Jennifer's journey to a healthy weight
Name: Jennifer Awburn
Weight loss: 22kg
How long it took: 7 months
How she did it: Online coaching
Then & Now
Jennifer’s top tip: “If you put in 100% effort you’ll get 100% results.”
Hanging pride of place in Jennifer Awburn’s bathroom is a photograph of a wholesome, healthy, glowing model. Jennnifer has photoshopped her own head onto the model’s body so she can see her ‘future self’ every morning.
“It’s my motivation,” she laughs. “They say that what you focus on in life is what you attract more of into your life. So I focus on this gorgeous, fit and terrific body and each day my real-life body is starting to look a little bit more like hers!”
Unhappy with her appearance for years
The 48-year-old air traffic controller from Albury, NSW, hasn’t always liked who she saw in the mirror. For years, being overweight interfered with every part of her life. “I never felt comfortable, clothes didn’t fit me, and at the end of the day I was always exhausted. But now I enjoy getting ready to go out. I no longer need to try on 10 different outfits to find the one I look less fat in. I’m not Elle Macpherson, but I like my body and I’m happy with the way I look now.”
No diet was working long term
Before joining Weight Watchers, Jennifer had tried several diets and weight-loss programs, but none of them worked in the long term.
“I did lose weight but as soon as I stopped the diet my old habits kicked in and I’d be right back where I started. What I love about WW is it teaches you what types of food you need to be eating and how much. It’s not a diet – it’s for life.”
“My weight is now within the healthy range for the first time in 18 years!"
Jennifer’s battle with her weight began about 18 years ago, when she got married and had her two sons, Thomas, now 14, and Darcy, 11. “As a busy mum you get used to putting yourself last. The weight creeps up and you think, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it’, then suddenly you reach a point where you’ve had enough.”
Seven months ago, Jennifer reached that point. “I was having an argument with Mark, my husband, and I suddenly blurted out how unhappy I was with myself. I felt unhealthy and miserable about the way I looked. His response was, ‘Well, why don’t you do something about it?’ and I thought, ‘Yes, you’re right. I will.’ That same afternoon, I signed up to WW Online.”
It was perfect timing. “I was ready to make changes. I was grateful to be doing Weight Watchers and being grateful made me happy. I find tracking fun and I love the WW app and Connect. The people on Connect are so supportive – I would have felt very isolated without them.”
Healthy cooking tips and tricks
The first thing Jennifer changed was her weekly grocery shop. “I started going through the WW cookbooks, ticking the recipes the whole family would eat. I still make the family favourites with little WW-friendly swaps for myself. For instance, if we’re having spaghetti, I have the sauce with spiralised vegetables instead of pasta. If we’re having Mexican, I put mine in a lettuce leaf instead of a taco shell. It’s easy.”
Power walking every day
“Prior to joining WW, my activity level was zero,” Jennifer says. “I just never made exercise a priority, but now I put my earphones in and I walk everywhere. I can walk for 5km at a really good pace without getting puffed at all.”
From the get-go, Jennifer was determined not to start a physical activity routine she wasn’t likely to continue for the rest of her life. “For me, going to the gym five times a week is out of the question. I wouldn’t enjoy it. But walking is great. I power-walk for an hour a day and it clears my head. Sometimes I’ll do a yoga class, but really, my main thing is walking.”
Jennifer has learned a lot in the past seven months. “I’ve learned life isn’t about indulging myself at every opportunity or about rewarding myself with food. Life is about making healthy choices that support what I want in life – and that’s worth celebrating!”
Jennifer's travel tips
Working in air traffic control often gets Jennifer planning family getaways…
“I rewarded myself” When she hit Goal, Jennifer and Mark took the boys to Bali and Lombok for a two week holiday. “I felt great in my new bathers. I relaxed by the pool with no worries whatsoever about how I looked. Bali is the best place to relax. We all loved it.”
“Our next trip will be…”
“Later this year Mark is planning to take Thomas to Burma and I might take Darcy to the Gold Coast for a fun holiday by ourselves. As a family, Chichen Itza in Mexico is right up there on our bucket list, too. Oh, and I’d love to go to Alaska – I’ve got all the brochures!”
Top 3 things Jennifer has learned with WW…
1. How to eat well but still enjoy occasional treats – it’s all about finding that healthy balance.
2. Anyone can succeed on the Program if they follow it.
3. Motivation may come and go, but commitment is forever.