As you may know, we’re pretty inspired by the stories our Fohette's tell us, especially what challenges they have overcome to achieve their goals. So when we met our newest Fohette on the social multisport scene we were so excited to find out more. Meet Alissa Huie, who not only loves to document her amazing weight loss journey via @hellohappyproject on Instagram, but also loves exploring a whole new mindset to overcome her daily challenges. She shares with us her experiences and endeavours by being a brick in the wall of weight loss change. Alissa has been on a life changing journey and has encountered many ups and downs in conquering her weight loss and now fitness goals. We are so proud to have her as a part of the Fohette family as she prepares to participate in her first ever triathlon. We know you will love her story.... so without further a due..
1. You represented QLD in netball & swimming, how long ago was that? Did you always enjoy sport?
I grew up in a very active family in a coastal Queensland town so being healthy and active was what I knew and just part of our lifestyle. My older siblings were big role models for me and their involvement in representative swimming inspired me to follow suit. I won my first medal in a swimming carnival at age six.
Throughout my school years I played sport at every chance I could get. Netball, softball, rowing, athletics, you name it, I played it. I represented Queensland at netball and swimming in high school, which were great opportunities, however I chose not to pursue them further in order to focus on my studies in my senior year at high school.
2. What was it that you feel led to your weight gain?
In my final semester of high school, I fell ill with a particularly nasty strain of Epstein-Bar Virus. I had almost 2 months bed rest. By the time I started University, I was told I had developed a mild form of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Uni life for me was different to my peers who were living life to the max. I was exhausted and sick a lot, and spent most of my time at home.
Even though I had a very inactive lifestyle, I continued to eat like the active person I had been. I gained a massive amount of weight in a relatively short time. Apart from overeating and not exercising, I also let a lot of smaller unhealthy lifestyle habits creep into my daily life, which caused my weight to keep climbing for years to come.
3. What made you want to make changes?
They say happiness lies first of all, in health. I felt completely out of control of my health and life. I was approaching 30, morbidly obese weighing 128kg, and unhappy. My family and friends were also extremely concerned about me. I knew I wanted to change, however I didn’t know how. I think only those who have been morbidly obese know just how difficult it can be to just start.
I had come across a documentary exploring the links between happiness and weight loss and became really interested in positive psychology. I jumped on Google to learn more, which led to making the decision to see a psychologist to work on my mindset and gain the ‘tools’ to help get me started. In just over a year, I was able to gain the confidence and belief that I could actually change my life.
4. How did you get started on your weight loss journey?
Despite wanting to improve my health, I was uncertain of exactly how I would do it. My knowledge of good nutrition was limited and I hadn’t exercised properly in over 10 years. My fitness levels were so poor that I would get out of breath just from bending down to tie my shoe lace.
A friend had told me about her weight loss success with a program called the 12 Week Body Transformation, so I took a punt and signed up. What I discovered was that the program was about getting fit, not just losing weight, and so its members comprised of women of all sizes and fitness levels. We all had the same mission - to become fit and healthy - and we supported each other through the online forum. It was the first program I had found where I was proud, not embarrassed, to tell people about.
As with starting anything new, the first 4 weeks were the toughest, mentally and physically. It was hard not to focus on the massive journey ahead which could be very overwhelming. I had to remind myself every day to put one foot in front of the other, literally. It was surprising just how quickly I started noticing changes in both how I was feeling and on the scales. I lost over 15kg in the 12 weeks, which gave me the motivation to keep going. I have now lost over 46kg over a two-year period.
5. What is your weight loss goal?
When I started on my weight loss journey, my only goal was to reach my ‘healthy weight range’ however about 6 months ago, I noticed my mindset had shifted.
My fitness had improved a lot and I realised I was actually capable of aiming for some more challenging fitness goals, rather than purely weight loss ones. I found I had already started to reorient my mindset - talking about ‘nutrition’ rather than ‘dieting’ and ‘training’ rather than ‘exercise’ to be able to perform better in the sport and fitness activities I wanted to pursue. Getting to my optimal ‘fighting weight’ is still about another 15-20kg away, but it’s not my primary focus.
6. What motivates you?
For a long time I was motivated by fear – the fear of what would happen if I remained overweight, the fear of slipping back into old habits. Now, as cliché as it sounds, I’m motivated by wanting to be the fittest, healthiest and happiest version of myself and excited to know where I will be in 5 years’ time.
7. How do you stay strong on a daily basis?
I really believe in the saying that ‘motivation gets you started, but habit keeps you going’. For me, routine and healthy habits that are now a lifestyle, play a big part in me keeping strong and on track towards my goals each day. As simple as it sounds, planning and preparation can carry you through the more challenging days and times when motivation is low.
Having a ‘support crew’ - my Instagram friends, training buddies, and gym staff has also helped. My personal trainer, Carly Stuart, who I started seeing after a year into my journey, has been my biggest support - it helps to have someone who really ‘gets’ your goals, knows your strengths and weaknesses and backs you 100%.
Most of all, I think staying positive is really important –have fun, enjoy what you’re doing and laugh a lot!
8. Who inspires you?
I get most of my inspiration from the fitness and health community that exists on Instagram. Every day I see a photo or read a comment that inspires me. Usually, it’s just an everyday person working on improving their health and fitness, from someone taking their very first steps to lose weight, to someone preparing to do their first Ironman.
9. How did posting images on Instagram help you?
I started “@HelloHappyProject” in April 2013 as a way to document my ‘project’ to become fitter, healthier and happier. I mainly intended to post my food and workouts as a way to keep myself accountable – ‘if I didn’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen’. I really didn’t think anyone would be interested in looking at my posts.
It wasn’t long before I learnt what an incredible supportive community existed. There are so many Instagramers, living around the world and even in my own neighbourhood, with similar goals to connect with. Some I have met up with for workouts or a protein shake ‘date’, but mostly it’s the day-to-day check in, an acknowledging ‘like’ of a photo or an encouraging comment. It really is like an extended family.
10. What made you keen to complete a triathlon?
Towards the end of 2014, I felt like I needed a fitness challenge for the New Year. I was tossing up between taking up boxing or competing in a triathlon. In the end, my swimming background, the possibility to train in a group setting, and desire to keep my teeth intact, made me choose triathlon.
11. How did you start to train for it?
My Personal Trainer suggested that I enter an enticer event early in 2015 with a number of other girls looking to give it a go. To prepare, I started to increase my cardio, doing additional RPM cycle sessions, hill run sessions and I also ventured back into the pool for the first time in 13 years.
I’m now doing 1-2 swim sessions, 1-2 RPM sessions, high intensity cardio session, a group fitness class, and a strength session with my Personal Trainer each week. I’m also playing touch football once a week to mix things up. I have also started to research information about triathlons - from what a transition involves through to pre-race nutrition – it’s a whole new world!
12. When things get tough, how do you pick yourself back up again?
There have certainly been some challenging times over the past couple of years when life has thrown a curveball. I think you have to be real with yourself - remind yourself of why you started, go back to first principles if you have to, get advice, seek support, but most of all get back on the horse.
13. What is your favourite quote?
It is more of a mantra, than a quote, and that is “JFDI” (or Just F**cking Do It!). I think it’s easy to over analyse things when really you just have to get on with the job.
14. What advice would you give to other women?
I think it is really important that women support each other, especially when it comes to health and fitness, either online or on the sports field. I definitely believe in a little healthy competition, but supporting each other is a win-win outcome. It certainly has been one of the critical success factors and one of the most rewarding aspects of my own journey.
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Grab your tape measure, make sure it is held flat, not twisted and always make sure that it is held firmly, not cutting in or squashing the area you are measuring. Please take the measurements below and compare them to the size chart to find the size that is right for you.
Taking your measurements whilst naked will give you your exact measurements, but if you intend wearing a garment (like a sports bra under your trikit), then take your measurements with those garments on.
CHEST/BUST – Place tape measure around the fullest and widest part of your bust (usually the part with the nipples!) Be careful not to let the tape measure slip down at the back, or squash you.
WAIST – Place tape measure between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bones (the easiest way to find your waist is to stand in front of front of a mirror and suck your tummy in hard - you should see it!). It's also usually the narrowest part of your natural waistline.
HIP – Place the measuring tape around the fullest, widest part, usually over your bottom or at the top of your thighs between your hips and thighs.
HEIGHT – In bare feet, stand against a wall and mark the point perpendicular to the top of your head. Measure up to this point from the floor.
These measurements do not include ease, which is the amount of extra space allowed in a garment for comfort and movement. The amount of ease added can greatly differ depending on the fit of the garment.
Still not sure about what size you could be? Our two product models are good examples.
Amanda is wearing the 2P trisuits and is a Small. Amanda is 177cm tall, Bust 85cm, Waist 70cm, Hips 89cm
Katie is wearing all of our other products in an XS. Katie is 156cm tall, Bust 80cm, Waist 68cm, Hips 91cm.