The biggest winner
BELLINGEN woman Judy Chesney has been named the Lifetime Member Category Winner in the national Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year competition.
The 53-year-old physiotherapist lost 21kgs and has successfully kept it off for four years.
“Weight Watchers Slimmer of the Year celebrates the efforts of people around Australia who have taken personal responsibility for their health and won the battle with their weight,” Weight Watchers spokesperson Claire Cameron said.
“Their commitment to putting their health and well-being first has lead to an improved quality of life.
“They are an inspiration to all people around Australia who are seeking a healthier lifestyle.”
When Judy joined Weight Watchers, she weighed 90.3kg. Today, she weighs 69.3 kg.
“I've had weight issues all my life but at my heaviest I felt like I was past my use-by date, depressed and unemployable,” Judy said.
“I had poor self-esteem, I was burnt-out and I lacked direction - and I ate to avoid confronting and dealing with difficult issues.”
For example, if she was having problems with a financial issue, or couldn't work out a budget, she would immerse herself in eating and forget the problem.
Now, she tackles problems the same way she tackled her weight issues.
“One day at a time, doing what you can do immediately”.
The realisation that she had to do something began when she was in East Timor training nurses.
“The naturally slim women thought my legs were painfully swollen and they would express their sympathy to me.
“I had to explain to them that my knees and legs weren't swollen, that it was just fat - something they weren't familiar with in their culture.”
Back in Australia and looking for a job, she looked in the mirror and didn't recognise her face as her eyes were so puffy and her chin had disappeared.
“And being overweight, I also felt uncomfortable about going for an interview.”
She knew fad diets didn't work and she also knew she wanted a well-balanced program that she could do for the rest of her life.
“Having experienced some success with Weight Watchers in the past and knowing it was scientifically based, I joined up determined to make a life-long change.
“The support and motivation from the weekly meetings and the online Weight Watchers tools were fantastic.”
Within weeks, her motivation returned along with her self confidence, so when she was offered a job, she was happy to take it on.
“Once you've got your eating under control and you start to exercise, it doesn't take long before you feel better about yourself,” she said.
“I've been at my goal weight for over four years and I still get a buzz when people tell me I motivated them - it's always fabulous to hear.”
Judy's husband has always backed her quest too.
“He is now well trained as a Weight Watchers cook and we love revamping our own recipes with healthier ingredients,” Judy said.
Before she lost the 21kg, Judy said she could barely walk one kilometre.
“Now I am training for a mini-triathlon”.
“I have so much more confidence and can't believe how fit I feel.
“I can even do head stands now in my yoga class.
“My next goal is to do hand stands.”