DEB Clark stared down her own doubt and fear of judgment in a year of training to do a handstand for her daughter.
The Ballarat musician and primary school teacher is used to performing and hanging out with children. But a handstand, and her quest to pull one off, was way out of her comfort zone.
Deb promised her then-four-year-old daughter Mercy she would do a handstand, just not yet.
Determined to be the best, healthier mum she could, Deb started walking before breakfast.
Deb is now sharing her story in the VicHealth’s new This Girl Can campaign in a bid to help women break down the personal barriers preventing them from getting active.
“I’m a proud Ballaratian but my background is Torres Strait Islander so I tend to be aware that I look different and there is a sense of judgement – let alone being a woman who might feel they’re jiggling a bit in places,” Deb said. “It could be real or perceived judgement.
“When all the women in the campaign got together, the common theme was no matter what you looked like, it’s just about getting out there moving.”
Ballarat women are moving less than the average Victorian woman, with about seven in 10 Ballarat women failing to move for 30 minutes at least five days a week.
Deb was worried about people calling her a heifer of laughing as she puffed and sweated while walking down the street. And there are lots of hills in her neighbourhood.
It took Deb a couple of weeks to really notice the difference. She started to look closer at her diet and moving her metabolism, plus, there was something Deb started to like about getting up early and achieving a goal before breakfast.
Deb said she was still a bigger person, but her attitude and what she is modelling for her daughter has changed. She can also do a handstand.
"My daughter can see this is part of what I do everyday,” Deb said.
“Women tend to get sidetracked by priorities rather than take the time out for themselves, let alone feeling safe or knowing where to go. I do love the idea women don’t need to get a gym membership though.
“You start to feel better walking.”
This Girl Can is an extension of the edgy Sport England campaign, featuring provocative slogans, which has inspired 3.9 million British women to ditch the couch.
The Victorian campaign started beaming out a fortnight ago.
- Watch This Girl Can – Victoria below.
VicHealth chief executive officer Jerril Rechter said more than half of Victorian women worried about being judged while exercising, or were concerned about their skill levels or family and work priorities, but if they could identify with one of the women in the campaign, they were more likely to overcome this fear.
“We’ve listened to the stories of hundreds of Victorian women who’ve told us what being active means to them and what they’ve had to overcome to do it,” Ms Rechter said.
“Deb and the other women featured in This Girl Can – Victoria are everyday women who’ve found the confidence to get out there and get active. They’re doing it for themselves – not for anyone else.
They’re doing it because they love it, and because they can.”
Deb got involved when asked by a VicHealth worker after she was chatting to him about her handstand challenge amid NAIDOC celebrations in Ballarat last year.
Ballarat women are encouraged to join the This Girl Can – Victoria movement by heading to thisgirlcan.com.au and join the community on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the #ThisGirlCanVIC.