'I've reclaimed my dancer's body."
Leah's weight loss story
Name: Leah Niewman
Weight loss: 22kg
How long it took: 9 months
How she did it: Group Coaching at Drysdale, Vic, with Coach Sue Anderson
Then & Now
"I’d have lots of meltdowns in the mornings trying to find clothes that would fit. I missed my ‘leah’ energy."
I was a full time dance teacher
I was as fit as a fiddle and slim-as. I’d teach modern and funk classes at a high school during the day, and at night I’d spend a few hours working at a studio. I was constantly moving. Then I moved to Hawaii with my husband for just shy of five years. He’d gotten a transfer through work, but it took six months for my work visa to come through – so I couldn’t start teaching as soon as we got there. Not that I complained, we were in Hawaii, living the lifestyle, and people would come to visit us frequently. We’d go out for dinner and out again for breakfast – it was fantastic.
During my first pregnancy I put on a lot of weight
In fact, I gained 40kg with my first baby (Chace, now 3) and, while I did lose a fair bit of that naturally after he was born, by the time he was nine months old that had slowed down. I felt like I needed a hand getting the rest off (about 10kg) so I joined Weight Watchers, got to Goal, and two weeks into maintenance, found out I was pregnant again.
I ate sensibly during my next pregnancy
I even went to a dietitian for advice but my body just seemed to gain weight. Then, my doctor said to me one day, “It’s probably just the way you carry pregnancy, you know?” I relaxed about it then and just let my body do its job, but, still – I gained 30kg. I just knew as soon as I had Maison I was going back to Weight Watchers, in my mind there was no choice. When he was six weeks old, I thought, “That’s it, I’m starting.” It was the 1st of July, a new financial year, and I treated it like it was New Year’s Day; a chance to make a fresh start. So that’s when I rejoined. I knew what it was like to be slim and I knew what it was like to be big – it was uncomfortable and nothing fitted me. I’d have lots of meltdowns in the mornings trying to find clothes that would fit and I missed my ‘Leah’ energy; I missed being me.
At that point I had no faith in myself
Walking into Group Coaching and working out I had more than 20kg to lose, I thought “It’ll never happen!” Because Maison, who turned 1 in May, was so small when I started the Program, I took the first few months easy. I was breastfeeding and had two young boys, so the Program had to fit into that lifestyle for a while. Exercise meant going for a walk once a week with a friend, but adapting our meals was easy. I bought some Weight Watchers cookbooks and we all fell in love with the Lasagne, the Pumpkin & sage gnocchi bake… too many dishes to mention! For a while it was just about living my everyday life, counting SmartPoints, and being mindful of what I was eating.
One day, after about six months, something clicked
I woke up with a new drive and determination and thought, “I’ve gotta get this under control!” I started taking the boys for 5km walks every day, stopping at a playground halfway so they could have a play. I stopped eating the leftovers off their plates. I got a Fitbit and couldn’t go to bed without reaching 10,000 steps a day. After the kids were in bed, I’d follow aerobics videos on YouTube. I put on a workout video once while Maison was napping, all Chace wanted to do was join in! Just last month, we were out for a walk and he said, “Mummy, we’re walking because we’re getting fit and healthy!” Being active and eating well is a normal part of their lives as they grow up.
"When I got to Goal my Coach and the other members bought me a big bunch of flowers and everyone wrote congratulations notes on a gorgeous card."
I started going to Group Coaching
I often had to bring my boys with me and I wondered whether I would fit in . I needn’t have worried because the others love the boys and they’re so incredibly supportive. When I got to Goal my Coach and the other members bought me a big bunch of flowers and everyone wrote congratulations notes on a gorgeous card. In the end, we’re all there for the one reason. I know I’ve gotten to Goal but I still feel like I’m continuing my journey; I don’t feel it’s ended and now I can do whatever I want. I’m still very much living the Weight Watchers healthy lifestyle.
My husband is super proud of me
Throughout her journey, Leah’s husband Nathan has been her biggest supporter. Here, he shares how truly proud he is.
"Since losing 22kg, I’ve watched you transform into a self-confident woman who’s happy in her own skin again. You used to shy away from photos at family gatherings but these days, you’re confident enough to be part of them and get back in front of the camera. I don’t feel like I’ve needed to do much to support you – you’re self-motivated and bring so much energy into our home. You’re the first one up every morning, getting the day started, and you’re the last one up preparing for the next day. Your energy levels have increased dramatically and it has a positive effect on our whole family. You take the kids out walking every day and they love it just as much as you do, and you’ve inspired me by taking up running and also motivated me to join the gym. I’m amazed by all the progress and changes you’ve made, and am incredibly proud of you."
Social media support
I’ve discovered a whole world of Weight Watchers people on Instagram. I set up @wwmotherof2. It’s been one of my biggest motivations. People leave the nicest comments, cheer me on, and share their inspiration, so it’s been a great source of support.