“I knew obesity could actually kill me,” she says. “I wanted to live.”
In the spring of 2013, DeArmond started overhauling her diet. She searched Pinterest for recipes featuring lean meats like turkey and chicken and cooked those instead of nuking frozen dinners. She learned to lower the fat content of her meals – without sacrificing flavour – by using seasonings such as garlic and cayenne. The change was instantaneous: “I felt so much better that I honestly didn’t even miss my greasy go-to foods,” she says. Between dietary swaps and her new habit of speed walking at least three kilometres a day around her hilly neighbourhood, DeArmond’s weight dropped steadily for the next two months.
Then the scale seemed stuck at around 81kg. Eager to keep losing, she took up strength training. “I read that building muscle helps speed up fat loss,” she says. “Plus, I wanted to look more toned.” De Armond began working her upper body with 2kg free weights, doing moves like biceps curls and shoulder raises for 30 minutes almost every day. Eventually, she advanced to 4.5kg weights and stepped up her cardio routine to eight kilometres of daily power walking. By the following spring, DeArmond was a trim and healthy 54kg.
DeArmond’s new lifestyle hasn’t yielded only a slimmer pants size. She’s showing off an improved complexion and stronger, shinier hair. “Everything about me feels healthier!” she says. She rocks tank tops and shorts with confidence, and she’s no longer intimidated by staircases – these days running up them. “I feel like my old self again,” she says.
Sarah's Top Tips
Making fitness convenient: "I got an exercise bike so I can work out whenever I want. I like to pedal while watching TV."
Shop smarter: To deflect temptation at the supermarket, have a 'no junk in the trolley' rule. "I don't even set food in the chip aisle," she says.
Fake-fry it: DeArmond makes 'fried' fish by dipping fillets in egg whites and wholemeal panko and then baking it.