Or, how I went from this:
In April 2005, I weighed 103.5kg (228lbs). A year later, to the day, I had reached my goal weight of 76kg (167lbs). It is now 2009 and I have kept the weight off for over three years.
What was your life like before you lost weight and got fit?
I grew up in Hobart, Tasmania. Prior to beginning my weight loss journey in April 2005, I had had issues with my weight for a very long time. I was a skinny, active child, but became overweight once I hit puberty and stopped playing sport. I lost a lot of weight when I was 16 but unfortunately took it too far and battled an eating disorder for most of Year 12.
Then I went to university, got married, got a job that I hated but the pay was good, and the weight steadily increased. My job was unbelievably stressful, so I ate to forget about it, or comfort myself after a hard day. I didn't have much of a social life either, so found myself alone a lot on weekends, where I'd settle in with a DVD box set, a tub of icecream and a block of chocolate for company.
I ate whatever I liked, whenever I liked. I would eat breakfast on the run (occasionally not at all), drink Diet Coke like water, eat enormous helpings at dinner, and still have room for half a cheesecake afterwards. I ate whatever was put in front of me or whatever happened to be in the cupboard (or other peoples!), without a thought as to whether it was good for me, or whether I really needed it. By the time I was 22, I was wearing Australian size 18-20 clothes (US size 14-16) but thought I was healthy because I went to the gym five days a week.
I left my job in December 2004 in search of new opportunities, which meant quitting the gym, as I could no longer afford it. I didn't curtail my eating at all, so my size steadily increased in the early months of 2005. I wasn't thrilled with my appearance, but had kind of given up on myself. I had been doing this for eight years - up down, up down - from obesity to anorexia and back again. There seemed to be no end in sight.
What was your "turning point"? When did you decide enough was enough?
Just after Easter in 2005, my best friend joined Weight Watchers, and I was a bit taken aback. After all, she was at least 10kg (22lb) lighter than me! We had talked about losing weight together before, but I honestly never thought that it would happen. I knew that I was on the larger side of girls my age, but had very little motivation to do anything about it. So when my friend went ahead and made a decision, it forced me to have a very hard look at myself!!
So, the first motivation behind getting this journey started, apart from desperately wanting to enjoy young fashion while I could and stop gasping for breath every time I went up stairs, was because I didn’t want my friend to lose weight and look fantastic, and for me to be left behind! Also, I had recently got some photos developed that were not flattering at all, so that was a bit confronting as well.
So on 25th April 2005, I stepped on the scales. I was not prepared for what I saw - 103.5kg (227.7lb). It was so upsetting, but it was the kick in the pants that I sorely needed to get this journey started. I had all the evidence in front of me - the unflattering photos, the tight jeans, the figure on the scales. If I didn't start now, when was I going to start?
When I saw the figure on the scales, that was it. I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I'd let myself go like that. I had to face facts - I was very overweight, and out of control. I decided there and then that I was going to sort this out once and for all. I didn't care how long it took. Something in me just snapped. I never ever wanted to be in that situation again and I knew that it would be different this time - I was not going to give up.
My life changed that day.
How did you do it?
Somehow I knew that this was going to be a change for good, so I didn't do anything drastic to start off with. My best friend was a Weight Watchers member, so I followed that with her to begin with. We would ring or text each other with our weigh-ins every week, as I hadn't actually joined WW officially. For exercise, I started going for a 20 minute walk three or four nights a week after work, and then did an abdominal workout from the WW DVD my friend bought me. I'd go for longer walks on the weekend. I tried to exercise every day, but if that wasn’t possible I aimed for six days out of seven.
I got a tracker (just a small exercise book) and pasted the fat, unflattering photos of me in them. I wrote a list of reasons why I wanted to lose weight. I wrote down my goal weights - my mini goal and my ultimate goal of 76kg. I wrote down inspiring quotes.
I used this exercise book to track, and I tracked religiously – I wrote down everything I ate and drank, and what exercise I did, every day. This helped me to see exactly what I was eating and doing, so if things went well, I had a record of what had worked. If I didn’t lose much that week, I could look back and see what I might have improved upon.
I cut down my portion sizes and boosted my meals with lots of vegetables. I stopped buying junk food. Pretty simple when you think about it - I just became more aware of what I was actually eating and focused on how much better I felt by eating well and exercising, and taking care of myself.
Every week it became easier.
I had to lose 27.5kg (60.5lbs) to get into my healthy weight range for my height. That number was quite daunting so, rather than focus on the entire amount I had to lose, I broke it down into small goals. The first goal was to get under 100kg, which happened within the first month. The next goal was to lose 5kg in total, then 10kg, then 15kg, then 20kg. I also gave myself rewards along the way for meeting these goals.
Eating well and exercising was only half of the battle, however. Prior to losing weight and getting healthy, food was my hobby. I had to completely revamp my attitude to myself and towards food. I had to learn to be my own best friend and stop using food as a distraction or a comfort. I had to learn why I turned to food if I was unhappy. I had to learn to recognize the triggers. It was hard work and it took some time for the new, positive behaviours to sink in, but they did eventually and it was a very proud day for me when I realised I had had a block of chocolate in the fridge for a week and only two rows were gone! :)
When did you start Skinny Latte?
I started the original Skinny Latte blog in September 2005, when I was about halfway to goal, and I had just moved from Hobart to Melbourne. I had been reading (ie lurking!) heaps of other weight loss blogs for a few months, and was really excited about starting my own and getting to know the people that I'd come to admire and rely on for motivation in a real and meaningful way. I wrote about the various ups and downs in my weight loss journey, and the amount of support and accountability I got from was amazing. I met some lovely people through the blog who are still among my closest friends today.
I reached my goal weight of 76kg (a loss of 27.5kg!) in April 2006, a year to the day after I started my journey. I eventually, through triathlons and yoga (and a bit of heavy partying!), got my total loss down to about 30kg.