“I'm now a surf livesaver”

Losing weight helped inspire Desleigh to become a surf lifesaver. Three months after reaching goal weight she received a bravery award!

Desleigh's weight loss story

Name: Desleigh Jones
Weight loss: 24.3kg
Was: 91.9kg 
Height: 165cm 
Age: 47
How long it took: 12 months 
How she did it: Group Coaching with Brian Grainger and Lee Everett in Brisbane, Qld

Then & Now
Desleigh Jones

Helping others

Helping others has always been a passion of mine, so when my family and I returned to Brisbane in 2012 after living overseas, I combined my desire to do volunteer work with my love of swimming (which is a great way to keep cool in the Queensland heat!). I started working towards becoming a volunteer surf lifesaver and water safety advocate for Surf Life Saving Australia’s Nippers program. It took a lot of hard work and practice, but in November 2014, I finally got there. Little did I know it would change my life completely.

A few months later, a fellow Weight Watchers member and I were walking along Brisbane’s Victoria Bridge when we heard cries coming from the Brisbane River. Without stopping to think, I stripped off my clothes and shoes and dived in to help a man who was in the water. We were soon spotted by a passing ferry and, along with two others who’d jumped in to help, were pulled to safety. Afterwards, I was stunned to receive a Governor’s Bravery Award and Surf Life Saving Australia’s National Meritorious Award for my part in the rescue. It was a humbling experience.

A stroke of luck

I never would have jumped in that river if it wasn’t for Weight Watchers. For starters, I was actually on my way to a meeting on the day of the rescue, having reached Goal three months earlier. I call that lucky! But more to the point, WW helped me become a lifesaver in the first place by turning my habits and health around.

I first joined WW in 2005 to lose weight before my wedding, and then again after having my two kids. Although I slimmed down each time, I kept getting tripped up during maintenance because of the reasons I ate: I’m an emotional eater. When I’m stressed or feeling down, I tend to eat and keep on eating, even if I’m not hungry. Since rejoining WW in 2014, I’ve learned to tune in to my emotions and activate coping strategies – like going for a walk when I’m stressed – rather than eating. That’s really helped me.

Desleigh Jones

Exercising creativity

WW has also taught me that making healthy food doesn’t have to take up much time. Between work, family and surf life saving, I lead a busy life, so having nutritious and convenient food at the ready is a must.

Convenient healthy meals

Now I keep mixed vegies in my freezer to throw into quick stir-fries. During the colder months, I freeze batches of soup and add meat for a speedy meal. I love my steamer for cooking fish and veg in a hurry.

Battling plantar fasciitis

I’ve always been an active person, but before rejoining WW I was battling plantar fasciitis (heel pain) related to my weight. That, along with the hot Queensland weather, made it really hard to exercise, so I had to get creative. Every morning, before the humidity kicked in, I’d go walking with my neighbour. As I got fitter, I wore a weight vest and ankle weights for added intensity. I’m an avid reader so I would – and still do – read on my exercise bike and cross-trainer as well.

Now, incidental exercise takes up the lion’s share of my day. I’m always looking for opportunities to be active. I cycle or walk to work and to buy groceries. I keep myself entertained during long-haul train or plane journeys by stepping in place while reading. I take the stairs rather than the lift.

I also walk my dog, Bruno, twice a day. He has been my fitness buddy throughout my weight-loss maintenance – we haven’t missed a day yet!

Desleigh Jones

Support system

The WW community has been a great source of support for me, both when I was losing weight and today. There’s no judgement in meetings, just people who want each other to reach their personal goals.

When I was losing weight, I travelled a lot for work but I still wanted the support I was getting from meetings. My solution? I researched local meetings ahead of time and checked in, no matter where I was. That really kept the momentum going.

The Coaches are also wonderful. I’ve joined my Coach Lee’s Facebook group – we always have a laugh! The friendships I’ve made through WW are for life.

“I’ve made my passion into my career”

THEN: I used to work in human resources, but since the rescue, I’ve been inspired to make a big career change.

NOW: In addition to volunteer life saving, I’m now a private swimming instructor and enjoy helping people of all ages and capabilities to enjoy the water safely. My life is so different now – and I’m absolutely loving it!

The Best Bits 

1. Best motivational quote- 
‘Just keep going.’

2. Best Weight Watchers recipe 
I don’t really have a favourite. But I like the concept of substituting an unhealthy ingredient for a healthier one and it tasting the same or even better. The WW app has a lot of useful suggestions for this; for example, vegie chips instead of plain potato.

3. Best 'Non-scale Victory' 
Passing the fitness tests to become a surf lifesaver – and then each subsequent year, passing the proficiencies to remain a lifesaver. Best feeling ever. Also, feeling absolutely 100 per cent comfortable wearing togs. I wear swimming togs every day as part of my job and I love it. No body hang-up issues here.

4. Best tips for success 
Don’t compare yourself to others – this is your own individual journey. Just take it one day (or even moment) at a time.
Also, once you reach your healthy weight range, stay on as a WW member. I have been at my healthy weight now for just over three years and am an online member. Also, every now and again, I pop into one of my old meetings. If I find myself struggling, I jump on the WW app and get support immediately.


Things Desleigh loves about the WW Your Way+ program  

1. It’s really evolved over the years to include the latest scientific research findings, new technologies and the views of its members, which have all added immense value.

2. Everything is incorporated in the app so learning the new program is straightforward.

3. It guides you towards a healthy lifestyle without you really knowing it’s happening! As you progress, you adopt new habits that are easy to maintain in the long term. It will help you be a successful Lifetime member.