The most heart-warming weight loss transformation stories of 2021

We share some of the best transformation stories on Body+Soul.

While this year wasn’t the Covid-free gym fest we’d hoped it be, some Aussies decided to roll with the punches and make changes for their health and also their mental wellbeing and self-confidence that we all aspire to make.

So – how have they accomplished what is seemingly so impossible?

We unpack their diet and routine, and the programs that helped them get there.

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After realising she was having trouble keeping up with her fellow volunteer firefighters, Ellie decided it was time to turn things around. So, she decided to join Centr, a health and fitness app designed by Chris Hemsworth – and was able to lose 15kg.

The diet

  • Breakfast: Breakfast is usually porridge or scrambled eggs.
  • Lunch: Leftovers were the go-to for lunch. Otherwise, lunch was usually some sort of salad or sandwich.
  • Dinner: She had pizza about once a week for dinner, but made a homemade, healthy option using recipes on the app.
  • Snacks/dessert: Her favourite snack from the app was white chocolate and Goji berry cookies. She found dessert the trickiest, opting for a few pieces of chocolate on occasion, but usually, going without.

The routine

She took up workouts on the Centr app to rejuvenate her fitness. The workouts, in the beginning, she found super challenging, too, but notes, the difference today is noticeable.

“I remember after the first Centr workout I struggled to move for at least a week afterward,” she says. “But eventually I started to crave movement, I find it hard to be still for too long these days.”

She now works out between three and up to six times a week. Understandably, she’ll skip a workout on the days she’s fighting fires.

In 2016 and at her heaviest weight, 125.5kg, Norasa embarked on her own health and fitness journey, with hard work and dedication resulting in 50kg of weight loss.

The diet

She added more veggies and fruit to her diet, upped her water intake, and cut down on her vices like takeaway food, alcohol and sugary drinks.

Her portions also became more controlled and she began meal-prepping lunch and snacks to sustain her at work.

The routine

Norasa started out walking to work, then picked up the pace with some running, and then gained the confidence to join her local gym. By this point, she’d lost 20kg solely through diet changes.

Norasa discovered a group training section at her gym Genesis Health + Fitness called the Coaching Zone, and realised she’d found her calling. She lost even more weight, reaching 75kg.

“My coaches encouraged me, as they saw my potential and my passion – and I wanted to gain a better understanding and knowledge of health and fitness,” she says, so much so that she was motivated to complete a Certificate III and IV in fitness training.

She’s now a trainer at the gym where she turned her life around.

Maria became stuck in a routine of bad eating habits. At her heaviest, Maria weighed 142kg. She says she was so embarrassed by her weight that she stopped leaving the house. She lost touch with friends, the outside world, and as a result, her self-confidence dwindled while her depression grew and the cycle continued.

With diminishing self-confidence and growing depression, Maria’s sons encourage her to join Lite n’ Easy, and 14 months later, she has made tremendous progress in her weight loss journey, losing 68 kilos.

The diet

Maria followed the Lite n’ Easy diet program to lose the weight.

While the first few weeks of any weight loss journey can be challenging, Maria says she found the adjustment to 1500 calories an easy transition. With meals like Steak Diane, Southern fried chicken, and slow-cooked beef in red wine. Maria said: “I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.”

The routine

For Maria it was all about self-love.

“If it wasn’t for [my sons], I’d still be stuck in the house, disconnected from the world, and continuing in a downward spiral… I didn’t think of myself much so didn’t know if I could achieve what I wanted to achieve,”

Her self-confidence is now back, and says she’s absolutely loving life: “Now, I have all the confidence in the world, so I have overcome my biggest challenge which is myself.”

At 28, Stephanie weighed more than 243kg and was told her life was under threat. After an unsuccessful lap band surgery, the mum-of-four started working at her gym and her lifestyle completely changed.

The diet

  • Breakfast: She often grabs a smoothie if on the go. With more time, she’ll have porridge, eggs on toast or baked beans made from scratch.
  • Lunch: This is normally the biggest meal of Stephanie’s day. She loves salads and leftovers from the night before. Planning ahead with the meals ensures that she knows what she’s having. Wraps and sandwiches are also go-to’s.
  • Dinner: Stephanie uses the slow cooker (where possible) and also the Thermocooker and although she has a lot of the same foods that I used to (chicken parma, spaghetti bolognese, pizza, fish, steak, etc.), just healthier versions of it.
  • Snacks/dessert: Yoghurt, chopped veggies, bliss balls, healthy muffins, dips, cheese and biscuits and rice cakes with avocado are some of my go-to’s.

The routine

Working out started gently, mixing up 10 minutes each on the bike, treadmill, and cross-trainer and just tried to beat the distance she recorded each time. She started to feel good.

So good, in fact, that she was offered a job at Genesis Health and Fitness.

“When my boss, Paulie, offered me a job last year, I thought he was joking,” Stephanie admits. “I doubted myself and didn’t believe I, as a bigger person, could be taken seriously working in a gym – but I have been able to make such a positive impact on the people who walk through those doors.”

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