Illness or injury

"I considered gastric bypass surgery."

After three of her siblings had gastric bypass surgery, Meiana Gray knew there was no easy way to lose weight. With some smart lifestyle changes, she lost 41.5kg and lost 8 dress sizes.

Meiana's weight loss story

Name: Meiana Gray
Weight loss: 41.5 kg
Was: 103 kg |  Now: 61.5 kg
Height: 1.63 m |  Age: 37
How long it took: 10 months
Method: Group Coaching in Hamilton, NZ, with Coach Cherie Waterhouse.

Then & Now

"I actually get quite grumpy if I don't regularly get my sweat on!"

Write down your goals

Growing up, being overweight was my normal. Three of my four siblings have had gastric bypass surgery, and for a while I considered it an option too. I weighed 85kg throughout my 20s, then I had four children in four years, and with each pregnancy I gained 5kg. I was tired all the time, had low energy and felt like I was just surviving. I wasn’t enjoying life with my husband and children the way I wanted to.
In January 2013, I made two lists. The first one included everything I felt at the time – I was exhausted mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. The second included everything I wanted to feel – I wanted energy and to love life. Comparing the lists was overwhelming – I didn’t know how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

Make the decision for yourself

A few weeks later, I took two of my children to Australia to visit family. It was exhausting. It was so hot, and I had to take the kids swimming. I’d enjoyed swimming in the past but now it was a huge hurdle for me to wear togs and get in and out of the pool in them – the only reason I did is because I was far from home where few people knew me. That experience was the final straw.
Some friends had joined Weight Watchers and the Program ticked all the boxes for me. It was sensible and would fit in with my family’s lifestyle, and it would give me the support I needed to make the changes I knew I had to make. I joined soon after we returned from our trip.

Get started, and don’t let setbacks get you down

The one thing that worried me most about starting my weight-loss journey was the fear I’d be ‘hangry’ all the time! But on the Program I could eat a lot, not feel hungry and still get results. The weekly meetings helped with accountability because knowing the weigh-in was coming kept me mindful about what I was eating.
For the most part, my weight loss was consistent. Sometimes I’d have a gain and know full well why I’d put on weight, but other times I’d gain when I wasn’t expecting it. When that happened, my Coach Cherie and I would discuss ways to give my weight loss a jolt – everything from prioritising sleep to rearranging my cupboards.

Continue making new healthy changes

I didn’t change everything all at once. Instead, the topics at the meetings would inspire me each week to make certain tweaks. For me, that included taking the time to make breakfast for myself every day, rather than picking at the kids’ leftovers as I cleared the kitchen table in the morning. I started making a smoothie for myself as soon as I got up and I’d drink it while I got the kids ready for the day. I also started carrying a piece of fruit in my handbag whenever I had to go out, usually a banana or a mandarin. Over time these simple changes became habits – I still do both now.

Turn healthy eating into a family affair

We stopped relying on processed food and takeaway so much, and a lot of what we eat these days is made at home from scratch. I wanted to continue cooking my family’s favourite meals, so I simply thought of ways to make those dishes healthier. The kids love spaghetti bolognaise, so now I use heaps of grated vegies – zucchini, carrot, onion, capsicum, mushrooms – and add smaller amounts of mince and pasta sauce.
After a few months, my husband decided to plant a vegie patch in our garden to cut down on our grocery bills a bit! Now we have lettuce, spinach, silverbeet, broccoli, tomatoes, bok choy, capsicum and spring onions. He’s also planted pumpkin and some root vegetables that will be ready in autumn and winter. The kids love venturing down the garden to pick from the vegie patch, and then bringing them back to me to add to our dinner.

Mix up your workouts

When I first joined Weight Watchers I didn’t have the energy to exercise. About three months into the Program I’d lost 10kg and felt ready to give it a try, so I started walking. As my energy levels improved, I started swimming again. Then a boot camp started close to my house so I joined that too, and my passion for fitness grew from there!
I’ve tried lots of things now, including CrossFit, joining a gym and even Mixed Martial Arts. I ran my first 10km event in September 2013 and would love to complete the Kerikeri Half Marathon, but my main goal is  simply to move in some way every day. I never thought I’d love moving so much, but I do! It’s definitely a priority and I actually get quite grumpy if I don’t regularly get my sweat on!

Just keep going

Whatever I’m doing, particularly when I’m exercising, I tell myself to just keep going! Those three words helped me look at my journey in a better way, because it wasn’t just about weight loss, it was about learning and living a better way of life. It’s about accepting the little hiccups in life, like a small gain, and then getting back on track straight away.
I have a lot of the Pinspiration quotes from the back of the magazine on display in my pantry and I often look at them because they help keep my mind strong. That’s a big part of succeeding in weight loss – having that mental focus and keeping your head in the game.

My signature smoothie

Meiana makes herself this delicious smoothie every morning and sips it as she’s getting her kids ready. We reckon it’s a winning brekkie
for anyone in a hurry – try it!

What you need:
1 banana
1 orange, peeled, pips removed
Handful blueberries
Handful spinach leaves
½ cup low-fat Greek-style yoghurt

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Meiana Gray

My fit list

When it comes to the right tools for a successful workout, it’s not just about what you pack in your gym bag! Be inspired by Meiana’s ultimate fit kit.

A friend: I’m not that motivated to exercise when I’m by myself, but when I know someone is relying on me or there’s a group of us working out together I get it done, push myself harder and have fun!

The right mindset: A strong mind leads to a strong body, and the key to a good workout is a healthy internal dialogue before, during and after exercise. Even if I’m ‘not feeling it’, I remind myself that I’ll regret it if I don’t exercise and that helps me get started. And post-workout, I enjoy the endorphins and congratulate myself for my efforts and accomplishments!

The right exercise: In the beginning, I wasn’t keen on going to the gym so I started walking and swimming instead. I began moving more in general – instead of watching the kids at the park I now enjoy playing with them! As my fitness improved so did my desire to try new things, and I started to enjoy a wider variety of exercise and sports.

Good trainers: I bought my first pair of proper running shoes to train for my 10km event in 2013. They’re New Balance, and they’ve clocked up
a lot of kilometres since! I should have retired them long ago, but I’m proud of the fact they’re the first pair of trainers I’ve ever worn out.