At 124kg, Elvi was so depressed she avoided mirrors and mostly stopped socialising. But joining WW (formerly Weight Watchers) taught her portion control, and that it’s OK to indulge every now and then.
When Elvi reflects on her diet before her weight loss journey, she says her “biggest issue” was portion control.
“Breakfast would be four slices of toast with peanut butter and jam, with two milky coffees. Lunch would be two toasted sandwiches with ham and cheese,” she says.
“For dinner, I’d have two plates of stir fry or curry rather than one, followed by dessert.”
There was also sugary fuel to pep up her energy levels when she was working late, like “coffee, chocolate, biscuits and lollies.
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At her heaviest, the travel agent from Wollongong weighed 124k and she admits she was really unhappy at this time.
“I avoided mirrors, and I didn’t get in photos with my family, I would hide behind them. I was depressed to the point that I didn’t want to go out anymore, or to social occasions,” she says.
Her turning point came one day, three and a half years ago, when she knew she had to make a drastic change to her current lifestyle.
“I had to ask my son, who was nine at the time, to tie my shoelaces because I couldn’t reach them over my stomach,” she says.
“I’d recently been turned away from a ride at a theme park due to my weight, during a family holiday, so this was the final straw. I was so tired of being the sideline mum – the one who couldn’t join in with her kids.”
Elvi joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers), and while many find the first few weeks of their overhaul challenging, the 48-year-old says they were actually the easiest.
“I was losing more than a kilo a week for about a year simply by making small changes. It felt good, which spurred me on,” she says.
Once she’d lost 20kg that she began exercising again, starting off gently with 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill a few times a week.
After Elvi shed 40kg, the weight loss slowed as it tends to do. While that was sometimes discouraging, she says it was important to “remind myself that it’s a lifestyle, not a diet, and that what was important was being consistent rather than how quickly I was going to get there.”
Through her customised plan on myWW+, she’s given around 300 ZeroPoint foods that don’t have to be measured or tracked.
“They’re filling and form the basis of a healthy eating pattern, so I base most of my meals around these,” says Elvi.
“It includes things like fruit, vegetables, proteins like chicken breast and seafood, and it even includes carbs like brown rice and rolled oats.”
As the weight continued to come off, the workouts increased in frequency and intensity, too.
“I now do a mix of three sessions at the gym, three treadmill workouts, plus a big two-hour walk with a friend on Sundays,” says Elvi.
“I also walk in my lunch break every day for at least half an hour. I like to get up to 13,000 steps a day.”
Two years later, Elvi’s lost 59kg and the enjoyment she gets out of life has improved exponentially. Previously hating exercise, she now says she can’t live without it and barely goes a day without working out because of how good it makes her feel.
“It’s also made me a happier mum and wife, so everyone around me is happier because I am. I can now enjoy things with my family such as fun runs, I go on holiday with them, paddleboarding, ziplining, climbing the Eiffel tower – all things that would’ve been unheard of before I lost the weight,” she says.
“It’s also impacted my career. My newfound confidence has really pushed me forward. I’m doing better at work, I have more customers, and my happiness and enthusiasm is really coming through.”
Elvi’s biggest lesson?
“To forgive myself whenever I over-indulged. It happens, but what is important is how you approach the next meal; what you do afterward,” she says.
“It took practice but now it is second nature. Don’t be an all or nothing person. I’ve had to learn to allow myself to enjoy some occasions and then focus on what’s next.”
Elvi’s day on a plate
Overnight oats or egg on toast for breakfast.
Tuna or chicken salad for lunch.
Salmon, rice and vegetables for dinner.