As I pulled into the KFC drive-through, I peeked over my shoulder to see if I recognised anyone in the car behind me.
"A family bucket please," I said to the attendant.
Moments later, I drove off, the aroma of greasy goodies making my mouth water.
I pulled over at the nearest side road, grabbed the box and tore into a crispy chicken strip. With each mouthful, the stress of the day melted away.
When the family-sized feast was finished, I was riddled with guilt.
"Mummy," my son Archie, five, squealed when I arrived home a little later.
"Hi honey. Sorry I'm late, got stuck at work," I lied.
Tipping the scales at more than 160kg, I knew I was morbidly obese.
My relationship with food was unhealthy, and being so heavy, even getting up off the couch was a challenge.
But I'd been big since I was a kid, and things didn't get any easier as I got older.
In my 20s, I studied drama where it was hammered into me that I didn't have the right body to be a successful actor. I tried to lose weight by starving myself, but after a week or two it'd all pile back on.
In my early 30s, I often sneaked into a drive-through so I could eat without being judged.
By then I'd given up trying to lose weight.
But one day, my mum, Maureen, called.
"Your dad's in the hospital. It's his heart," she told me.
Hands shaking, I rushed to emergency to be by my dad, Les's, side. It was awful seeing him hooked up to so many machines.
"The doctors said he could die," Mum cried into my arms.
Thankfully, Dad made a full recovery. But it got me thinking…
What if I died? As a single mum, I was all Archie had.
I wanted to be there to watch him grow into a gentleman and see his 21st birthday.
Motivated, I joined a celebrity 12-week weight-loss program. It meant cutting my calories by more than half to 1200 a day. I felt woozy just thinking about it.
But on day one, I had an omelette for brekkie, salad for lunch and a curry for dinner.
This is actually okay, I thought.
Exercising was more of a challenge. I tried to go for a run, but I barely made it 500m down the road.
Still, thinking of Archie helped me persevere.
A month later, I couldn't believe it when I'd lost 16kg.
I shared my progress online, and people started calling me an inspiration.
Within two years, I'd lost more than 80kg. I was so proud.
After that, I wanted to help everyone feel as great as me, so I enrolled in a course to become a fitness instructor.
It was hard learning alongside my 18-year-old classmates who'd always been fit. My confidence wavered and soon I regained some weight. I'd stopped exercising as much and had fallen into old eating habits.
What happened? A stranger asked me on Facebook. Looks like you've gained some weight.
Comments like that made me cry. Why was all of my worth connected to the numbers on the scales?
When I went back up to a size 14, I stopped posting pictures all together.
I slipped into a depression after regaining all the weight. Before I knew it, I was eating KFC family buckets again.
The following year, my GP warned me: "If you don't lose weight, you'll die sooner than you think," he said.
It scared the living daylights out of me. I had to take charge of my life. This time I slowly made changes. I started walking around the block, then built up to going on hikes.
I worked on my diet, too, but I didn't count calories. Instead, I cooked delicious meals at home and presented them beautifully. I even drank ice water from a wine glass. It all made a big difference.
Months later, I was feeling and looking better.
When I was handed a flyer for four weeks free to a crossfit gym, I signed up.
I was terrified when I walked in to the first class. I'd never done anything like it before, and was scared what people would think of me.
WATCH BELOW: This fit mum does at-home exercises with her young daughter. Story continues after video.
Thankfully, the coaches instantly put me at ease. "Don't worry about anyone else," the instructor, Nathan, said. "Just meet yourself where you are today."
But even squatting felt impossible. Tears welled in my eyes. I felt like I could have given up, but I thought about Archie and how desperately I wanted to watch him grow up. It spurred me on and slowly, I made progress.
Now, I have no idea how much weight I've lost, but I'm healthier and happier.
I no longer need to focus on the number on the scales to feel good about myself.
I'm sharing my story so other people know it's never too late to make better decisions in life.
Even when you feel you've hit rock bottom, you can only go up from there.
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