Australian mom of three Keely Dellit is currently a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast.
She wasn’t always that way, though, and her poignant retelling of the journey that brought her from what she described as being “morbidly obese” to being 125 pounds (approx. 57 kg) lighter (and much happier) sheds important light on how just about anyone can make the same changes that she did.
Dellit explained that she had three children after graduating from high school, and the weight gain from each of the three pregnancies started to add up with the busy parenting lifestyle she led. Before she knew it, she had let her weight spiral out of control.
“Honestly, I stopped weighing myself near the end of my last pregnancy because I just didn’t want to know anymore,” she wrote in an article for Women’s Health.
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In the days after she gave birth to her third child, she finally allowed herself to step on the scale again—and realized she had climbed up to 278 pounds (approx. 126 kg). It was the heaviest she had ever been and a sobering realization that something in her life had to change.
It was a daunting prospect to lose that much weight, she admitted, and she didn’t have the time or resources to make massive lifestyle changes all at once. Instead, she decided to make little, manageable changes one at a time, establishing good habits before making new changes to slowly overhaul her eating and fitness.
“At first, I didn’t cut out the fast food and treats that I loved; I simply chose smaller portions (like a small fry instead of a medium size). Then, I gradually made slightly healthier substitutions (grilled chicken instead of crispy, for example),” she wrote.
“Once I got used to that, I swapped out soda for juice and then traded that for sparkling water. I cooked brown rice instead of white, tried plant-based milks instead of dairy, ate at home instead of ordering takeout. Those tiny, gradual changes allowed me to slowly transform my lifestyle.”
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Eventually, she was able to do the same thing with her fitness levels. She started by taking her kids for walks and running with them at the park, then eventually started to do little workouts from YouTube videos at home. When she felt she was ready, she was able to join a fitness bootcamp class and truly ramp up her effort levels.
It took 14 months, but the changes truly paid off. She was able to drop 125 pounds (approx. 57 kg), going from 278 pounds (approx. 126 kg) to 153 pounds (approx. 69 kg) over the course of just over a year. And once she was at a weight she felt comfortable with, she was able to focus on building muscle instead—and enjoyed it so much that she went on to become a certified personal trainer.
“By losing weight, I also found my passion: health and fitness. Becoming a personal trainer has helped me share everything I’ve learned with others who are going through similar struggles. I learned that the trick to long-term weight management and health is to start slow and focus on all the little successes along the way-and now I want to pass that information on.”
Her story serves as an important anecdote to support what many dietitians and nutritionists warn clients about repeatedly—it can be tempting to jump into a huge lifestyle change immediately, but very few people actually stick with it when they try to make changes too quickly. It’s estimated that as many as 40 percent of dieters abandon their new eating plans or exercise goals within a week of starting them, and it’s often because they try to make changes too quickly.
For parents and others with busy lifestyles, little changes can keep goals on track. By adding them up over time, results do come—and as Dellit shows, it can change your entire life.