FOR Deb Clark, life has changed and priorities have shifted but the concept of getting out on the streets in her 'sweats' remains essential.
Almost 18 months have passed since Deb put her personal story and wrestle with self-doubt into the public spotlight for VicHealth's This Girl Can campaign.
Watch Deb v Doubt below
Deb said it was not hard to look back on the time when she could barely walk to the corner without puffing but spurred on by a determination to get fit and strong enough to do a handstand for her then-four-year-old daughter, Mercy.
This keeps spurring her on to tell her story.
Almost 400,000 Victorian women have been inspired to get active from This Girl Can - a spin-off from the English campaign that launched in Victoria in March 2016.
But Deb said there was still a lot of work to go in breaking down barriers for women to get moving without fear of judgement.
"Image factor is big. People can relate to everyday people telling their stories and reminding people across Victoria they are not alone in how they feel about themselves and the images constantly portrayed," Deb said. "...We're just everyday people. I look at the campaign, my daughter and I were on the back of a bus in Ballarat, and I think 'that's me'."
Deb said the authentic nature of the campaign was pivotal. Too often, Deb was concerned with modified images of women she sees, particularly in popular department stores when shopping with her daughter.
Starting out on her personal mission, well before the campaign, Deb had been worried people would laugh or call her a heifer as she exercised about the streets - and there are a lot of hills in her neighbourhood. But Deb persisted, quickly noticed a difference in her energy and fitness.
The Ballarat musician and primary school teacher said walking took her well out of her comfort zone but continues to open up so many opportunities.
I want women to know it's okay to do a little bit because a little bit leads to a lot. Walk out your front door and go see your neighbourhood.Deb Clark
"Walking is not competitive. It's a little like sitting down at the dinner table and having a good chat with someone walking with you," Deb said. "I've got my curves. I'm a proud indigenous woman and with my age, I'm conscious of those health issues, but I'm proud to say I'm a walker.
"Walking into a gym takes a lot of self-confidence, especially to walk in and work out next to someone who's been going to the gym for awhile.
"I want women to know it's okay to do a little bit because a little bit leads to a lot. Walk out your front door and go see your neighbourhood."
Deb was proud to keep sharing her story. While Deb was unsure she could still handstand, traiing to achieve this had a bigger impact on her healthier habits long-term.
This Girl Can is seeking more "everyday" woman to become ambassadors in the campaign next year. More: thisgirlcan.com.au.
- Almost 90 per cent of women who saw the campaign advertisement believe it helped women be more confident
- 52 per cent of Victorian women worry about being judged when exercising
- 41 per cent of Victorian women are too embarrassed or intimidated to get active
- More than half of Victorian women are not sufficiently active, participating in less than 30 minutes of physical activity on four or more days a week
- One in 10 women don't do any physical activity in a week
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