What prompted you to start your wellness journey, was there a particular moment or realisation?
I had suffered from a slipped disc in my back and I was in a lot of pain and had an operation. I also started a new dream job which I needed a lot of energy for. I realised that improving my health was critical to be able to live the life I wanted for myself.
What was the first change you made to your lifestyle?
I joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and found a trusted personal trainer. I was very scared about stepping foot into a gym but with the right support, it helped me slowly gain confidence.
What other changes did you initially make to your eating habits?
On the WW program, every food and drink is assigned a SmartPoints value which you track against a personalised daily budget. You also get a customised list of ZeroPoint foods which you don't have to measure or track, which form the basis of a healthy eating pattern. It includes things like eggs, fish, skinless chicken breast and most fruit and veg. I began focussing on my list of ZeroPoint foods and planning my meals around those items. I ate boiled eggs, salmon and lots of tasty foods. I realised quickly that I never needed to go hungry as I had done with different weight loss approaches in the past.
What other changes did you initially make to your exercise habits?
When I joined up with my personal trainer, we had to work on my basic strength post-back injury, so slowly but surely I worked up to being able to do a lunge unassisted. These were key milestones that helped me gain confidence throughout my journey. I felt good about what I was achieving.
How did your track weight loss/fitness progress?
Weight loss isn’t a straight linear line. There are ups and downs. I have now stayed at the same weight for almost a year and whilst I'm committed to losing my last kilos, I realise that maintaining my weight for the first time in my life, is a huge achievement. By tracking my food into the MyWW app, I was kept accountable, as well as using my FitBit to track my activity which automatically synced into my app as FitPoints.
What changes made the most difference?
One of the biggest changes that made a difference was just getting back on track at the next meal if you have a slip-up. Another reason the myWW program worked for me as opposed to other eating programs was because it gave me flexibility to enjoy meals out with friends (and not have to skip dessert), as well as discover new recipes and enjoy home cooking. All I had to do was adjust the rest of my day to account for the meal out and ensure it fitted within my SmartPoints budget.
How did you feel during the process?
What did you find was the hardest thing about your journey?
Still seeing myself as overweight and that has made dents in my confidence, those things don’t go away overnight when you lose the weight. That is “work” i'll always need to work on.
What helped to keep you motivated?
Support from my husband, the WW community, my personal trainer and friends who championed my journey. My WW coach was extremely encouraging, so much so, that we are now close friends! The myWW app also has a great 'Connect' platform which is kind of like a Facebook, but a safe space which allows you to instantly access motivation from other members which was a great resource on my down days or days when I thought I might fall off the bandwagon. I also set small goals along the way and treated myself when I reached them (with some me-time such as a facial).
Do you have any favourite motivational quotes?
Never, ever give up.
What are your current short and long term goals? My mother is very sick at the moment so my energy is going into taking care of her, so maintenance of my weight is the best for me in the short term. Long term, I want to lose my last kilos and increase my strength and reach some new milestones in my gym work.
What would a day on a plate look like for you now?
Eggs for breakfast, lunch is usually leftovers from dinner the night before. Dinners are lots of vegetables, a protein like salmon, chicken tenderloins and a baked potato. I use the myWW app as a recipe bank too! There are over 5,000 recipes that give you the exact SmartPoints so are easily factored into your daily intake. My favourite recipes would have to be the Mushroom, Spinach and Chickpea Curry or Burrito Bowls.
What is your current exercise routine?
Gym classes around 3 times a week and a 1:1 personal training once a week. I also try to do a walk each day. I sync my FitBit to my myWW app and track my FitPoints as another way to stay motivated.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Maintaining the majority of my weight loss.
What advice would you give to others wanting to do the same?
Start small and start somewhere but always start today – don’t put it off.