In the past 12 months, Leone, 56, has not only lost an impressive 37kg but she did it while living with chronic disease in the form of Multiple Sclerosis.
After being diagnosed with MS in 1998, the Family Day Care Educator from Victoria spent the next two decades searching for a way to manage the fatigue and heat intolerance caused by the condition.
Her symptoms made it near impossible for Leone to maintain an active lifestyle which, combined with less than healthy eating habits, saw her steadily gain weight. That, in turn, made her fatigue and heat intolerance worse.
Leone tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she bravely decided to break the cycle after experiencing a pivotal life moment a few years ago.
“The turning point was photos from Christmas 2017 and also the announcement of our first grandchild on the way,” she says.
“I decided there and then I wanted to be around to enjoy all the grandchildren that may come along,” she adds.
‘Slow and steady’
Faced with the daunting task of overhauling her diet and ‘sedentary’ lifestyle Leone decided to get a bit of help from Lite n’ Easy to kickstart her journey.
“Before Lite n’ Easy my lifestyle was fairly sedentary. Little or no exercise, my eating habits were not great and I did love my chocolate.
“I thought I ate fairly healthily but I did not and my portion sizes were large.”
These days she fuels up on the brand’s salads and beef korma.
To begin with, Leone took a ‘slow and steady’ approach to exercise as her MS restricted her options.
“I couldn’t start with aqua aerobics as the heat of the water would affect my MS and I would get tired very quickly.
“I found a dance exercise DVD that I enjoyed and could do at my own pace as my health improved and the weight came off. I also walked every day.”
Once she felt comfortable in a swimsuit and could handle the heat Leone started aqua aerobics and also joined a gym to do group classes. The COVID outbreak put a pause on her pool and gym visits but she still made sure to keep up with her daily walks.
‘Improved out of sight’
Leone’s life today is a world away from what it was and her MS has improved so much that she’s now no longer taking medication.
“Usually during summers I would basically hibernate staying indoors to avoid the heat but with the weight gone my tolerance for heat has improved out of sight.
“I still have the occasional day feeling fatigued but nothing like the 20 years previous!”
She says her family and friends are very proud of her achievement and some can’t believe the change.
“If I didn’t make this change in my life I would still be sitting on the couch and too tired to run around with my grandson who is now two,” she explains.
“I certainly wouldn’t be able to keep up with the two granddaughters that are on their way, either,” she adds.
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