Before: 127 kilograms
After: 63.5 kilograms
Up until starting my journey three years ago, I was big my entire life. Having grown up in Australia, I was quite active, but I had foodie parents and often found myself overindulging. However, I always owned it because I thought that being overweight was in my genes and that I’d always be that way. I was always a confident, happy, popular kid. Yes, I was about three times bigger than my friends in high school, but I never let that stop me from enjoying my life. I went to the beach, had a boyfriend, played sports, and lived a very social life. But throughout that time, I was always chewing on something.
There was a major shift for me when I moved to the U.K. from Australia in 2010. Between working a desk job 60 hours a week and no longer having access to fresh foods and the active lifestyle prevalent in Australia, I began gaining more weight.
My desire to become healthier came in three major waves. In the summer of 2013, I went on vacation to Mexico, where I was in a bikini on the beach, canoeing, and paddle boarding. During that trip, I realised I missed that active lifestyle I had back in Australia. There, I had an inkling that I wanted to make a change, so I took some ‘before’ shots. However, I returned back to the U.K. and did nothing about it.
It wasn’t until another trip that November when things shifted completely. I love to travel and one of my biggest bucket list items was to go skydiving in Dubai. Once I got there, I was informed that I couldn’t do it because of my weight. This was the first time in my entire life that I’d been held back from something because of my size and I hated it. This pushed me even further in the direction of change until one morning in February when I could barely get out of bed. The entire left side of my body felt numb because being overweight gave me such poor circulation. That day, once I finally got out of bed, I wiped the dust off my old stationary bike and did fifteen minutes. I also committed myself to trying to eat healthier that day. I’ve been making small, healthier changes ever since.
I think a lot of people fail at weight loss because they make drastic changes that aren’t sustainable. I didn’t even set out to lose weight originally, but instead to become healthier. I started small by writing down everything I ate daily and tallying the kilojoules. I had no clue I was eating over 16,700 kilojoules a day. I’d look where I was overspending kilojoules and try to cut little things out here and there. One week I’d go without a second dessert, the next week I’d cut out soda and that second dessert. I continued adjusting every four to five days for four months until I’d created a much healthier diet. Over the first four months alone I lost 12.7 kilograms. I continued cooking more and swapping healthier foods in until I reached my goal weight in 2016 of 63.5 kilograms.
Now, I avoid sugar and dairy, though I haven’t cut them completely. I start my morning with coffee and eggs with spinach and tomatoes or yogurt with nuts and seeds. Then, I have a midmorning snack, which is usually a banana or nuts. Lunch is usually chicken or salmon with lentils or grains. In the afternoon, I might have some of my homemade veggie chips as a snack. Dinner is also protein-based but usually steak with vegetables. I don’t always have dessert, but when I do, it’s probably yogurt or anything with dates.
I started off small with my workouts as well, doing less than half an hour on the stationary bike every second day. By going slow in the beginning rather than forcing myself, I actually began looking forward to exercise. After a month, I was working out on the bike every weekday and occasionally doing an hour session on the weekends. After seeing some results four months in, I joined a gym. The first day I walked in, a personal trainer approached me asking if I wanted to lose weight, and that’s when I smiled and said, “No thanks, I’m going to do this on my own.” And that’s exactly what I did.
I did my own research and found that weight training is great for preventing loose skin, so that’s what I did, along with cardio. Every day, I was in the gym for 90 minutes doing yoga, rowing, swimming, or hill sprints. After two years, I started going twice a day. It’s truly become my passion.
STICKING WITH IT
One thing that keeps me going is the community I’ve built through my Instagram account. I get so many messages from women around the world and I want to continue being a positive influence in their lives.
Taking progress pictures also keeps me motivated because it reminds me how far I’ve come. As for plateaus, I just look at those as new challenges and meet them with excitement.
I never could have imagined three years ago that this would be my life. It really makes me feel as though anything is possible, which has given me a new, positive outlook on life. Aside from improving my health and feeling/looking better, I’ve found passion and a path in life to help others. I feel so lucky that I get to continue down this track and inspire people. Plus, halfway through my journey, I was able to reward myself by finally skydiving in Dubai!
MY NUMBER-ONE TIP
Make sure you want this for you. Find out why this matters to you and commit to it. Even more importantly, learn to love the journey and yourself at every stage. You’ll get to know yourself on another level, body, mind, and soul.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.