Growing up on the island of Tonga, health and fitness was not on the curriculum. Our family get-togethers revolved around big feasts and large portions. As a wife and a mother, I put my family first and didn’t take care of myself. At size 22 and weighing 120 kilograms, I struggled to play with my children at the park or even go for a walk with them – I’d find myself out of breath, lacking energy and feeling tired.
Starting exercise again
My light bulb moment came when my youngest child started school. I decided it was time to do something so that I could live longer and be around for my family. I started by scheduling a morning walk after school drop-offs. A few days later, I added in a short jog, and eventually this became a run – and I’ve never looked back. Now I train four to six days a week and can run 10 kilometres without stopping.
Embracing a new style of eating
But it wasn’t just about exercising – I had to change my eating habits. Instead of having a full bowl of rice like I used to, I now have one cup. I swapped white bread for multigrain, and have slowly cut down from three sugars in my coffee to none. I have three regular meals during the day, with small snacks in between to keep me going. When we have family get-togethers I’m controlled with my portion sizes and I stop eating when I feel full.
My new lifestyle has also had an amazing influence on my family. I’m now preparing healthy meals at home and teaching my husband and daughters about exercise and nutrition. My husband has been following my eating plans, and has already lost 23 kilograms, and my 14-year-old daughter is now joining me at the gym.
The biggest challenges
The most challenging part of the weight loss has been avoiding temptations. I have a sweet tooth and I love chocolate, so I treat myself occasionally and I try not to feel guilty about it. I remind myself that tomorrow is a new day, and I can start fresh on my workout and eating plans.
The key to maintenance
I’ve managed to maintain the weight loss and now training is a part of my everyday life, but I couldn’t have done it without the support from my friends and family, and especially my husband and three daughters. The journey has been tough both mentally and physically, but I’ve never felt better than I do now. I’m confident, happy and positive about life. I’ve learnt that when you put your mind and heart something, you can achieve your goals.
*Fernwood client testimonial was achieved as part of an overall healthy diet and exercise plan. Regular exercise and proper diet are necessary to achieve and maintain weight loss. Consult your healthcare professional before beginning any diet or fitness program.