I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. I became a CPA right after college, which meant a sedentary desk job that I couldn’t escape during tax season. Food became what I turned to in practically every situation. If I was tired, I would eat. If I was bored, I would eat. If I was stressed, I would eat.
I frequently went out to lunch or ordered takeout for dinner. And I went through the drive-through every chance I had. I had my first son in 2013. After that, I tried looking for a quick and easy way to lose weight—but I didn’t stick with anything long enough to see results. I felt embarrassed by and ashamed of my weight...which just made me overeat more.
After my youngest son was born in January of 2016, I experienced postpartum anxiety. As a result, I began having anxiety attacks. Like many who experience their first anxiety attacks, I thought what I was experiencing was a heart attack. After one late-night trip to the emergency room, I vowed to change my life. I decided to get healthy so I would be there for my kids. Finally, it just clicked, and I have never looked back.
‘I Felt Like I’d Tried Every Diet—With No Success’
Although I’d done Weight Watchers before, I decided to stop into a meeting in May of 2016 to see if I should give it another try. I'm a shy person, but the team leader took me in and made me feel very welcome. She talked to me one-on-one at the end of that meeting and walked me through my goals.
At the beginning of my journey, I cut out all sweets, all fast food, all fried food. I knew that I wasn’t strong enough to have a taste and be done, so for me it was all or nothing. Sometimes that meant my son couldn’t get that happy meal that he really wanted, because I knew that if I went through the drive-thru, I would order for myself.
When I first changed my diet, I was very strict about what I ate. A typical breakfast was either plain oatmeal or egg substitute with vegetables. I often ate two snacks a day, which were mainly fruits and vegetables. For lunch, I would either eat a salad with a lean protein and vegetable, or I would have a turkey sandwich. A typical dinner included a lean protein, potatoes or another carbohydrate, and vegetables.
Being a working mum with two kids meant I was short on time, so I opted for precut fruits and veggies when shopping at the supermarket, as well as ready-made grilled chicken, which really helped me stick to eating healthy without having to put a lot of time into preparing food.
Due to the drastic change in my diet, I began losing weight pretty quickly. After the first month, I was down 8kg.
‘When I Was 127kg, It Was Almost Impossible To Work Out’
At first, I just got a Fitbit and started tracking my steps. I set a goal of 8,000 steps per day, and I met that by walking laps around my office every hour, using my lunch break to walk more when it was nice out, and bringing the kids to the park in a stroller to walk on the weekends.
A few more weeks went by, and my friend Sarah told me about a workout-streaming app she was using that she really liked—Daily Burn. The program offers a free 30-day trial, and I figured I had nothing to lose, so I joined.
I remember feeling so intimidated the first time I pushed play to do the Daily Burn 365 workout. For most of that first workout, I just sat on the couch and watched. This program seemed different than other streaming workout programs I had done. This wasn’t a pre-recorded routine where everyone knew exactly what to do. Individuals in the group made mistakes and sometimes needed to modify the exercises, and it was okay! It showed real people, just like me, in a complete judgement-free zone. And the trainers are so motivating, inspiring, and supportive.
I started doing the workout three to four times per week until October 2017, when I hit the 23kg weight loss mark.
Two months ago, I moved to a new city and joined a gym. I do small group training workout classes there two days per week—and I also run because I'm training for a half-marathon.
‘Support Has Been Crucial’
When I began my journey, I had several friends who were trying to shed pounds, too. We began a daily accountability text, to help each other through the tough times and celebrate our victories.
I believe that the DailyBurn community on its Facebook group is the biggest key to my continued success. Everyone cheers each other on, celebrates “non-scale” victories, motivates us all to make healthy choices, and holds each other accountable. The group is made up of people of all fitness levels, including the DailyBurn trainers, and it's such a positive, welcoming, place.
‘I’ve Regained My Self-Confidence’
I feel like I got a second chance to get things right. I’m able to enjoy so many activities with my kids. I went bike riding with my oldest son in our new neighborhood recently—something that I would have never been able to do before I lost weight.
And can we talk about shopping for a minute? Before I began my journey, I hated shopping because the selection was limited, and I didn’t want to draw any extra attention to myself and my weight. But now, I can walk into most stores or shop online and find something I love in my size. Something as simple as shopping has turned into something I now love to do.
My number one tip for anyone looking to lose weight is to just stick with it. Take it day by day, meal by meal, step by step. If you get tired, learn to rest—don’t quit. It’s a long process, but it’s so worth it in the end.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health Mag.