The 34-year-old mum of two started walking – rain, hail or shine – and is now 54kg lighter.
Photo: Left: Natalie now 73kg. Right: Natalie in 2016 at 127kg.
I’d always been overweight and struggled with my weight – when puberty hit I started getting bigger and it got worse as the years went by. I gained the most weight after my son was born four years ago. I tried every diet possible, but it was so hard and I’d get confused by all the different information and advice that’s out there.
The turning point came when we went to Sea World as a family in December 2016. My daughter wanted to go on a ride with me, and I knew we couldn’t as our combined weight had to be under 120kg, and I was 127kg. That absolutely devastated me and I knew I had to do something about it.
The day we flew home, my husband went to work and I went straight to the shops and stocked the fridge with the healthiest food I could find, then began researching weight loss.
I started experimenting with meal replacement shakes for a few months.
I’d have a shake for breakfast and dinner, and a lunch of protein with salad or veg as my main meal.
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In terms of getting active, I chose walking because I knew it was proven to help with weight loss. I also knew I wasn’t capable of anything strenuous, and walking was the lowest-impact activity I could think of. Also, there was no way I was stepping into a gym the size I was. I was too embarrassed.
We live near the Bay Run, a 7km walking track in Sydney’s inner-west, so I’d walk it every night with my husband, Sebastian, who came with me for moral support. We’d leave the kids with my in-laws and just go, come rain, hail or shine, literally – one night there was an electrical storm and a forecast of hail but we still did it, we just walked faster!
He and I had the best talks on those walks; it brought us closer together.
Plus, I started losing weight – first 5kg, then another 5kg – and that really kept me motivated. Before when I’d lost any weight, I’d reward myself but I scrapped that. You have to do it for the right reasons – because you really want to change.
By March 2017, I’d lost 20kg, and so had Sebastian. I felt so much better, but I wanted to lose more – when I compare photos from then to now, I think, how did I feel so good when I feel so much better now? I didn’t want to do shakes forever, so I visited a nutritionist, who was great and got me eating proper food again.
Soon after that, I made another big decision – to join a gym. I started doing personal training with Vision PT in April and I haven’t looked back. I used to hate exercise, but I’m a different person now.
I still walk several times a week, and I’m now at the gym by 5.30am every day.
I do a mix of classes, personal training and my own workouts, and that’s all pushed me to lose another 30kg. I’ve gone from 127kg and a size 22-24, to 73kg and a size 10-12. The other day a stranger complimented me, saying what great legs I have. That’s never happened before and it really gave me a boost.
I work in the legal industry, but this weight-loss experience has been so positive I’m thinking about doing a PT course so I can help people the way I’ve been helped.
It’s so easy to make excuses and say ‘I wish I could be one of those people who gets up at 5am to exercise’ – but if I can, you can! I just wish I’d done this 10 years ago. I can’t believe I waited this long to get active. I’m trying to inspire my kids to be the same, so we’re outside at the park or walking at every opportunity.
You only get one life and you need to invest in yourself and do what’s right for you. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.
NATALIE’S TOP TIP: STAY ACCOUNTABLE
“The moment I knew I was going to do something about myself, I started putting it on Facebook and Instagram so people knew. It’s easy to exercise or diet, but if no-one knows, then you can easily fall off the wagon. I wanted family and friends to keep me accountable, so I was very open about what I was doing.”
While we’re on the topic, read how one guy treated his diabetes by walking. Plus, how walking every night after dinner can help you lose weight.
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