"I don't use my illness as an excuse."
Rebecca's journey to a healthier weight
Name: Rebecca Rugers
Weight Loss: 39.1kg
Now: 74.4kg (4kg away from Goal)
How long it took: 18 months
How she did it: Over-the-phone Coaching for the first three months, then Online.
Then and Now
“Don’t deny yourself treats. Find ways to include them.”
My friends and husband didn't recognise me
As Bec Rugers looked around at the 70 guests who had congregated in her home for her and her husband Sean’s joint 40th birthday party, she glowed with happiness. After shedding 30kg, ordering a beautiful dress from overseas and having her hair and makeup professionally done, she looked like a different person. “A few people even asked my husband, Sean, where I was and he had to look around for me even though I was standing right in front of him!” she laughs.
I felt so uncomfortable in my skin
Exactly one year earlier, Bec had been in a very different state of mind. Shortly after embarking on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime with Sean, in October 2015, she’d realised just how miserable she was.
“We were meant to be ticking things off our bucket lists, but I was so uncomfortable,” she says. “Sean is a mad rugby fan, so we went to the World Cup in England. We each got a jacket and a jersey, but the jersey didn’t fit me and the jacket wouldn’t zip up. When we arrived at the stadium, I felt like I couldn’t fit in the seat properly. It was horrible. We even had photos taken with some of the players, but I couldn’t bear to look at myself in them.”
My 'ah-ha' moment happened on a bus in Turkey
On the second leg of their trip, during a bus ride in Turkey, from Istanbul to Gallipoli, Bec had a lightbulb moment. “I kept thinking, ‘I’m turning 40 next year; what do I want from my life? I’m not happy with how I look or feel, and I feel like I’ve lost myself.’ That moment was the start of the process for me.”
When Bec returned home to Sydney, her then-14-year-old daughter, Ally, unknowingly provided her with the extra motivation she needed to turn her life around. “Ally started eating a lot more healthily and cutting out all the extra snacks she’d been having,” says Bec. “She wasn’t happy with how she looked and that had come from me. I realised I’d been providing my three kids (Ally, now 16, Tom, 13, and Charlotte, 11 ), with all the wrong foods and that had to change.”
I was losing weight and ran my first City2Surf
In February 2016, Bec signed up to Weight Watchers. During the first month, the kilos seemed to melt off and she felt great. She discovered a passion for walking and started seeing a trainer twice a week, who got her into running. “I did my first ever City2Surf in Sydney last year,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it!”
My chronic illness flared up
But when a chronic illness she’d been battling since the age of 19 flared up a couple of months into her weight-loss journey, Bec knew she was in trouble. “It’s called chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, or CIDP,” she explains. “Whenever I get an infection, my body attacks my nervous system instead of fighting the virus. I took steroids for it when I was young, and that’s when my battle with my weight actually started. Not only did the steroids make me puff up, but my mum made me things like bacon and egg sandwiches to help me take my tablets and my eating habits went downhill from there.”
Despite the difficulties she’s faced, Bec refuses to lay all the blame for her weight issues on her illness. “It’s a big part of the reason I put on weight, but it isn’t the only reason,” she says. “I’m an emotional eater and I used my condition as an excuse to eat crap for too long. Whenever I got home from my treatments, I’d have pizza for dinner and the next day I’d eat chocolate. I realise now I can’t use my illness as an excuse to overeat.”
I'm 4kg away from my goal weight
While the first 30kg came off steadily, the last 9kg have proven more difficult and she still has 4kg to go before she reaches Goal. “I’m on a new medication which has slowed my weight loss again, so I know I’ll just have to be patient,” says Bec.
“I’m also dealing with tendonitis right now. Because of my condition, I don’t feel pain like other people, so injuries are often advanced by the time I feel them. But I know I’ll get back into walking soon and get back on track.”
My kids love being active with me
Bec’s family couldn’t be happier with her transformation. “Ally is 16 now, so she sometimes comes to the gym with Sean and me,” says Bec. “My son Tom, who’s 14, and my daughter Charlotte, who’s 11, will go for walks or bike riding with me.
My goal for this year has been to be more open and do more things as a family, so on a recent holiday to the Sunshine Coast I did a lot of water sports.
"Normally I would’ve just been sitting on the beach, watching the kids in the water, so it felt great to get out there.”
3 things I learned about weight loss
1. You need a strong support network
“One of the best things I’ve learned from this journey is the support from WW Connect. It’s so important to have a network around you that understands what you’re doing and can catch you when you fall. And you can also influence people without even realising you’re doing it.”
2. Variety is the spice of life
“I used to get stuck in a rut and make the same meals over and over again. But being able to search through so many different recipes online – and to share recipes with other members through Connect – has been amazing.”
3. Every day is a fresh new start
“Don’t worry about what happened yesterday – learn from your mistakes and move forward. Don’t let a bad meal turn into a bad week and a bad month. I used to do that, but I don’t anymore.”