factor in stopping my weight from climbing up further. I have recently lost about 6kg bringing my weight to 62kg, back into the healthy weight range again. It's not always easy to stay on track and certainly not fun getting on those scales each week seeing an increase. However, I know it made me face the truth and eventually I found the mental strength to push those numbers down again on the scales. The best I ever feel is when I am in the healthy weight range for me. Being in the healthy zone gives me more energy, contentment and resilience than any other time. Recently I have been able to harness the danger zone eating periods and danger foods and use mental strategies to avoid comfort eating. I have finally realized as much as comfort eating helps in the immediate, being in control of my weight makes me feel strong and confident and better equipped for dealing with those really challenging times. I consider myself a life member with Vision now and feel that the investment in my health is far more valuable than any other investment I could make in my life.