"WW taught us how to eat well and live healthily."

Siblings who laugh together lose weight together. Just ask the three Jensen sisters who lost 45kg between them.

Kirsten, Inga & Sarah's weight loss story

 

Then & Now

Name: Kirsten Jensen
Weight loss: 20kg
Was: 90kg
Now: 70kg
Height: 175cm
Age: 47
How long it took: 18 months
How she did it: Workshop + Digital
Name: Sarah Armstrong
Weight loss: 7.4kg
Was: 84.4kg
Now: 77kg
Height: 169cm
Age: 45
How long it took: 14 months
How she did it: Workshop + Digital
Name: Inga Jensen
Weight loss: 18kg
Was: 84.8kg
Now: 66.8kg
Height: 165cm
Age: 42
How long it took: 7 months
How she did it: Workshop + Digital

 

Sharing the journey


The rain is horizontal, the wind is howling and the seas are wild. But nothing can dampen the high spirits of the three (née) Jensen sisters. They may no longer be the wild young girls on their family’s Queensland farm, but something they still share – along with the special bond that has them starring in this photographic shoot – is they have each embarked on a WW journey.

 

Following their big sister


Kirsten Jensen, 47, Sarah Armstrong, 45, and Inga Jensen, 42, are the closest of sisters – a striking trio of blond-haired, blue-eyed women who are obviously related. As they laugh and chat together they clearly share that special language of sisters, finishing each other’s sentences, gushing over each other’s newly applied makeup at the shoot.

Because of the nature of the shoot, the sisters are also talking about their weight loss and how each of them came to join WW. As so often happens in families, it all started with the eldest sibling, Kirsten, who is also the tallest – “We get smaller in size but bigger in boobs, from eldest to youngest,” she quips (cue more laughing).

Kirsten: "I first joined in 1995 after a stranger asked if I was pregnant."

As the sun miraculously reappears, Kirsten continues: “I first joined in 1995 after a stranger asked if I was pregnant. It was humiliating and definitely my trigger moment. I was 26 years old, I was overweight and I knew I had to make some changes. I chose WW because it wasn’t just another fad or even a diet. For me, it was a total educational program that taught me how to eat well and live healthily for life.”

 

Balancing motherhood and weight loss


In just 14 months, Kirsten reached her Goal weight of 70kg and became a Lifetime member. “It wasn’t hard losing the weight in my 20s,” she says, “but as I got older, and after two pregnancies, the weight began to creep up again and losing it was harder.”

In 2003, Kirsten’s daughter Sophie, now 14, was born and a year later her son, Oscar, now 12, followed. “With each pregnancy I gained about 25kg. After Oscar was born I was eager to get back to my Goal weight so I started going to meetings again.” This time, her sisters joined her.

 

Sisterly support


“Kirsten was always the sensible one,” says Sarah. “I had tried everything to lose weight and I was a classic yo-yo dieter. Kirsten was learning all about healthy eating: good fats, bad fats and portion control. I had tried WW before but this time I was ready to do it properly.”

Sarah says each time she tried a new diet she would lose weight, only to put it all back on again, and more. “I’d just quit all the time and in the end I couldn’t even wear my engagement and wedding rings because they were too tight.”

 

Mental illness side affects


Inga had struggled not only with her weight but also with mental health issues. “When I was 28, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder,” she says. “Then, after the birth of my second child, Bella, in 2004, I developed postnatal depression as well.

One of the side effects of Inga’s medication is weight gain. “It makes me feel hungry all the time so it’s easy to overeat,” she says. “I had back pain, my clothes didn’t fit and I felt revolting most of the time. I called Sarah and we decided to join WW on the same day.”

 

Getting to goal weight


Today, Kirsten and Inga are both at Goal and Sarah is only 5kg away. Despite not living close to each other anymore, the sisters still talk on the phone every day to motivate, encourage and inspire one another.

“Inga and I weigh in at the same time – Inga in Coff's Harbour and me in Newcastle – and we text to see if the other one is going,” says Sarah. “If one of us doesn’t want to go, we blow their excuses out of the water!”

 

Learning new food and fitness habits


“Our mother died when we were young, so our dad and grandmother brought us up,” says Sarah. “Pie, mash and ice-cream was the norm. We had to eat everything on our plates before we left the table!”

Kirsten says learning about fresh food and portion size has been key. “Tracking your food really works,” she says. “But what I love about WW is it’s real life. It’s about choosing the right foods in moderation, not being ‘on a diet’.”

Inga says the Program helps her manage her hunger, too. “If I’m really hungry I fill up on vegetables instead of empty carbs.”

All three sisters now have a passion for fitness. “I had hip surgery seven years ago after an injury and my doctor says my fitness level has prevented me from having a hip replacement,” says Kirsten, who swims laps three days a week and loves Pilates. “My goal is to swim a kilometre and to go skiing again without fear of hurting myself.”

Sarah is also a Pilates fan and cycles, while Inga loves bushwalking.

Kirsten Inga and Sarah

Inga: “I think the best thing about being sisters is that we tell it like it is and there are no secrets.”

The power of sisterhood


Kirsten: “I know my sisters see me as the reliable one but I honestly don’t think I would have come as far as I have if it wasn’t for them.”

Sarah: “The phone calls and texts with Inga and Kirsten are so important to me. They remind me to drop the old negative talk and learn to really love and support myself.”

Inga: “I think the best thing about being sisters is that we tell it like it is and there are no secrets.”