‘I dropped 12 dress sizes and 56kg without going hungry’

‘I dropped 12 dress sizes and 56kg without going hungry’

Danielle shares the diet and exercise routine that helped her finally ditch all the weight she struggled to lose for years – and she’s managed to keep it all off.

Danielle Pope was overweight her entire life.

Since high school, she spent hundreds of dollars on countless weight loss programs – and while they did prove little success, the results were never long-term.

The 31-year-old eventually gave up on trying to shift her kilos, and turned to food as an emotional coping mechanism.

“I used food as an outlet for everything, which was not healthy,” the registered nurse told Body+Soul.

She would regularly find herself “on the couch eating a block of chocolate and chips” while complaining to her fiancé how unhappy she was about her weight.

Weighing in at 139kg and wearing size 26 clothing, Danielle knew she had to take action.

A year after making strict diet changes and incorporating exercise into her daily routine, she has lost 56kg and now easily fits into size 14 clothes.

Here’s how she did it…

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Danielle’s diet

Pre-weight loss, Danielle’s diet was the definition of ‘unhealthy’.

She would have “a carb heavy meal for dinner, followed by unhealthy snacks.”

“Chocolate, chips, cakes and fatty takeaway” were also consumed on a daily basis, as well as “all convenience foods that are high in fat, carbs and sugar.”

“I didn’t often have breakfast and then by lunch time I was starving, so I would eat more than I should have.”

To kick start her weight loss, she replaced her three meals with Optislim Platinum Chocolate shakes.

Here’s what a typical day on a plate looks like to her now:

Breakfast: Optislim shake

Lunch: Another shake

Afternoon tea: Apple

Dinner: Either salad with no calorie vegetables and low-fat dressing, or boiled broccoli and cauliflower WITH a shake.

Dessert: High protein plain Greek yoghurt and a sugar-free hot chocolate.

“I was sceptical that I would be hungry all the time, but I was quite surprised to find how full I was feeling,” she explains. “I didn’t have any hunger pains or cravings.”

“I think the main thing for me was the change in mindset and not to be too hard on myself. I would eat a lot of the time without actually being hungry, so changing my mindset was huge.”

Danielle’s exercise routine

Prior to her transformation, Danielle “avoided exercise as much as possible” as she was ashamed of her weight.

“I tried to go to a gym five years ago and felt so embarrassed I stopped going.”

It was only once she started to see the weight slowly coming off was she motivated to sign up to a gym that was non-judgemental and supportive.

“I go to the gym four to five times a week, sometimes a bit less if I’m having a busy week but will always try and go for a walk if I don’t go to the gym,” she adds. “On Sundays I go for a walk with some girlfriends, which is a nice way to catch up on a regular basis and get a good sweat up.”

Danielle on the biggest lesson she learnt

“The biggest challenge for me has been to try and not be so hard on myself, it’s hard to be happy when you aren’t exactly where you want to be. Everything takes time and life happens.

“I have now learnt it is okay to have a night out and have a treat every now and then, it doesn’t mean that I have failed. I have learnt to be able to do that in moderation is key and it is what I was lacking before.”

Danielle’s weight loss journey wasn’t smooth sailing. She suffered with an arm injury, which caused her to stop doing weight training and boxing, and then the coronavirus lockdown forced her to make-do with at-home workouts.

But through the lows, she managed to stay positive. “I just look back at how far I have come and there is no way I would want to be back there.”

Her next goal is to lose a further 18kg. We’re cheering you on Danielle!