"I was at risk of needing high blood pressure medication."
Ashlee's weight loss story
Name: Ashlee Berryman
Weight loss: 23kg
How long it took: 8 months
How she did it: Online and Group Coaching at Nowra, NSW, with Coach Nadine Holmes.
Before & Now
"This time I knew I was ready and determined to give it all I had."
Start when you're ready
I was 19 the first time I joined Weight Watchers, and 22 the second time I gave it a go. On both occasions though, I signed up because other people were encouraging me to lose weight, and I know now that’s why I didn’t stick with it – my head wasn’t in the right space.
When I made the decision in October 2013 to follow the Program and get to Goal once and for all, I knew I was ready and determined to give it all I had. I’d gone skydiving a few months beforehand and had to pay a surcharge because I was over the company’s weight limit. I wasn’t much over the limit at the time, but I decided I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life paying surcharges.
Feel the fear and do it away
I’m the eldest of four girls and while my three younger sisters are slim, I’ve always had a naturally bigger build and have always been chubby. A few months after getting to Goal, I went on holiday with my family to Hawaii and wore a bikini on the beach. I’d only ever worn a one-piece in summer, so wearing a bikini in Hawaii felt really good!
I recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, and a couple of years ago I hadn’t yet decided whether I’d use my arts degree to get into teaching or social work. I’ve just started my masters in teaching for secondary school, and each semester I’ll have to complete a teaching practical.
Now that I’m fitter and healthier, I think I’ll have a better chance of keeping up with the teenagers I’ll be teaching. I have a lot more confidence these days too, which I know will help me when I have to stand up in front of a classroom.
Embrace new life stages
This year my boyfriend Jamie and I are going to move in together. I’ve lived out of home before, and I admit I didn’t always eat very well. The Program has taught me all the healthy eating habits I need, and I know I’ll enjoy going to the supermarket and farmer’s markets with Jamie. Every aspect of our move is exciting – I can’t wait!
Work up a sweat
I used to be the girl who convinced others – and myself – that I’d never, ever be a runner. When I joined Weight Watchers I started walking a few times a week, but once I hit a small plateau on the scales, I decided it was time to step up my workout routine, and I switched from walking to running.
These days, I run 5-10km twice a week, and I love going to group fitness classes at the gym. I’d love to try a fun run this year, like The Color Run (thecolorrun.com.au) or Miss Muddy (missmuddy.com.au), but ultimately I’d love to be able to do a triathlon one day. I’ll get there!
Switch up your fashion style
I bought a lot of new clothes and gym gear while I was in Hawaii. There are a lot of great bargains there. I’ve gone from a size 18 to a size 10-12, so I tried new styles and stepped out in a few items I never would have dared to wear before, including a pair of white shorts!
Face your health head on
When I was overweight I had high blood pressure and was at risk of needing medication to help control it, but since reaching Goal and adopting healthy eating habits and exercising more, it’s improved. It’s rare for someone my age to be on blood pressure medication, and my doctor and I are monitoring it, but as long as I stick with my new healthy habits I won’t need the medication. I have a family history of high blood pressure so it’s possible I’ll have to deal with it later on in life, but losing weight has definitely postponed it at least.
Go with the flow
Maintaining a healthy weight for life is challenging, but I’m determined to make it work for me. I’ve realised it’s not that big a deal if I have a small gain now and then as long as I’m honest with myself about it and take ownership of it. The most important thing is to keep going – never give up!
Ashlee’s smart eating cheat sheet
- Indulge your sweet tooth: I like to have a bit of chocolate at night time, so I make sure I’ve got some diet chocolate mousses in the fridge, or the Weight Watchers Coconut Delight Bars in the pantry – they’re my favourite! I always plan that little chocolate treat into my budget.
- Have breakfast for lunch: I love the recipe for Café style banana bread on the Weight Watchers website. Sometimes, when I’m studying, I have a slice for lunch topped with fresh banana, 1 tablespoon of ricotta and 2 teaspoons of honey.
- Try new things: The Program has pushed me to try new recipes and ingredients. My favourite salad these days is a garden salad with roasted pumpkin, canned tuna and a little bit of Italian dressing. The tuna and pumpkin are so tasty together. Before Weight Watchers, I’d never have thought to put them together in a salad.
- Crunch ‘n’ skip: I work in a restaurant and it’s very hard to resist the hot chips! To help me avoid them during my shift, and keep my hunger at bay too, I cut up apples and carrots and snack on them while I work. That way, I skip those chips that I haven’t planned for.
- Down-size: I like a glass of wine with dinner, so I plan it into my daily SmartPoints® allowance. If I don’t have enough SmartPoints values for a full glass, I’ll just make it a half serve. You don’t have to miss out on the good things in life.