Life as a yo-yo dieter

Last updated 05:00 03/03/2014
Aly Timmings
BEFORE: Aly Timmings before she lost weight.
Aly Timmings
AFTER: Aly Timmings feels great after changing her lifestyle.

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Apart from some short periods in my life, I have always been overweight and, at times, obese.

My weight and my fight to lose it have controlled my life. They have left me with devastatingly low self-esteem, severe periods of depression and, of course, adversely affected my health.

I have lost hundreds of kilos over the years, just to put them back on.

I began my latest long journey 15 years ago. I was 39, had just given birth to my fifth child and it was noticed that my liver looked very unhealthy. I was told I needed a liver biopsy, which I flatly refused.

I decided to first try to get my liver healthy by losing weight.

It was a great reason to lose weight and in six months I went from 103 kilograms to 57kg.

My liver function tests returned to normal limits, but the experience left me with an unhealthy obsession with food and I became anorexic.

Me, anorexic? Who would have thought!

I was terrified of eating and getting obese again. I lost that battle and in just 30 weeks put almost all of it back on.
A few years later my weight was stable at about 90kg.

One of my daughters was getting married and I really wanted to look good on her big day. I discovered that it was never too late to start jogging. I got addicted to the wonderful feeling of achievement you get when you reach your goal for the day.

I was running 5 kilometres three times a week with a longer run occasionally, which I found quite easy.

I kept the weight off for two years, but hit a tough time in my life and 13kg piled back on.

Six months ago, I turned 52 at 84kg. My liver function tests were playing up, my cholesterol was over 9 millimoles per litre. I was unfit, and miserable.

I was approached by one of my daughters about her desire to lose a little weight and I decided to join her. I was heading off to England in three months to meet my first grandchild and I decided enough was enough.

This was not going to be a diet. It was going to be a lifestyle change. A shift in the way I viewed food.

I wanted to be around as long as I could. I owed it to my five lovely children and my new grandchild. I wanted to be the young fit grandmother, not the miserable, unhealthy one.

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Six months on I have a gorgeous little granddaughter and my weight is 66kg.

I am walking 6km three times a week and running 4km on the treadmill three times a week.

I feel fantastic and 15 years younger.

I try to eat healthy meals and keep count of everything that goes in my mouth thanks to my phone app. There's no secret, just good old plain calorie counting and exercise.

For me, the key to weight loss has always been to focus on a reason to lose the weight.

I've failed to keep it off, like many others, but not this time. My obsession with food seems to have left me as I focus on the future.

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