"I'm auditioning again for the first time in a decade."

Joanne’s determination to reclaim her life has seen her battle illness and rediscover the confidence to act on her passion for performing.

Joanne's weight loss story

Name: Joanne Paladino-Scalise
Weight loss: 26kg
Was: 99kg
Now: 73kg
Height: 168cm
Age: 44
How long it took: 2.5 years
How she did it: Group Coaching at Myer Highpoint, Vic, with Sharon Keating, Daniela Petrocco and Mimma Pozzebon- Garro.

Then & Now
Joanne before and now

 "A lot of my weight gain was caused by eating huge meals."

Was always a 'big' kid

Growing up, I was always the ‘bigger’ kid in school. My weight continued to creep up through high school and university, where I did a lot of drinking and eating out. I was very aware of my size so, as I got older, I spent lots of money on diet shakes and pills. I’d lose 5kg when taking them, only to put on 10kg when I started eating properly again. My weight was a real struggle and it eventually began to affect my health.

I developed knee and back problems, and had a lot of trouble keeping up with my children, Mia and Lucas, now 12 and 8. I didn’t feel like I was being a very good role model by sitting down when I was encouraging them to get up and play.

It impacted on my working life, too, as I’m a full-time performing arts teacher and also an actress and singer. While I’ve always been a confident person, I found that the larger I got the more reluctant I was to audition for roles. I felt that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, and that I would be pigeonholed into roles that made fun of my weight.

Mindset makeover

I’ll admit it: I was scared walking into my first WW meeting, and I had a bit of a cry before I went in. The Coaches were amazing from the very beginning, though. One of the first things they taught me – and one of the most important lessons – was portion sizes. I realised that a lot of my weight gain was caused by eating huge meals. Making the switch to using smaller plates was so easy and made such a big difference.

Just as importantly, I began to change the way I thought about food. I’d always believed eating healthily meant you could only snack on apples and carrots, and that you had to go hungry. And I love food! My family is Italian and food is a huge part of our lives. I loved the fact that with WW I could eat regular food and didn’t have to deprive myself of snacks – all I had to do was make lighter versions in smaller portions. I also loved that I could use WW recipes to feed my whole family. They never know the difference because it tastes so good.

Tough times

During my first six months at WW I lost 15kg through making changes to my portions and by walking more. It was fantastic! But I suffered a major setback when I was diagnosed with glandular fever. I had to go on medication and gained 5kg in a short time. It made me feel quite down but I was determined to push through. Weekly meetings really helped and my Coaches were so positive and supportive. They kept me motivated on the tough days.

I got back on track by trying not to have too many snacks. I gave up bread for lunch and dinner for a few weeks and stuck to big, green salads with either chicken, egg or fish. If I had a big, low-SmartPoints®-value lunch it helped me avoid snacking. Plus I kept up my regular walking.

Although I eventually went off my medication and lost the related weight, glandular fever returned, knocking me for six again, and I ended up putting on 10kg. Once again, I persisted with meetings, and at home I had my cheerleading squad of my husband, Robert, and my children.

Mia and Lucas were so gorgeous – they’d always ask, “Mum, should you be eating that?” or, “Mum, should you have another piece of chocolate?” They loved the fact that we were doing WW as a team. With everyone’s help, I reached my Lifetime Goal in 2016 – and now I’m off all my meds, too!

Back in the spotlight

It’s only been a few months since I reached Goal, but I’ve come such a long way. I’ve been thinking about auditioning for roles again for the first time in a decade. I’ve been doing a lot of singing with my students, too – I haven’t lost any of my vocal range since slimming down, which is great. Now I really want to go out and audition for a show and just see what happens!

Joanne Paladino-Scalise

My main motivation

Wanting to be a good role model keeps me motivated. My daughter is 12 and she’s starting to become body conscious. I want to show her, and my students, that maintaining a healthy weight involves eating normal food and being active – it’s not about going on crash diets or starving yourself. That’s so important to me.

Show yourself some TLC

Giving myself little treats was a great way to stay motivated when I was losing weight. I love a massage, so I booked myself in for one when I hit my five per cent goal. I also love clothes so I’d buy myself scarves and makeup to celebrate little milestones. It all helped!