Mother-son duo's inspiring 50kg transformation after cancelling surgery

·Lifestyle Reporter
·5-min read

When 46-year-old NSW mum Belinda Sanders booked her Gastric Sleeve surgery, she had hit rock bottom.

Like many Aussie mums, Belinda was juggling running a household, whilst also navigating the loss of her own mum, and caring for her 50-year-old sister who has a disability. Her own health had taken a back seat.

Belinda Sanders before and after weight loss 30kg
Belinda Sanders achieved her weight loss after cancelling gastric sleeve surgery. Source: Belinda Sanders

“I found that my own health was coming last,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I truly believed that I had ‘tried’ everything to lose weight when I booked the Gastric Sleeve surgery.”

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Pre-op transformation

In the weeks leading up to her April 2021 surgery, Belinda was on a strict pre-operation diet consisting of diet shakes, water, salad and vegetables.

“Whilst I knew this diet wasn’t sustainable, I did lose 6kg, which led me to face some serious reflection," she says.

“I realised that I hadn’t really ’tried’ to lose weight in a long time. I was lying to myself if I thought I had really given weight loss, my health and fitness a good go!”

At the eleventh-hour, Belinda made the decision to postpone her surgery and give herself the opportunity to lose weight on her own.

Belinda Sanders and son kohbi weight loss
Belinda and her son Kobhi lost over 50kg together. Photo: Supplied

“I decided to give weight loss a decent effort myself by cancelling the surgery and ONLY rebooking if/when my attempts didn’t achieve the results I desired. I was so relieved to reschedule, as I had some serious reservations about the long-term implications of the surgery, much less the recovery and any possible complications during surgery.”

Despite continued weight loss, Belinda stopped the pre-op diet in July 2021, as it was not providing the nutritional value her body needed long-term.

How Belinda finally lost 30kg

She made the decision to switch to Lite n’ Easy, and has since reached her goal of 30kg weight loss.

“It educated me about a wonderful array of nutritionally balanced meals and an amazing variety of snacks," she explains. “I’ve learned that despite the cliché, it’s true, you can have your cake and eat it too…all in moderation.

“I’ve learned what to look for on a nutritional table, and what each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) should look like in terms of this. I have learned new lifelong habits.

Hand holding a magnifying glass showing details of the actual nutrition facts from fresh vegetarian salad.
“I'm not on a diet, I'm eating a new nutritionally balanced and satisfying lifelong menu." Source: Getty Images

“I'm not on a diet, I'm eating a new nutritionally balanced and satisfying lifelong menu....one that I have adopted and extended to the meals I provide for my family."

Healthy changes become a family affair

Bursting with pride that she was able to achieve the changes without surgery, the mum is also over the moon that he was able to set a good example for her young son Kobhi.

"My son Kobhi began Lite n’ Easy the same time I did and he managed to lose 22kg at age 12! He began his health and well-being journey at 74kg, and in just 6 months he has come down to 52kg," she says.

Kobhi’s commitment and his weight loss prompted other kids and their parents at his school to take on the challenge. Now, not only is Kobhi a fit and healthy young teen, he also offers mentoring and support to his school peers who are looking to achieve the same goals.

He shared with Yahoo Lifestyle: “No food feels as good as I feel now. I still can’t believe I’ve lost 20kg’s. If I see others like I was, I want to tell them how good it feels to lose the weight and that it’s not worth it to stay the same – make the change, it’s worth it!

Kobhi weight loss transformation
After losing 22kg, Kobhi now offers mentoring and support to his peers. Photo: Supplied

Belinda’s message to others starting their weight loss journey

Belinda shared the life changing mindset shifts that have supported her weight loss journey: “I have learned that my weight loss journey is anything BUT a diet. In the past, I have lost weight by practically starving myself. Cutting out key food groups like breads and pasta. Limiting my meals to certain foods and typically cooking the same meals night after night, because ‘I knew they worked!’. This time has been significantly different.

“I’ve learnt that weight loss doesn’t have to be mundane and strict. I’m forever excited about my meals and the vast variety, while having lost weight in the process. A massive WIN WIN in my book!"

“If you’re trying to lose weight, drink plenty of water, and explore new foods - portion sizes are key.

“Focus on small goals, be it a few kilos at a time. Take regular progress photos, you’ll thank yourself later. Have a goal, ‘a new dress (or shirt) – a size down’ for an upcoming event or walking 2 times per week for 4 weeks. When you accomplish one goal, slowly nudge it up a gear.

“Weight loss is a journey, not a sprint. Be realistic with your goals and you will smash them! It sure does get easier, so keep at it – you’re not alone."

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