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Kellie Knight

2011 Iron Will Award Winner:
Kellie Knight

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Kellie's Story (Submitted by her husband Darren Knight):

Since her early teens, Kellie Knight struggled with a diagnosis of severe clinical depression, so much so that it was came to be, in many ways, her defining feature. This mental illness dominated the way in which she related to everyone around her: her family, her friends, her schooling, her work. She found herself withdrawing and disengaging from the world, lapsing into extended states of inactivity and isolation. And the perpetual mental lockdown that she found herself in began to take its toll physically, with her weight dropping to concerning levels as she lost interest in food and any form of activity.

Her first suicide attempt occurred at age 14. The physical after-effects of this experience contributed to seeing her weight begin to swing the other way, climbing gradually higher and higher. Despite a steady stream of antidepressant medication and therapy, two more suicide attempts occurred over the next five years. At 19 years of age Kellie found herself exhausted, overweight and more depressed than ever, with a conviction that there was no real future in store for her. No typical form of treatment seemed capable of effectively helping with her mental condition.

Then came a chance day when she encountered for the first time a bodybuilding magazine, one highlighting female figure and bikini competitors. She was struck by the sense of healthy enthusiasm for life that the competitors seemed to exude, and it struck a chord with her: the girls had a look about them that amazed her. She read their stories, read about diet and nutrition and proper sleep and hydration and supplementation. She saw that these girls were existing in a state free of prescription medication, and were still able to maintain a happy, healthy outlook on life. She read issue after issue, gradually convincing herself that perhaps this whole "working out" thing might just be worth a try. And then, for the first time, she picked up a dumbbell.

People don't relate to Kellie as "the depressed girl" anymore. As her weight started to drop and her muscles started to pop, she rediscovered her smile. Now 23, she is happily married and operating her own successful business, while enrolled in and excelling at university. She engages in a wide variety of cardio activities regularly, manages her diet consistently, meets regularly with her trainer, and maintains a six-day-a-week workout schedule; none of which would even have been conceivable with her former mental condition.

Before, her mind made her body sick. Ironically, she found that by focusing on sculpting her body, she has cured her mind. Since finding bodybuilding she has lost 50 pounds of excess weight, lost almost 20% bodyfat, and lost the antidepressants.

Today, people relate to her as "the bikini competitor", the bubbly girl ready to talk nutrition and weight-lifting. Everyone that she knows is aware of her new-found focus and happiness, and those closest to her would readily acknowledge that the fitness lifestyle has, unquestionably, saved her life. Now Kellie is the one giving counsel, rather than receiving it, enthusiastically doing all she can to help others like her see that they can make themselves healthier, both physically and mentally, through following a fit lifestyle. Her formal career path is developing to take her further in this direction, as she completes her university degree in Personal Training. In March 2011, to celebrate an important milestone in her story, Kellie intends to enter her first bikini competition, the 2011 MABBA Novice Championships. And as she arrives, she already feels like a winner, as the journey to that stage was definitely the most challenging and rewarding experience of her life.

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