Health Stories

How Instagram helped me shed 63 kilos

'People around the globe were along for the journey'

Unhappy with her reflection, Josie made some dramatic changes.

Here, Josie Desgrand, 18, tells the story in her own words.

Scrolling through my phone, I was inundated with photos of beautiful slim models.

I wish I looked like them, I thought. Slumping deeper into the couch, I nibbled on my packet of chips. At just 16, and tipping the scales at 127 kilos, I was far too big.

For the past three years I’d tried every fad diet that I could get my hands on. The shake diet left me feeling sick, and crazy calorie counting didn’t drop a kilo. I just couldn’t seem to shift my weight. I can’t go to the gym like this, people will make fun of me, I thought, staring at my overhanging stomach.

Feeling miserable after each failed dieting attempt, I fell back into my lazy lifestyle. Piling my plate high with a third helping of lasagne and hot chips for dinner, I knew that I wanted to change. That night I went into my bedroom and stripped down to my underwear.  ‘No longer fat Josie,’ I said to my reflection.

weight loss
(Credit: Supplied)

Snapping pictures of myself at every angle, I was excited for my next weight loss venture. Wrapping the tape measure around my arm I scribbled down my dimensions, knowing I had a long way to go. But I was going to track every change no matter how minuscule.

Starting small, I set myself daily goals.I need to eat smaller portions and drink more water, I decided. Filling up on water before each meal, I never went back for third helpings again.‘I already feel healthier,’ I said to my dad, Mark, 43. Also setting his own healthy weight goal, Dad and I helped each other.

After school we’d go on walks to achieve our daily step goal. ‘How many steps did you get today?’ Dad would ask. ‘Ten thousand, how about you?’ I replied. Jumping up from the couch, Dad started running up and down the stairs.‘Ten thousand and one,’ he laughed puffing.

Being competitive pushed us to go the extra mile. It was nice to have my dad along for my journey. Every second week, I would stand in my undies tracking my progress with my mirror photos. Comparing the fortnightly snaps, a smile stretched across my face. Noticing small changes in my body kept me going.

(Credit: Supplied)
(Credit: Supplied)

Stepping on the scales, I clenched my hands and looked down at the flicking numbers. 90 kilos! A huge rush of emotion flooded over me as my eyes filled with tears. For years the scales had never dipped below 100 kilos. ‘You look amazing,’ Dad said noticing my dropping weight.

Stepping up my dieting, I removed all sugar and replaced it with healthy alternatives.

Snapping photos, I shared my meals and progress on my Instagram account @nolongerfatjosie. My followers quickly grew with each more supportive than the last. You look great! they wrote. Yum, do you have the recipe?

With people from all around the globe along for my journey, I never thought about turning back.  Spending an hour each night, I responded to every person. Being in their position before, I now wanted to help as many people as I could. Keep going, I would write back when someone thought they couldn’t do it anymore.

(Credit: Supplied)
Photos side by side
Putting the photos side by side really shows how far I’ve come!

Chopping up sweet potato and leeks, I threw the vegies in a pan. Cooking just enough for one, I made sure there were never leftovers. ‘Out of sight, out of mind,’ I said as I grilled up my lean chicken breast. I never went hungry with my new way of life.

Even though I worked as a cashier for the local grocery store, I wasn’t tempted by items others were buying. Chocolate was once a favourite, but as I scanned a block, I never thought of a bar crossing my lips.

Setting up my laptop with workouts I found on YouTube, I would break a sweat in my lounge room. Watching my changing figure, I finally gained the confidence to join the gym.
‘No longer fat Josie,’ I said, tying up my laces.

Taking my measurements, the trainer was astounded by how far I had come. Working out at the gym gave me the extra push to reach my goal weight.

Now 63 kilos, I’m healthier and happier than ever. Going to the gym a few times a week, I’m gaining muscle. I’ve never felt better. Plenty of times before I had given up and I now want to be the push to help people get back up. Because everyone deserves to feel as happy as I now do. Not only am I no longer fat Josie, I’m a brand-new me.

Read more in this week’s issue of that’s life!

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