Married At First Sight’s Sandy Jawanda has opened up about her dramatic transformation before appearing on the reality show earlier this year.
The fan favourite bride, who was paired with Dan Hunjas on this year’s season of the Channel Nine series, shared a post on Instagram on Wednesday showcasing her “glow up” over the past 10 years.
The video begins with a series of snaps of Sandy travelling around Europe and the UK when she was 27, before transitioning to show what she looks like now at 37.
“Sharing this post took a lot of courage and vulnerability,” she wrote in the caption. “These photos are difficult for me to look at, but they are also a reminder of how hard I have worked to be where I’m at now.
“I am 27 in the first photo and 37 in the last. I aim to look even better at 47. But what really counts, is who I am on the inside and that hasn’t changed. Lead with kindness, always.”
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle about the post, which received an outpour of positive comments praising her for being an inspiration, Sandy shares that the overseas holiday marked a turning point in her health journey.
“I remember not wanting to take photos because I didn’t feel good about how I looked, but more importantly I didn’t feel healthy or have the energy I wanted on that trip,” she says.
“When I got back I decided I wanted to make a shift, get healthier but also feel good about myself. My weight has been up and down over the years, but I’ve maintained it now for a while. I think once you know what works for you, it’s easier.”
Following her transformation, Sandy says she had a newfound sense of confidence in her everyday life.
“I think the biggest shift for me was noticing that I went from feeling invisible to people noticing me and taking an interest,” she details.
“But the biggest positive for me was being able to wear all the clothes I wanted to when I was bigger. I know I could wear them then, but I would not have been able to carry them with the same confidence.”
However, she admits her experience on MAFS was “triggering” for her and had a major impact on her self-esteem.
“I went into the experiment feeling good about myself, and not just physically,” she recalls. “But spending time around someone that takes digs at your appearance or compares you to other women did affect my self-worth.
“Especially in the confines of the experiment and not having your friends and family around you to help ground you and remind you of how amazing you are and that beauty is skin deep. I think that’s why I was so triggered by the comments about laziness or sitting on the couch because I knew that I’m not that person.”
Four months on from when MAFS finished airing, Sandy says she’s “focused on the next level” in her fitness and self-love journey.
“I’m hoping to get even fitter for my next overseas adventure,” she adds. “Travel fuels me to better myself and it means I can try all the local food without feeling too guilty. I’m a major foodie!”
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