Maxine seized the day!

When forensic scientist Maxine Matsuura found herself trailing behind her super-fit parents while on holiday in Japan, she knew something had to change. Now she’s lost 3st, caught up with her mum and dad, and is raring for her next adventure...
Published 15 July, 2019

Maxine’s story

Weight lost: 3st 1lb
Age: 35
WW Digital

A landmark moment

Red-faced and sweaty – that was me in front of Tokyo’s most iconic landmarks during a family holiday almost five years ago. Not a good look! Walking between the sights had completely worn me out, and despite Mum and Dad being decades older than me, I just didn’t have the energy to keep up with them.

I’ve always been close to my parents, and we’ve been lucky enough to travel the world together. For my 30th birthday we planned an incredible trip to Japan,
involving hiking around Tokyo and Osaka to see all the sights. Since my dad, Mike, is Japanese, it was a special trip for us as a family. And despite the fact my mum, Debbie, and my dad are both in their 60s, they have the energy of a pair of twentysomethings. They eat well and do as much as they can to keep fit, which means they’re able to be active and make the most of life. The photos we’d taken of us in front of famous landmarks like the Tokyo Skytree and the Sensō-ji Temple should have brought back happy memories, but when I saw them, I felt so embarrassed.

Joining WW...

That’s when I decided it was time to get healthy. I wanted to be as fit and active as my parents are, when I’m their age – they became my inspiration. When I was younger, I’d exercised and eaten well, but I guess over the years I’d slowly put on weight and developed unhealthy habits, especially when I moved in with my boyfriend Thomas. So in November 2017 I joined WW and slowly but surely, my life began to change for the better.

The first thing I did after joining WW was to download the app to my phone. The family-size chocolate bars I’d been snacking on were the first to go as I started tracking. And I replaced ready-meals with home cooking, using healthy ingredients. Sure enough, as I stuck with the WW weight-loss programme, the weight began to disappear. I also looked for ways to distract myself from mindless snacking. I absolutely love gaming, and can easily spend hours on my Xbox playing games like Red Dead Redemption – a Western action-adventure – against friends online. We talk as we play, share jokes and work together as a team. It feels good to have that connection with other people, even though it’s a virtual one. 

It’s important for me to keep my mind active, to stop me from getting bored, which can lead to mindless eating. Although gaming can get heated, I’m usually doing it sitting on a sofa, which doesn’t exactly clock up the FitPoints.

Finding what moves me

I knew I needed to work on my fitness as well as make better food choices if I was going to feel healthier. I began following the NHS Couch to 5K programme, wearing my baggy old basketball vest I’d had since my school days. The only problem was, I really didn’t enjoy running. What that taught me was that I need to find fitness fun in order to stay motivated. So I swapped running for cardio workouts, doing things like skipping and hula hooping. I’d blast drum and bass – or heavy metal, depending on my mood – on my headphones and power through for half an hour, Monday to Thursday. 

As I started to feel fitter, I introduced weight training on alternate days, to give myself more variety. Sometimes I’ll pop to the gym on my lunch break to do half an hour on the stair machine, or I’ll follow a virtual gym class. 

Being active has become a way of life for me now, and it’s had an impact on everything I do, including holidays. I’ve always been more of a sightseer than a beach-goer – I buy a Lonely Planet guide before I go, and plan a list of things to see and do. Except now, I know I can enjoy it all without getting exhausted
and out of breath as I explore. Last year Thomas and I went to Greece and Amsterdam, where we hired bicycles to travel around and see all the sites, instead of hiring a car. My parents and I also went back to Japan – this time Thomas came with us too – and I really felt the difference when we hiked to the same spots. Being halfway to goal, our days out were so much easier. It felt great to be keeping pace with everyone. At the end of the day my feet didn’t ache, and I even had enough energy to carry on into the evening and enjoy the amazing nightlife there.

I’ve gained so much vitality, thanks to WW. I plan to still be climbing to the top of mountains when I’m Mum and Dad’s age!