"I didn't let an autoimmune condition hold me back."
Louisa's weight loss story
Name: Louisa Doig
Weight loss: 21kg
How long it took: 13 months
How she did it: Group Coaching with Chantal Brassington in Gladstone, Qld
Then & Now
Top tip: “You’ve got to want it for yourself and do it for yourself.”
A busy mum of three
Louisa Doig remembers back in 2013, she was doting on her one-year-old baby boy when she saw two lines on a pregnancy test. “So my youngest two – Harry, 4, and Bella, 3 – have just 18 months between them,” she says with a laugh. “My eldest son, Jack, is 19. He had 15 years of enjoying being an only child, and then all of a sudden he got two siblings for the price of one.”
Louisea had gained weight during her first pregnancy, so she joined Weight Watchers in her 20s, got to Goal and maintained for a number of years. “But then, after a long period of being single, I met my husband, got comfortable and happy and all those lovely things and had two more babies.” In October 2014, she weighed almost 85kg.
Moving to Australia from Scotland
Originally from Scotland, she and her husband, David, decided to immigrate to Australia five years ago. It was a busy time. “We got married, emigrated and had two babies in the space of three years,” she says. It was exciting, of course, but it came with its challenges as well. “Moving was a big thing – it wasn’t just down the road.”
Louisa admits to feeling homesick at times. “When you’ve had a baby, you just want your mum. Especially when you’re sick and you just want somebody to take the kids, and the time difference was difficult to get used to as well – you can’t just pick up the phone and ring your mum, because she’s probably sleeping.”
Diagnsed with an auto immune condition
Having experienced pregnancy and breastfeeding three times over, Louisa was familiar with the fog that comes with the first couple of years of looking after a baby. But once she had weaned Bella and the exhaustion still hadn’t lifted, she decided to have a chat with her GP. “I was knackered, feeling anxious, experiencing some tummy issues and I felt not just tired but properly fatigued,” she says.
“I went to my doctor and said, ‘I feel awful and I don’t know why. I’ve had the babies, I’ve finished breastfeeding.’” He ran blood tests and found the cause: Louisa has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that she now takes medication for every day.
The symptoms fluctuate, meaning Louisa goes through periods of feeling well, followed by stages of feeling tired and run down. “People who know me can usually tell if I’m in a ‘bad patch’ because I’m just in a bit of a bubble, and then I’ll get better again and then I’ll get worse, but there are lots of people who have to deal with far worse things,” she says.
Not letting thyroiditis be an excuse
It wasn’t going to deter her from getting to Goal. “When I was first diagnosed a few people said, ‘Awesome, now you’ve got an excuse not to lose weight!’ but there was no way I was going to use it as an excuse.”
Even having to switch to a gluten-free diet due to her condition didn’t set Louisa off course. “I miss bread, of course. But gluten-free pasta is pretty good, and there are lots of gluten-free options on Weight Watchers, so that’s been a fantastic help.”
Maintaining her goal weight
Lousisa reached Goal in November 2015 and has maintained ever since. While she puts her weight-loss success largely down to the simplicity of the WW Program and the brilliance of the app, Louisa is quick to add that she wouldn’t have gotten there were it not for the support of David, her best friend Kristy and her fellow members at her Saturday morning Group Coaching sessions.
"I still go to meetings every fortnight and weigh in once a month. I love it; the support in that room is like nothing else."
Making lifelong friends
“I’ve met some really great friends from the meetings, too, and they really ‘get’ the journey,” Louisa says. As well as their weekly brunch get-togethers, they also have a Facebook page where they chat and support one another. “I still go to meetings every fortnight and weigh in once a month. I love it; the support in that room is like nothing else. Everybody is in the same boat. Nobody’s judging you.”
After 20 months at Goal, Louisa is loving life. “I’m not going to lie; I once joined the gym only because they had a crèche,” she says. “Nowadays, walking is my main form of exercise, but I also try to do three gym classes a week. Spin and Pump are my favourites, and I love Body Balance too – mostly because you get to meditate for 15 minutes at the end.”
Surprising her family with her new figure
She’s going to Scotland at the end of the year for Christmas and her mum’s 60th birthday – “I’m quite looking forward to showing off the new slimline me, and my suntan obviously!” – and is planning a girls’ weekend to Sydney soon where she hopes to climb the Harbour Bridge – “I did it a few years ago, but I’m sure I’ll look better in the jumpsuit this time!”
"Getting to Goal and maintaining it has given me faith in myself.”
Louisa says, “Losing weight hasn’t just been about the scales. Getting to Goal and maintaining it has given me faith in myself.” She’s now in the process of setting up a small jewellery business. “The old me never would have even tried because I’d be scared of failing, and of people thinking I’m a failure. Now, I just think I’ll try it. What have I got to lose? I’m excited!”
What I’m grateful for...
Finding my tribe
“I didn’t know many people in the area when I first joined, so it was nice to meet other women at the Group Coaching sessions. Meeting people who are in the same boat is invaluable, because not everybody understands the journey – the emotional eating, the mental struggle. Sometimes it’s just easier to talk to strangers.”
Wine & cheese
“If I had to guess why I’ve done so well at maintaining my Goal weight, I’d say it’s because I never cut out any particular thing. I never deprived myself – I just made sure I managed my portions and balanced my treats. I couldn’t get by without my wine and cheese.”