"She’s an amazing mother and I’m proud of everything she’s achieved."

Mother-daughter bonds are strong. Apply that solidarity and support to a healthy lifestyle and you’re set for success.

Melissa & Sonia's weight loss story

Name: Melissa Ruberto
Weight loss: 24.9kg
Was: 92.6kg
Now: 67.7kg
Height: 168cm
Age: 28
How long it took: 3 years
How she did it: Online and Group Coaching at Essendon, Vic, with Coach Carol Fraresso.
Name: Sonia Trainor
Weight loss: 18kg
Was: 78kg
Now: 60kg
Height: 165cm
Age: 57
How long it took: 12 years (just above Goal for 12 years).
How she did it: Online and Group Coaching at Essendon, Vic, with Coach Carol Fraresso.


Then & Now


As a family we’ve always been health-conscious, but during my first pregnancy, with my daughter Milani, I thought I could eat whatever I wanted. It was ridiculous! I craved and ate sugary, fatty foods and I put on 32kg! I was already short of breath and lethargic because I was pregnant, but the weight gain made it worse. I used to have to hold the rail to get up the stairs to our townhouse because my knees ached so much.

Once I got the all-clear after Milani was born I joined WW

Food-wise, it was a no-brainer. I stuck to healthy choices and avoided excessive amounts of carbs, cheese and sugary foods. I used the WW cookbooks, which my husband Chris enjoyed so much he started doing the Program, too. I prepare fruit salad and cut up vegies so there’s no excuse not to choose a healthy snack. I joined a circuit gym and now go three times a week, and I’ve also started going to bootcamp. I put on a little bit of weight with my second pregnancy, but I was really organised and prepared a six-week menu before Kaiser was born, so I was all set.

Mum has been a great support both practically and emotionally

She’ll look after the children so I can go to meetings, which allows me to focus on myself for a little while. We used to go to meetings together – before my son got too loud! For the majority of my journey, we’d attend a meeting together then go for a big walk afterwards. Once a week, Mum has us all over for dinner and she cooks us a WW meal so we know how many SmartPoints everything is. My husband and I often ask her for recipes.

Mum and I are always up for coffee and a gossip!

No matter what’s going on in my life, Mum always reads the situation and is understanding and patient. She’s supportive, without being overbearing. Becoming a mum has given me a new level of appreciation. You don’t realise how much mums do until you’re one yourself. My intention is to keep up my lifestyle, and when my kids are old enough to understand the importance of healthy eating and exercise, they’ll know all about how to look after themselves!

Mel and Sonia


"My first recollection of being large was at the age of 7."

As part of a classroom exercise we had to weigh ourselves. I weighed 44kg, which was a lot for my age, and the other kids were giggling. When I was 16 years old I decided to join Weight Watchers. I lost a significant amount of weight in the first year, to the point where people who hadn’t seen me for a few months didn’t recognise me. I didn’t reach my goal weight of 66kg though. I hovered just above it for a long time, eventually reaching it when I was 28. I’ve now been under Goal for almost three decades – half my life!

A healthy lifestyle is innate in me now

If I feel like my weight is creeping up, I just go to a WW meeting and it reinvigorates me. I wear a Fitbit every day to make sure I keep my steps up, aiming for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, although I usually walk closer to 15,000. I also enjoy walking with Melissa – there’s a 4km riverside circuit we like to do together. I relish healthy food, too: a salad with something crunchy like seeds or nuts actually excites me! My signature salad (and Melissa’s favourite) is spinach, pumpkin, pine nuts and pecorino cheese with pancetta – I can modify it by using ham instead, so it’s lighter. I cook dinner for Melissa and her family on Wednesdays – I like to try new recipes and if I find something they like, I tag it.

I’m so proud of Melissa

Seeing her lose weight and get back to how she was before having children makes me so happy for her. She is highly motivated and when she puts her mind to something, nothing stops her. I think as a mother you have to be careful not to intrude and overstep the mark, so I never shouted through a megaphone that she should join Weight Watchers. Making the decision on my own made me stronger in my journey, and I think that’s true for Melissa as well. It was her choice and she has done an amazing job.

Melissa is a lot like me, so we’ve always been close

She’s confided in me when times have been tough, and vice versa. We talk a lot. Our relationship is based on friendship and mutual admiration. I respect how she goes about things in her life. She owned her own home at 21 and every interview she’s been to, she’s got the job! I attended the birth of my granddaughter Milani, and when Melissa and her husband Chris introduced her to me, they’d given her my name as her middle name. I was overcome; it was a beautiful moment. She’s an amazing mother and I’m proud of everything she’s achieved.

Mel and Sonia

Grow family support

Having a supportive family makes staying on track that much easier. Similarly, if you have a loved one on a weight-loss mission, you can help them with these strategies.

1. Do something practical
Words of encouragement are great, but often practical support is what’s needed most. Think cooking a healthy meal, offering to babysit or running an errand to save them time.
2. Do it together
“The best way to support someone is to go on the journey alongside them,” urges Sonia. “Eat the same healthy food as them and if they’re feeling down or frustrated, suggest going for a walk together.”
3. Support, don’t push
“It’s really important not to preach or push people further than they want to be pushed,” says Melissa. “For example, if Mum saw me eating a piece of chocolate, she’d never tell me how many SmartPoints it was worth.”
4. Constructive catch-ups
If coffee and cake was your old routine together, start a new one, like spending an afternoon together preparing healthy snacks, or a gym date.

Last updated 26th April 2017