From “all or nothing” to freedom

Maureen Keating has been busy.

She’s lost over 44kg through healthy eating and has kept it off for over 12 months.

We decided to interview Maureen and share the secrets.

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Q: Maureen, what was your reason for wanting to change?

I had come to a point in my life where I knew at my age, excess weight would badly affect my health. I have suffered with bad joints all my life and my weight has impacted on my mobility.

I am a grandmother, and I want to be able to run and play with the children and I want to see them grow up.

I love photography, and the effort to walk to take a photo minimized what photos I would take.

I want to perform in my job to my maximum ability.

Lastly, when I looked in the mirror I was appalled with what I saw and I was repulsed. I knew then, that I had the power to make that change.

Q: How did it feel to make such big changes?

I knew at that time that it was now or never. Although I went home crying from my first session, I felt that I could change if I had help. I was both scared but at the same time, positive.

I now experience confidence I have never had before and even feel like it shines out of me.

I feel free.

Q: What had held you back before?

At times in my life I had lost large amounts of weight but had always gained the weight back again.

I have a very addictive way of looking at how I eat and what I eat. I have always been very negative when ‘on a diet’ and when I ate something fattening, I would tell myself “oh well I have blown it now, what’s the point”.

In my mind I saw myself as having the mentality of an alcoholic, it was all or nothing.

Q: So, how did you know you could do it?

I didn’t know that I could do it, when I started Downsize Me, but I was desperate and scared.

I had friends that had success on the program. What really attracted me was the introduction of a professional life/wellness coach and the concept of mindfulness. I had done some mindfulness counselling in the past, and knew that I would only have permanent change to a healthy me with changes in my mindset.

Q: You’ve lost over 40 kg and kept it off for just over 12 months. How have you gotten through this past year?

I initially did an eight week Downsize Me program, knowing that while I had support and was accountable I would be ok, but scared to think I would have to go it alone after that.

I did not own a set of scales so even that purchase made me panic. I kept going after my program, over Christmas, and felt empowered to do so well.

I did another Downsize Me program in the February, and it was in this time that I was encouraged to try eating a treat, a small amount, and then leaving it alone without any guilt attached.

I was horrified at the thought, but tried it with one small piece of chocolate!

There was no major disaster so I continued on. I realised that by having a time when I was perhaps eating a food that wasn’t the healthiest choice, was not the end of my quest for a healthy me.

I had learned to move on from that time and continue working towards my goal.

I have gotten through this year by remembering my goals and drawing on my mindfulness when things don’t go exactly how I have planned. I also look at all the ‘normal’ size clothes I have in my cupboard, and rejoice.

Q: Can you comment on the changes you’ve experienced inside and out?

On the outside having lost over 44kg I look completely different, and sometimes, people I know don’t recognise me. My body doesn’t appeal to me unclothed, but that doesn’t concern me.

I notice in photos that I now smile and appear in the image to have confidence, something that I had never seen in myself before.

On the inside I feel that I am an entirely different person, I feel free, free from the bag of excuses that I used to use all the time to excuse myself and my state of health.

I feel empowered to be mindful of my actions and the resulting sense of failure that I would experience before.

I have a tool box of strategies to draw on when I’m not feeling like I can achieve my goals.

I feel happy and embrace each day’s challenges.

Each day is now a new opportunity, to do the best that I can on that day.

Q: What is your life like now – what’s different?

My life has changed dramatically.

Physically I have much more energy and am able to do things that I couldn’t do before. I can walk around a city all day, I can play in the park with my grandchildren, I can climb a big hill to take a photo.

I am much fitter to do my job as a support worker to young people with disabilities. I have a thriving vegetable garden that I dug and planted myself.

I now make decisions and express my opinions with no underlying bitterness or self-doubt and self-loathing. I have no need to bring out my ‘fat person’ life of the party character, I am confident in who I am and what I have to say.

Q: How do you feel about your achievements?

I am proud of myself. I am grateful for the support that has been given to me by Melanie and Sandra at Downsize Me, and I am grateful for the love, support and encouragement given to me by my family and friends.

There is a change in attitude now, I ask for help when I am struggling and I draw on the encouragement from people around me.

I have shared this journey with my friends and family and often many people I hardly know, which is something I could never have done before. I put my ‘before’ photos on Facebook and acknowledged that was what I looked like and invited people on board to experience that change in me that I felt was happening.

This was a huge and scary thing for me to do because I felt that if in my eyes I failed then many people would be aware that I had not achieved my perceived goals. In fact, this change of attitude is the way I handled yet another attempt at a healthy life and choices proved to be a very positive shift in attitude for me and made me more truthful within myself.

Q: With all this behind you, what are your general goals for the future?

I want to continue to live with healthy choices and work towards being much more active and settling into a routine of continual exercise, something that I have not quite achieved yet.

I want to enjoy going for a walk or swim each day and making this part of the day’s routine.

I want to continue to enjoy the activities I am now able to do.

I want to continue to eat a healthy diet, and enjoy fresh unprocessed foods.

I want to continue to grow as a positive, self-assured person, who is confident in her abilities, and has grown to like herself, rather than look in the mirror with self-loathing.

I want to enjoy my new found freedom of mind and body.

Maureen’s story is a huge inspiration for all of us at Downsize Me, and it has touched the lives of many people who have witnessed Maureen’s journey to freedom.

We’d love to hear your comments, and if you have an inspiring story like this one, please get in touch, we’d love to share your success to inspire and motivate others.