It's that time again to share the story of another amazing Real Active Ambassador. Up this week is the inspirational Lara Lockett (@fromflabtofabulous_) who has totally transformed her life in the last three years. Lara shares her honest story on losing beloved family members to suicide, changing the way mental illness is managed in QLD hospitals and how she has turned her life around to be the fittest and healthiest she has ever been, both physically and mentally. We caught up with Lara to find out more about her story and why she wanted to become a Real Active Ambassador.
- Why did you want to become a Real Active ambassador?
For me, it was all about bringing awareness to mental health, and that’s what stood out when applying to become an ambassador. I love that Real Active has a purpose. I am quite an active gal so the bottles and gym towels are essential in my life! I only have a small following on social media but feel as though I can make a huge difference in speaking about what Real Active is all about.
- Tell us more about you and why mental health awareness is so important to you.
I’m a very busy Mumma to four beautiful children, wife to be - to Jamie in March 2021, and I work part time in a plus size women’s fashion store. I love making women look and feel beautiful from the moment they step into the store. I’m a born and bred Brissy girl and live for keeping busy, I am always on the go. I am the eldest of five siblings and back in 2014 I lost my 21 year old brother to suicide. Unfortunately, mental illness runs in our family. After losing my Uncle John, my two Aunties Lenore and Leeann and cousin Andrew to suicide, then losing my brother Chris, I felt as though I needed purpose and that was bringing awareness to mental health as a whole.
Speaking about this awful illness and making it a topic when speaking about everyday things was key. It’s such an uncomfortable subject and I guess making people feel like they are warranted and needed is so cleansing for me. Fighting the stigma is the number one goal for me personally. I grew up in a very broken family; a victim of sexual abuse, raised by a single Mum my four siblings and I went through many, many years doing it tough. I suppose that is what has made me the woman I am today - strong, hardworking, passionate and a voice for many young and vulnerable girls.
- Can you share more about how you and your family have helped change how mental illness is managed by our hospitals?
My Mum, Kerrie and I have been actively trying to fight the stigma surrounding the illness for many, many years. We initially started a Facebook page that rounded up over 60,000 thousand signatures for a petition calling for the QLD government to not turn away suicidal patients when presenting to any A&E ward. We won!! The petition triggered a $9m suicide policy change that ensured any person who says they are suicidal will be assessed. As a result Emergency Department staff were also given specific, detailed training in recognising people at risk of suicide.
Mum was also successful in getting extra staff, beds and resources at mental health units. Since then, more than 150 clinical staff have received the suicide training. Those clinicians will "train the trainers" of the 5000 staff who work in emergency departments throughout Queensland.
- You openly talk about your weight loss surgery - can you share more about your journey?
I have always been a big girl. Most of my teens I was around the 85-100kg mark. I was bullied for many, many years in high school. Throughout my teenage and then young adult years, I went on many diets and fads, lots of gym classes, boot camps, charity runs, weight loss pills and purging, but always seemed to fail. Gaining again and again, plus more. After losing Chris in 2014 I turned into a closet binge drinker and eater, gaining 50kgs over six months. I was not in a good place, mentally or physically, I was exhausted. Thank goodness for my Mum Kerrie, she snapped me out of it real fast. I went and saw my GP for medical help. Whilst I was there I also asked him for a referral to see a surgeon for Weight Loss Surgery. With a 12 month wait I ended up having a gastric sleeve. Today I’m 65kgs lighter and healthier and happier than I’ve ever been! Self love, respect, health and fitness are my priority and I can only hope I raise my children to be as resilient as I am today.
- What's your favourite Real Active product?
My favourite Real Active product would have to be hands down the drink bottles. I have four of these beautiful bottles and every time I go out with them, whether it’s the gym, school pickups, work, family holidays etc somebody will always comment on them. They are a great conversation starter that's for sure. They are also so pretty to look at and hold a good amount of water for me to drink throughout the day. There’s absolutely no other bottle like them.
- What is your favourite motivational quote?
I hope you know you are capable, brave and significant, even when it feels like you’re not.
A huge thanks to Lara for being so open in sharing her story. I am sure you will all agree she is one strong and inspirational woman! You can follow her journey on her Instagram page here. Stay tuned as we share more of our beautiful ambassadors’ stories in the coming weeks.