"I have the confidence to achieve. It's empowering!"

Islay Mcleod- New Zealand's Inspirational Story Healthie Winner 2016

Islay 's weight loss story

Name: Islay Mcleod
Weight loss: 29.3 kg
Was: 118 kg
Now: 89 kg
Height: 172 cm
Age: 29
How long it took: 29 weeks
How she did it: Group coaching in Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand.

Before & after

Islay Mcleod before and after

"My life has changed from one of ill health and fatigue to one full of energy, determination and success."

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. I spent three months in and out of hospital taking a lot of medication and steroids, which are renowned for increasing your weight. When I was overweight, I didn’t always have high self-esteem. I was battling fatigue and lack of confidence, and I started eating for comfort. I didn’t like being overweight and those negative feelings perpetuated the bad habits and I found it hard to believe that things could be different.

I was also diagnosed with Coeliac disease

Early last year I was also diagnosed with Coeliac disease. Before my diagnosis I struggled with daily migraines and was always tired. I’d have to get out of the car halfway home from work so I could stretch my muscles and put a gel pack over my eyes, just so I could stay awake and continue driving. After I stopped eating gluten the migraines and fatigue disappeared quickly, which was great.

I tried to lose weight on my own

After my diagnosis I tried to lose weight on my own. I’d done WW in the past and I was seeing a dietitian so I felt like I should know what I was doing, but I couldn’t do it. Every time I’d eat something I shouldn’t, I’d feel so guilty that I’d end up eating more, which created a bad cycle. The amazing thing about Weight Watchers is that as long as you track, you’ll see results.

I love that I can lose weight without the guilt

I love that I can eat a chocolate bar without guilt and still lose weight. Of course, sugary things hike up the SmartPoints value, so I don’t eat sugar as often – and that feels awesome. WW gives you the ability to eat your own foods, too. Because I can’t tolerate gluten or dairy, and I’m also allergic to other foods including nuts, honey and pineapple, my diet is very specialised. Having the framework, and the knowledge of SmartPoints values, really works for me.

WW teaches you to set goals and follow through

When you try to lose weight and fail you might feel like it’s impossible, but losing weight can be really difficult. When you manage to do it, though, you start to believe that maybe other things in life aren’t so difficult either. WW teaches you how to set goals and follow through on them. Achieving weight-loss success has given me the confidence to realise that I can achieve in other ways, and that’s empowering.

I wanted to get under 100kg to go skydiving

I’ve always wanted to do a skydive but because you have to weigh less than 100kg I’d never let myself consider it. I said to my partner recently, “Let’s skydive next summer once I get under 100kg.” To be at the point where I can do it is really incredible. I get a great feeling when I go to the gym and achieve workouts that I’ve been working towards, like running for a certain amount of time – imagine how I’m going to feel when I jump out of a plane at 15,000 feet and land safely on the ground?!

I can’t wait to hike NZ

Plus, I’d love to do some of the beautiful hikes we have in New Zealand – I’ve never felt fit enough before. It just goes to show that with a little determination, you can change the kind of lifestyle you want. For now I plan to continue towards my Goal and live every day with more energy.

"I have a strong, healthy body capable of fighting illness the best it can."

I love the Connect Community

I enjoy engaging positively in my weekly meetings, sharing in the successes of other members and having conversations with those in meetings. I also love the online community 'Connect.' My passion for a healthier lifestyle has already flowed over into inspiring friends and family to reach for their own goals, too.

 "My determination and perseverance to reach and achieve goals in all areas of my life is much stronger."

Winning the Healthies ​

Our 2016 Healthies winners were treated to a week of pampering in Sydney! After hair makeovers and professional makeup, our winners were styled by Donny Gaella and gave their best poses for WW magazine. 

I was sitting at home having lunch with my partner and his dad when I realised I’d missed a few phone calls. When I rang back, I discovered I’d won ­ The Healthies and it was the most awesome feeling. My first reaction was worry that I didn’t have a passport to fly to Sydney for winners’ week!

It’s really cool that WW members who aren’t yet at Goal are being celebrated in ­ the Healthies competition. It shows we’ve overcome things to get where we are and that we have the motivation to keep going. I loved experiencing all of the things we did with the other winners – they’re all inspirational women in their own right. The magazine photo shoot in particular was great. Doesn’t every little girl dream of being a model for a day? 

Islay Mcleod