When 20-year-old Chelsea constantly avoided being in photos and found it hard to buy clothes, she knew something had to change.
And nearly a year after taking that first step, Chelsea has lost an incredible 27kg and even taken her mum Louise along for the ride.
“The reason for my weight loss was purely to feel comfortable in my skin,” Chelsea told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“I was tired of putting on the same baggy clothes and no longer having confidence in myself.
“I was sick of going shopping for clothes and walking out with nothing but sadness, as I could never find anything that made me feel confident. I wanted this all to change.”
Deciding to turn to Jenny Craig to reach her goal weight for her 21st birthday, Chelsea invited her mother Louise along too.
Louise was hesitant and thought she would last only a week, but after dropping 2kg in the first week, she was motivated to continue.
Journey starts with one step
For Louise, who had chronic knee pain, the thought of walking anywhere was too hard.
“My medicine cupboard was becoming packed with meds and remedies to help give my daily routine some ease, so I could live what I thought to be my best life,” Louise said.
Like so many overweight people with significant pain and health issues, her weight was constantly blamed for her knee problems, despite these issues also affecting average-sized people.
“The surgeons would say, ‘well, look how big you are! Come back when you’ve lost weight’,” she said.
Of course, losing weight was going to be difficult without walking.
Disheartened, she finally found a surgeon who saw her potential, and says she was blessed with getting both knees done together in 2020.
“With my new knees in, I was able to get moving,” Louise said. “At 57, I wanted to challenge myself to get fitter and stronger.”
Louise and Chelsea met a Jenny Craig consultant who encouraged the mother and daughter to journey together and inspire one another.
“We would share in our joy when we lost and offered words of encouragement to one another on days our weekly weigh-in didn’t go quite as planned,” Louise said.
Meanwhile, Chelsea found goal-setting beneficial.
“I would write a realistic goal weight to reach by the end of each month,” she said. "In doing this, I could keep myself accountable. After reaching each goal, I knew I was one step closer to gaining my confidence back.”
Mum in the swim
For Louise, a love of swimming was a powerful motivator, as was keeping track of her fitness with a smart watch.
“My goal was to go out and swim in the ocean, and I have since reached that goal, along with my weight loss,” she said.
“I meet with other ladies on a Saturday morning and we go down to the beach early for a swim.”
Another important factor was being far more mindful when it came to food.
“I made sure that I had eaten prior to leaving home, so I was not tempted to buy a snack or a coffee when out shopping or during work,” Louise said.
“I have started reading the backs of packages and the health star ratings. I buy more natural and fresh produce, rather than processed.”
How to get started
For those who don’t know where to start their weight loss journey, the pair has sound advice.
“Don’t do it for anyone but yourself. Your wellbeing and happiness is the most important thing. Stick to it," advises Chelsea.
“You may have some bad days, weeks or months, but remember the reason why you started. “Push through those struggles and it’ll make you stronger."
And mum Louise agrees.
“Don’t think age means weight gain and pain are inevitable,” she said. “We have the opportunity to turn this around.
“Just embrace it and do it to feel better. Start slowly and gradually build up to doing more. I did it because I wanted to feel better within myself and didn’t want to be on pills for the rest of my life.”
Life has changed dramatically
After nearly a year since starting the program, Chelsea and Louise have been able to maintain their weight, and love their new, improved confidence and lifestyle.
They motivated each other to stay on track, which resulted in Chelsea losing 27kg and Louise 24kg.
“My pain has subsided and my fitness levels and energy have gone far beyond anything I could ever have believed was possible,” Louise says.
“I’m healthier and I have far more energy than I’ve ever felt. My wardrobe is much more exciting and I feel much more joy in my day."
Chelsey says her life has changed dramatically.
“I have my confidence back, enjoy seeing photos of myself and I feel healthier than ever. As I used to feel a lot of pain in my legs and back, from the weight I was carrying, I no longer have that pain and burden. I feel great!”
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