Diet & Nutrition, Fitness

‘I stopped fad dieting and lost 43kg’

At 130kg, Samantha had a history of yo-yo dieting. But after a series of ‘ah-ha’ moments on a holiday to Vietnam helped her turn a corner. 

Samantha has always been a yo-yo dieter: either razer focused on health and fitness or overindulging in afternoon sweets, doughnuts for breakfast, and emotional eating. It wasn’t always that way, she says.

“I was always very active when I was younger, playing netball and softball and frequenting the gym, but when I got older, I would only join the gym when I was on a fitness kick. I would spend most nights on the couch watching tv with snacks.”

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At her heaviest, the project management officer weighed 130kg, and it was on a trip to Vietnam that proved to be a turning point.

“On the plane, I had to use a seatbelt extender for the first time,” she says, as well as struggling to fit into the kayak on a bucket-list tour of Halong Bay, an experience she describes as “mortifying”.

“Straight after my holiday, I tried to diet as I had many times before without success,” but joining WW (formerly Weight Watchers) helped her track her food intake, nutrition, and balance her portion control. Samantha even recruited her nephew to join the gym with her.

“The first few weeks were a shock to the system as I completely overhauled my diet and my exercise routine all at once,” she says.

“I started losing weight almost immediately and it motivated me to keep going.”

Even though WW allows for the occasional treat, Samantha cut out all refined sugar, in the beginning, to help her get on track.

“After some time on the program, I learnt you don’t have to go to such extremes. It’s about small changes repeated over time,” she observes.

Pre-COVID, Samantha was going to the gym three to four times a week, but even in the midst of lockdowns, she found the WW app helpful in offering workouts she could easily do at home.

Samantha has lost 43kg over the past two years; gradual, sustainable weight loss through finding balance, a good support network, and moving on when the occasional slip-up occurs.

“It’s all about finding balance and an approach you can follow long term,” she says.

“Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack – you will slip up and when you do, don’t sabotage the whole rest of the week, just simply try and put it behind you and move forward.”

Samantha’s day on a plate


Fresh fruit with natural Greek yoghurt and a dash of sugar-free maple syrup.


A protein-packed mini-platter box with tuna and lettuce, boiled egg, dates and strawberries. On weekends I like to have a roll or a fresh sandwich.


Most evening meals consist of a piece of protein (either steak, fish or chicken) with either a side salad or boiled veggies.


I have a few handy sweet-tooth hacks up my sleeve so depending what I feel like I will have some diet jelly, Greek yoghurt with sugar-free hot chocolate mix added in (tastes like chocolate mousse) or a sugar-free Zooper Dooper in the warmer months.”


When the 3pm energy slump hits, I always make sure I have fresh cut-up fruit on hand or a sneaky sugar-free piece of chocolate. I also try and limit alcohol on weekends but if I do want to enjoy a drink my go-to is vodka and soda.”