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It's easy talk about how support and encouragement can make a real difference to someone's life, but I know from my own experience just how powerful it can be. I was a teenage mum. I had my first daughter when I was 17. I left school with no qualification, but I had a family who supported me through some very difficult times. They believed that I could achieve anything I put my mind to, and encouraged me to follow my dream to be a fashion designer. After winning a number of design competitions, I started my own high end women's clothing label – Sera Lilly – and opened my first shop in Ponsonby.

Now ten years later, with a fabulous husband and four gorgeous children, I recently closed the door to my shop. Although I loved all of my time in the fashion industry, it did highlight some very negative and unhealthy attitudes about body image. As a curvy woman, I found this very difficult and when I used models who were a size 12, the media would always comment on the fact that I put plus-size models on the catwalk. I have had very unhealthy relationships with food and dieting in the past, but I decided that after I had my fourth child, I really needed to make some serious changes and focus on being fit and healthy and be a positive role model for my children.

My journey to a healthier me continues. I started my Fat2FitNZ Facebook page on the 6th October 2013 as a way of making myself accountable and hopefully inspire others to do the same. I never dreamed that it would inspire, motivate and encourage so many other people who also wanted to become fitter and healthier versions of themselves. I get messages daily from people who want one-on-one support or just someone to talk to who can relate to the ups and downs of a weight-loss journey. Being a busy mum I don't have enough hours in the day to answer every message individually, so I started a free Fat2FitNZ Weight loss support forum on Facebook which The forum is a place where people share, ask questions and vent in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

We all need encouragement, support and motivation, so come and join me on the road to a better you! XX