An Aussie woman has revealed how she lost an incredible 42kg, after she was left “horrified” during a holiday and decided to completely overhaul her health.
Samantha Hill, from Melbourne, had struggled with emotional eating and yo-yo dieting for most of her life, hitting 130kg at her heaviest. But after having multiple ‘aha’ moments during a trip to Vietnam a few years ago, the 51-year-old is now barely recognisable.
“You go on holidays to enjoy yourself and relax but it felt like a huge wake up call for me as I kept experiencing signs that my health and my weight were getting the better of me,” Samantha tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“It was so horrible.”
Emotional eating and bad habits
Samantha reveals she used to turn to food for comfort during stressful periods of her life.
“My dad sadly got sick and passed away a few years ago and instead of looking after myself, I overindulged and found comfort in unhealthy food,” she tells us, adding she would regularly try restricting foods or yo-yo dieting to get things on track.
“Unfortunately this meant anything I did to lose weight wasn’t sustainable and ultimately would result in me falling back into bad habits.
And when she wasn’t ‘dieting’, Samantha says she would indulge in sweets from the morning “all the way into the afternoon when the 3pm sugar cravings hit”.
“It also wasn’t uncommon for me to overindulge in alcohol and a pub meal if I went out for dinner. I was always quite sporty when I was younger but as I got older, I would only join the gym when I was on a fitness kick and would spend most nights after work on the couch watching tv with snacks.”
But all that changed when she headed away on the trip of a lifetime. A trip which ultimately changed her life.
“When we got on the plane to Vietnam, I was absolutely mortified to find that I had to request an extender to be able to fasten my seatbelt,” Samantha remembers.
“Following on from this, determined to enjoy my holiday, I always wanted to go kayaking in Halong Bay.
“When I arrived on the day it actually took two people to fit me into the kayak and even with those two people, they had to remove the foam from the seat of the kayak - I was horrified and knew it was time to make a change.”
Time to change
When she returned from the trip, Samantha decided to rejoin WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) in January of 2018 and hasn’t looked back since.
Samantha attributes a large portion of her weight loss success to mindset and support, leaning on other members and people close to her for tips and advice throughout her journey.
“I began attending the weekly workshops, tracking my food in the app and then convinced my nephew to join the gym and start working out with me,” she tells us.
The biggest changes she made were in her diet, cutting back on sugar and learning about portion control.
“While this was really difficult in the beginning, as I began getting headaches from sugar withdrawals, I knew this was how I was going to create better habits and a better relationship with food.
“What’s great is now I incorporate treats occasionally and have found balance with what I eat! I started to lose weight immediately and over time I realised that it’s about the small, sustainable changes that you can stick with rather than going to extremes.”
Samantha now weighs 88kg, even inspiring her mother to join her on the journey, which saw her also drop 17kg herself after being diagnosed with diabetes.
When it comes to the biggest thing she has learned, Samantha says it’s all about “consistency”.
“It is a lifestyle for me, not a diet and it's all about finding balance and an approach you can follow long term,” she says.
“Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack - if you’re consistent 95 per cent of the time, the times you slip up or overindulge won’t make a dint in your progress.”
She also said lockdowns taught her the importance of moving - even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day.
“Given the gyms were shut, I incorporated [app workouts] into my routine along with daily dog walks and it showed me that even taking a small portion (even if it is just 15 minutes) to dedicate to movement is enough if you can keep it up.”
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