Chapter 1: Hello!

Hello! I’m Roxie Bennett and in December 2018, at the age of 56 I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a shop window and what I saw shocked me.

I saw a fat old woman who was slowly limping along the street. How was this me? Where had I disappeared to and when had I been replaced by this sad figure I was looking at?

The previous five years had been the toughest of my life and that’s saying something considering I’d previously battled breast cancer and survived that and a couple of divorces as well! In 2013 my partner suffered a back injury that triggered a series of events that would see us lose everything we owned. We went from millionaires living in a mansion in the best suburb to finding ourselves struggling to find the money to pay the rent. My partner’s health continued to deteriorate seeing him as a regular in the hospital’s emergency department and finding himself virtually unable to get off the couch.

While all this was happening, I was keeping us afloat running my boutique PR and marketing agency, starting a life coaching practice and working part-time as a presenter at the local radio station, regularly working more than 60 hours a week. Suddenly I was solely responsible for our future. Everything else had to take precedence over my own health and wellbeing.

Before I knew it, I’d turned into an old lady, a shadow of the person I used to be. I felt like a fat, old moth when I wanted to be a dynamic, radiant butterfly. How was this moth going to keep this family afloat and what would happen if something happened to me? I realised, if I didn’t do something drastic, I was staring down the barrel of chronic if not life-threatening illness and if that happened, we were potentially staring down the barrel of homelessness and destitution!

To the outside world I was a highly successful businesswoman, popular radio broadcaster, larger than life local personality living a wonderful life. My ‘social media’ self was always smiling, laughing and having a ball. My photos taken from exactly the right angle to make me look deceivingly slim. People would marvel at my apparent energy and zest for life, but it was all smoke and mirrors. I was exhausted, barely able to get out of bed in the morning and often needing an afternoon sleep. It is clear to me now that I was clinically depressed and running on the energy of high anxiety.

I realised that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can find the motivation to make the changes you need to make in your life, and this is exactly where I found myself. I had to acknowledge that I wasn’t just overweight, I was obese! I drank way too much alcohol, not every day but when I did drink, I drank a lot! I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, never depriving myself, eating way too much. I’d basically stopped all exercising thanks, in part to an injured knee that just wouldn’t heal, giving me a limp and constant pain. I was on a double dose of anti-depressants, daily reflux medication and regular pain killers just to get me through the day and night!

The change I needed wasn’t small, not just a tweak to my diet or adjusting my exercise plan, this had to be wholesale change, change that would change my life forever. So, I went in search of a plan, a guru, a program that would work for me, post-menopausal, in my mid 50’s, crazy-busy-no-time-to-cook-complex-recipes, Roxie and, while I found bits and pieces nothing wholly resonated with me, no-one ‘spoke’ to me. There were lots of 20-30-something wellness and gym gurus and a few men who claimed to know it all but no-one who seemed to know what it was like to be a Baby Boomer/Gen-Xer woman who was always told she could have it all until she hits her 50s. That’s when she disappeared, everyone else is more important than her, everyone else and their needs take priority over hers. Nothing said it more than a comment from a dear friend that broke my heart, “How can someone so fat be so invisible?”

It was time to shine the light on us and it was time to put together a plan that took every part of our life into account. It’s not just about weight loss, it’s about how we think and how we feel. I realised that to achieve real change I had to address all aspects of our being. I wanted to create a plan that guided my mind, my body, what I ate and drank and how I could wholly nourish myself.

In the beginning this plan was just for me, it was a combination of things that had worked for me on some level before, things that I knew I would enjoy and could stick to and things I was learning in my research and study. As part of the Master Coach accreditation I was studying, I undertook a certificate in wellness coaching which illuminated my mind to the health and psychological aspects of weight loss and wellbeing. My lived experience with this new knowledge informed the basis for The Butterfly Plan.

Drawing these threads together I determined there were five separate aspects that needed addressing if sustained weight loss and wellbeing was to be achieved for me and women like me:

  • Mind
  • Movement
  • Gut
  • Mouth
  • Joy

These five pillars form The Butterfly Plan. On their own each is important but combined they are life changing.