Bundy mum's inspiring journey into weight loss
AT 180kg and told she would not be able to become a mum, Ashleigh Williams took drastic action to improve her health.
The Bundaberg woman said she gained weight over a decade and it was only when her chance at a family had been threatened that she took on a massive lifestyle change.
"I met my husband and obviously we wanted to start a family so I needed to lose the weight as I was told I wouldn't conceive," she said.
Mrs Williams undertook gastric surgery as her first step in a journey built on dedication and her dream of motherhood.
"I lost 40kg from the surgery," she said.
"I hit the gym with a personal trainer.
"By 18 months post surgery I'd lost 90kg."
After she hit the 80kg mark, Mrs Williams received the news she'd waited for - she was pregnant with son Atticus, now eight months.
Mrs Williams said surgery was not an easy way out because maintaining weight loss required constant dedication to exercise and a complete change in diet.
"I think my surgery was my tool and way to kickstart my journey but you can't have weight loss surgery and then be lazy and eat crap and expect to lose weight," she said.
Mrs Williams held a party with her friends to farewell her previous eating habits and signal a complete change in her life.
"We all had a last farewell meal," she said.
"It was the last time I ever allowed myself to indulge like that."
Mrs Williams now sticks to a high protein diet, usually eating some lean meat and vegetables for dinner and lean meat with salad for lunch.
She says people wanting to lose weight need to give themselves some grace so they don't feel overly pressured.
"You have to remember everything takes time," she said.
"It won't happen overnight and you have to allow yourself grace.
"Be good to yourself and keep one thing that's your go-to naughty food."
She said everything came back to moderation and not allowing yourself to give in if you make a slip-up.
"It's the little things in life you don't notice when you're obese," she said.
"Like when I walked into a room I would look around for a chair that wouldn't break, now I just walk walk into a room and look for any chair."
Mrs Williams said her weight loss came with the added benefits of improving her asthma and epilepsy - and one health benefit she never would have expected.
"I had always worn glasses, but when I went for a check-up he said to me 'have you had laser surgery or something? You don't need to wear glasses any more," she said.
To lose weight, Ashleigh followed up on her surgery by:
- Consulting a dietician to provide her with nutrition information.
- Sticking religiously to a healthy diet with a rare "cheat" day.
- Enlisting the help of Bundaberg personal trainer Russell Seesink.
- Working out 4-5 times a week for about 1.5 hours a time.