The last time Michelle Gauci was a size 12 was on her wedding day 13 years ago. Today she has regained her attractive figure, dropping from a hefty size 20 to a neat size 12 in just a year, thanks to ongoing support and encouragement from the Biggest Loser Club.
However, as Michelle explains, real weight loss was only possible once she finally stopped being in denial about her ballooning shape.
“I had two babies in quick succession soon after getting married, and by the time the second one was born I had put on 20kg which is a lot for my 165cm frame,” she explains. “For some time I was in denial about my size mainly because I was so busy looking after the kids but one day I looked in the mirror and went whoa, what’s happened here? I felt horrible that I had let myself go like that.”
While struggling with post-natal weight is a common problem in Western society, Michelle says she exacerbated the situation by adopting bad eating habits that continued for many years afterwards preventing her from getting back in shape.
“We were living at a fast pace and as a working mum, I had no time to cook,” she says. “So, I went for anything that was pre-prepared and that could easily be preheated. I really wasn’t considering what I was putting into my mouth because I was in such a rut.”
As so often happens, Michelle wasn’t the only one in the family steadily putting on weight. While her children thankfully stayed slim and healthy, her husband Chris was stacking on the kilos in line with his wife so when Michelle finally sought help from The Biggest Loser Club, Chris was able to reap the benefits too.
“Chris has already lost 11kg, my sister-in-law is so impressed with how we look that she is about to start the program and my neighbour is already doing it,” she says. “We had 38 family members here for Christmas day and we got a lot of positive comments about how good we looked. In fact, the adults told me I looked amazing.”
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Consistently losing up to 1kg per week, Michelle says she didn’t want to rush her weight loss but instead, use this opportunity to relearn healthy eating habits that would last a lifetime.
“The Biggest Loser Club diary has been invaluable because it has taught me so much about calories and nutrition. If I don’t fill it in each day I simply can’t remember what I’ve eaten so I try to follow it religiously. I believe I couldn’t have done this without the diary and the menu plans.”
Using the Club’s forums was also vital to her success. “I have made some awesome friends and when I am having a bad day I get so much support from the people on the forum, it gets me through. Really, I think I will be on the program indefinitely, even if just to maintain my weight.”
One of the most satisfying aspects of losing a significant amount of weight, according to Michelle, has been shopping for clothes with her 11-year-old daughter, something she would have avoided a year ago.
“My daughter loves the fact that we can go shopping together now; it’s a girlie thing. Before I lived in track pants and big t-shirts. In fact, I had track pants for best and track pants for home which is sort of funny now but it wasn’t at the time. If I was invited to a wedding or somewhere nice, it was a nightmare for me. Today I can walk into any shop and pick up a size 12 and not even need to try it on.”
Michelle partly blames stress and boredom for her weight gain, realising early in The Biggest Loser Club program that she was eating for the wrong reasons and rarely because she was hungry. Exercise was not part of her day so the combination of the wrong food and lots of it, along with little physical activity proved to be a lethal pattern.
Today she jogs four kilometres three times a week and ensures she does as much incidental exercise as possible.
“I’ve even completed my first fun run and there was no better feeling than getting over that finishing line. I feel so inspired! No matter what happens, I will never give up. This is for life."