Kyla Bates discovered a whole new version of herself after she finally decided to prioritise her own health after heartbreak.
“My relationship had just broken up and once the shock of that wore off, I realised I had spent so much time prioritising my husband and stepson that I’d forgotten to prioritise myself," the 34-year-old, from Burton, SA, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
"I was lethargic, overweight and didn’t want to spend my thirties in and out of Dr’s offices. I wanted to be able to keep up with my stepson. I knew something had to change, so decided to put myself first for the first time in a long time.”
Weighing 95kg on a tiny 157cm frame also meant finding clothes was a difficult (and expensive) exercise for Kyla.
“Clothes are so much more expensive when you’re not average size. A cocktail dress I wore once to an event cost me hundreds of dollars at a plus size store, whereas smaller colleagues could find something much cheaper," she says.
The First Step
After trying “every diet and fad under the sun”, Kyla decided a more measured approach was called for.
“I made the decision that this time was going to be different. I changed my mindset to focus on the end goal of being healthy and happy. I signed up for Lite n’ Easy meals which are portion and calorie controlled, but that was only part of the picture.
"With the convenience of having my diet sorted, I could focus on the exercise and wellbeing part of my journey.”
Having a good support network of friends and finding a gym that actively encouraged Kyla to attend was integral to her weight loss and fitness success.
“If there was a day I didn’t attend, rather than just letting it go like most gyms do, they’d call me up and ask what’s going on with me. This kept me accountable," she recalls.
Kyla lost a whopping 30kgs over 2.5 years, and as her confidence in her fitness ability has grown, she has also found her fitness goals changing over time.
“Initially, this was about me wanting to be a healthy BMI, but losing the weight has changed my life in unexpected ways too," she says.
“I always considered myself a happy person, but since losing the weight and getting fitter, my colleagues and friends have commented on how joyful I am now. The exercise and endorphins really do make you feel so much better, so it has a positive effect on your physical as well as mental health.
"I’m also so much fitter, so I’ve started doing triathlons and look forward to my next one!”
How to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals
Kyla’s story is inspiring, but she warns you must put in the hard work and be willing to prioritise your own health in order to reach your goals.
“If you aren’t ok, you aren’t going to be able to look after anyone else either. Find a meal plan and exercise that you love and will actually do," she suggests.
"That could look like joining a gym or simply attending a zoom class at home as so many have had to do during the pandemic. Set mini goals for yourself, that way you can check them off as you work towards achieving your ultimate fitness and weight loss goal."
Consistency, not deprivation
And as the silly season approaches with all its deliciousness, and potential stress over 'keeping to a routine', Kyla has some advice.
“It’s not about deprivation, it’s about consistency. If you have a cheat day here or there that’s totally fine as you’re eating healthy most of the time," she says.
"I am more confident preparing my own meals now, but always keep some Lite n’ Easy in the freezer for convenience.”
And are there any negative consequences of losing such a monumental amount of weight?
“Well, my wardrobe has a lot more clothes in it now,” Kyla laughs. “So I might need to make some room if I meet someone special!”
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