Sarah lost 35kg by ditching fad diets Sarah lost 35kg by ditching fad diets

I joined Fernwood Belconnen with my mum four years ago. I felt comfortable with the idea of an all-female environment, and I just fell in love with the “girliness” when I had my first tour.

I started by going only once every couple of weeks, but as I formed friendships with the trainers, other girls at the gym and a closer friendship with my mum (my inspiration when I first joined), I wanted to go more often – five times a week, believe it or not! I love the experience of being at the club.

I had always been bigger

I had always been “on the chubby side of life”. At my heaviest I was around 93 kilos, but always knew something had to change. I encountered bullying associated with me being “heavy”, but instead of letting it get to me I used it as my motivation – success is the best revenge!

I tried several fad diets, and always failed miserably. It wasn’t until I discovered healthier cookbooks and began to take an interest in the importance of nutrition and eating a balanced variety of foods that I began to get a handle on my lifestyle and my weight.

I set myself small goals

The very first goal I set myself was to eliminate takeaway food. This alone made such a difference. I aimed to lose one kilogram every two weeks, and tried going for a walk each day, even if it was just down to the shops. I wrote on the whiteboard at home my starting weight, my current weight and my goal weight (60 kilograms) as a daily reminder of what I was working towards.

Getting over the plateau was challenging

I did go through a stage where I plateaued – I really struggled to get under than 70-kilo mark. Giving up seemed like such an easy option, but this is when I involved myself more with the classes at the gym, and worked hard to change my routine.

I discovered I love running

One of the biggest surprises to come from my lifestyle change has been discovering how much I love to run. Growing up, I always said that I “wasn’t born a runner”, but I know that was just a lazy voice in my head! It took time and effort to get the correct skill and fitness up, but once I achieved my first personal best for running, I became addicted. I try to run 30 to 40 kilometres a week, with individual distances of five to 10 kilometres. You can take running with you anywhere – going on holidays and exploring different scenic locations to run is always so exciting. I have recently got my boyfriend into running, so now we run together. I’m looking forward to The Colour Run in February, although my mum is not quite as excited!

It’s now a lifestyle for me

To date, I have lost 35 kilos (I’m currently 58 kilograms), improved my fitness enormously, and even learned to cook. I don’t even think about going to the gym or making healthy food choices anymore, it has just become second nature. Eating a balanced variety of food (I hate the word “diet”) will make you fit and healthy.

There are days where I don’t feel like going to the gym, but in these moments I remember why I started; I’m on a journey to find a healthy mind, body and soul. I think how far I have come and the benefits I enjoy from this lifestyle, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And my mum – now 20 kilograms lighter – and I still go to the gym together.