Meet Melita, a star Life! champion
It's not always easy to maintain change. However, we can all be inspired by Melita's efforts. Melita did the Life! program in 2009 and has done an amazing job of keeping up her healthy lifestyle changes. She has lost over 20kg and is active and happy. Well done Melita and thank you for sharing your story!
Participating in the Life! program has been amazingly beneficial for Melita. Having lost 20kg, she has more energy and can wear the clothes she loves; but a more profound change has occurred. “I feel fantastic,” she says. “I’m more active, I’m happier – I’m a completely different person.”
Melita attributes much of her success on the program to taking a realistic approach to lifestyle change. “It takes time,” she explains, “so I allowed myself to go slowly and I didn’t set a time frame for anything.” Having no deadline has allowed her to enjoy every minute of the journey. “Slowly, slowly I made the changes – I’m still making them – and everything falls into place over time. You can enjoy the changes your body and mind are going through and the wonderful feeling of freedom that comes as you progress.”
So what changes has she made?
“In terms of exercise, I simply started walking; that's all I could do in the beginning. I would walk for 30 minutes, then I went up to an hour. Then, when time allowed, I increased the distance I walked and now I do anything between 10 and 12km in a session. I also go to a gym, where I focus on weight trainingfor strength as I age.”
As well as being realistic, Melita has been disciplined. “When I’m busy or not feeling like exercising, I push myself to do it. I try to do a minimum of 20-30 minutes on my treadmill, or I at least walk around the block, because I know it will make me feel good afterwards. To motivate myself further, I put on my exercise gear, which makes me feel like I’m wearing my ‘suit of armour’. Doing that seems to re-align my thinking and my emotions, and I am able to get myself back on track. Motivating myself gives me the feeling of being strong, of being able to do anything”.
Discipline has never become forced, though: “At the start of all this, I vowed not to be too restrictive, and I tell myself that it’s ok if I don’t exercise for a day or so, and when I’m unwell I allow my body to recover. As a result, I’m more caring and understanding towards myself.”
Melita has also made changes to her eating habits. “I've basically had to re-learn how to eat slowly, as well as what to eat and how much to eat. Now, before I eat I ask myself: do I want that, do I need that, am I really hungry? I eat more fruit and vegetables and high-fibre foods and I measure my food portions. I also drink between 1 and 2 litres of water every day. I’ve changed my attitude towards eating, too. I’ve learnt not to be afraid of food. We need to eat, and you want to enjoy what you eat. Fortunately I enjoy cooking, so I try to make interesting meals for myself and my family and I love trying new recipes.”
So it seems that Melita’s success is down to combining what she learnt on the Life! program with a significant amount of commitment and a mindset of self-care and self-motivation. That’s what worked for her, but does she have any advice for anybody who’s thinking of participating in the program: “Do it for yourself. Life! – excuse the pun – is great!”