Diet & Nutrition

‘I lost 52kg by walking and doing yoga’

Dani gave up yo-yo dieting and managed to lose 52kg by implementing simple diet and exercise habits. Here she shares all her secrets.

Dani Parente had developed a habit for yo-yo dieting after being “obese as a child”.

“I had a terrible relationship with food and got stuck in a pattern of restricting myself and eating very little calories to then binging and overeating, which caused me to put on any weight I lost, plus more,” Dani tells Body+Soul.

The 49-year-old struggled to stay active, and even “struggled to walk to the letterbox without being out of breath.”

In addition to an inactive lifestyle, she turned to food to destress and deal with life’s problems.

“I would find comfort in food.”

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The death of her grandmother then prompted Dani to gain 24kg in the space of six months, and was then diagnosed as pre-diabetic.

However, when her weight hit 120kg, Dani knew she needed to take action and put her health first.

“My ‘lightbulb moment’ was when I reflected on the loss of my grandmother, paired with health warnings from my doctor and decided I wanted to be there for my family and future grandchildren,” she recalls.

“From there, I decided that enough was enough, and rather than turning to yo-yo diets as I had many times in the past, I wanted to find something that I could follow for life.”

Dani signed up to WW and in two years she has successfully managed to lose 52kg – and keep it off.

Here’s all the diet and exercise secrets she swears by.

Dani’s diet

No foods were off limits for Dani on her WW meal plan.

“Rather than completely restricting my favourite foods and starving myself as I had done in the past, I knew I could still eat everything and there was always something healthy and delicious to keep me feeling full,” she explains.

Dani gained controlled of her food portions and learnt about counting macros, rather than calories.

Moreover, she found healthier alternatives to all her food favourites.

“I began making smart swaps, like 99 per cent fat free yoghurt instead of full fat, or dates and peanut butter for a sweet fix instead of sugar-filled baked goods.”

Here’s what a typical day on a plate looks like to her now

Breakfast: Oats (sometimes with added protein powder) or mug muffins.

Lunch: Salad, wrap or sandwich with protein, vegetables and a side of fruit.

Dinner: Lean protein such as seafood, chicken or red meat served with vegetables and rice or sweet potato.

Snacks: Protein bar, Greek yoghurt with fruit.

Dani’s exercise routine

“I’m not a huge fan of high intensity workouts so I go for daily walks and do some low-impact yoga and meditation,” she says.

And that’s it, proving simple is sometimes best.

Dani on the biggest challenge

Dani has managed to overcome her self-doubt.

“As I was so used to yo-yo dieting, I doubted myself and my ability to improve my health,” she explains. “I always thought I would fall back into old habits or lose track but with persistence, consistency and time I was able to achieve my goal.”

Whenever she feels an inkling of doubt, she’ll turn to a quick meditation session to keep her on track.

Dani on her best weight loss advice

“Believe in yourself, practice gratitude and never quit. It’s important to find a lifestyle change you can see yourself sticking to and not to view it as a short term thing or a diet.

“My biggest advice would be to remove an “all or nothing” mindset and make sustainable and enjoyable changes.”