Meet The Dublin Woman Who Lost 6 Stone In 10 Months After Being Cut From Operation Transformation
After the show, Louise decided to go it alone.
When Louise Byrne just missed out on a spot as one of Operation Transformation’s leaders last October it was the kick she needed to make a change.
Without the show’s help Louise went on to lose six stone in the following 10 months. Here, she tells us how she did it.
When did the struggle with your weight begin?
I really struggled as I entered into my teens. Nights out, alcohol and takeaways became part of my weekly ritual. I hated shopping for clothes as nothing would fit me and I would cut the tags off to destroy the evidence of how big I had become. I missed out on endless things because of the way I felt.
Do you think gaining weight is a case of overeating or inactivity?
It’s definitely a combination of both. For me personally, I always had this obsession about feeling full after a meal, I would stack my plate up and make sure I cleared it. The overeating made me sluggish and I wasn’t in the mood for any activity. I also became so self conscious about my weight that I avoided putting myself in a position where I felt embarrassed or paranoid at all costs.
When did you decide you were going to make a change?
Last October I applied for Operation Transformation but unfortunately didn’t get chosen to be one of the five leaders. I knew I wanted a change though, and I didn’t want to be watching the show and not doing anything. I teamed up with my local GGA club, Ballyboden St. Enda’s, where we ran an OT group for the duration of the TV show. Nearly two hundred people signed up and by the end we had achieved a collective weight loss of over 60 stone.
What was the most difficult part of kicking yourself into shape?
Admitting to myself, my friends and my family that I was unhappy with my weight. I’m a confident person and I would be the first to make fun of myself and I suppose by doing this I was hoping people didn’t think I had an issue with my weight. Coming clean was an overwhelming relief.
What were the biggest lifestyle changes you made?
Starting to exercise! It’s hard after a long day to stick on the runners and get motivated, but it’s so much harder carrying around extra weight that’s not meant to be there. Last year getting in and out of my car was hard work and now, being able to run is just amazing. The junk food is also gone! I try and make the healthy food look as appealing as possible so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. A lot of what I crave is in my head and now I know what my body needs rather than what my head wants.
What was your inspiration or motivation?
The idea of being slim has always motivated me to try lose weight, but at 20 Stone 7lbs my health seemed more important. The damage I was doing to my body was terrifying and I knew it wouldn’t have been long before it all caught up with me. My motivation was my future.
When did you start to notice you were losing weight?
I really noticed it when I was getting ready to go out with my friends one night and my black jeans just didn’t fit! This became a weekly occurrence and soon enough I had to get rid of most of my wardrobe. The usual aches and pains were also becoming less and less and I noticed I had a lot more energy when I finished work.
How did that make you feel?
Amazing. I was a size 22 at Christmas 2015 and today I’m a size 14. I can now walk into any shop I like and know I won’t have a problem finding something that fits me.
How many days did you start exercising for?
I started a fitness class in Kaizen Dojo in Terenure twice a week with Brendan Perry and immediately felt comfortable there. I would have been way too embarrassed to go near a gym before that, I was afraid people would laugh at me. I went at my own pace and improved each week. I also went walking two to three times a week.
What do you think was the reason for your success?
Because I didn’t look at it as just another diet, I viewed it as a whole lifestyle change. Planning played a big part in my success too. I planned my days, I planned my meals and I stuck to a routine.
Do you think weight loss is more a result of diet or exercise?
Diet is the main focus for me. I’m still obsessed with food, but I’ve learned to deal with many things over the last few months like cravings and portion control. Obviously a combination of both is key for a long term successful weight loss, both go hand in hand. Eating the right food will give you the energy needed before and after exercise.
What does your gym routine look like now?
I attend TRX circuit classes in Kaizen Dojo three times a week and I try to get a 5k jog in at the weekends. I recently got a bike from my Mum for my birthday and I cycle where I can when I can. I also do some home workouts whenever time allows.
How much weight have you lost in total and how long has it taken?
I have lost close to six stone (82lbs) and it has taken me just over 10 months. I marked this huge milestone by visualising it with Argos catalogues. Each catalogue weighed 3lbs so it worked out at 18 and a half catalogues and posted a picture of myself beside the catalogues stacked up to show how much weight I’d lost.
What are the biggest changes you have experienced asides from the physical changes?
I feel good about myself and I’m more comfortable in my skin, I’m no longer letting daily issues and struggles get the better of me. I feel like if I can get a handle on my weight then anything is possible.
Have you reached your end goal?
Not yet, I still have a way to go, but I’m going to take my time and enjoy every minute of my journey. I’m getting married in July next year to my boyfriend of nine years, Jack, so that’s keeping me focused!
What would you say to people trying to lose weight?
Don’t be too hard on yourself and focus on small goals, one at a time. Reward the little wins. Treat yourself when you’ve beaten something you find challenging, it might be small, but if it means something to you, it matters and needs to be acknowledged. If you mess up don’t dwell on it, acknowledge it, accept it and move forward.
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