It’s so embarrassing, I thought, as I bit the bullet and ordered a custom-made size-30 blue lace frock online.
I was 17, but I’d been overweight since I was a kid.
I’d tried swapping meals for calorie-controlled shakes in the past, but constantly hungry, I’d soon start gorging again.
I knew my weight was an issue, but I tried to block it out.
‘You know you need to lose weight, don’t you?’ GPs would warn me if I went in for a simple cold.
I’ll worry about it when I’m older, I thought.
Moving out of home and heading to uni an hour-and-a-half drive away, I started cooking for myself.
Exhausted from study and working part-time as a nanny, the meals I prepared were never good for me.
I’d scoff golden toasties dripping with tasty cheese, and eat an entire ready-made pizza in one sitting!
My portion sizes were out of control too, and I’d always go back for seconds.
In between, I’d snack on chips and chocolate – whatever was going!
Living alone, my weight began to balloon.
At uni lectures, I couldn’t even squeeze the folding desk attached to the seat over my bulge.
Instead, I had to juggle my laptop on my knees.
Cheeks red with shame, I’m sure the other students noticed, but thankfully no-one ever said a thing.
I’d been studying for a year, when my 18th birthday rolled around.
It was uni holidays, so back home in my little town of Ingham, Qld, I went out for a Chinese buffet with friends and family.
It’s all good, I thought, loading up my plate with sweet and sour pork.
My strappy black dress only just fitted – it’d been the only 2XL I could find at the mall.
A few days later, I set off north on a road trip to Cairns with my little brother, Aden, then 15, my mum Angie’s sisters, Connie and Mary, and Mary’s daughter, my cousin Christine.
Chugging up a mountain range in my baby SUV, the car struggled with all our weight.
‘Oh my God, we’re not going to make it. Look how heavy the car is!’ Aunty Mary joked. ‘Enjoy your food in Cairns – when we’re back home we’re all going to Weight Watchers!’ she said.
I guessed we all could afford to shed some kilos – me more than my family.
‘I’ll try,’ I told Aunty Mary. ‘But it won’t work.’
‘Too bad,’ she replied. ‘We’re going to try!’
After our three-day trip, Connie, Mary, Christine and I went to our first meeting at WW, the new name for Weight Watchers.
Lining up to weigh in, I was so nervous. I’d avoided the scales for such a long time I knew it would be bad.
Stepping on, the number ticked up to 186 kilos.
I’d put on more than 30 kilos in just a year.
Afterwards, a weight-loss plan was customised just for me.
Each item of food and drink was assigned a points value based on its kilojoules, saturated fat, protein and sugar.
Based on my weight, I was given 70 points to ‘spend’ throughout the day.
So, instead of completely cutting out all my favourite foods, I just had to track my portion control, which I could do with a handy app on my phone.
Inspired, when I went back to uni, I joined the gym and started doing cardio.
For breakfast, I’d have a bowl of hearty porridge, lunch was Cruskits with tuna and dinner was healthy yet filling pasta with lentils.
I even learned some hacks along the way – like a Curly Wurly chocolate bar was only five points!
The pre-packaged meals I relied on cost way too many points, so I ditched them.
Weighing in at WW every Tuesday, I was losing a couple of kilos each week. Amazingly, I was eating more than I had before and the weight was melting off.
Within a year, I’d lost a whopping 60 kilos!
Then, I saw a job advertised at Macca’s.
Is this a bad idea? I fretted.
But I needed the cash and there were no other jobs going...
Walking in for my shift, the scent of fries was tantalising.
I realised as long as I didn’t overdo it, I didn’t have to miss out. A Big Mac was 18 points and a Sausage McMuffin was just nine!
Now 21, I’m in my last year of uni, and I’m still working at Macca’s.
And while I’ve had my ups, downs and plateaus, I’ve lost 74 kilos in total – all while eating McDonald’s!
My family who joined WW are looking fab too.
At 112 kilos and a size 16, my plan is to lose another 40 kilos naturally.
I’m proof that you can have your burger – and eat it too!