Maria had always put the needs of her family first. This meant her health generally fell by the wayside, but when her eldest flew the coop, she could start focussing on herself again.
For Maria Cimino, life has always revolved around her children and family. A self-described “good Italian mumma”, she had three kids in close succession–at 22, 24, and 26–so there wasn’t a lot of time to get on top of the weight she’d gained during pregnancy.
“For 20 years, my children and family’s needs always came first. I love to cook. I love to experiment, and it was my greatest comfort. I would always eat what I cooked at home,” she says.
“Lots of pasta of course! Breakfast was toast and coffee. Lunch would consist of deli meats and cheese in a bread roll. Dinner was always pasta. Lots of meat, chicken and vegetables. There really was no exercise routine because my day was always based around taking care of the children.”
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When her youngest turned 18 and the older two had already begun to pave their futures, Maria began to contemplate ‘what do I do with my life now?’
“The cherubs had flown the coop and I had all this time on my hands,” she says.
“I finally stopped and looked in the mirror. There stood a 46-year-old ‘young lady’ weighing 140kg. I realised I didn’t want to be like this anymore and with mind-over-matter, set about on my weight loss journey.”
Cooking for the family happened less and with fewer hours spent in the kitchen, Maria’s eating habits became a lot simpler, with which Lite n’ Easy helped.
“I would start the day with boiled eggs and alternate with a protein shake. Tuna and salad for lunch and chicken and vegetables for dinner,” she explains, and she initially cut pasta entirely from her diet.
After two decades of being a “domestic goddess”, Maria also went back to work in the nuclear medicine and ultrasound department at Bankstown Hospital. Walking during her lunch breaks helped shed some initial weight but the mother-of-three soon realised she needed to do more. Maria went from having never stepped foot in a gym to boxing regularly.
In two years, Maria dropped 70kg and at 48 felt strong enough to compete in a charity boxing match in front of friends and family at the Star Casino.
“I was their oldest female fighter to date,” she says proudly.
Maria has reintroduced healthier carb options to her diet, like spelt pasta and bread, and makes sure breakfast is a good balance of low GI carbs, good fats, and protein. It’s no longer about weight loss but ensuring she’s getting enough energy and nutrients to keep her body fueled. And boy, is she committed.
“Tuesday and Thursday are my boxing days. Monday and Wednesday are weightlifting days. Friday and Sunday are my rest days. Saturday is a coastal walk,” she explains.
“I have completed many charity walks ranging from the 7 Bridge Walk to The Bloody Long Walk and everything in between. My ultimate goal is to walk The Camino De Santiago which is 870km.”
But a crucial lesson she’s learned over the past couple of years is how big of a role willpower plays in making significant lifestyle changes.
“The mind is the most powerful piece of equipment we own,” she says.
“It was given to us for free. Once you master how to use it, you are unstoppable.”