How 120kg mum shed 50kg in a year
LOOKING at Kara Dunstan, the now 25-year-old is a shell of her former self.
At her biggest, the Brisbane mother-of-one tipped the scales at 120kg when she was just 22 years old. It was a weight so debilitating, she wasn't able to exercise or work, let alone leave the house or play with her young son, Halo.
Speaking to news.com.au, Ms Dunstan said her knee would collapse from underneath her body, and she entered a toxic cycle of eating and feeling ashamed over and over - making losing weight almost impossible.
"I was sad all the time and very depressed," she explained. "I had no motivation to do anything with anyone. I was angry and wouldn't want to go out to play with my son.
"My right knee would keep collapsing, and my whole body weight would fall."
In the months prior to falling pregnant in 2014, Kara managed to shed 30kg through a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise. But when she fell pregnant with her son Halo, the young mum from Brisbane said she took "eating for two" literally.
"During my pregnancy, I put on 50kg," she said.
"My mentality was to just eat for two. My weight would increase, but I'd just tell myself 'it's only one more kilo, you'll be able to exercise when baby comes'.
"I had lost 30kg twice before, but after having Halo nothing worked. All my mummy friends around me had weight falling off, but mine went nowhere.
"I became so defeated by what I'd gained, I'd keep saying 'I'll start the diet Monday' but Monday never came."
Ms Dunstan said while she consumed large quantities of junk food - like hash browns, bacon, chips, ice cream, nuggets and pizza - it was her daily 2L addiction to Coca-Cola and oversized food portions that lead her to 120kg.
"I used to ask for maple syrup on hashbrowns," she explained. "For breakfast I'd have two pieces of toast, four eggs with bacon and soft drink or coffee.
"I'd eat entire packets of chips … tubs of ice cream. I'd snack on biscuits and chicken nuggets … anything I could put in a fryer or microwave.
"Before going to the dog park, I'd go to Maccas and get a double bacon cheeseburger and eat before getting to the park, so no one would know I was going.
"But my big thing was Coke. I'd have Coke over food any day of the week."
After trying to lose weight the same way she'd done twice before, Ms Dunstan opted for gastric sleeve surgery in March 2017 - a procedure her husband Chris helped pay for through his superannuation.
In the weeks prior to the procedure, Ms Dunstan had to detox her body from regular foods and drinks - including Coke - which she said shook her body to the core.
"I got sick with headaches for two weeks," she explained. "My body couldn't cope without Coke, and I couldn't have it for six months after surgery either."
Since having surgery, Ms Dunstan now works as a personal trainer, exercises most days and has dropped 51kg. She says her diet - which is restricted in size because of the gastric sleeve - doesn't exclude any foods groups she's grown to love, including Coke.
"The big thing I advocate is that you will fail if you try and remove an entire thing in your life," she said.
"So instead of teaching people they can't have something, I teach them what is a good amount to have. If you have an unhealthy breakfast, have something lighter for lunch and dinner. I still have sugar, I still have full cream milk and chocolate if I want."
While Ms Dunstan said she is "incredibly proud" of what she's achieved since having, she's hoping to have surgery to remove the excess skin on her stomach in the foreseeable future.
"Some days I will wake up and think I have so much work to do," she said. "The excess skin effects me, and eventually I do want it removed.
"But the more I work out, the more I realise it's part of my self and my story."