The 48-year-old from Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia, said she had been struggling with her weight for over two decades - and as she approached her fifties, started becoming plagued by a host of health issues due to her size.
After trying ‘every diet under the sun’ with little success, Tracey, who works in mental health, said she decided to give plant based eating a try after watching a documentary that highlighted the health benefits of a vegan high-carb, low-fat diet.
The mum said she was anxious about eating a high-carb diet due to their ‘terrible reputation’ in diet culture and the ‘misconception’ that carbohydrates will make you fat – but was pleasantly surprised when the weight started falling off.
Inspirational Tracey lost an amazing 55kg and five dress sizes in just 14 months – and is now happier than ever flaunting her brand new 68kg, svelte size 12 figure.
Tracey, who is wife to Paul, 58, and mum to Max, 19, said: “I went through some hard times in my late teens, and I started using food as a coping strategy.
“My weight ballooned and by my 21st birthday, I weighed 105kg. As I got older, I continued to deal with stress and food was always my drug of choice.
“During all of this time I would yo-yo diet. I was always either on a diet or falling off one.
“By 2017, I weighed 123kg. I reached a point where my physical and mental health were continuing to decline.
“I was in my mid 40s and had spent the last 25 years battling obesity, hating the way I looked and feeling miserable.
“I also had a growing list of health concerns which were only getting worse. I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance and I was pre diabetic.
“I realised that the older I was getting the more my weight was impacting my quality of life.
“I truly thought I wouldn’t live to see my 50th birthday. I decided that I would turn my life around before then no matter what it took.”
Tracey said she used to binge on junk foods such as pizza, burgers, fries, biscuits, ice cream and potato chips
The mum first switched to a vegan diet in December 2016 but gained weight due to eating too much ‘vegan junk food’.
But after watching a documentary and reading a book about the health benefits of whole food, plant-based eating, Tracey decided to give a high-carb and low-fat diet a try.
By filling up on vegetables, fruit, legumes and grains, the mum said she felt better than ever and was over the moon as the weight started dropping off at a rate she never experienced before.
Not only was she getting thinner, but Tracey claims her health issues began subsiding too – with her join pain, inflammation, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels all improving.
And a few months into starting her new diet, Tracey introduced intermittent fasting and calorie tracking into her routine, which she said helped her stay accountable.
She said: “When I decided to turn my life around, I didn’t know what I should be eating. I felt like I tried every diet out there and none of them worked long-term.
“I watched a documentary on Netflix called Forks Over Knives and read a book called The Starch Solution, which both praised high-carb, low-fat diets.
“This way of eating was at odds with everything I had previously thought I knew about dieting and weight loss.
“But I had been doing low carb on and off for years and I was still morbidly obese, so I decided to give this new way of eating a go.
“I filled up on things like potatoes, rice, beans, lentils and bananas. All the things I had been programmed to think would make me fat.
“I started slowly losing weight. But more incredibly I started to feel better than ever.
“All my health issues started subsiding, which had never happened before even when I’d lost weight using other methods.
I introduced intermittent fasting, which means I won’t eat until 3pm most days and I also started tracking my calories just to make sure I don’t go too much over.
“I lost 55kg in around 14 months. High-carb, plant-based eating saved my life.”
While Tracey was elated about her massive weight loss, the mum said she was disheartened about the huge amount of loose skin that remained on her body.
And in April 2019, Tracey went under the knife to have 4kg of excess skin removed with an arm lift, breast lift and tummy tuck – while she plans to have skin removed from her thighs next year.
She said: “The skin removal surgery was a huge relief. I’m healing very well and feel amazing.
“I will need skin removal surgery on my thighs, and this is something I am hoping to do early next year.
“If this happens, I will have achieved my goal of transforming myself inside and out before I turn 50.
“I feel like a completely different person in so many ways.
“I love living my life and am finally looking forward to my future which will include eating a lot of plants.”
Breakfast: Eggs on toast with butter
Snack – Muesli bar
Lunch – A large pizza or two burgers and two large fries from McDonalds
Snack – Crackers, cheese and potato chips
Dinner - Chicken schnitzel, peas, mashed potatoes with butter and cheese or a large spaghetti bolognese with cheese
Dessert - Large bowl of sugary cereal with milk or a whole pack of biscuits with ice cream
Breakfast - Fast
Snack - Fast
Lunch - Steamed potatoes, vegetables and vegan mushroom gravy
Snack - Fruit
Dinner - Chickpea and vegetable curry with rice and potato
Dessert - Oats with a banana