“Exercise made me feel good about myself.”

After years of yo-yo dieting and considering surgery, at 110kg Mandy felt terrible inside and out. Read how she committed to WW and turned her life around.

Mandy's weight loss story

Name: Mandy Reston
Weight loss: 44kg
Was: 110kg
Now: 66kg
Height: 165cm
Age: 46
How long it took: 10 months
How she did it: Group Coaching with Davina Zammit in Point Cook, Vic

Then & Now

Mandy then and now

Mandy's top tip: “Surround yourself with the right people, get the right tools and try to believe in yourself – that’s half the­battle.” 

Light-bulb moment

Weight Watchers Lifetime member Mandy Reston remembers the light-bulb moment that changed her life as if it was yesterday. “Last year I was on my way to the UK to see my mum, who was very sick. I bought my ticket and was on the plane four hours later, not knowing what I’d face when I got there.

“I’d recently committed to exercising and eating well, and I’d already lost 10kg. In that moment on the plane, I told myself, ‘This is going to go one of two ways: either you’ll go back to your old coping mechanism of eating because you’re stressed, or you’ll turn this around.’ That’s when I knew I wouldn’t go back to my old ways.”

Exercise on a plane

Mandy refused all the cakes, biscuits and alcohol she would’ve normally indulged in during the flight. “I used to think, ‘It’s free!’, but then I realised, ‘Well, it’s not free, is it? I’m just setting myself on the path to destruction.’ Instead, I spent an hour and a half walking up and down the steps on the Airbus A380.”

Mandy then and now

The weight piled back on

Mandy knew her weight-loss journey wouldn’t be an easy one. As far back as she could remember, she’d struggled with her weight. “I became a Weight Watchers UK Lifetime member 20 years ago in the lead-up to my wedding,” she says. “I went down to 57kg, but over the years it piled back on.”

Mandy tried Weight Watchers again numerous times, but she never managed to lose more than 5kg or 10kg before abandoning the program. “With two children, juggling a busy household and work, as well as immigrating to Australia in 2009, the kilos just kept adding up. It wasn’t until my sister Jules came to visit from the UK in September 2015 that I realised how bad it had gotten.”

Tipping point

Weighing in at 110kg, Mandy felt terrible, both physically and mentally. “Jules didn’t comment on it until the day before she left,” says Mandy. “She could see I felt very low and I was always tired. She said, ‘Get a personal trainer and go back to Weight Watchers because you know it works. I know you can do it because you’ve done it before – you owe it to yourself.’”

‘I know you can do it because you’ve done it before – you owe it to yourself.’

Her sister’s words were a wake-up call and Mandy hired personal trainer Dan Desira in November. But a neck injury, the Christmas break and a bout of whooping cough set her back.

Then, in April 2016, friends took a photo of her. “I hated what I saw,” she says. “That week I told my doctor how unhappy I was with my weight and he referred me to a weight-management clinic to talk about surgery. So I finally said, ‘Enough is enough’ and told Dan I was ready to commit. He said, ‘Brilliant; let’s make you sweat.’”

Breaking the cycle

Mandy barely had time to get into her new workout program before she found herself on that plane to the UK. But instead of falling back into her old patterns in her homeland, she stuck to her guns.

“I ended up staying in the UK for two months to take care of my mum,” she says. “I spent a lot of time walking, then running with her dog. And then I went to the gym. Dan gave me programs to do.”

Instead of the deep loathing she’d always felt for exercise, Mandy started to enjoy it. “I even did a charity run,” she says. “Suddenly, exercise made me feel good about myself and felt like a release. That fuelled me on even more.”

By the time she returned to Australia, she’d lost another 10kg in addition to the 10kg she’d shed before she left. “My husband and my boys, who have been so supportive on my journey, just couldn’t believe it when they saw me at the airport. My co-workers, friends and people at the gym noticed too, so it spurred me on.”

Mandy then and now

Group fitness classes

Mandy had always been embarrassed to go to a group fitness class, but she decided to give it a go and loved it. “Now I do six classes a week, plus my sessions with Dan. It makes me feel really good.”

But Mandy doesn’t plan to stop there. “I keep a journal with Dan and I have heaps of bucket-list goals. I’d love to run a half-marathon and do an unassisted pull-up. I want to be as fit, toned and strong as I can be.”

Mandy’s top weight-loss tip

Support, support, support! “It’s really hard to do it alone,” she says.

“Join Weight Watchers, make exercise a priority and surround yourself with like-minded and positive people to help you reach your goals.”