Meet Bernadette and hear how she overcame health issues with Fresh Start

Tell us a little bit about your Fresh Start journey so far and why you decided to make a change to your health?

My Fresh start journey started as a result of ill health. I had been struggling with a number of issues going back about 5 years ago when I had to have a full hysterectomy. I thought that my problems would be resolved as a result of having the hysterectomy which was true to a certain extent but since then I started to have really bad IBS symptoms and a lot of joint pain. I was going to the gym regularly and had a trainer and I ended up putting on about 10 kilos. Given I was already 25 kilos overweight that was not desirable.

I had been waiting for something like Fresh start. I work full time running an organisation and I often used to say, if only someone else could just cook the meals for me and take the guess work out of dinner and lunch, that would be amazing. So when Fresh start came along, it was meant to be. Perfect timing and perfect solution. I found it was perfect for my situation. My husband and I are home alone for most of the week but have one adult daughter who is home about 3 days per week. We started off with the 4 meals so that we could have lunch as well and that worked really well for both of us. I found there was always enough food for an extra person for dinner as well.

We like to travel and we tend to do active travel incorporating hiking. Getting 15 kilos off in weight made an immediate impact on my ability to enjoy the activity and to continue to be active. It has also had other health benefits including lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol and additionally despite having a family history of heart disease and diabetes, my health results have shown that I have 0 % chance of heart disease and no pre-diabetes.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve come across while losing weight and keeping it off?

The main challenge for me has been as follows — Travelling for work, getting tired and stressed and also my IBS which means I have to be very careful with what I eat and drink. I am also someone who actually will skip meals a lot. That means that I end up being really hungry and will overeat in that situation. I am also in menopause and I find that has had an impact on my sleep. All adds to increased inflammation and stress.

What’s been your favourite Fresh Start meal?

My favourite Fresh start meal is anything with salmon and also the chicken poached with ginger and miso. I love those flavours.

What has your exercise regime been like? What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

My exercise regime has been intense. I had a trainer and was going regularly to the gym having extreme workouts as if I was a 20 year old. Wrong! All that happened is that I put on weight and I ended up with knee and other joint issues that continue to plague me. That also added to inflammation and has negatively impacted in my ability to lose weight. Instead now my main exercise is walking. As I mentioned we like active travel and have just returned from Europe where we walked 8 days of the Camino de Santiago and earned our verification as we completed in excess of 100 kms. In addition to walking I had a rehabilitative trainer who I worked with twice a week. The main focus for me with those sessions was around flexibility and also posture and strength. I also go to yoga. I try to walk around 10,000 steps a day. That works really well for me.

Any tips for someone just starting out on their weight loss journey?

My number one tip would be to prioritise yourself and focus on health aspects of weight loss rather than aesthetics. Yes it’s nice to wear nice clothes but it is way nicer feeling healthy. I can only speak for myself but I found that honesty with others about wanting to lose weight was really helpful. It helped with accountability. I also found that it is better to break up my weight loss goals into more manageable chunks. So — it might be — lose 8- 10 kilos by Christmas. It’s amazing how good you feel when you achieve even that amount of weight loss instead of focusing on the bigger number! Also — have heaps and heaps of vegetables and make them spicy and flavoursome. That works to really fill you up and there are so few calories in them. I also find after dinner is my weakest time and so I save a piece of fruit and some yoghurt for then. I also only eat between 7 am and 7 pm. I don’t know why but it seems to work. Anyway I have lost 15 kilos now and I still have another 20 to go. I am hoping to lose another 8-10 by Christmas.

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