How Emma got her groove back

How Emma got her groove back

Emma's weight gain was a gradual accumulation over 13 years, and notes a sedentary lifestyle, not varying her exercise routine, unhealthy eating habits and age-related hormonal changes as the key contributors.

Not recognising the person she saw in a photo at a friend’s birthday was the tipping point. “I thought, do I really look like that?"

Emma chose the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet for its science, diverse food groups, and user-friendly tools. She started weekly tracking of her weight, photos, and measurements, resulting in an impressive weight loss of 14.5 kilos!

Name: Emma
Starting Weight: 77 kg
Current Weight: 65 kg
Total Loss: 14.5 kg*

*Lost 14.5 kg in 9 months and has maintained for over a year now. Individual results may vary.

Losing the weight

Emma's before and after shot.

How did you put on the weight?

I put on weight, the same way many people gain weight, as I aged. I gained approximately one kilo per year over around 13 years. It was gradual so this made it less noticeable, it wasn’t a sudden spike. The weight crept on through a combination of age related hormonal changes, a sedentary lifestyle and not enough variety of foods in my diet. Also, I was eating too much takeaway and processed snacks which were full of carbohydrates and sugar.

Describe your life before the weight loss.

Before I lost weight I had been exercising. However, it was mainly walking and not often enough.

After turning 40, my routine wasn't preventing bloating and weight gain. Sedentary jobs and frequent takeaways were taking a toll. With a desk job, exercise during work hours was challenging.

As my weight increased, I adjusted my clothing choices, favouring long skirts and black outfits and avoiding anything sleeveless. Though people didn't comment much, I could sense my clothes not fitting well, and I avoided buying size 14 jeans.

Overall, my confidence took a hit, and I avoided trying new things and didn’t feel as open generally.

What was ‘your moment of truth’ that made you decide you finally had to lose the weight?

My moment of truth was seeing a picture of myself (in a group) at a friend’s birthday dinner and thinking 'Oh my goodness, do I really look like that?'. During Covid, my weight increased faster than usual. A DEXA Scan revealed I was overweight, carrying excess total body fat, and lacking enough lean muscle mass for my age and life stage.

I became fearful that if I remained on this trajectory and didn’t have a significant overhaul of my lifestyle then I was potentially headed for some significant health issues down the track.

Gaining life

Emma's after photo, sitting on a chair overlooking the beach

Describe how your life has changed since losing the weight?

Losing weight has really transformed my life in many ways. I feel so much better both physically and mentally, I’m more relaxed about my food choices, more energetic and more adventurous with clothes! 

I try to listen to my body in terms of my eating. I eat small, regular meals mindfully, focusing on healthy options like hearty breakfasts and lunches. I see food as fuel, indulging in good, wholesome, nutritious choices without deprivation.

I do try to switch out unhealthier options for better ones. I’ll have wholemeal wraps, chat potatoes instead of hot chips and avoid soft drinks. I opt for herbal teas and reach for products with added protein such as a yoghurt or cereal.

Curiosity about how colleagues in my age group stayed fit led me to overcome my skepticism about gyms and I’m now a regular member of my local gym. I've learned the body benefits from a mix of movements. So, I vary my routine with a stair climber, rowing machine, elliptical machine, and weight training. I now focus on zone minutes instead of steps, tracking my heart rate during exercise—it's been a game-changer.

A recent Dexa Scan revealed I’ve gained 5kg in lean muscle mass, which I’m told is an excellent achievement for my age.

Are there any activities that you do now that you never thought you would be able to do before?

Exercise wise I’m able to get through a full class of Body Attack Cardio at the gym, jog 30-45 mins on the treadmill and also have enough body strength for pilates and yoga, something I never thought possible before. 

I also have a renewed sense of confidence and am more open to trying new things. I travel more, go to live music events and am more social. People tell me I look younger so it feels nice to hear this too.

Emma's after photo, preparing a meal in the kitchen.

What is the biggest lesson/s you have learnt from the whole journey?

Focus on being strong not skinny, both in body and mind. Feeling stronger is as rewarding as being lighter. Setting goals beyond the scale number promotes a holistic approach to weight loss, making it more sustainable in the long run.

Collaboration and community is key. Upon joining the program, I joined the Facebook Group and was amazed by the many members. Seeing another new member, Laura commenting I reached out, suggesting we chat about the program and share experiences. We soon became friends and it was comforting to have someone supportive throughout my journey who understood the challenges of weight loss firsthand. 

Change is challenging—it's said to take 6 weeks to form a habit. Be kind to yourself and take it one day at a time. I began a gratitude journal to appreciate small positive things in my daily life. A positive mindset paves the way for success.

What advice do you have for others trying to lose the weight?

Be focused, determined and realistic when setting weight loss goals but also be gentle on yourself. It’s going to be hard however the results will be worth it. The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet offers a great roadmap for success. Dive into the materials and tools—they'll help you. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint!

What are your top 3 reasons why the Total Wellbeing Diet worked for you?

  1. The straightforward, delicious recipes and variety of food groups. I liked choosing a focus as well such as the high protein, low carb diet. I didn’t feel deprived.
  2. The tools to support us via the website and the app. I booked appointments with the dietician and logged my steps and exercise and synced my Fitbit to the App.
  3. The success stories so we can learn from others who have completed it and achieved the results intended. I found these stories inspiring and it got me thinking, 'well if they can do it, so can I'.

Are you trying to lose weight? Read our comprehensive guide on weight loss to understand where to begin, what happens when you lose weight and what doesn't work when it comes to dieting.

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