"My basketball skills came back surprisingly quickly! I felt really proud of myself."
I always put my family first
Any mum with a sporty family knows that when you’re running children to matches, standing on sidelines and preparing healthy meals, it can be easy to forget to look after your own fitness. That’s exactly what happened to Sheridan Petherick. She went from being an active basketballer to “putting my kids’ sporting commitments ahead of mine.”
When the Melbourne mum started studying for an Early Childhood Diploma her situation got worse. “I didn’t plan meals, ate rubbish on the go, my portion sizes were massive and I’d also sit at the table and eat while I studied.”
Sheridan’s wake-up call came when her eldest son Blake, 14, and a talented Australian Rules Football player, won a place at a sports academy. “I always worried about my kids being picked on for having a bigger mum and once he started at a sports academy, I felt I needed to become fitter and be a better role model,” she says.
I kept whinging about my weight
“I’d been whingeing about my weight for ages but never doing anything about it but then my friend, Simone, said: ‘Do you want to join Weight Watchers with me?’” Sheridan had been to Weight Watchers before but hadn’t got to Goal. But, “I knew it worked and Simone gave me the kick up the butt to join together.”
For the first five months, Sheridan focused on changing her eating habits. She planned ahead – packing up chicken salads if she knew she’d be out at lunchtime so she wasn’t tempted by meat pies – and swapped chocolate bar snacks for high-protein, satisfying alternatives like hard boiled eggs or tuna and crackers. She also walked for 45 minutes every day.
“I’d never really done boxing before but I loved it! I get all my frustration out on those pads.”
Basketball, bootcamp and boxing!
Her weight fell and fitness increased steadily and so when she heard about a free, local government-supported fitness program called Live Life Get Active, she decided to give it a go. “I’m not one to get out of my comfort zone,” Sheridan admits, “but I was promised it was non judgemental and friendly and it was in a local park so Simone and I went together.” The sessions were a mix of boxing, cardio and core strength work, with lots of jumping and planking. “I’d never really done boxing before but I loved it!” Sheridan says. “I get all my frustration out on those pads. Six months into the program, another friend, Georgia, joined as well because she saw the results we were getting and it became a social outing as well as keeping fit.”
I joined an adult basketball team
Sheridan soon had so much energy and confidence, when one of the mums at school invited her to join a Monday morning basketball team, she didn’t hesitate. “My skills came back surprisingly quickly,” she says gleefully. “I felt really proud of myself. Trying to run and coordinate bouncing, passing and shooting, I thought, ‘I’ve still got it!’ I was really excited. “My kids thought it was great too, especially my middle child (Liam, 11 ). He’s really into basketball and always wants to know how I went and if I scored any points. “My daughter Sienna, seven, has also started basketball now and is loving it; I hope I inspired her to do that.”
Leading a healthy lifestyle
Sheridan reached her goal weight after an impressive 12 months. “The final 5kg were the hardest but I just stopped worrying about it and it fell off,” she says. “Now I just want to continue staying healthy and being a good role model for my kids.” “It’s important to find a physical activity you enjoy. That way you’ll feel disappointed if you miss it rather than guilty,” says Sheridan. “The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll want to do and the better the results.”
“Approach weight loss as a lifestyle change. If you think of it as a diet, it won’t last,” explains Sheridan. “I eat the same meals as my family, just smaller amounts, and I eat out more now than I did before Weight Watchers. I just make the restaurants earn my money and prepare my food how I like it – I ask how the vegies are cooked, is the fish grilled and can I have the dressing on the side.”
Maintaining her goal
“I love making 'mug muffins'. It's just mashed up banana and WeetBix served with berries and yoghurt.”
One of the Weight Watchers leaders put Sheridan onto ‘Mug Muffins’ and she’s “addicted.” It’s a mashed up banana and WeetBix served with berries and yoghurt.
“It’s six months since I reached Goal and maintenance is the hard bit, but I look back at photos of how I used to look and that quickly puts me back on track,” Sheridan says.