Speaking with Gemma Kirby it is clear that her journey about weight loss is about so much more than just losing weight.
Taking a holistic approach, for Gemma is key. She never described it as ‘dieting’ as she needed to change her whole lifestyle to achieve her health goals. There wasn’t a real turning point that made her decide to make changes, it was a decision to take charge her life to help her achieve the goals that she had set for herself.
With music being a passion she wanted to pursue commercially, Gemma made up her mind to get her body into shape to cope with the pressure of being in the industry, not just for her size but for her mind and spirit. A key part of Gemma’s routine includes yoga and mindfulness. Establishing what was important to her in moving forward with her goals, so she could give the best of herself and be in control to make good decisions. Part of that growth was also creating a lingerie line for fuller figured women so they can feel sexy in their own skin. This line is part of her merchandise that reflects her girly side when she’s touring instead of the usual band t-shirts everyone else does. Gemma hopes this will encourage women to also live healthy lifestyles. “It’s important to build other women up”, says Gemma, who also likes to compliment strangers in the street. One of Gemma’s final challenges was posing for her own line, I think we can say the results are pretty stunning below:
What was your highest and lowest weight?
122kg and 68kg
Why did you decide you wanted or needed to lose weight? Was there a specific moment?
There was not a specific moment in my life that made me decide to lose the weight, but I had struggled trying to shift the unwanted kilos on numerous fad diets and set unrealistic goals that continuously failed. After doing a final weigh in at 122kg, my GP informed me of the impact that obesity was having on my health and we started looking at surgical procedures such as lap banding. I decided then and there I was not going to let this beat me and took a head on approach.
I am typically a strong minded woman and had decided, from the age of five, that I was going to be a Music Artist. To pursue a career in the music industry was tough and I had alot of hard truths in my early teenage years around a marketable image. Although my size would not have stopped me trying to live out my childhood dreams, I also wanted to be an influential artist to other younger performers.
What was your diet and lifestyle like before you lost weight?
Before my dramatic lifestyle change I had little energy to do anything. I look back now and realise how restricting being overweight was on my life. Even going out in the afternoon and watering the lawns was an effort. My diet revolved around fast food and what we as society call “convenient meals”. Foods with no benefit, just junk. I would be in tears nearly every time I wanted to go out with my friends because of my appearance and made up excuses not to go to some events in my teenage years, like the beach or dress up parties simply because I could not find anything to wear.
What diet and lifestyle changes did you make?
I completely did a re-haul on my life and the way I lived. I got up every morning at 5:00am and did a personal training session before work and then would do a cardio session that was tailored to my needs, by my PT, in the afternoon. Although I do not follow this strict regime now, I did for the first 10 months of weight loss journey which set me up to live a normal active lifestyle now. I had done alot of different diets but I found that I needed something simple and strict to keep on track. I used elements of different diets but basically stuck to the natural “hunter and gatherer” foundations. I ate mostly protein and no processed foods and took time to educate myself with different blog sites and lifestyle websites around fuelling my body.
What motivated you to keep going?
Once I started reaching my small 5kg goals it almost became an addiction. I would ask my mum to drop me off 1km from home just to get an extra walk in for the day and feel the benefits of being healthy. It was the little things in my life that made me want to keep succeeding and I had also gained a strong following on social media and woman who were in the same predicament as me.
Did you set yourself a weight loss / exercise goal? If so, what was it?
I set myself goals that were reachable. I set 5kg goals and my initial weight goal was 95kg. When I reached this goal I went out and spoilt myself with a new wardrobe not realising my journey had only just begun. Once I started enjoying the lifestyle I was living I also set goals at the gym like lifting heavier weights. Every month, I would put the weight I had lost onto a bar and try and lift it, it was a great way to remind myself never to let myself gain it again because of how much hard work I had put in to lose it.
What can you do now that you couldn’t do before? (Eg: Wear a certain item of clothing, run a marathon, have high self-esteem).
Its the little things that you notice when you lose weight. One of mine was just being able to shave my legs in the shower or not be the girl that everyone dreads sitting next to on an aeroplane. It became easy when I was on stage firstly because I had the confidence and secondly because I could find clothes that would fit me.
What tips would you give to others trying / struggling to lose weight and be healthy naturally?
1. Set achievable goals
2. Seek advice from health & lifestyle experts. They may seem expensive but worth every cent
3. Don’t let negative comments impact your journey
4. Always remember to be you, but be the best you!
You can watch Gemma’s current single “Fallen Soldier” here.