Only half the woman she used to be but twice as fit

CHRISTINE Williams knows what it is like to be stuck in the revolving door of dieting. In her late 20s, she lost 30 kilograms on the Jenny Craig weight-loss program. She kept it off for more than five years. Then she had her first child, and slowly the numbers on the bathroom scales crept up.

She recalls: ''It was a sense of, I'm going to let myself do this because I'm actually having a child. It's OK to not focus on myself as a priority any more. People have different addictions and ways of coping with things, and mine has always been food. I found that I just lost track of myself again. My weight got up to 113 kilograms after I had my two children. I was working and it was so busy and I let the food become something that alleviated the pressure and filled a hole. I tried to lose weight but I was up and down doing stupid crash-and-burn diets and I was all starry-eyed thinking I could do it in five weeks because I'll eat nothing, but it didn't work.''

In 2010, with both her children finished school, she began to think of her health, conscious that she did not want to be a burden on her loved ones as she aged. She went back to Jenny Craig because it was the only approach that had made a significant impact on her weight. In 12 months she lost 45 kilograms and is now running marathons and weighs in at a healthy 60 kilograms.

She does not see her return to the program as a sign that she, or the method, failed.

''Life is full of ups and downs and all sorts of pressures and stresses, and they change from year to year depending on what age you are and the different circumstances,'' she says.

''There are different stages of your life where other things are more important and you perhaps don't have the confidence to make a stand for you. Jenny Craig didn't lose my weight, I did. The problem with weight and obesity is that people don't realise it's actually about them changing the fixation they have with food. We kind of just give up too easily, and whenever I felt tired or stressed or had a 10-hour day or whatever, I'd say, 'I deserve to pamper myself by eating this junk'.''

Mrs Williams, from Templestowe, believes the obesity problem is complex and that more attention should be given to educating people on good nutrition.

''Today's society has just not worked out what role food plays - it's a luxury, it's glorified, it's a crutch, it's therapy, and not enough emphasis is put on new parents for taking the responsibility for what kids eat. The responsibility for creating the right food lifestyle for your family, no one talks about that at all.''

This story Only half the woman she used to be but twice as fit first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.