this week’s sh*t-sorter is another Queenslander! I guess they really must be sorting their sh*t out in that part of Australia… another positive, supportive member of the facebook running community, I was delighted when my offer to tell their story was taken up….
so let’s get started – can you tell us your name, where you’re from and what you do?
Hi Gaz – my name is Kelly Suzane, i’m from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. I own a small business called G-Loves Australia. The most beautiful and functional gym gloves, I love them so much, they bring me so much joy.
I also work part-time in the Queensland Police as a Sergeant in the Domestic Violence Prevention Unit. I have been in the police for 21 years.
sounds like an intriguing combination, can you tell us a bit more about your background, if you don’t mind?
sure. I grew up in very humble circumstances in the housing commission (public housing) area of Norman Park, on Brisbane’s Southside.
My mum raised me and my 2 sisters by herself, she worked 3 jobs to support us as the single mother’s pension wasn’t invented. I finished grade 12 in 1986, I wanted to be a radio announcer, changed my mind, became a secretary instead after doing an Associate Diploma in Business at TAFE College.
My mum died at 49 when I was 21 (in 1991), I then wanted to do something to help people, so I joined the Police the next year. I then went on to get a Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degree in Public Administration in a part-time capacity whilst working full-time, via correspondence (it took me 8 years).
I also did a 6 month full-time course during this time to become a Police Prosecutor (something I still love to do).
I have two children of my own and have raised/am raising my sister’s 4 children, they are now 20, 18, 16 and 14. My two are 10 and 12. My sister’s kids came to live with us (my ex-husband and I) over 10 years ago when my own baby was 3 months old.
After my husband and I separated and divorced 6 years ago, I continued on my own raising them. Hence why I work part-time these days.
wow – you really do have your hands full! I know you also manage to fit an active lifestyle around that too – have you always done that?
I have always been relatively fit and “healthy”, but would binge drink (from the early age of 15), for example on a weekend if there was a party, I would throw myself into drinking wholeheartedly. I would only eat tomatoes during the day leading up to my party night, so I would not consume too many calories.
So on the books I was not over-consuming. If I had a drink at night, I wouldn’t eat dinner, so as not to go over my calorie-intake. If I thought I drank too much, I would go for a run to punish myself and regain those lost calories.
yes, that would look ok on the calorie balance sheet, but obviously not recommended – please don’t try this at home kids! you’ve obviously taken a different path since then, what’s the motivation that enabled that?
My kids are a motivation for me, I want to make sure I get to see my grandchildren, something my mum never got to see.
In 2011 I thought I was a gonner. I had pancreatitis (apparently not related to alcohol) and a twisted stomach and bowel from some previous major surgeries. I decided then and there that if I were to be given another chance I would be kinder to my body and treat it with far more respect that I had in the past. I was so sick, I could barely eat and was in so very much pain.
that definitely sounds like one of those classic low points / life-changing moments – after experiencing that, what would you say your goals are now?
My goals change a lot, but the overriding one is to be fit, healthy and pain-free.
I now have a thyroid issue and a diseased back, so I exercise to keep strong and fit, not for punishment. I eat to nourish my body. I don’t drink alcohol anymore, nor do I eat any kind of junk food. I eat whole foods, mainly organic.
I went from being a life-long vegetarian to a meat eater, so that I could ensure my body gets the nutrient’s it needs, naturally.
I love running, that has been one constant in my life. I go alright at it, just naturally. My new goal is to run 5K in or around 20 minutes. I have a 3 month training program I got from Pat Carroll (the Legend) that I am going to follow to see if I can get my time for 5K to under my recent PB of 23.30.
awesome. now anyone who has made this type of change, well, it comes with challenges for sure, there are days when things don’t go smoothly. can you describe how it’s gone so far for you?
When the wobby-wheels of life come into play, I crave alcohol, lollies and chocolate. I would love nothing more than a beer or champers or a packet of Tim Tams. I drink LOTS of green tea and berry tea when I feel this way, so much so, I have to wee several times in the middle of the night.
I started seeing a nutritionist this time last year and that has helped me heaps. I eat more than I ever have, I never feel hungry and most days I feel strong and healthy.
what would you say has been your biggest challenge?
I have had many life challenges, but the two that I thought I would never get up again from were my Mum dying and my marriage ending. For a while I just went through the motions of living, eventually living became easy again.
and on the flip side of that – what has been your biggest achievement?
Aside from my children, my biggest achievement has been to turn my life around into a healthy lifestyle, where I exercise for health and I eat for nourishment.
fantastic stuff – if you think about your journey, and the lifestyle changes you have successfully made, what would make the “highlights reel” for you, in terms of the impacts, the benefits and even the pitfalls?
I can see little abs these days, something I used to starve myself for in years gone past – and feeling healthy is amazing!!
On the downside, it costs much more to eat healthy, Organic food, particularly meat is quite expensive.
now we mentioned you original motivation before, but as you know, getting started is one thing – keeping going brings its own set of challenges – so I am interested to know how do you STAY motivated?
I have a picture of me in the hospital, hooked up to a drip, oxygen mask on, I looked awful.
My kids and my boyfriend are all the motivation I need to not end up that sick again.
perfect. you’ve so obviously been successful in completing this lifestyle reboot, and it’s definitely something that many other people are showing more and more interest in lately – based on your own experiences, if you were able to say one thing to people considering making a similar life change, what would it be?
Don’t wait for a major illness like diabetes, pancreatitis or a heart attack to change your ways.
We are not invincible, we only have a finite amount of time on this earth, don’t waste it.
that’s awesome Kelly, and thankyou so much for sharing so much of yourself. if people want to connect with you or find out more, where can they do that?
I have a ‘Facebook page called Bright Pink (https://www.facebook.com/brightpink18). There is much more to my story to read there.
I also sell the beautiful G-Loves and have a blog at http://g-loves.com.au/
great! thanks again, and there you have it folks. another small slice of inspiration that shows it really is worth sorting your sh*t out!