Sleep apnoea had become a serious health problem for Susan and one that sent her into a vicious cycle. As she was always tired, she couldn't find the motivation and energy to exercise and lose weight. But weight loss was exactly what she needed to do to lessen the effect of the sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is a condition where your airways are blocked and your breathing is interrupted during sleep which leads to poor sleep patterns. In Susan’s case, it led to her always feeling fatigued.
Learn more: 7 ways to sleep better
It wasn't just the sleep apnoea that made Susan decide to lose weight - her doctor also insisted she needed to do something.
"I no longer liked to be in photos and I was always tired", Susan says. "I had high blood pressure and my doctor kept telling me I needed to lose weight but I was just too tired to exercise and make the effort to lose weight."
Her confidence had taken a beating. Susan no longer wanted to see photos of herself and she didn't want to buy new clothes as she felt nothing looked good on her. Finally, she started to worry about not being there for her son.
"I felt sorry for my son having a mum that even 'I wasn’t proud of' - and worse still – he’s an only child and with the health risks of being overweight I didn’t want to leave him without a mum."
Her doctor recommended she try a version of the 5:2 diet but after some initial success she experienced adverse health effects.
"I found that while I could starve myself for 2 days I would pig out during the rest of the week. Many years ago I had a stomach ulcer and after a few weeks on this diet I started to notice symptoms arising similar to what I’d experienced in the past so I felt it wasn’t a healthy choice for me."
Learn more: Total Wellbeing Diet vs the 5:2 diet
The weight had crept on after initially losing 15kg with the Total Wellbeing Diet books 10 years ago*. Back then it was menopause combined with the onset of sleep apnoea that caused the weight gain. But before she joined the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet again, Susan kind of thought her diet was okay.
"Other than the chocolate I thought I was eating quite healthily, but now realize I was eating too much fruit and not enough vegetables or protein - and too many carbs," Susan says.
"I really enjoyed the menu plans and the fact that it gave lots of choices to swap for when either you didn’t feel like eating that particular food, or the ingredients weren’t available. I also really enjoyed the food!"
"With the Total Wellbeing Diet, diet isn’t 'die' with a T, the food is amazing! It’s like having restaurant meals every day, so you are in fact spoiling yourself," she says.
*Individual results may vary