Project Rika

First published in 2007

This is my story about becoming an ‘Incredible Lady’. The fantastic journey that gave me the confidence which everybody else thought I had anyway, but which I never felt I had. Eventually at the age of 45 I feel grown up, in charge and happy – at least most of the time I do.

‘I feel like an Incredible Lady!’ Two years ago I would have never said that - A good girl doesn't show off, and she doesn’t praise herself. Tell you what: “She does, and she should”. I hope my story inspires you to get creative with your lives and to join the club of ‘Incredible Ladies’. And please keep in mind: I didn’t set out to become thinner. I wanted to look and feel good, not really knowing what that meant and how to achieve that. When the ‘What Not to Wear’ series came on the telly I was hooked. Trinny and Susannah were the first ones to promote the idea that you can look gorgeous without having to starve yourself to death and that fashion is not about looking like a model but to find your own style which suits your figure best.

So, ‘Project Rika’ is about the journey from sad and frumpy to colourful and confident. It took time, and it was not something done in a jiffy. It turned out that it needed determination and changes in the lifestyle to free up time. But I feel great now and I leave it to you to decide whether or not you think it was worthwhile. The diary ends after I had restructured my wardrobe, managed to put on a make-up without looking funny and had lost about a stone (6kg) due to slight changes to my diet and a bit of exercising.

Only after I had gained the confidence and trust in myself I felt that I wanted to take it to the next level and went back to the gym regularly. It is so true: Change your outside for the better and the inside will follow all by itself.
The diary starts in October 2004 when I eventually decided that ‘enough is enough’. It is written at the time and reflects all my emotions back then. The photos sometimes are a bit awkward as they are mostly taken by myself in the mirror. Whenever I had a new haircut or got a new shirt I just needed to know how it looked and if I did the right choice. And pictures turned out to be my best friends at that time.

Another good friend was a list of rules which I extended and amended as I went along. There were so many things to remember and habits to change. To read and write this list over and over again was a bit like a brainwash, but it helped to incorporate certain habits into my daily routine, so that I don't even realise anymore that I'm doing them.

But the first part is the ‘Photo Therapy’. All of you who have seen ‘What Not to Wear’ know that they always have this tough part at the beginning where contestants have to look at themselves in a 360° mirror. They call it ‘Assessing the body shape’. Well, I used my old photos – and believe me: it had a very similar effect. Whenever I came a bit off track I looked back at them and very quickly I was reminded why I was doing this.

I hope you enjoy reading about the trip to my new self. Please let me know what you think about it!

More about Project Rika

Project Rika - The Diary
Being a fan of Trinny and Susannah from the first series on I took some of their advice on board right from the beginning (e.g. chunky heels on shoes for fat ankles - and these are fat ankles we are talking about), but never completely got the grips on it. Only when the book accompanying the third series came out it absolutely hit me. It was at about the same time when I found that lovely top in a shop and I noticed that my tits had given in to gravity and that the shirts looked awful without a bra. Read more...

Photo Therapy - the 360° mirror
This is what I call my 360° mirror. When I was younger I liked to have my pictures taken, but I noticed that that had changed. Pictures became rare and I usually didn't like them. It turns out that these are the ones most useful for therapy. They do the job of a mirror that shows your behind in bright light which one usually only gets a glimpse of in the fitting rooms of shops. Which consequently are avoided to visit, what reduces the wardrobe to some rags. Things just had to change! Read more...

Make-over rules
This is a list of rules I wrote as I went along with 'Project Rika'. Whenever I updated the diary I red through them again and added what I felt was missing. In this respect these rules pretty much reflect my state of mind at the time and show how worried I was to slip back into old habits and to forget things I already thought I had tackled well. I just didn't want to go back to black and drab and this list was made to keep me on track. Read more...