Lost 32.1kg and 32.88% of her body weight

Weight has always been an issue for me from an early age. Being overweight runs in the family, so for many years the excuse was that I was from a big-boned family, and it wasn’t my fault. The main reason I put weight on was because I ate too much of the wrong foods. I often thought I didn’t eat that much as I very rarely ate anything until late afternoon. However, by then I was starving and would eat lots and lots of carbs to fill me up. I also got into some unhealthy habits of sitting down after dinner and eating chocolate, this together with being very inactive and a love of gin and tonic meant a lot of weight gain. Last year was an incredibly challenging year for me and I used food and drink to comfort me, again all of the wrong foods.

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in March 2022, and one of the conditions is that you fall a lot. At least once a week I would have a fall and with the amount of weight I had on me I fell hard and even broke my wrist on one occasion. One essential element to try and combat and delay the progression of some of the issues associated with Parkinson’s, is to eat healthier. How I was eating was contributing to some of the symptoms I have.

My confidence was low, I would always buy big, black and baggy clothes to cover me up as much as possible. I was starting to feel very self-conscious about how I looked and started to avoid social occasions with some people. At work, I was struggling to even sit in my desk chair, which made me feel embarrassed.

I had two main events that inspired me to lose weight. A few days after my mum’s funeral in October 2022 my husband and I went away with our lovely friends Louise and her husband. During this trip, we went kayaking and took many photos. This was a pivotal moment as I felt so uncomfortable and unfit while kayaking and I hadn’t realised how overweight I had become until I saw myself in some photos. The other was my daughter got engaged and once again I was horrified at how I looked at her engagement party in the family photos. I decided that I wanted to feel confident and comfortable as the mother of the bride.

My friend Louise and I joined Healthies together in November 2022, and I didn’t have too many issues along the way other than some comments that people thought I was sick from the weight loss! Obviously, there were changes I made with my diet choices, but I never felt like I was missing out or wanting to give up. I was lucky in that I lost weight consistently each week, which really motivated me to keep going. Plus, as soon as you see the clothing sizes start to drop and feel like you have more energy you don’t want to stop.

The biggest lifestyle changes I made were ensuring I ate regularly and the right foods. All along I wanted to have the mindset that this is not a diet, it is learning a new, healthier way to eat. I have learnt about so many different alternatives which can be used to substitute carbohydrates, but also how to have a good healthy balance of all food groups. How and when I drink alcohol has changed, I still enjoy a drink here and there, but I have also learnt to put some soda water and botanicals in a glass and feel like I am drinking. It was changing some social habits which were challenging initially but now it is second nature. I still love a great cheese platter when I am away in my caravan, however, they look quite different with much healthier and more fulfilling food choices.

Losing weight has made me more confident in myself, I am wearing clothes that I thought I would never wear and a size I have never been. I never disliked myself overweight, but I am certainly more comfortable with who I am now. I am so driven to never go back to the size I was.

Now I have so much more energy and feel like I can conquer anything with which I am faced. I have not had a Parkinson’s fall for months and feel like I am managing this condition much better. My memory and cognitive issues have also improved considerably.

I now ride a bike regularly, kayak, bushwalk, do Pilates and feel like I can do anything physically if I want to, and am not scared to give things a go.

Joining with my friend Louise helped us keep each other accountable, we shared strategies and tips we found along the way, encouraged each other when we had a slow week, or were feeling a little down and also listened and shared how we were feeling. It’s great to add that Louise reached her goal also and lost 24.1 kilos!

My 3 top tips are:

  1. Join with a friend, they keep you accountable too!
  2. Make sure you treat yourself every now and again (e.g.a glass of wine) but not too much! This helps you feel like you can still enjoy everything.
  3. See it as a lifestyle change (not a diet). Personalise it and make choices that are within the plan but what you enjoy and like. The nutrition program works and is extremely flexible.